Siri and Accessibility ─ Empowering Users of All Abilities Through Voice Commands

Have you ever wondered how visually challenged people navigate the world almost the same as you? They can operate smartphones, which you need to see to use. What sorcery!

The advancements in the technology landscape, especially with artificial intelligence (AI), have made life easier for people of different ages, religions, genders and abilities. Nowadays, literally, everyone can order food online, ask ChatGPT some questions, or play games over the Internet.

So, what sets the scene apart? How does Siri make life easier for its users, and what are voice-activated commands? If you have no disabilities, you already know how your smartphone operates ordinarily. So, let’s explore the iPhone through the lens of challenged individuals. How do they navigate it?

Siri’s Impact on Accessibility

Apple was the first in the game to revolutionize users’ daily lives using technology. As AI developed, the company researched how it could make life easier for its users. With new shortcuts released in every app update, individuals with disabilities enjoy enhanced accessibility with Siri. This goes beyond visual impairments. Even individuals with mobility or cognitive impairments have found incredible use of the personal assistant.

VoiceOver Command


This in-built accessibility app on the iPhone elevates how disabled users interact with the world. Using its text-to-speech feature, the app supports easy navigation of the iOS environment. Individuals can make calls, send texts, and more with its attributes. Its basic form is readily used by individuals with no impairments. You’ll often find yourself pronouncing “Hey Siri,” to activate the command.

Activating VoiceOver would completely transform your iPhone and the experience of interaction with it. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Head to your phone’s settings
  2. Tap on Accessibility
  3. Tap on VoiceOver. The robotic voice in the background would alert you that it has been turned on.

With this feature, you can get VoiceOver recognition, speech, and Braille. The tool has been customized to provide the best experience one can imagine. We used iOS 16.0 for our review and found over fifty voices, minus Siri’s, for English speakers. These voices have been specially crafted for the natives of the English languages of different nationalities. You’ll get India, Australia, Ireland, the UK, and the US among the broad selection of voices.

Customizing the pronunciation to suit what you are used to is also possible. Minus English, there are over forty other languages, with some like French, Chinese, and Spanish offering different nationalities. Additionally, users can change the speed of the male or female speaker and even tweak verbosity.

VoiceOver Features for Visually Impaired Users

Typing gets more manageable with this feature. For starters, once activated, the “single tap” gesture transforms into an “activate” gesture. Its primary role is to help the user navigate their screen. Without an external keyboard, there are three ways to type on the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard:

  • Standard typing;
  • Touch typing;
  • Direct touch typing.

The first requires a double-tap to activate keys, the second involves touch-and-release, and the third is similar to how regular users type. Irrespective of which you choose, you’ll have to memorize the placements of keys on the keyboard.

Another way to navigate typing is through dictation, similar to voice-activated commands. This used to be a hassle for non-English speakers because of pronunciation. But with innovative upgrades and machine learning, individuals can now train their AI to understand their accents. This is fostered through the pronunciation button under speech. Add a word and pronounce it for your AI to learn.



Siri has come a long way and offers more functionality than other voice assistants. It is excellent for users with limited mobility. Its voice commands benefit daily tasks like making calls and sending messages. Thanks to machine learning, the previous constraints of understanding accents are no longer a problem. Its implementation into smart devices is just as revolutionary, giving individuals more control as they navigate their homes.

Siri does more than voice commands. Users with speech impairments will find the text-to-speech feature handy. They can type out their needs for Siri to read out. This availability of text and voice commands imbibes inclusivity among individuals of all abilities.

Users must turn on some features, including “Speak selection” and “Speak screen.” With these, one can select texts for Siri to read out. Here are some things you can use Siri for cognitive accessibility:

How safe is Siri


Widely reported crises such as allowing people to unlock your phone, post to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, display the addresses and phone numbers in your contact list, and more have raised users’ concerns about digital privacy and security. Numerous other businesses have also come under fire for needing to be more transparent about gathering, keeping, and distributing customer data.

This will only happen more frequently as time passes, and people with disabilities are even more concerned. Although Apple continues to be dedicated to privacy and security, users are nonetheless uneasy. Siri gathers a variety of private and personal data about users that is extremely sensitive. Apple must safeguard the data of its customers and prevent data leaks. Here are some precautions you can take.

Users would be best served by restricting access to Siri to times when the phone is unlocked. Although using Siri at any time may be more practical for those constantly on the go, this also exposes users more. If anyone can access Siri on your phone without unlocking it, you could be in danger if your phone is lost or ends up in the wrong hands. Start by launching the “Settings” app to accomplish that. Enter your passcode after choosing Touch ID & Passcode. Toggle the Siri option to the off position when you reach the “Allow Access When Locked” selection by scrolling down.

Siri ─ Your Voice, Your Power, Your Accessibility Ally

Enhance your life with Siri. Customize the app to make your daily activities easier. From voice commands to text-to-speech, this AI-powered assistant is key to navigating the world with a disability. Does anyone around you use the iPhone’s tools to manage their disabilities? Does it truly make life easier? Share your experiences with us in the comments.