How to use Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

How do you use Switch Control on iPhone? With accessibility settings!

Switch Control is an accessibility feature on iPhone and iPad that allows folks with limited mobility to have full use of their device with the help of ability switches and other adaptive devices.

Items on the screen are sequentially highlighted and can be activated by tapping, moving your head in front of the selfie camera, or pressing adaptive switches. You can also use point scanning and gestures, like pinching to zoom. You can even use multiple switches.

Here's how to use Switch Control!

Note: Switch Control is easiest to set up if you pair your adaptive device first in your iPhone or iPad's Bluetooth menu.

How to enable Switch Control

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap the switch next to Switch Control to enable it.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch next to Switch Control

How to add a new switch

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Switches.
  6. Tap Add New Switch…
  7. Tap a source.

    • External: You'll have to activate your external switch.
    • Screen: You'll have to select Full Screen afterward.
    • Camera: If you choose camera, you'll also have to select actions for Left Head Movement and Right Head Movement.

      Tap Switches, tap Add New Switch..., tap a source

  8. Tap a switch action.
  9. Tap Long Press to set up a long press switch action.
  10. Tap a switch action.

    Tap a switch action, tap Long Press to set a long press action, tap a switch action

How to delete a switch

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Switches.
  6. Swipe left on the switch you want to delete.
  7. Tap Delete.

    Tap Switches, swipe left on the switch you want to delete, tap Delete

How to create a new recipe

A recipe is a set of actions that you can temporarily assign to switches in place of their normal actions. You can use recipes to perform frequently repeated or complex actions, like turning pages in iBooks. You'll need to have an adaptive switch connected to your device, but to get into the new recipe section:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Recipes.
  6. Tap **Create New Recipe... **

    Tap Switch Control, tap Recipes, tap Create New Recipe...

From there, you'll be able to name your recipe and configure it with your adaptive switch or other assistive device.

How to change scanning style

Changing the scanning style will change how you move through items on the screen. Auto Scanning is the default, but if you would prefer to be in control, you have options.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Scanning Style.
  6. Tap a scanning style:

    • Auto Scanning: Moves focus automatically after a specified duration
    • Manual Scanning: Requires a switch to be engaged to move focus and a second to activate items
    • Single Switch Step Scanning: Requires a switch to be engaged to move focus, and if no action is taken within a certain amount of time, the item in focus will automatically be activated.

      Tap Switch Control, tap Scanning Style, tap a scanning style

How to change Auto Scanning Time

This will change how long it takes for Switch Control to automatically scan through items on a screen.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Auto Scanning Time under Timing.
  6. Tap the plus and minus buttons to increase or decrease time.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Auto Scanning Time, tap the plus and minus buttons

How to enable Pause on First Item

If you get to a screen but need a second to get your bearings, you can enable Pause on First Item and scanning won't start until you say so.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Pause on First Item.
  6. Tap the switch to enable it.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Pause on First Item, tap the switch

How to change the number of loops

After each item on the screen has been visited a certain number of times, the cursor will become hidden. Here's how to change how many times the scan loops.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Loops.
  6. Tap a number. You can loop from 1 to 10 times.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Loops, tap a number

How to enable Move Repeat

If you need a little more time, Move Repeat will repeat the delay before "Move To Next/Previous Item" while a switch is pressed.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Move Repeat.
  6. Tap the switch to enable Move Repeat.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Move Repeat, tap the switch

How to enable and change the duration of Long Press

You can use Long Press to add another action to a switch that is activated when you hold it for a certain length of time. Here's how to enable it and change its duration.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Long Press.
  6. Tap the switch next to Long Press to enable it.
  7. Tap the plus or minus button to increase or decrease the length of time you have to press before Long Press is engaged.

