Accessibility Tips

How to use Accessibility on Apple Watch: The ultimate guide

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.

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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!

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How to make on/off labels more visible on your 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to turn on the LED notification light on your iPhone

Whether you need visible notification lights on your iPhone or just want them, the LED flash makes it possible.

Unlike some other phones, the iPhone doesn't include a dedicated notification light. The iPhone does, however, include an accessibility feature for the deaf and hearing impaired that uses the LED flash to provide a visible cue for incoming notifications. That's in addition the the usual vibrations already provided by the system. Whether you need LED notifications or just want them, once you enable the feature, all you have to do is leave your iPhone screen-down and in sight, and you won't just hear notifications come in — you'll see them!

Yes, BlackBerry and Android switchers, this includes you!

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How to use Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic calendars on iPhone and iPad

The Calendar app on the iPhone and iPad supports alternate calendars, including Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic. By default, in America, it's set to U.S. format. However, you can easily change it to any of the other formats. Here's how!

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