Smart Invert vs Dark browser extensions

Low Vision Accessibility on Apple Products

I'm visually impaired and can't read anything on a white background because of the glare. On my Mac I use browser extensions like Dark Reader (Chrome, Vivaldi, Opera), Night Eye (Safari) and Dark Text and Light Background (Firefox). The latter I can also use on my Android phone.

I've done a little research and it seems like the closest thing I can do on an iPhone is to use Smart Invert, but I've got a number of questions and was wondering if someone on here might be able to help?

1. Can it be enabled all the time in conjunction with ios13 dark theme? Would this give me a consistently dark experience?
2. What's the contrast like? I saw a couple of ios 11 screenshots that looked a bit dim but I wasn't 100% sure. Has anyone used both smart invert and some of these extensions and could let me know how they stack up?
3. Does it also work for html email?
4. Are there any downsides to using it? Does it drain battery, or is it a resource hog? Is it pretty stable? Does it cause other parts of the system to become unreadable?
5. Does it play well with VoiceOver?
5. Does it matter what model iphone I use re performance?

The main reason I am thinking of jumping ship to ios is to start getting used to VoiceOver, which I will no doubt need reasonably imminently. Plus apps like Seeing AI look pretty useful.

Any help would be much appreciated.




Submitted by Harryubu on Saturday, November 30, 2019

I have RP and very little sight and on my iPad I use smart invert, while on iPhone I just use dark mode with voiceover. At the moment, I find trying to get white text on black background very frustrating. If I open Apple News, the headlines are all in white text on dark, but if I tap on the link to read the whole article, it turns out to be a glaring white background! The only thing to do then is to switch temporarily to classic invert colours. Most of the time, if I’ve done that switch, when I get up my iPad accessibility shortcut and tap on Smart Invert, it goes back simply to Dark Mode rather than Smart Invert. Using smart invert on Safari is pretty useless, so more chopping and changing between smart and classic invert. I’ve written to Apple about this exhausting process and would encourage others to do so as well so that we might eventually get a seamless experience of white text on dark back background. Another gripe is the colour of the keyboard, which constantly changes from dark background to light background, so even more changing from smart to classic invert.
Harry in UK

Submitted by mr grieves on Saturday, November 30, 2019

In reply to by Harryubu

Thanks, Harry for the quick and detailed reply. That's very useful, although not quite the answer i was hopiong for I too have RP and with my current android I am finding myself switching to and from invert colours all the time which is quite annoying. It sounds like smart invert isn't very impressive, so maybe I am better off sticking to Android. Firefox with Dark Text and White background is actually pretty good, and I'd hope with android 10 that it will help invert more apps to make switching less common. My main hesitation is in the screen reader as I believe voiceover is much better than talkback, or whatever the android equivalent is called.

I will email apple accessibility to lodge my vote.

Submitted by mr grieves on Saturday, November 30, 2019

For some reason I always presumed my android was too old and crappy to have talkback - but the option is there so maybe I'll have to play about with it.

I did try turning it on briefly, but then got trapped and couldn't figure out how to turn it off without going through all the tutorials. Fortunately I had access to my mac so managed to find a way, :) . Will need to devote some time to it.