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How to use Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

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The “Accessibility” feature in iOS devices has been a blessing for people with disabilities. It is empowering for those with disabilities to be able to use their iPhone via voice-over and to read articles, recognize sounds or perform certain actions using just a touch. Switch Control is another important Accessibility feature that iPhones have, but it’s not as well-known. This guide will help you understand what Switch Control is and how you can use it on your iPhone or iPad.

How to use Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

Switch Control offers a variety of features and full customization to allow you to fine-tune every aspect. Let’s start with the basics.

What is Switch Control on iPhone and iPad?

Switch Control allows you to control your iPhone or iPad with a single switch or multiple switches. It changes the gestures that are used to control your iOS/ iPad devices.

Switch Control allows people with limited mobility to use their iPhones or iPads with the aid of ability switches and other adaptive devices. You can tap, swipe, move your head, use adaptive accessories, or smile by highlighting items on the screen.

Switch Control also supports point scanning, custom gestures, and more. You can adjust the timing and hold duration as well as customize the menu to create a more personal experience.

You can use custom switches to perform many actions, such as selecting and dragging items, activating Siri, and invoking the control center. Switch Control allows you to get the most from your iPhone or iPad, even if you have limited mobility.

How to enable Switch Control on iPhone or iPad

  1. Start the Settings app for your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down and click Accessibility.
  2. Next, choose Switch Controller.
  3. Next, switch on the Switch Control switch. A pop-up may appear asking you to confirm your action. To confirm the action and activate it, tap ‘OK.

You can disable Switch Control by following the above steps and then turning off the toggle the second time. To disable Switch Control on your iPhone/iPad, you can also triple-click either the Home or Power buttons.

How to add a new switch

Switch Control allows you to add multiple switches that can be used to control your device. Switch Control will function properly if you assign one switch to the Select action.

  1. Open the Settings app on iOS or iPadOS and navigate to Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  1. Click on Switches.
  2. Next, click on Add a New Switch.
  3. Next, choose a switch from
  • External: This allows you to activate an external switch. External switches can be Bluetooth, MIDI, or Made for iPhone/ iPad Assistive switch Control devices em>
  • Screen: You can choose Full Screen. This allows you to use Switch Control by simply tapping anywhere on the screen. Select Full Screen, then select the preferred switch action.
  • Switch Control: Move your head left or right to activate the Camera. You can choose which switch action you want, either system-related or scanner-related, by selecting Left / Right Head Movement.
  • Back Tap: iOS 14 and later allows you to activate Siri, enable Dictation, adjust volume, or tap twice or three times on the back of your iPhone. This gesture can be used to enhance Switch Control functionality. This gesture can be used to access the scanner menu or to stop scanning.
  1. Choose the switch action you prefer. To set up a long-press, you can choose LongPress.

How to remove a switch from the Switch Control

Switch Control can be used to delete a switch you don’t want to use.

  1. Open the Settings app on iOS or iPadOS and navigate to Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  1. Click on Switches.
  2. Next, swipe left to delete the switch. Next, tap Delete.

How to create a new recipe

You can also create a recipe, which is a collection of complicated actions that you temporarily assign to switches. You can use recipes to perform various tasks, such as turning pages in the Books App or triggering controls in games. You can also record multiple gestures in a recipe.

  1. Open the Settings app on iPhone or iPad. Go to Accessibility-> Switch Control.
  1. Click on Recipes.
  2. Next, click on Create New Recipe. Next, give the recipe a name and assign a switch. Finally, adjust the timeout.

How to change your scanning style

You can adjust the scanning style to suit your needs. This allows you to change how items are displayed on your screen. If you prefer to be in control, manual scanning is an option.

  1. Open Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> Accessibility > Switch Control.
  1. Select Scanning Type to choose the one that interests you. Below is a description of each scanning style.
  • Auto Scanning It allows you to move your focus automatically after a certain duration.
  • Manual scanning: This requires a switch for focusing and another switch to activate the items.
  • Single Switch Step Scanning requires that a switch be engaged in order to move the focus. Note that the focus item will be triggered automatically if you do not take action within a time limit.

How to customize the timing of switch control

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to the Timing section. You have five options:
  • Auto Scanning Time is a feature that allows you to set the auto-scanning speed for Switch Control. It allows you to adjust the time it takes Switch Control to scan items. To adjust the timing, select it and use the +/– button.
  • Pause on the First Item: This allows you to adjust how long auto-scanning waits after input is made. You can adjust the timing based on your requirements by using the +/- buttons.
  • Loops This allows you to hide your cursor after each item has been visited a certain amount of times
  • You can control the delay between moving to the next item or the previous one by using Move Repeat. A switch is pressed, but it cannot be re-set. You can also adjust the timing by using the +/- buttons.
  • Long Press: You can add an additional action to a switch by using the long press. The switch will activate if you hold it down for more than the time you specified. Long-press allows you to adjust the timing of the long press and also pause Switch Control scanning.

How to customize the Switch Control Tap Behavior

You can fine-tune tap behavior to create a more personal experience

  1. Open Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> Accessibility > Switch Control.
  1. Select the Tap behavior option.
  2. The next step is to select from three options:
  • Default: Select it to display the Switch Control scanner menu.
  • Auto Tap: This causes the Select action unless it’s pressed twice, to display the Scanner Menu.
  • Always Tap: This allows you to make the “Select action” immediately and choose the item that is being selected instead of the Scanner menu.

Remember that the “Always Tap” feature only applies to the Item Mode. The Always Tap behavior will return to default in Guiding Cursor or Head Tracking modes.

