Use Accessibility features on your Apple Watch

Learn about VoiceOver, Zoom, On/Off Labels, options for wheelchair users, and other Accessibility features that are available on your Apple Watch.

Accessibility settings on iPhone and Apple Watch

Open Accessibility settings on your Apple Watch and iPhone

Apple Watch has a range of built-in Accessibility features to help you get the most from your device. Use these steps to find the Accessibility settings on your Apple Watch and iPhone:

  • On your Apple Watch, open Settings, then tap General > Accessibility.
  • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then tap General > Accessibility.

Choose from the buttons below to learn more about the Accessibility features on your Apple Watch:

Vision

Learn about VoiceOver, Zoom, Grayscale, On/Off Labels, X-Large watch face, and more below.

You can turn on and manage these features on your Apple Watch and from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Vision.

VoiceOver

VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader that lets you know what’s happening on your Apple Watch, and helps you navigate it, even if you can’t see it. VoiceOver is available for Apple Watch in 37 supported languages, and all native apps, such as Mail, Calendar, Maps, and Messages, are built to be VoiceOver compatible.

To turn on VoiceOver on your Apple Watch during intial setup, just triple-click the Digital Crown.

Use Screen Curtain with VoiceOver

If you use VoiceOver on your Apple Watch, you can turn on Screen Curtain for added privacy and security. When enabled, Screen Curtain turns your display off, while your device and VoiceOver navigation remain active. For example, if you want to check your bank account in a public place, Screen Curtain turns your screen off so that your information isn't visible. 

Learn how to use Screen Curtain with your Apple Watch. 

Zoom

Zoom is a built-in magnifier that works wherever you are in Apple Watch. You can use the Digital Crown to move across the screen by rows or use two fingers to move around the screen. With magnification adjustable up to 15 times the native size, Zoom provides solutions for a range of vision challenges.

Once Zoom is turned on, just double-tap your Apple Watch screen with two fingers to zoom.

On/Off Labels

To make it easier to see whether a setting is on or off, you can have Apple Watch show an additional label on the on/off switches.

Grayscale

To assist users for whom color might impair visibility, Apple Watch lets you enable grayscale onscreen. After you set the filter, the settings apply system-wide.

Visual enhancements

Apple Watch gives you several ways to enhance the visuals and text you see on your screen. Learn more about Bold Text, Reduce Motion, Reduce Transparency, and X-Large watch face below.

Brightness & Text Size screen

Bold Text and Text Size

When you turn on Bold Text, the text on your Apple Watch screen will appear darker. Additionally, with the Text Size setting, you can adjust the size of the text you see on your screen — and any apps that support Dynamic Type will adjust to your preferred reading size.

  • On your Apple Watch, open Settings, then tap Brightness & Text Size.
  • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then tap Brightness & Text Size.

Reduce Motion

You can reduce screen motion in Apple Watch. When you turn on Reduce Motion, some screen elements — such as the movement of icons on the Home screen — will be simpler and more directly associated with your navigation gestures.

Reduce Transparency

You can increase contrast on the screen by reducing the transparency of the background behind elements such as alerts, Siri, and Glances.

X-Large watch face

Apple Watch comes with an option for an X-Large watch face with numbers that take up the entire screen, making it easier to view the time.

Hearing

Apple Watch also comes with features that allow you adjust the way you receive alerts and reply to messages. Learn more about Mono Audio, the Taptic Engine and Prominent Haptic, and Scribble below.

Mono Audio

When you’re using Bluetooth headphones, you might miss some audio if you’re deaf or hard of hearing in one ear. That’s because stereo recordings usually have distinct left- and right-channel audio tracks. Apple Watch can help by playing both audio channels in both ears, and it lets you adjust the balance for greater volume in either ear.

You can adjust your Mono Audio settings from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then tap General > Accessibility > Mono Audio. 

Sounds & Haptics screen

Taptic Engine and Prominent Haptic

The unique Taptic Engine provides a gentle tap on your wrist every time a notification comes in. You can choose the strength of your Haptic notifications, or turn on Prominent Haptic to pre-announce some common alerts.

On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics.

Scribble

If you’re not using Voice Dictation and you can’t find the right Smart Reply to a message, you can write back by scribbling letters on the display, which Apple Watch converts to text.

To send or reply to a message with Scribble, follow these steps:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open a text message or email, scroll to the bottom of the message, then tap the Scribble icon.
  2. With one finger, write your reply, then tap Send in the upper-right corner of your screen.


Activity screen

Physical and Motor Skills

Apple Watch is equipped with fitness algorithms and sensors specifically designed to help wheelchair users more accurately track their activity. So, when the Wheelchair setting is turned on, your iPhone tracks pushes instead of steps, and will register different types of pushes, speeds, and terrains. You'll also see a Roll goal in the Activity app, instead of a Stand goal. 

Wheelchair-specific workouts

The Workout app gives you two unique workout options — Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace and Outdoor Wheelchair Run Pace. Just choose a workout and Apple Watch turns on the appropriate sensors.

To turn on the health and fitness features designed for wheelchair activity, edit the wheelchair preference in the Health section of the Apple Watch app. Here's how:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app and tap Health.
  2. In the upper-right corner, tap Edit, then tap Wheelchair.
  3. Select Yes, then tap Done in the upper-right corner.

You can learn more about the different types of workouts on your Apple Watch, including Wheelchair workouts, here.

Published Date: