Apple Watch series 4 stainless steal

With VoiceOver, those who have vision difficulties can still use Apple Watch. In doing so, simple gestures are used to move around the Apple Watch screen while a VoiceOver narrator speaks each time an item is selected.

How to set up VoiceOver for Apple Watch

VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that uses the built-in Apple Watch speaker. In doing so, it can tell you what's happening on the wearable device without the need to see it. To date, VoiceOver is compatible across built-in apps and is available in more than 35 languages.

Amazon's 12 Days of Deals is here with big discounts for all

To turn on VoiceOver on Apple Watch:

  1. Tap on the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. On the My Watch tab, select General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.

    Apple Watch accessibility

  4. To the right of VoiceOver, tap Off.
  5. Toggle VoiceOver to the On position.

When activated, VoiceOver "speaks" items on the display.

  • Tap once to select an item on Apple Watch
  • Double-tap to activate the selected item
  • Swipe with two fingers to scroll

    Apple Watch voiceover

How to use Taptic Time

When using Taptic Time with VoiceOver, you'll receive a series of distinct taps from the Apple Watch's Taptic Engine to tell you the time. Just double-tap the wearable device display to feel hours and minutes, or triple-tap with one finger to feel the minutes. To use Taptic Time:

  1. Make sure VoiceOver has been turned on for Apple Watch.
  2. On the VoiceOver page (see above), tap Off to the right of Taptic Time to turn it on.
  3. On the next page, toggle Enable Taptic Time.

    Taptic time

  4. Select the taptic style you'd like to use: digits, terse, and Morse code. Tap Preview to test each method.

  • With Digits, when you double-tap the screen, Apple Watch will long tap for every ten hours, and short tap for each following hour. Then, it will long tap for every ten minutes, and short tap for each following minute.
  • Using Terse, a double-tap on the screen will cause Apple Watch to long tap for every five hours, then short-tap for the remaining hours. You'll then receive a long tap for each quarter hour.
  • Finally, when you double-tap the screen and Morse Code is set, the Apple Watch will tap each digital of the time using that code.

How to use VoiceOver

When you tap on Apple Watch, you'll now hear more about what's happening on the screen. Double-tab to perform an action.

For example, if you tap on the Exercise app, Siri will say "Workout." By double-tapping the same icon, you'll be given a choice of the options within that app.

How to use Screen Curtain with VoiceOver

Across Apple devices, you can use the Screen Curtain, which allows you to turn off the display for added privacy. To use Screen Curtain on Apple Watch (or any device), you must first enable VoiceOver.

  1. With VoiceOver activated, tap the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap VoiceOver.
  5. Toggle Screen Curtain.

    Apple Watch screen curtain

From now on, your Apple Watch display is off. You can only use the wearable device by listening to VoiceOver. Untoggle Screen Curtain to turn the feature off.

Other VoiceOver settings

You can make other adjustments on how VoiceOver operates on Apple Watch. On the VoiceOver page shown above, you can perform the following additional tasks:

  • Adjust the speaking rate: Drag the Speaking Rate slider to change how quickly or slowly the voice speaks.
  • Hear the time when you raise your wrist: Turn on Speak on Wrist Raise.

As you can see, Apple offers a number of visual accessibility features on Apple Watch through VoiceOver. Many of these are customizable to suit your tastes.

Great Apple Watchbands

Are you looking for something new for your Apple Watch? Take a look at some of our favorite beautiful bands:

Casetify Saffiano Leather Band ($41 at Amazon)

Casetify is known for its gorgeous custom accessories at reasonable prices, and its Apple Watch bands are no exception. This one is made from vegan leather, which means it's durable and comfortable. Choose from a number of colorful patterns and both watch sizes.

Coach Apple Watch Strap with Tea Rose ($175 at Coach)

Coach is well known for its high-quality hand-crafted leather products and it's finally ventured into the third-party Apple Watch band market with some truly unusual designs. I'm partial to the Tea Rose design. If it's not to your taste, Coach also has a variety of simple, attractive prints as well as an adorable but edgy dinosaur and shark designs.

Fastgo Stretch Faux Pearl Bracelet (From $18 at Amazon)

Pretty pearl beads adorn this stretchy bracelet-style Apple Watchband. Fastgo's band makes your Apple Watch feel more like jewelry and it dresses up your device so you could wear it at a formal outing if you want. It comes in white, pink, and black and both Apple Watch sizes.

Questions?

Did you have any trouble using any of these visual accessibility settings? Give us a shout in the comments with your questions and thoughts!

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.