    Tap Long Press, tap the switch, tap the plus and minus buttons to change the duration

How to change tap behavior

Tap behavior is what happens when the Select action is activated. It displays the Scanner Menu by default.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Tap Behavior.
  6. Tap an option:

    • Default
    • Auto Tap: You change the the Auto Tap duration when it's enabled. Just tap the plus and minus buttons that appear.
    • Always Tap

      Tap Switch Control, tap Tap Behavior, tap an option

How to change which item is focused after tapping

You can change the item that Switch Control scans after an item is tapped. Here's how:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Focused Item After Tap.
  6. Tap either First Item or Current Item.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Focused Item After Tap, tap First Item or Current Item

How to enable Always Tap Keyboard Keys

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap the switch next to Always Tap Keyboard Keys.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch next to Always Tap Keyboard Keys

How to enable and change hold duration

You can enable and modify a hold duration so that your adaptive device must be held for a certain amount of time before a press is recognized. Here's how:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Hold Duration.
  6. Tap the switch to enable it.
  7. Tap the plus and minus buttons to lengthen or shorten the duration.

    Tap Hold Duration, tap the switch, tap the plus and minus buttons

How to enable Ignore Repeat

Ignore Repeat is the time in which multiple presses of are treated as a single input. This duration has to be less than the Auto Tap duration so that a double input press can be used.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Ignore Repeat.
  6. Tap the switch to enable it.
  7. Tap the plus and minus buttons to change the duration.

    Tap Ignore Repeat, tap the switch, tap the plus and minus buttons

How to change Gliding Cursor Speed

You can change the speed at which the Gliding Cursor moves across the screen. Here's how:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Gliding Cursor Speed.
  6. Tap the plus or minus button to increase or decrease the speed.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Gliding Cursor Speed, tap the plus or minus button

How to enable Sound Effects

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap the switch next to Sound Effects.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch next to Sound Effects

How to enable speech in Switch Control

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Speech.
  6. Tap the switch to enable it.
  7. Tap and drag the slider left or right to change the speaking rate. Right is faster; left is slower.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch, tap and drag the slider to change the speaking rate

How to change the speech voice in Switch Control

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Speech.
  6. Tap Voices.

    Tap Switch Control, tap Speech, tap Voices

  7. Tap a voice.
  8. Tap the play button to preview the voice, the name to enable the voice, or the download button (cloud with an arrow) to download the voice.

    Tap a voice, tap the play button to preview it or the name to enable it

How to change menu items in Switch Control

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Menu Items.
  6. Tap a menu:

    • Top Level
    • Gestures
    • Device
    • Settings

      Tap Switch Control, tap Menu Items, tap a menu

  7. Tap a menu item to disable/enable it.
  8. Tap, hold, and drag the Reorder button (three horizontal lines) to reorder menu items.
  9. Tap the switch next to Show Streamlined First Page to enable/disable it. Having it enabled will make only the most important menu items be shown on the first page of the menu.

    Tap a menu item, tap, hold, and drag the reorder button to reorder menu items, tap the switch next to Show Streamlined First Page

How to enable/disable Group Items

Grouping items allows for faster navigation.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap the switch next to Group Items.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch next to Group Items

How to enable the large cursor

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap the switch next to Large Cursor.

    Tap Switch Control, tap the switch next to Large Cursor

How to change cursor color

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Launch Settings, tap General, tap Accessibility

  4. Tap Switch Control.
  5. Tap Cursor Color.
  6. Tap a color:

    • Blue
    • Red
    • Green
    • Yellow
    • Orange

      Tap Switch Control, tap Cursor Color, tap a color

How to create a new gesture

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Switch Control.

    Tap General, tap Accessibility, tap Switch Control

  5. Tap Saved Gestures.
  6. Tap Create New Gesture…
  7. Tap or swipe to create a custom gesture.
  8. Tap Stop in the bottom right corner when you have finished making your gesture.

    Tap Saved Gestures, tap Create New Gesture..., tap or swipe to create a custom gesture, tap Stop

  9. Tap Play to preview your gesture or tap Record to create a new one.
  10. Tap Save in the top right corner of your screen when you're finished.
  11. Type in a name for your new gesture.
  12. Tap Save.

    Tap Play to preview your gesture or Record to create a new one, tap Save, type in a name for the gesture, tap Save

Your gesture will now appear as an item under Saved Gestures.

Questions?

Any questions about Switch Control? Let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to answer!