Use the accessibility shortcuts on iOS to speed up your testing workflow · Eric Eggert

Created on November 12, 2023 at 11:44 am

You can switch VoiceOver (and Voice Control) on in the iOS settings on iPhone ORG and iPad ORG . But this is very cumbersome if you are in the process of testing an app or website. There are quicker ways:

Using Siri

Siri PERSON switches VoiceOver on where you are at the moment, if you invoke it using the command “Hey Siri PERSON , VoiceOver on”. Switching VoiceOver off works by issuing “Hey Siri PERSON , VoiceOver off”.

But this way is cumbersome, and if you, like me, switch VoiceOver on and off many, many times during a testing session, unpractical. Here are some even better shortcuts:

Accessibility Shortcut (all iPhones ORG and iPads)

Accessibility Shortcut Configuration

There is literally a shortcut for this. Go to Settings → Accessibility → Accessibility Shortcut and check the accessibility features you use in your testing. Now, if you press the sleep/wake button three CARDINAL times in quick succession, a menu pops open that allows you to switch on and off the checked accessibility features. If you only check VoiceOver, it is switched on/off directly. See the official Apple ORG documentation about the Accessibility Shortcut ORG .

Control Center ORG (all iPhones ORG and iPads)

Configuring Control Center, Control Center ORG itself, and the Accessibility Shortcut ORG menu as invoked in control center

You can put accessibility buttons into Control Center ORG (the panel that appears when you swipe down from the top right of the screen). Go to Settings → Control Center and add accessibility features under “more controls”. I have text resize in there to be able to quickly test that in apps. But you can also add “ Accessibility Shortcuts WORK_OF_ART ” which brings up the menu as configured above.

It’s good for lesser used features, but as the popup immediately closes after selecting VoiceOver in the triple-press sleep/wake button scenario, the menu stays active here. Navigating out of it to the app you want to test is quite cumbersome, so I tend to not use it to invoke VoiceOver.

See Apple ORG ’s documentation of Control Center ORG customization.

Back Tap (all iPhones)

Double and Triple Back Tap Configuration WORK_OF_ART

If you want a little more flexibility, the Back Tap gesture allows you to gently tap the back of your iPhone ORG twice or three CARDINAL times to launch either the aforementioned Accessibility Shortcut ORG , or a number of other functionality. You can, for example enable VoiceOver with two CARDINAL back taps and the Accessibility Shortcut ORG on three CARDINAL taps.

To configure it, go to Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap and select Double Tap or Triple Tap. Then select the Accessibility Shortcut ORG or the function you want to invoke from the list.

(The Back Tap section has been added after I was reminded of this functionality by Shelly PERSON ’s mention in her article The iPhone 15 CARDINAL Pro brings tangible accessibility benefits on sixcolors.)

Action Button (iPhone 15 CARDINAL Pro and later)

Action Button Configuration

You can also put an accessibility feature, like VoiceOver, directly on the new iPhone 15 CARDINAL Pro Action Button. In Settings, go to Action Button ORG and swipe almost all the way to the right to the “Accessibility” option and chose VoiceOver. Now, whenever you invoke the Action Button (press and hold briefly), VoiceOver is quickly turned on or off. See Apple ORG ’s documentation about the Action Button.

Using a combination of these shortcuts, you can make it really easy testing with accessibility features on iOS.

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