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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Simple with Siri: Making an iPhone Accessible Regardless of Tech Know-How

July 2, 2019 | 4 Comments

by Cody Froeter, CVRT

Tags: , ,

You can use Seeing AI to read short test like the total of the receipt at a restaurant before paying the bill.

With technology’s ever-progressing advancement, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when considering a new smartphone. Smartphones, particularly iPhones, are impressive devices that can perform a plethora of tasks and settings out of the box. With accessibility features and apps, there are even more options available to users.


Start with the Basics

The beauty of an iPhone is that with all the options, settings and apps available, the iPhone experience can be customized to the needs and abilities of each individual user. Whenever I begin iPhone training with a client, we start at the basics–which is using Siri. Siri is a powerful tool to utilize on an iPhone.

For some clients, using Siri allows them to independently perform all their desired tasks. Just by using voice commands, Siri can:

  • make calls,
  • manage a calendar,
  • read and send text messages,
  • manage emails, and
  • check voicemails.


Add Enhanced Accessibility

For other clients, we can customize the Assistive Touch accessibility feature. This feature makes a button appear onscreen at all times and when pressed, reads any text on the screen.


Finally, Try a Simple-To-Use App

Setting up an app such as Be My Eyes can take the frustration out of completing a simple task. This easy-to-use app lets a person call a volunteer who can provide visual assistance through the camera on an iPhone.

Microsoft’s Seeing AI uses artificial intelligence and helps a person independently identify many things like short bits of text, entire documents, bar codes, colors, currency and more. Knowing how to use these apps eliminates the need for a person to wait for a sighted family member or friend to help them with the daily annoyances that happen with vision loss

Seeing AI is one of my favorite apps for accessibility. With recent updates, the ability to customize the app for individual needs has greatly improved. Now, the channel buttons can be enabled or disabled depending on the client’s needs and preferences for more efficient use of the app. Furthermore, the order in which these channel buttons appear at the bottom can be customized. If a client is going to utilize the color identifier channel for the majority of their Seeing AI usage, that channel can be placed first so that whenever the app is opened, it opens directly to the color identifier channel. While the customization aspect of Seeing AI may have been a minor change to the app, it allows for clients of all skill levels to utilize the technology to independently complete their tasks.


Technology can seem overwhelming and complex, but it is important to remember that technology is just a tool available to be utilized. Like any other tool, technology can be adapted and customized to meet the needs of the user. So whenever technology seems daunting, just remember to ask Siri!

Second Sense provides individual instruction, training and tutoring for Apple iPhones and iPads. Please give us a call and we can help you customize your Apple device to meet your needs and level of tech-know-how.

Cody is the Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist at Second Sense.  He spends most of his time working with seniors, teaching them how to remain independent with vision loss.

4 comments on “Simple with Siri: Making an iPhone Accessible Regardless of Tech Know-How”

  1. Julie Dawson says:

    What is the phone number for Second Sense? It was not listed in the article.

  2. Randy Cummings says:

    I am a Rehabilitation Instructor who works with seniors on technology aids such as the smart phones. All of my beginners learn the iPhone using SIRI. I am getting more clients coming to me to learn google or other android phones, this is where I have trouble since I am totally blind.

  3. Ron Price says:

    I am a new subscriber to the second sense newsletter.This is great I have learned so much from it.
    What do you suggest for a persons who does not live in close by. Does Second Sense have some one who can travel or help those who are long distance.

    1. Second Sense says:

      Ron, We do have staff that travel, but only in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs. We also have technology tutors that will offer assistance by telephone. They are all experienced with the iPhone and can provide training via phone. We also hold monthly Apple training workshops that highlight different aspects of using the iPhone/iPad as a tool of independence. These are all available for call-in attendees. For more information about these options, please give us a call and ask to speak with Kathy Austin. Our number is 312-236-8569.

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