VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that enables you to use your iPhone or iPad even if you don’t see the screen. VoiceOver gestures on iPhone or iPad give an audible description of what’s in your screen from who is calling, to what app your finger is on, and even battery levels.
This gesture was designed for individuals who are blind or have low vision to give them full access to their devices. The speaking rate and pitch can be adjusted to suit the user’s needs.
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How to Enable Voiceover Gesture on iPhone
Before we start flipping switched, it’s important to know that VoiceOver changes the gesture you used to control iPhone. This simply means that when VoiceOver gesture on iPhone is turned on, you must use VoiceOver gestures to operate your phone.
- To turn on or off, use any of the following methods:
- Use Control Center
- Summon Siri and say, “Turn on VoiceOver” or “Turn off VoiceOver.”
- Triple-click on the side button (on iPhone X or higher) or
- Triple-click on the home button (on iPhone 9 or lower)
- Go to settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver, the toggle switch to turn on or off.
Using VoiceOver Gestures
VoiceOver changes the gestures in iOS devices to make it easier for blind or visually impaired users to know what they are before it’s actually selected. Below are some VoiceOver gestures or commands you should know.
- Single-tap; when anywhere on the screen is single-taped, the iPhone or iPad speaks aloud the item you’re taping or touching.
- Double-tap; doing this on an item selects it.
- Three-finger swiping/scrolling; to scroll through a page, you need to use your three fingers to swipe across the screen at the same time.
- Double-tap with three fingers; this toggles speech on and off from the lock screen of your iPhone
- Two-finger single-tap; this will automatically stop or start an action. For example, if Siri was reading the weather forecast, you could easily use stop her speech by making the single-tap gesture on the screen with your two fingers.
You can practice VoiceOver gestures in a special area without affecting your phone, or it’s settings. In this mode, when you practice a gesture, VoiceOver describes the gesture, and it’s resulting action.
Go to the home screen: All you have to do is, with a single finger, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen until you feel a gentle haptic response and hear a sound. The reaction of your device will let you know when you’ve completed the gesture.
Bringing up recently used apps or app switcher: Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen, then keep dragging upwards until a second haptic response is felt and hear a higher-pitched sound. As stated above, you can use three fingers to swipe across and select apps. If you need to force close an app in the app switcher, swipe up with three fingers.
Opening Control Center: swipe down from the bottom edge of the screen until you feel a haptic response and hear a sound. Slowly swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to exit the control center.
5 Helpful Gestures that work for all iPhone and iPad models
- The hunt gesture: To use this just, just tap on the screen with your three fingers at the same time. I always use this gesture when it seems I am lost trying to navigate with VoiceOver, the VoiceOver hint for the item that’s currently focused on if that item has a custom hint, although some apps may have some additional details, not in the hint.
- Speech on or off gesture: To turn speech on or off in VoiceOver gestures, simply double tap on your screen with three fingers. Say you’re using a lower version of the iPhone and you have to type your password, this feature would be useful, so the phone doesn’t call your password out loud.
- Screen curtain gesture: Whenever I use VoiceOver, I always use my phone with the screen curtain on simply because I don’t really need to see what’s on the screen to use the phone. Of course, the objective of the gesture is allowing us to use the phone even without seeing what’s on the screen. To turn the screen curtain on, simply triple-tap with three fingers. Repeat the same thing to turn it off.
- Copy and paste text gesture: This a gesture I frequently use whenever I’d like to copy something from the internet may be similar to a link or a quote or something. All you need to do is highlight what you need (usually, the last spoken word is always highlighted) to copy and quadruple tap with three fingers.
- Finger scrub gesture: This is like drawing a “Z” with both fingers closed together. This dismisses alerts. It goes back to one screen.