The Apple Watch, like all of Apple's products, has accessibility built right in.
Devices like the Apple Watch can be convenient, even empowering for many people. For those with accessibility needs, however, they can be life changing. They can let people go where they could never go before, speak with people they could never reach before, and see the world in ways that were once impossible. What's more, by making the Apple Watch accessible and inclusive to people who are blind or have visual impairments, deaf or have auditory impairments, or who have motor skill or learning or other challenges, Apple makes it more accessible and inclusive to everyone.
The Apple Watch is in its first generation, but here's all the accessibility features it already enjoys, along with how to set them up and use them.
- How to set up and use Voice Over for Apple Watch
- How to set up and use Zoom on Apple Watch
- How to enable grayscale mode on your Apple Watch
- How to enable bold text on your Apple Watch
- How to reduce motion on your Apple Watch
- How to reduce transparency on your Apple Watch
- How to enable On/Off Labels on the Apple Watch
- How to enable mono audio on your Apple Watch
- How to set up the accessibility shortcut on your Apple Watch
How to set up and use Voice Over for Apple Watch
VoiceOver literally talks you through the Apple Watch interface, making the visuals accessible to those who need audio. Part of Apple's suite of accessibility features, VoiceOver will speak the names of icons and apps, buttons and sliders — of everything that needs identifying and can be interacted with on your Apple Watch. For those with visual impairments or blindness, it can not only make technology usable, it can be life changing.
How to set up and use Zoom on Apple Watch
Zoom increases the magnification of the Apple Watch interface, making it bigger for those who need to see it more easily. To better aid those who need greater visual accessibility, Zoom lets you set a default magnification level for the Apple Watch but also adjust it dynamically. For those with visual impairments or partial blindness, it can make what are otherwise small, hard to see screen elements bigger and easier to see.
How to enable grayscale mode on your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch display is full color — but it doesn't have to be. If full color is a detriment rather than benefit to your visual accessibility, you can easily toggle it off. It's one of the fastest changes you can make on the Apple Watch and, best of all, it's system-wide. So, once you've enabled it, it's enabled everywhere.
How to enable bold text on your Apple Watch
For some, Apple Watch text will be big enough, just not strong enough for easy reading. One of the accessibility options the Apple Watch provide is for bold text, or a stronger typeface with thicker strokes to make characters and words even more legible. You still get a fair amount of text on screen, the text just stands out a little more from the screen.
How to reduce motion on your Apple Watch
Animation can make an interface look slick and sleek but it can also make it hard for some people to use. If you suffer from vertigo or any form of motion sickness and watching things slide and zoom around on your [Apple Watch](/apple-watch] is causing you distress, don't worry. You can switch transitions to fades and otherwise reduce the amount of motion right in the accessibility settings.
How to reduce transparency on your Apple Watch
Layers of gaussian blur and light and dark transparency can look great, but they can also make it harder for some people to read text and parse images. For accessibility reasons, you can go into your Apple Watch settings and reduce the amount of transparency used in the interface. That'll make screens more opaque and everything more legible and understandable for anyone who finds the default transparency distracting or disorienting.
How to enable On/Off Labels on the Apple Watch
You can toggle a lot of settings from off to on and back again, including one that makes toggle state more visible. By default on the Apple Watch, thanks to its iOS heritage, the difference between "on" and "off" for a lot of options in settings is little more than what side the switch it on and whether it's green or not. If that isn't accessible enough for you, you can make the toggles even more visible by — wait for it! — toggling on labels. That way you get a helpful O in off state and I in on state. It's especially useful if color alone isn't enough of a differentiator for you.
How to enable mono audio on your Apple Watch
If you're deaf or hard of hearing in one ear, mono audio can help make sure you still get all the sound. With a Bluetooth headset, you can listen to audio right from your Apple Watch. Stereo audio, however, can have separate sound in each channel — left or right. Mono audio puts all the sound into both channels — left and right. That way, whether it's music or talk, you won't miss anything.
How to set up the accessibility shortcut on your Apple Watch
Need fast access to an accessibility feature on your Apple Watch? Set the shortcut! On the iPhone, you can set three quick clicks of the Home button as an accessibility shortcut. On the Apple Watch, you can do the same thing with three quick presses of the Digital Crown. It lets you quickly toggle an accessibility feature on or off whenever and from wherever you want. All you have to do is set it up!