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

Example of normal vs. inverted colors on a webpage.

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 Inverted 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.

1. Open the Settings app and navigate to General -> Accessibility.

You’ll probably notice that Invert Colors is the third option from the top and be temped to just turn it on right away. Although that will work just fine, this is a feature you’re going to want to turn on and off frequently so stick with me here for another few steps.

General menu with Accessibility circles in red.

2. Scroll down to the very bottom and tap on Accessibility Shortcut.

3. Tap on Invert Colors, you’ll see a check to indicate it has been selected.

Accessibility Shortcut feature allows you to turn certain accessibility features on and off quickly by pressing the home button three times in a row.

Accessibility menu with Invert Colors checked.

4. Open an app you like to read with and tap the home button three times in a row.

5. When you want to return to the normal view tap the home button three times in a row.

Invert Colors will invert the colors of everything on your device while it is turned on, so this feature really works best with text heavy apps. Traditionally Invert Colors would be used by individuals with vision impairments who find the higher contrast easier to see and read.