Apple today announced new accessibility features coming later this year, including Eye Tracking, a way for users with physical disabilities to control iPad or iPhone with their eyes. Additionally, Music Haptics will offer a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music using the Taptic Engine in iPhone; Vocal Shortcuts will allow users to perform tasks by making a custom sound; Vehicle Motion Cues can help reduce motion sickness when using iPhone or iPad in a moving vehicle; and more accessibility features will come to visionOS. These features combine the power of Apple hardware and software, harnessing Apple silicon, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to further Apple’s decades-long commitment to designing products for everyone.

Eye Tracking Comes to iPad and iPhone

Powered by artificial intelligence, Eye Tracking gives users a built-in option for navigating iPad and iPhone with just their eyes. Designed for users with physical disabilities, Eye Tracking uses the front-facing camera to set up and calibrate in seconds, and with on-device machine learning, all data used to set up and control this feature is kept securely on device, and isn’t shared with Apple.

Eye Tracking Comes to iPad and iPhone

Eye Tracking works across iPadOS and iOS apps, and doesn’t require additional hardware or accessories. With Eye Tracking, users can navigate through the elements of an app and use Dwell Control to activate each element, accessing additional functions such as physical buttons, swipes, and other gestures solely with their eyes.

New Features for a Wide Range of Speech

With Vocal Shortcuts, iPhone and iPad users can assign custom utterances that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks. Listen for Atypical Speech, another new feature, gives users an option for enhancing speech recognition for a wider range of speech. Listen for Atypical Speech uses on-device machine learning to recognize user speech patterns. Designed for users with acquired or progressive conditions that affect speech, such as cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or stroke, these features provide a new level of customization and control, building on features introduced in iOS 17 for users who are nonspeaking or at risk of losing their ability to speak.

Music Haptics Makes Songs More Accessible

Music Haptics is a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music on iPhone. With this accessibility feature turned on, the Taptic Engine in iPhone plays taps, textures, and refined vibrations to the audio of the music. Music Haptics works across millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog, and will be available as an API for developers to make music more accessible in their apps.

Music Haptics

CarPlay Gets Voice Control, More Accessibility Updates

Accessibility features coming to CarPlay include Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition. With Voice Control, users can navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. With Sound Recognition, drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing can turn on alerts to be notified of car horns and sirens. For users who are colourblind, Color Filters make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use, with additional visual accessibility features including Bold Text and Large Text.

Vehicle Motion Cues Can Help Reduce Motion Sickness

Vehicle Motion Cues is a new experience for iPhone and iPad that can help reduce motion sickness for passengers in moving vehicles. Research shows that motion sickness is commonly caused by a sensory conflict between what a person sees and what they feel, which can prevent some users from comfortably using iPhone or iPad while riding in a moving vehicle. With Vehicle Motion Cues, animated dots on the edges of the screen represent changes in vehicle motion to help reduce sensory conflict without interfering with the main content. Using sensors built into iPhone and iPad, Vehicle Motion Cues recognizes when a user is in a moving vehicle and responds accordingly. The feature can be set to show automatically on iPhone, or can be turned on and off in Control Center.

Vehicle Motion Cues

Accessibility Features Coming to visionOS

This year, accessibility features coming to visionOS will include systemwide Live Captions to help everyone — including users who are deaf or hard of hearing — follow along with spoken dialogue in live conversations and in audio from apps. With Live Captions for FaceTime in visionOS, more users can easily enjoy the unique experience of connecting and collaborating using their Persona. Apple Vision Pro will add the capability to move captions using the window bar during Apple Immersive Video, as well as support for additional Made for iPhone hearing devices and cochlear hearing processors. Updates for vision accessibility will include the addition of Reduce Transparency, Smart Invert, and Dim Flashing Lights for users who have low vision, or those who want to avoid bright lights and frequent flashing.

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Apple

This week, Apple is introducing new features, curated collections, and more in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

Throughout the month of May, select Apple Store locations will host free sessions to help customers explore and discover accessibility features built into the products they love. Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan will feature the talent behind “Assume that I can,” the viral campaign for World Down Syndrome Day. And available year-round at Apple Store locations globally, Today at Apple group reservations are a place where friends, families, schools, and community groups can learn about accessibility features together.

Shortcuts adds Calming Sounds, which plays ambient soundscapes to minimize distractions, helping users focus or rest.

Visit the App Store to discover incredible apps and games that promote access and inclusion for all, including the accessible App Store Award-winning game Unpacking, apps as tools for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and more.

The Apple TV app will honour trailblazing creators, performers, and activists who passionately share the experiences of people with disabilities. This year’s theme is A More Inclusive World and each story invites viewers to envision a reality where everyone is empowered to add their voice to the greater human story.

Apple Books will spotlight lived experiences of disability through curated collections of first-person narratives by disabled writers in ebook and audiobook formats.

Apple Fitness+ workouts, meditations, and trainer tips welcome users who are deaf or hard of hearing with American Sign Language, and Time to Walk now includes transcripts in the Apple Podcasts app. Fitness+ workouts always include Audio Hints to support users who are blind or have low vision, as well as modifiers so that users of all levels can participate.

Users can visit Apple Support to learn how their Apple devices can be customized using built-in accessibility features. From adapting the gestures to customizing how information is presented on a device’s screen, the Apple Accessibility playlist will help users learn how to personalize Apple Vision Pro, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac to work best for them.