Switch access on Mobile

Switch Access allows the users with dexterity impairments to use their mobile device without touching the screen. Because dexterity impairment can limit individuals strength, speed, endurance, and

coordination. Persons with such difficulties cannot use their fingers to interact with a touch screen. To overcome such ability mobile operating systems have built in assistive feature called Switch access. Switch access is an assistive feature available both in IOS and Android operating systems.

Types of Switch Access

Though switch access is a built-in feature in both Android and IOS devices, to use it an external switch device is required or a feature within the device can be set as a switch. Connecting the switch access is discussed later in this article with individual operating systems.

Switch Access in Android

Switch access can be connected to external switch device keyboard or the hardware keys of volume can also be mapped to the switch access. If an external device is used then connect it to the device either via USB or a bluetooth.

Note: Once you connect the switch device the onscreen keyboard will be hidden automatically. Users need to re-enable the keyboard from the settings > language & input.

Connecting Single, double or group switch controls

Navigate to Settings > accessibility > switch access > settings

Auto scan : When you are setting up single switch control, select auto scan In the switch access feature. Various options are available in auto scan, after selecting the required options tap on auto scan on.

In this method the control moves one after the other item on the screen. User is expected to select it by pressing the switch again.

Step Scan : Step scanning should be selected when you have two or more switches. While one switch navigates through the screen the other switch selects the item.

Group selection: Even a group selection can be enabled when there are two or more switches. Group selection option enables users to navigate and select items on the screen faster than auto scan and step scan.

Here are the setting up steps for switch access on Android.

Using switch Access on Android

Switch Access on IOS device

Similar to switch access in android, IOS also allow external devices to be mapped with the device While the external switch control need to be connected to the IOS device before activating it as a switch. In addition the screen or front camera can be set as a switch control.

  • Screen: Tap the screen to use a switch or press and hold.
  • Camera: Move your head to use the iPhone front-facing camera as a switch. You can use the camera as two switches: One when you move your head to the left, and the other when you move your head to the right.

Connecting the switch controls

Once you decide which control to use for switch access,

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Switch Control > Switches.
  2. Tap Add New Switch and choose a source.
  3. Follow the onscreen steps to choose how you want the switch to work.
  4. Remember to turn on Switch Control, so you can use your new switch.

Here are the steps to setup and other features for switch access on IOS.

Connecting and using switch access on IOS

See also 5 ways of typing with voiceover

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