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Setting up and using VoiceOver

VoiceOver reads the names of screen elements and settings to you, but it also changes the way you provide input to iPad. In Notes, for example, you can have VoiceOver read the name of the Notes button to you, and when you enter Notes, read any words or characters you've entered, and tell you if features such as Auto-Correction are on.

To turn the feature on:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and then tap General.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. In the Accessibility dialog, tap the VoiceOver button.
  4. In the VoiceOver dialog, tap the VoiceOver On/Off button to turn it on.
    The first time you turn on the feature, you'll see a dialog noting that turning on VoiceOver changes gestures used to interact with iPad. Tap OK once to select it and then tap OK twice to proceed.
  5. Tap the VoiceOver Practice button to select it, and then double-tap to open it. (This is the new method of tapping that VoiceOver activates.)
    It's important that you first single-tap to select an item such as a button, which causes VoiceOver to read the name of the button to you. Then double-tap the button to activate its function. (VoiceOver reminds you to do this if you turn on Speak Hints, which is a help when you first use VoiceOver but gets annoying after a short time.)
  6. Tap the Done button and then double-tap it to return to the VoiceOver dialog. Tap the Speak Hints field, and VoiceOver speaks the name of the item. Double-tap the slider to turn Speak Hints off.
    If you find the rate of the voice too slow or fast, double-tap the slider and move the slider to the left to slow it down or to the right to speed it up.
  7. If you'd like VoiceOver to read words or characters to you (for example, in the Notes app), double-tap Typing Feedback.
  8. In the Typing Feedback dialog, tap to select the option you prefer. The Words option will read words, but not characters such as $ (dollar sign). The Characters and Words option reads both.

Be sure to review the next section to find out how to navigate your iPad now that you have turned VoiceOver on.

You can change the language that VoiceOver speaks. In General settings, choose International, then Language, and select another language. This will, however, also change the language used for labels on Home icons and various settings and fields in iPad.

You can use the Set Triple-Click Home setting to help you more quickly turn the VoiceOver and White on Black features on and off. In the Accessibility dialog, tap Triple-Click Home. In the dialog that appears, choose what you want a Home button triple-click to do: Toggle VoiceOver on or off; toggle White on Black on or off; toggle the Zoom feature on or off; or display a menu of options using the Ask choice. Now a triple-click with a single finger on the Home button provides you with the options you selected wherever you go in iPad.

Now that VoiceOver is turned on, you need to know how to use it. I won't kid you; it's hard at first, but you'll get the hang of it! Here are the main onscreen gestures you should know:

  • Tap an item to select it, and VoiceOver speaks its name.
  • Double-tap a selected item to activate it.
  • Flick three fingers to scroll.

Table below provides additional gestures that will help you use VoiceOver. If you want to use this feature often, you read the "VoiceOver" section of the iPad online User Guide, which goes into a great deal of detail about the ins and outs of using VoiceOver.

VoiceOver Gestures

Flick right or left.Select next or preceding item.
Tap with two fingers.Stop speaking current item.
Flick two fingers up.Read everything from the top of the screen.
Flick two fingers down.Read everything from the current position.
Flick up or down with three fingers.Scroll one page at a time.
Flick right or left with three fingers.Go to next or preceding page.
Tap three fingers.Speak the scroll status (for example, line 20 of 100).
Flick four fingers up or down.Go to first or last element on a page.
Flick four fingers right or left.Go to next or preceding section (as on a web page).
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