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Making your smartphone, tablet or computer easier to use

Getting to grips with smartphones, tablets and computers can feel overwhelming, especially if you have problems with your vision, hearing or mobility. There's a range of features you can adjust to make sure your device meets your needs.


How can I make my device more accessible if I have problems with my vision?

If you have a visual impairment or low vision, there are many ways you can just the display settings of your device to make it easier to use.

Smartphones and tablets

On most smartphones and tablets, which are touchscreen, you can 'pinch' the screen to zoom in and out – for example, to zoom in to a webpage or to look more closely at a photo.

You can set up your phone or tablet to read notifications, messages and emails and webpages aloud to you. On some phones, you can test out different voices and adjust the speed of the voice.

If you want to find out how to set up the read-aloud tool, click on the links below:

  • .

You can make your phone or tablet easier to see and read by changing its display settings, such as increasing the font size and the size of items like icons and images on the screen. Follow the steps below to change these display settings: 

Changing your display settings on an Android phone or tablet

To make your font size bigger or smaller on an Android device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap 'accessibility', then 'font size'.
  3. Use the slider to choose the size.

To make items on your screen, like app icons, smaller or larger on an Android device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap 'accessibility', then 'display size'.
  3. Use the scroller to choose your preferred size.

Changing your display settings on an iPhone or iPad

To make your font size bigger or smaller on an Apple device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Scroll down to find 'accessibility', or you can type 'accessibility' into the search bar at the top of the screen. Then click 'display & text size'. 
  3. Click on 'larger text' and then 'larger accessibility sizes'. You can then use the slider to choose the text size you'd like.

To make items on your screen, like app icons, smaller or larger on an Apple device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Scroll down to find 'display & brightness', then scroll down to 'display zoom' setting.
  3. Click on 'view' and then choose the 'zoomed' option (instead of the 'standard' option). 
  4. Then click 'set' in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

You’ll need to restart your phone for the new settings to take effect.

Some of these functions may only work with newer phone models, but all phones should have an accessibility section in the settings.

If you want more tips for changing your smartphone or tablet's display settings, click on the links below: 

Computers

You can adjust your computer display settings to increase the size of text and images on the screen.

On a Windows computer:

  1. Go to 'settings', then 'display'.
  2. Choose 'change the size of text, apps and other items'.
  3. The recommended size is 150%, but you can choose a bigger screen size if you'd rather.

On an Apple Mac:

  1. Go to 'apple menu', then 'system preferences'.
  2. Click 'accessibility'.
  3. Click 'zoom'.

If you want to increase the size and colour of your cursor (and other items on your screen) to make them easier to see, click on the links below: 

  • .

If you want to set up a program that reads aloud what's on your screen, from messages and emails to webpages, click on the links below: 

  • .


How can I make my device more accessible if I have problems with my hearing?

If you have a hearing impairment, there are many ways you can just the settings of your device to make it easier to use.

Smartphones and tablets

It may sound simple, but if you’re struggling to hear phone conversations, you can increase the volume of your phone by using the volume buttons on the side of your device. Using the speakerphone may also help you hear what the person on the call is saying.

If you wear hearing aids, you might be able to connect them to your phone to help you hear.

If you want to adjust the sound settings on your smartphone or tablet, follow these steps: 

On an Android phone or tablet:

  • .

On an iPhone or iPad:

  • .

Computers

You can adjust your audio settings to do things like only play sound through one speaker. You can also set up your screen to flash or show notifications when you get an alert, rather than using on audio alerts.

Click on the links below to find out more about how to change your computer's audio features for accessibility:

  • .


How can I make my device more accessible if I have problems with mobility?

Smartphones and tablets

Using voice activation is a handy way to control your device without having to touch the screen. By using spoken commands, you can use voice activation to open apps, call someone (by saying their name), write texts and emails, and much more.

To find out how to set up voice activation, click on the links below:

  • .

Computers

Windows and Mac computers have settings that allow you to control your computer with your voice, letting you write emails and messages without having to type.

To find out how to set up voice activation (sometimes called 'voice recognition') on your computer, clink on the links below:

  • .

There's also specific equipment you can buy to make your computer easier to use. You may find that a standard mouse or keyboard doesn't give you the control you want, especially if you have limited dexterity. If you have arthritic fingers, you may find a trackball mouse easier to use.

AbilityNet have lots of other helpful support and information on accessible technology and specialist equipment.

If you want to request help from tech volunteers, you can contact AbilityNet on their free helpline at 0800 048 7642.

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ϲֱ쿪s.

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Last updated: Jul 10 2023

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