Invert Colors Feature on all Apple Products

Low Vision Accessibility on Apple Products


I am trying to get Apple to fix the Invert Colors feature. I have achromatopsia and I use the feature all of the time. However, inverting the colors also inverts images and videos. This is a pain in the neck and I would like to change it if I can.

Right now in order to watch a video or look at photos on facebook I must used the keystroke - the command + option + control + 8. In order to do that I have to turn VoiceOver off first. So, any background I have on my computer will always be inverted. To watch a video I have to turn VoiceOver off and then back on again.

The thing is, Windows makes it work. The High Contrast feature on Windows allows the text to change, but not images and videos. I would like to see Apple do the same. The screen is very bright to me and if I could I would like to keep the Invert Colors feature on all of the time. At this time, however, I cannot. I like to look at pictures and watch videos, too.

So, I started giving feedback to Apple for all of the products I use. I was hoping that some of you might have an idea and, if not, that you could give feedback to Apple, too. I have been trying to change this for two years now with no success. So, if you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to share them here. And, if you can, please give feedback to Apple about this. Perhaps if enough people do it there can be a change.

I also have to say that I am no programer. I teach math so I do not know what kind of computer power and complicated code might go into this, but again I feel that if Windows can do it so can Apple. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!

Here is the feedback link:



Submitted by Bryan Jones on Sunday, November 23, 2014

If you do not want to have to toggle VO in order to toggle Invert Colors, you can use the following steps to easily change the shortcut key for Invert Colors so that it will work while VO is active. This applies to OS 10.7 through 10.10.

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts.

2. Navigate to the Accessibility shorcut category and press return.

3. Press VO+J to jump to the list of accessibility shortcuts.

4. Navigate to the accessibility shortcut item labeled "Invert Colors."

5. Make sure the checkbox is checked for this item.

6. Press Return to put the shortcut field into edit mode, and then press the shortcut you want to use for this item. I use Command+Option+Shift+8 as this does not seem to conflict with any other shortcuts I use.


Submitted by dvdmth on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

The invert colors mode, as you describe, is a full-screen inversion, without interpreting what each pixel is actually being used to display, such as an image, text, part of a window background, and so forth. Unfortunately, the OS X interface isn't really designed for a true high contrast mode, with black backgrounds and white text. If Apple were to offer such a theme, many apps would look ugly, have unreadable text, and other nasty side-effects.

Take Yosemite's dark mode as an example. It makes the menu bar and dock have white text on a dark background, which would be nice if it were done throughout the interface. Even that simple change, however, caused problems with a number of apps that install menu extras in the upper-right corner of the screen, because those menu icons were designed under the assumption that the menu bar would be white. Some apps were later updated to offer a dark mode alternative to the menu icon, but others haven't.

Around 15 years ago or so, before OS X, Apple experimented with having different appearance themes, which would enable such a high contrast mode if the apps properly implemented the appearance API, but the idea was later scrapped. I believe the main issue was that too many apps simply didn't tolerate changing themes and assumed that the on-screen elements would be rendered a particular way. Even when Apple changes its system font, like they did with Yosemite, they make sure the new font has the same exact spacing as the previous system font so that it won't cause display problems in existing apps.

I would love to have a high contrast theme so that I wouldn't have to switch invert colors on and off as often, but the implementation would be difficult to pull off and have a seamless transition, given how the Mac UI is currently rendered and how tolerant, or rather how intolerant, Mac apps are.

Submitted by Robert A.M. on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I agree with you, Apple's Invert Colors feature is complete trash, sadly, I don't like how Windows 8/8.1 handles this either. On Windows 7 and below the user was given much more control of the color of each component on the screen like window text, title bars, the status bar, etc. Windows 8/8.1 requires that you activate a high contrast theme and even then, your control over how things are displayed is much more limited. I want to be able to modify display settings for productivity apps like Word or Excel, but would like to have the option of viewing web pages in normal colors.

Anyway, recently I found a perfect way to correctly implement the Invert Colors functionality on iOS; I use a jailbreak tweak called Eclipse 2. This tweak allows me to individually choose the colors for each and every aspect of the user interface, it works on both first and third party apps and images and videos are not affected by these changes. Hope this helps!