Using Assistive Access on iPhone and iPad: A Guide

How to Use Assistive Access on iPhone and iPad

Apple has made efforts to enhance the comfort and accessibility of its products for individuals with disabilities. For instance, the VoiceOver Screen Reader can be activated on a Mac to assist those with visual impairments.

The introduction of Assistive Access in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 is another addition to Apple’s accessibility features. In this guide, we will demonstrate how to utilize Assistive Access on iPhone and iPad. Please note that we are currently using the Public Beta versions of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 for this post, and the stable software release is planned for September.

What is Assistive Access?

Assistive Access is an accessibility feature specifically designed for individuals with cognitive disabilities. According to the FCC, cognitive disabilities encompass a wide range of conditions such as intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, severe mental illness, brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

By enabling Assistive Access on an iPhone or iPad, users can simplify the user interface to focus on basic apps like Calls, Messages, Photos, Camera, and Music on the home screen. This streamlined interface makes it much easier for individuals with cognitive disabilities to access essential functions on their devices.

Assistive Touch is also available for those who find the regular user interface overwhelming or challenging, such as grandparents who prefer a simpler interface with basic apps.

How to Enable Assistive Access on iPhone:


We will now outline the steps to activate Assistive Access in iOS. The process is the same for enabling Assistive Access on an iPad. Before you proceed, please remember the following:

1. Register the Face ID of the user whom you will be setting up Assistive Access for.
2. Set up ‘Hey Siri’ using the person’s voice.
3. Ensure that the iPhone or iPad is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

Once you have taken care of the aforementioned points, follow the steps below to set up Assistive Access:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Scroll down and tap on Accessibility.
3. Continue scrolling down and select Assistive Access.
4. Tap on Set Up Assistive Access.
5. On the splash screen, tap Continue.
6. Confirm your Apple ID and tap Continue. If necessary, you can add a new Apple ID by selecting Change Apple ID.
7. Choose the appearance of app icons for Assistive Access and tap Continue.
8. Tap the Plus icon to add apps to Assistive Access that you want the user to access.
9. Select the desired app functionality and tap Continue. You can also include additional apps besides the basic ones.
10. After selecting the apps, tap Continue at the top-right corner.
11. Proceed by tapping Continue.
12. Set a Password for Assistive Access, which both you and the user need to know, and tap Continue.
13. Confirm the password and proceed.
14. Once set up, tap Start Assistive Access. Enter the password, and your iPhone or iPad will take a few seconds to launch Assistive Access mode. From then on, the person can easily access the selected apps using Assistive Access. The mode will feature a single navigation button at the bottom for effortless usage, and the text size will increase for improved readability.

How to Disable Assistive Access on iPhone:

To turn off Assistive Access, simply press the Power Button on your iPhone three times and enter the password to exit the mode. Please note that you must disable Assistive Access to update the software version of your iPhone or iPad.

How to Customize Assistive Access Settings on iPhone:


Here’s how you can modify and adjust the settings for Assistive Access on your iPhone:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
2. Scroll down and tap on Accessibility.
3. Continue scrolling down and select Assistive Access.
4. You can make various changes for Assistive Access, such as removing selected apps, adding a wallpaper, adjusting app appearance, and more. You can also enable Siri for Assistive Access and change the password.

Using Assistive Access on iPhone and iPad:


This feature significantly enhances the user experience for individuals with cognitive disabilities or older adults in your household. Another notable feature is the automatic dimming of flashing lights while watching videos on iPhone and iPad. By incorporating Assistive Access, Apple aims to ensure that its devices cater to diverse accessibility needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can Assistive Access be enabled on older iPhone models?
Yes, Assistive Access is available on various iPhone models that support iOS 17 or later.

2. Is Assistive Access only for individuals with cognitive disabilities?
While Assistive Access is primarily designed for those with cognitive disabilities, it can also benefit other individuals who prefer a simplified user interface.

3. Can Assistive Access be customized for each user?
Yes, Assistive Access allows for customization based on the user’s preferences, including app selection, appearance, and functionality.

4. Can Assistive Access be used alongside other accessibility features?
Yes, Assistive Access can be used in conjunction with other accessibility features to create a personalized and inclusive user experience.

5. How can Assistive Access benefit older adults?
Assistive Access provides a simplified interface with basic apps, making it easier for older adults to navigate their iPhone or iPad without feeling overwhelmed.

6. Can Assistive Access be applied to specific settings or features?
Assistive Access focuses on simplifying the overall user interface; however, specific settings and features can still be accessed based on the user’s preferences.

7. Is Assistive Access available in multiple languages?
Yes, Assistive Access supports multiple languages, ensuring accessibility for users worldwide.

8. Can Assistive Access be customized for different user profiles on the same device?
Yes, Assistive Access settings can be customized for different user profiles, allowing for a personalized experience for each user.

9. Can Assistive Access be turned on/off remotely?
No, Assistive Access settings can only be adjusted directly on the device itself.

10. Will Assistive Access affect the performance of the device?
Assistive Access is designed to optimize performance and provide an intuitive user experience, so it should not negatively impact the device’s performance.

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