How to Use VoiceOver on Your iPad

If you're visually impaired and decide to turn on VoiceOver on your iPad, you need to figure out how to use it. In all seriousness, using VoiceOver is awkward at first. But you'll get the hang of it! Here are the main onscreen gestures you should know how to use:

  • Tap an item to select it. VoiceOver speaks the item's name.

  • Double-tap the selected item. This action activates the item.

  • Flick three fingers. It takes three fingers to scroll around a page when VoiceOver is turned on.

The following table provides additional gestures that help you use VoiceOver. If you want to use this feature often, you read the VoiceOver section of the iPad User Guide, which goes into a great deal of detail about the ins and outs of using VoiceOver. You'll find the iPad User Guide in the Bookmarks section of the Safari browser.

Gesture Effect
Flick right or left. Select the next or preceding item.
Tap with two fingers. Stop speaking the current item.
Flick two fingers up. Read everything from the top of the screen.
Flick two fingers down. Read everything from the current position.
Flick three fingers up or down. Scroll one page at a time.
Flick three fingers right or left. Go to the next or preceding page.
Tap three fingers. Speak the scroll status (for example, line 20 of 100).
Flick four fingers up or down. Go to the first or last element on a page.
Flick four fingers right or left. Go to the next or preceding section (as on a web page).

If tapping with two or three fingers is difficult for you, try tapping with one finger of one hand and one or two fingers of the other hand. When you're double- or triple-tapping, you have to perform these gestures as quickly as you can to make them work.

Check out some of the settings for VoiceOver, including Braille, Language Rotor (for making language choices), a setting for navigating images, and a setting that directs the iPad to read notifications to you.

You can also set up your iPad to speak Auto-text. This feature speaks autocorrections and autocapitalizations. (You can turn on this feature on the Keyboard Settings screen.) When you enter text in an app like Notes or Mail, the app makes appropriate changes and Speak Auto-text tells you what change was made.

Why would you want the iPad to tell you when an autocorrection has been made? Here's an example: Just because you have vision changes doesn't mean you can't write the next great novel. If you have a character who would authentically use the word ain't in dialogue, you'll want to know when iPad suddenly corrects that word to isn't. Similarly, if your grandson's girlfriend's name is SUNshine (don't worry, he'll break up with her soon), autocapitalization corrects it (incorrectly), you need to know immediately so that you can change it back.

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