VoiceOver and Rotor

VoiceOver is a builtin screen reader available on all Apple devices.

The voiceover rotor is an excelent feature. The voiceover rotor enables the screen reader user to navigate the application or web page more quickly and efficiently.

Where do you find the voiceover rotor?

  1. Settings >
  2. General >
  3. Accessibility >
  4. VoiceOver >
  5. Rotor

Select the items you want in voiceover rotor

Before you play with the rotor, first select all the items you want to have in the rotor. Don’t understand what I am saying? If you are a desktop screen reader user, you might be aware of navigation quick keys. e.g. If you want to navigate to next heading you simply hit the letter “h”, for previous heading “shift + h”. For next form field “f” and previous form element “shift + f”. Some times you navigate character by character, word by word, image by image etc. For complete list of screen reader web commands visit the screen readers page. If you want same experience on the IOS device, select the quick navigation elements available in the voiceover rotor screen.

Remember that you can also arrange the rotor items in the order you want. Double tap with one finger and hold until you hear a sound that allows you to drag and drop the rotor item in the desired location.

Using the voiceover rotor

Now that you selected the elements for rotor, open the web page you want to navigate on Safari. While voiceover is switched on, with two fingers on the screen twist in clock-wise direction. you should hear the elements you have selected in the voiceover rotor screen. Twist the same way until you hear the element you are looking for, say headings. Once you hear the desired element headings in this case, swipe down with single finger. You should hear the next heading, swipe down with single finger once again will take to the next heading. Similarly swipe up will take you to previous heading. When you reach the desired heading use normal voiceover gestures to continue reading from there.

Remember the order in which the voiceover rotor items are available while twisting the two fingers is the same order in which you sequenced in the voiceover rotor screen.

Other information

The voiceover rotor elements announced are dependent on application you view and element you focus on. e.g. If the rotor is activated on the iPhone phone application you hear items such as headings, actions along with common items. Examples of common voiceover rotor items include volume, speaking speed, audio dugging etc. Web specific elements such as images, links, buttons, radio buttons etc are only observed on the browser or the web view within applications.

Another interesting feature is the availability of certain rotor items only when you focus on particular element. e.g. When the current voiceover focus is on a text field voiceover user can observe typing mode, edit, hand writing etc. These are not observed on non editable elements. Similarly an adjustable option is observed when the focus is on something like a slider or page changer.

Related Links

Last updated on October 25, 2017 to reflect IOS 11 changes.

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