macOS High Sierra

Use accessibility features

Accessibility comes standard with a Mac. Whether you have difficulties with vision, hearing, or physical mobility, macOS includes a variety of features to help you work in alternative ways—and make your Mac even easier to use.

Use the built-in screen reader called VoiceOver

VoiceOver is the built-in screen reader that describes aloud what appears on your screen and speaks the text in documents, webpages, and windows. Using VoiceOver, you control your Mac with the keyboard or trackpad gestures. You can also connect a refreshable braille display to use with VoiceOver.

  • To turn VoiceOver on or off, press Command-F5 (or if your Mac has a Touch Bar, press and hold the Command key and quickly press Touch ID three times).

  • To customize VoiceOver using VoiceOver Utility, press Control-Option-F8 (when VoiceOver is on).

    Open VoiceOver Utility for me

  • To learn how to use VoiceOver, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, click VoiceOver, then click Open VoiceOver Training.

    Open the VoiceOver pane for me

For help with VoiceOver, choose Help > VoiceOver Help while VoiceOver Utility is open.

Zoom content on the screen

If items on the screen are too small, you can zoom in to make content larger and easier to see. You can zoom the entire screen or a portion of the screen.

Reduce motion on the screen

If motion on the screen is problematic, you can set an option to reduce motion when using certain features, such as Spaces, Notification Center, or the Dock.

  • To set the option to reduce motion, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Display.

    Open the Display pane for me

Use a physical keyboard or an onscreen keyboard

To make it easier to press keys on a physical keyboard, you can turn on Sticky Keys and Slow Keys. Or use the onscreen Accessibility Keyboard to navigate macOS and use advanced typing features (such as typing suggestions) and bypass a physical keyboard altogether.

Move the pointer using the keyboard

If you have trouble using a mouse, you can turn on Mouse Keys, then use the keyboard or a numeric keypad to move the mouse pointer and press the mouse button.

Use dictation commands and text to speech

Change how your keyboard, mouse, and trackpad work

You can set various options to customize how your keyboard, mouse, and trackpad work. For example, you can adjust the speed at which the pointer moves across the screen when you move your finger across the trackpad.

Control your Mac with assistive devices

  • With Switch Control, you can use one or more adaptive accessories to enter text, interact with items on the screen, and control your Mac. Switch Control scans a panel or user interface until a switch is used to select an item or perform an action.

    Use Switch Control

  • When you use the Accessibility Keyboard, you can use Dwell with a tracking device to control the pointer so it’s easier to enter text, interact with items on the screen, and control your Mac. With Dwell, you can dwell for a specified amount of time on a control to perform a mouse action.

    Control the pointer using Dwell

You can easily check which accessibility features are on, right from the menu bar: select the checkbox at the bottom of Accessibility preferences to show accessibility status in the menu bar.

You can use the Accessibility Options shortcut panel to quickly turn options on or off. To select the options that are included in the panel, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click General.

Open the General pane for me

In some apps, you can have your Mac speak text by choosing Edit > Speech > Start Speaking. This functionality might not be available for all languages.