For the blind and visually impaired, dealing with the most banal of day-to-day tasks can present a challenge that many of us often take for granted. But materials like Braille texts, reading glasses, or a walking stick have long been the only aids available for getting along with daily life.
Innovative technology, wearables, and sleek smartphone apps are opening up a whole new world of possibilities. To that end, we have selected our 9 favorite apps for iPhone aimed at assisting with everyday tasks, increasing independence, and generally making life a little easier.
Magnifier Flash is absolutely everything you want from a magnifying app. It's painfully simple to use. With the aid of your camera's lens, you can enlarge anything in your phone's view by up to six times with a simple swipe of the dial. One tap and you have a flashlight too: perfect if you lose an earring down the back of the sofa or are trying to read fancy small print in a low-lit restaurant.
Thunderclap's Be My Eyes connects kind souls worldwide with blind and visually impaired users to help them go about their daily lives. From checking the sell-by-date on a carton of milk to identifying cans from the cupboard, users need only launch the app to start a live video call with a volunteer who's ready and waiting to give them a little hand.
The Big Clock does exactly what it says on the label; it's an app with the digital time displayed really big. Due to iOS restrictions, it can't be displayed as a widget, but it's there on call at the simple tap of a button. The app also displays the date, includes a simple alarm function which can be customized with your own songs, and offers a weather widget for an IAP.
TapTapSee, from the makers of CamFind, is designed specifically to help blind and visually impaired users to identify the objects around them. This beyond clever app employs the power of your phone's camera and the voiceover function in the iPhone settings to tell you aloud what's in front of you. Simply double tap to take a photo, and the app will identify (with great accuracy) exactly what is in the scene. Brilliant.
The super smart Red Stripe helps iPhone users with a red-green color blindness overcome their impairment by helping them distinguish between each shade. Quick and easy to use, the app uses your phone's camera and overlays a stripe pattern over yellow, red, and purple objects, working via a video feed in real-time.
With the power of OCR (Optical Character Recognition), the fabulously free SayText utilizes your iPhone's voiceover function to help you identify documents and have them read aloud to you. Okay, so it isn't flaw free, and it doesn't always perform to perfection, but it's a great basic tool for making words come to life, and is incredibly easy to handle too.
Light Detector helps blind and visually impaired smartphone users to become more independent in their own home by helping them identify light sources in their home and converting them into sound. The louder the sound, the higher the light intensity. You can work out where windows and light fixtures are, check to see if you blew that candle out, and even find out if the curtains are open or drawn.
HeyTell is a quick and simple app for sending voice messages, no account needed. As well as support for Apple Watch and free messaging, the app also boasts an amusing voice changer function if you want to add a bit of fun to your little voice memos.
LookTel Money Reader helps you identify what money bill you have in front of you, supporting up to 21 international currencies. No matter if the bill is folded, crumpled, or partially obscured, the app will quickly and accurately tell you (aloud and in large font) whether you're holding 50 Euros or 200 bucks.