Apple’s new accessibility features: port detection and live captions

Today, May 19, is World Accessibility Awareness Day, and Apple has announced several new accessibility features to mark the occasion.

For people who are blind or have low vision, Apple has a feature called Door Detection designed to help users locate a door when arriving at a new destination.

The feature works on iPad and iPhone models with LiDAR scanner and combines LiDAR with the device’s camera and AI capabilities. It will appear in Magnifier, which already hosts a number of accessibility features, including the people detection feature released in 2020.

Port detection will only work on 2nd and 3rd generation 11-inch iPad Pro, 4th and 5th generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as well as iPhone 12 Pro and 13 Pro devices. The feature “should not be used in circumstances where a user could be injured or injured, or in high-risk or emergency situations,” Apple says.

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iPhone 12 Pro uses LiDAR to detect people near you

Another new feature is Live Captions, which are coming to iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The feature will transcribe any audio content, be it a FaceTime call, a YouTube broadcast, and even a real conversation with someone close by.

live subtitles

Live captions are generated on the device, and Apple says user information will remain private and secure.
Credit: Apple

Live subtitles will be released as a beta and in English only (in the US and Canada) later this year. The feature will work on iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Apple Silicon Macs. Apple says the accuracy of the feature can vary and that it “should not be relied on in high-risk situations”.

Several new features are coming to the Apple Watch as well. Apple Watch Mirroring allows users to control their watch remotely from a paired iPhone, which means a user can control the watch with features like voice control and switch control. And Quick Actions on Apple Watch allows users to perform certain actions, such as answering a phone call, taking pictures, or playing and pausing media, with a double pinch gesture.

Quick Actions on Apple Watch

Users will now be able to perform actions with gestures such as pinching or pinching, without having to touch the watch screen.
Credit: Apple

Other notable features include improvements to Apple’s Sound Recognition tool, with the ability to customize certain sounds to a user’s environment, such as a specific alarm or buzzer; the ability to customize how long Siri waits before responding to a request; and new themes and customization options for Apple Books. Finally, the VoiceOver screen reader is getting support for 20 new locales and languages, including Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Check out the full list of new features here.

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