For Seniors: How to Set Up VoiceOver on the iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S VoiceOver feature reads the names of screen elements and settings to you, but it also changes the way you provide input to the iPhone 4S. In Notes, for example, you can have VoiceOver read the name of the Notes buttons to you and, when you enter notes, it will read words or characters you’ve entered. It can also tell you whether features such as Auto-Correction are on.

  1. To turn on this feature, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen. Tap General and then scroll down and tap Accessibility.

  2. In the Accessibility pane, tap the VoiceOver button.

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  3. In the VoiceOver pane, tap the VoiceOver On/Off button at the top to turn on this feature. You see a dialog noting that turning on VoiceOver changes gestures that you use to interact with the iPhone. Tap OK once to select the button, and then tap OK twice to proceed.

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    With VoiceOver on, you must first single-tap to select an item such as a button, which causes VoiceOver to read the name of the button to you. Then you double-tap the button to activate its function. (VoiceOver reminds you about this if you turn on Speak Hints, which is helpful when you first use VoiceOver, but it soon becomes annoying.)

  4. Tap the VoiceOver Practice button to select it, and then double-tap the button to open VoiceOver Practice.

    (This is the new method of tapping that VoiceOver activates.) Practice using gestures such as pinching or flicking left, and VoiceOver tells you what action each gesture initiates.

  5. Tap the Done button and then double-tap it to return to the VoiceOver dialog. Tap the Speak Hints field, and VoiceOver speaks the name of the item. Double-tap the slider to turn off Speak Hints.

  6. If you want VoiceOver to read words or characters to you (for example, in the Notes app), double-tap Typing Feedback.

  7. In the Typing Feedback dialog, tap to select the option you prefer. The Words option causes VoiceOver to read words to you, but not characters, such as “dollar sign” ($). The Characters and Words option causes VoiceOver to read both.

  8. Tap the Home button to return to the Home screen. Read the next task to find out how to navigate your iPhone after you've turned on VoiceOver.

    You can change the language that VoiceOver speaks. In General settings, choose International and then Language and select another language. This action, however, also changes the language used for labels on Home icons and various settings and fields in iPhone.

You can use the Set Triple-Click Home setting to help you more quickly turn the VoiceOver, Zoom, or White on Black features on and off. In the Accessibility dialog, tap Triple-Click Home.

In the dialog that appears, choose what you want a triple-click of the Home button to do: toggle VoiceOver on or off; toggle White on Black on or off; toggle the Zoom feature on or off; toggle on the AssistiveTouch Control panel; or display a menu of options using the Ask choice.

Now a triple-click with a single finger on the Home button provides you with the option you selected wherever you go in iPhone.

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