How to customize a specific item after tap

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Now tap on Focused Items After Tap.
  2. You have two options:
  • The First Item: Click it to have Switch Control scan that item.
  • The Current Item: Select it to have Switch Control scan your current item.

How to customize the keyboard for switch control

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to the section titled ‘Keyboard’. Next, toggle the toggles for “Scan Same Key After Tapping” and “Extended Predictions” depending on your preference.

How to Adjust Switch Stabilization for Switch Control

You can adjust the hold duration or ignore repeat to improve accessibility control.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to Switch Stabilization. Next, you have the option to adjust the duration of the hold and to ignore repeat.
  • Hold Duration: This refers to how long your input device has to be held before the press can be recognized. To use the double input presses, the hold time must be shorter than the Auto Tap. The +/- buttons allow you to adjust the duration.
  • Ignore Repeat is the time that multiple input presses are considered one input. To use a double input, the ignore repeat duration must not exceed the Auto Tap time. The +/- buttons allow you to fine-tune your duration.

How to customize the Gliding Cursor of Switch Control

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to the Point Scanning section, and select Gliding Cursor.
  2. We will now discuss the three options available. To adjust the cursor speed, you can use the +/– button.
  • Single: You can make one vertical and one Horizontal selection with the Single mode. It’s generally faster for larger selection targets.
  • Refined Mode: This mode allows you to fine-tune your targeting in every direction with a second scan within the range of your initial selection.
  • Precise: This scan adds a final low-speed scan to allow for more precise targeting.

How to use Head Tracking

The ‘Head Tracking” feature on your iPhone or iPad tracks your head to control a pointer. It can also track facial expressions and perform actions.

Head Tracking can only be used on an iPhone/iPad equipped with a TrueDepth front-facing camera. TrueDepth is available for iPhone X and later and 12-inch iPad Pro (3rd- and 4th-gen), and 11-inch iPad Pro (1st- and 2nd-gen).

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down to Section ‘Point Scanning and select Head Tracking.
  3. Next, toggle Head Tracking. You can then fine-tune your head-tracking actions and choose the tracking mode.

Fine-Tune Head Tracking Actions

  • Smile You can choose what action you want to take when you smile.
  • You can choose to open your mouth by using this option.
  • Stick out Tongue: This allows you to choose an action to perform when your lips are closed and you stick out your tongue.
  • Raising Eyebrows: This allows you to select an action that you want to take when you raise your eyebrows.

Fine-Tune Head Tracking Mode

Tracking mode allows you to control how your pointer moves.

  • With Facial: After you have selected a location, you can point your nose at it to move the pointer.
  • Face Screen Edges: To move the pointer in a particular direction, point it towards the edge of the screen. The screen edge will allow you to keep the pointer steady if you face directly at it.
  • Relative Head – This allows you to move the pointer with a relative head, regardless of where it is facing. It is worth noting that the pointer moves faster when it is moving faster.

How to enable/disable sound effects

Switch Control offers a variety of sound effects that can be enabled or disabled according to your preferences.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Now, switch on/off Sound Effects.

How to adjust the switch control speech

Switch Control allows you to adjust the volume and pitch of your speech. You can select a voice, and adjust the volume.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to the “Audio” section, and then select the “Speech” option.
  2. Next, you will need to turn on the Speech switch. Next, select the preferred voice and adjust the speaking speed.

How to customize the Switch Control Menu Items

You can also customize menu items. This is another feature worth mentioning. You can adjust settings, gestures, and media controls to keep control of various actions.

  1. Launch Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> Accessibility > Switch Control
  1. Scroll down to select Menu Items.
  2. Next, you have five options: Top-Level, Gestures, and Device, Settings, Media Controls. Next, choose the menu item you prefer and adjust the order they appear.

How to enable/disable group items

Switch Control allows you to group items for easier navigation. You can also choose to disable it or enable it.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Now, adjust the toggle to Group Items according to your preference.

How to enable/disable large cursors

Although the larger cursor is more appealing and makes navigation easier, it can be disabled if it’s not helpful to you.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to Section Visual’ and disable the Large Cursor toggle.

How to customize the color of the switch control cursor

The coolest feature of Switch Control is the possibility to change the cursor’s color. You can choose any color you like for the cursor, or if it is not colorblind.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to the “Visual” section and choose Cursor Color.
  2. Next, select a preferred color to be used as the cursor.

How to create new switch control gestures

Gestures make it easier to do specific tasks. Create handy gestures to make it easier to do certain tasks.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down to save gestures
  2. Next, click on Create New Gesture.
  3. Next, swipe or tap to create a custom gesture. A sequence of gestures is considered a single gesture that can be used multiple times. If you draw an O followed by two I’s, you’ll need to draw OII each time you want the gesture to be activated. After you have created the gesture you want, tap on Save.

You can now activate your custom gestures using the Actions-> Gestures->Saved.

Side Button Confirmation: Enable/Disable

Switch Control can be used to confirm Face ID payments. Alternatively, double-clicking on the side button will verify that the purchase has been made.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  1. Scroll down until the bottom, then turn on the switch next to . Confirm by Switch Control.
  2. Next, tap Continue then double click the side button for confirmation.

Allow and customize the Switch Control for iOS and iPadOS

That’s it! Switch Control, as I mentioned above, is an Accessibility feature that makes it easy for people with limited mobility. This feature offers a wide variety of customization options. You can adjust all aspects to your liking. It also allows you to customize the appearance and cursor of menu items, which can be very useful for some.

Recently, we have covered quite a few Accessibility-related articles, such as how to enable and use Magnifier Screen Curtain, Sound Recognition and Accessibility Shortcut. If you want to make the most of these useful features, be sure to look them over.

 

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