Apple introduces personal voice feature for individuals with disability

Apple previews new accessibility features including Personal Voice and streamlined apps to enhance inclusivity and support individuals with disabilities.
Kavita Verma
Live Speech accessibility features and Apple Personal Voice
Live Speech accessibility features and Apple Personal Voice


Apple introduced a number of new features on May 16th that will improve accessibility for people who have mobility, cognitive, vision, or hearing impairments. The Personal Voice function, among the advancements, was created especially for people who might lose their ability to talk. 

Users can produce a synthesized voice that closely mimics their own with this ground-breaking function, making it easier for them to connect with friends and family.

Users just read a series of text prompts aloud on their iPhone or iPad for about 15 minutes to build their Personal Voice. Users can enter their chosen message, which is subsequently vocalized using their unique synthesized voice, using the Live Speech integration. 

In order to maintain privacy and security, Apple tells customers that the feature makes use of on-device machine learning.

Assistive access and enhanced magnifier functionality

Apple is releasing condensed versions of its major programs through a feature dubbed Assistive Access in addition to the Personal Voice function. By making experiences and apps simpler, this feature attempts to benefit people with cognitive disorders by lightning their cognitive burden. 

The new detection option in the Magnifier function, which is intended to help users who are blind or visually challenged, is another noteworthy improvement. Users can direct the device's camera at actual physical things having text labels, such as a microwave keypad. The iPhone or iPad will read the labels aloud as the user moves their touch across each number or setting on the appliance, enabling a fluid interaction.

Improvements for Mac Users

Apple also revealed a number of other accessibility improvements for Mac users. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to connect their Made for iPhone hearing aids to a Mac, increasing their accessibility options. Apple is also adding a simpler way to change the text size in Mac apps including Finder, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and Notes.

The upcoming improvements will also allow you to pause GIFs in Messages and Safari, give Siri different speaking speeds, and utilize Voice Control to provide phonetic suggestions while you edit text. The existing accessibility features from Apple, such as Live Captions, Voice Over, Door Detection, and others, are built upon by these additional features.

Apple's wide range of new accessibility features highlights the company's continuous dedication to diversity and making sure its products are usable by people with a variety of needs. Apple continues to empower and improve the lives of persons with impairments by utilizing technology. Later this year, these developments are expected to be made available, maybe as part of iOS 17, further establishing Apple's status as a pioneer in accessibility innovation.

“Accessibility is part of everything we do at Apple,” Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, said in a statement. “These groundbreaking features were designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways.”

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