How to set up Assistive Access on your iPhone or iPad

Before you try out Assistive Access on your iPhone or iPad, you'll have to set it all up from scratch

By Stacey Butler - Senior Staff Writer
2 Min Read

Apple has an array of not-well-known, but potentially very useful accessibility features built into its mobile operating systems. One of these, Assistive Access is a potentially powerful tool that can help you make a more comfortable iPhone experience for less confident or cognitively impaired user, or perhaps for users who fancy taking a break from all the smarts of their smartphone.

Depending on how you set it up, Assistive Access can make almost everything much simpler to navigate and use on your iPhone. Not everything’s necessarily optimized for use with the larger on-screen text and navigation buttons but you can certainly still use your favorite apps in this new interface.

What is Assistive Access?

Assistive Access is a simplified user interface to make iPhones and iPads easier to use for young children or those with cognitive impairments.

Before you try out Assistive Access on your iPhone or iPad, though, you’ll have to set it all up from scratch. So scroll down and let us help you set up Assistive Access on iPhone.

Set up Assistive Access on iPhone

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Assistive Access.
  4. tap Set Up Assistive Access, and tap Continue.
  5. If you’re setting up Assistive Access for yourself, you can go straight ahead and hit continue. If, however, you need to set it up for another user, you’ll have to tap Change Apple ID and set up an account for the phone’s intended user.
  6. Choose the layout for apps on the Home Screen and for items in apps that have been specially designed for Assistive Access. This choice is entirely up to your preference. Grid lets you fit two columns of apps on-screen and makes the icons larger. Rows features a single column of apps where the text is more visible.
  7. Add and customize the apps you want to be available in Assistive Access. To add an app, tap the Add button. When you’ve added your apps, use the drag handles to move them around. Once you’re happy, hit Continue.
  8. Set up a special passcode for Assistive Access. Don’t forget this passcode, because you need it to exit and re-enter Assistive Access!
  9. Check through your selected apps to ensure they have the functions you need them to, enabling them as necessary.
  10. To enter Assistive Access now, tap Start Using Assistive Access, then enter the Assistive Access passcode

To leave Assistive Access, triple-press the side or top button and enter your Assistive Access passcode. To re-enter Assistive Access, go to Settings > Accessibility > Assistive Access and tap Start Assistive Access.

See also: How to use Point and Speak on iPhone or iPad

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By Stacey Butler Senior Staff Writer
Stacey is a senior staff writer at GeeksChalk and has been writing about Apple for nearly a decade. She covers all things Apple for GeeksChalk, including iPhones, iPads and Mac. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Stacey is often found hiking precarious landscapes or tinkering with a camera.
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