Ok, you have your iPhone or perhaps you went with Android. If it’s Android or maybe Samsung for you, that works as well as an iPhone, just not quite as easily. Either way, I’ll start with the screen.
If you can see some, the screens on all three phones (iPhone, Android, and Samsung) are quite good, although I’m told that the Android phones may have somewhat better screens. Since I can’t see, I’ll need to take their word for that. At any rate, the phone screens can be customized to fit your preferences. You can adjust the colors, the amount of motion and the size of the text that shows up on the screen. To make those kinds of adjustments, you need to check out the “Accessibility” area in the phone’s settings. Most of the resources I mention in this and future episodes of Blind How have tips and suggestions for “low vision” users of the phones.
With that important point covered, having our phones talk to us is where it’s at for me and others who can’t see. On Android and Samsung phones, the talking feature is called Talkback, although on older Samsung phones, it’s called Voice Guide. There are also “talk” features on most modern tablets and TVs. The “talk” feature is normally in settings, under accessibility, regardless of the type of device you are using. The name for the “talk” feature is different for each brand, but the idea is always the same: it talks or reads the text on the screen, including menues on TVs.
Let’s get back to your iPhone. It has a “talk” feature that is called Voiceover. Unfortunately, if you just search for “voiceover,” you will mostly get results about the voices we hear behind other things going on, such as commercials or other things where there is an anonymous voice in the background. Those voices are called voiceovers, but should probably be called voice-unders. Even so, if you want to learn about Voiceover on your iPhone, search for “iPhone voiceover,” or some such.
You can turn Voiceover on either in settings, accessibility, voiceover or by pressing the home button or the power button if there is no home button. To do this, press the button three times quite quickly. You can turn it off the same way.
In the last episode of Blind How, I suggested some resources for learning to use your iPhone. I hope you have checked out those resources and can now flick around on your phone and open apps. If not, this episode is not going to be very useful, unless you’re satisfied with knowing about the possibilities, but not interested in actually making them available to you to use and enjoy.
Let’s start with podcasts. What are they and why would you be interested? They are audio (and sometimes include video) shows or programs, like on the radio or TV. They can be about anything, including dramas, comedy materials, news, information, or most anything else people dream up. There are many different types and categories. For our purposes, I’ll stick with educational podcasts that focus on technology that is useful for those of us who can’t see, and especially on those podcasts that are useful for cell phone users who can’t see.
To start, you need an app that was made for finding and playing podcasts. Good news. There is already one on your iPhone. It’s simply called “Podcast.” I’m not going to try to teach you how to use “Podcast,” since there is already an excellent podcast that does that very thing.
The podcast is called Applevis Podcast and the episode is called Learning to Use Apple Podcasts for iOS.
If you want to listen to the episode now, Click Here.
To finish this episode of Blind How, I’ll suggest a few podcasts that you can listen to in order to expand your knowledge about and comfort with accessible technology in general and cell phones in particular. It’s important to understand that podcasts are the show or program. Each podcast then has episodes, individual audio instances of the podcast or program. You search for the podcast. Once it is located and shows on your podcast player, there will be a list of past episodes of the podcast. You can then pick those episodes that sound interesting or useful for you. Just double tap the episode title to play it.
There you go. Just like there is usually an app for that, whatever interests you, there is usually a podcast for that. Here’s a tip to get you started. In the Podcast app on your iPhone, open the search tab and then search for the single word Blind. You will get a list of podcasts with “blind” somewhere in the title. I suggest listening to the most recent episode of each of those podcasts. You are sure to find a few that you want more of. Just be sure to subscribe or follow. That way, you will get all new episodes of the podcast. Also, take a few minutes to look through the past episodes of the podcasts that interest you. You will very likely find some really good stuff. And the good news is that they will all talk to you.