Accessibility features in iOS everyone should be using: Have your iPhone read out loud to you with Speak Selection

Accessibility features in iOS everyone should be using: Have your iPhone read out loud to you with Speak Selection

So you just found an interesting article online but have your hands full cooking dinner? Why not have your iPhone read that article to you? iOS users with Dyslexia have been enjoying the Speak Selection feature as way to have your device read text from apps like Safari and iBooks out loud. Click READ MORE for step-by-step instructions.

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Accessibility features in iOS everyone should be using: Make nighttime reading easier with inverted colors

Accessibility features in iOS everyone should be using: Make nighttime reading easier with inverted colors

Apple has always made a great effort to make their technology accessible to as many people as possible. This includes leading the way with built-in accessibility features. With iOS 7 not only did they add new features like Switch Access and customizable subtitles, they also moved the Accessibility menu from near the bottom of the General menu in the Settings App to near the top, showing that Accessibility is a priority.

The great thing about building accessibility into technology like the Mac, iPad, and iPhone is that many of these features can be enjoyed by just about everyone. Over the next few posts I’ll teach you about some of the great accessibility features anyone can enjoy, courtesy of Apple’s accessibility team.

Make Nighttime Reading Easier with Invert Colors

If you have played around with reading apps like iBooks and Kindle you might have notice these come with a night reading mode. With night reading turned on the screen displays a black background with white text rather than the traditional white background with black text. At night a black background is easier on the eyes and the screen is significantly less bright making it a lot easier to read. With Invert Colors you can add a nighttime reading mode to any app you want. Click READ MORE for step by step instructions.

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3 Great New Accessibility Features in iOS 7

 Screen shot of the Switch Control menu on an iPad

Happy iPhone day everyone!

I recently wrote an article for the Simon Technology Center highlighting some of the cool new accessibility features included in iOS 7. There is some cool new stuff like Switch Control for users who can't use the touch screen. Find out more by reading are on the the Simon Technology Center blog here: 3 Great New Accessibility Features in iOS 7

How to Take a Picture of Your Mac or iPad Screen

How to Take a Picture of Your Mac or iPad Screen

I use a lot of screenshots when writing tutorials like these for the blog. Screenshots are essentially photos I have my Mac or iPad take of what ever is currently being displayed on my screen. Recently a friend sent me an email asking how I took screenshots on my Mac. They had a video slide show from a trip they recent took but the original photos where accidentally deleted. Their plan was to take screenshots of the video to recapture some of the photos they had lost (albeit in a lower quality than the originals).

Here's how you can quickly take screenshots on your Mac or iPad.

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Keep a child on task with Guided Access for the iPad/iPhone

Keep a child on task with Guided Access for the iPad/iPhone

So you found a really great educational app for your child and can’t wait to see it in action. Unfortunately little Billy would rather play Angry Birds and knows how to quickly switch to the app he would rather be playing. Sound Familiar?

The good news is you don’t have to delete all the other apps on your iPad to limit distractions when it is time to learn with the iPad. Guided Access is a feature built into the iPad that allows you to lock a single app in place, essentially locking out the home button. Not only that you can even lock out portions of the screen to prevent them from tapping certain buttons or ads.

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Organizing Apps and Creating Folders on the iPad

Who doesn't love apps? Considering how cheap they are you probably have more than a few on your iPad or iPhone.  The first time you download a new app on your favorite iOS device you get a quick pop-up tutorial on how to organize apps, but who can remember that?  Don't worry because in today's tutorial we'll walk you step by step through the process of rearranging and sorting your apps into folders.

The first step to organizing your apps is to put your device into organization mode. To do this simply press and hold your finger on top of any app in the home menu till all the apps start to shake. This is organization mode where you can sort and delete apps. I like to think the apps are shaking because they are afraid you might decide to delete them off your device.

While in organization mode you can move an app by touching and holding your finger on any app and dragging it across the screen. The other apps will move aside to make room for the app wherever you want to place it. If you want to move the app to another page or create a new page for apps just drag your app to side of the screen and hold it for a moment and you'll be taken to a new page.

To create a folder drag an app directly on top of another app and hold it there for a moment. An app folder will be created and it will automatically be given a name based on the apps that are in it. To change the name of the folder just tap on the name and type in a new one. To exit the folder just tap anywhere outside of the folder.  If you change your mind and want to move an app out of a folder just open the folder by tapping on it, enter organization mode by touching and holding an app, and drag the app outside of the folder area.

When you enter organization mode you will see a small "X" in the top left corner of the app, tapping on this will delete the app from your device. Although you can easily download the app again from the App Store for free, you will lose all the information saved inside the app.

When you are done organizing you can leave organization mode by pressing the home button. All the apps will stop shaking and the iPad will return to normal use.

One more thing.  Apps can be stored on several pages which can be navigated by swiping across the screen.  There is a section of apps the bottom of the screen that are visible on every page. This is called the doc and if you have an app you use all the time this is a great place to store it. You can keep a total of 6 apps in the doc.

 iPad screen with a folder holding 2 apps

iPad screen with a folder holding 2 apps

iPhone Silent Caller ID or Custom Vibrations - Tutorial

By turning on "Custom Vibrations" in the iPhone accessibility menu you can create custom vibration patterns as a form of caller ID.  This way you can tell who is calling you without taking your phone out of your pocket.

This trick only takes a moment to setup.  All you do is go to your iPhone's Settings and turn on "Custom Vibrations" under General - Accessibility.  Once this feature is turned on you can setup a custom vibration pattern for that caller by viewing them in your contacts list and tapping edit.  From now on there will be an option in the editing view to assign a custom vibration.  It's that easy and very useful, especially when you phone starts ringing and its not appropriate to check who is calling.

 Custom Vibrations

Custom Vibrations

Visual Coin Calculator - Tutorial

Love It To Bits just launched its first app the Visual Coin Calculator.  What better way to promote this accomplishment than to create a special tutorial showing how it works.  Sure, it's shameless self promotion, but we also really love our app.

The Visual Coin Calculator is an easy to use app for counting coins. It has two different modes - one for simply adding up the coins you have, another for adding and subtracting groups of coins. This app is great for anyone from children learning to count currency to adults who just want an easy way of tracking the change in their pocket.