How this experimental accessibility mode on iPhone can make it easier to use

How this experimental accessibility mode on iPhone can make it easier to use

  • Custom Access Mode is an experimental feature that is hidden in iOS 16.2.
  • It radically simplifies the iPhone home screen.
  • Apple’s accessibility features allow for some amazing customization.

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iOS 16.2 hides a radical new feature that makes the iPhone perform like the big old Nokia from the ’90s.

New custom access mode discovered Inside iOS 16.2 beta by 9to5Mac– Removes a lot of iPhone user interface, removes clutter and makes icons bulky. As the name suggests, this is an accessibility feature, which is currently only a feature in testing, hidden inside a beta version of iOS. But it really does seem like something many of us would want to use, especially if we sometimes find our phones annoying or distracting.

“This is a user interface that will make smartphones much easier to use for a huge subset of people: anyone with vision problems. This will be especially important for older users,” Troy PortilloCOO of the online learning platform Studypool for Lifewire via email.

clean and tidy

The standard iOS user interface appears to be quite clean and simple at first, but once you start trying to do anything, its complexity gets in the way. I call this design school “sweep it under the rug’s minimalism”. In order to present a clean and uncluttered face, iOS hides everything behind menus, long presses, and secret multi-finger handshake gestures.

It’s like a kitchen with nothing on the worktops and everything thrown in seemingly random drawers. In this analogy, the furnace and stove are tucked away in a cupboard.


The custom accessibility mode doesn’t fix this, but it does make the basic iPhone user interface a lot easier to navigate. For example, the home screen can be modified to only show a 2×2 grid of apps, like those of the old Apple iPod nano clip-on touch screen.

“One of the main benefits of the custom accessibility mode is that it reduces the number of buttons and icons on the screen. This makes the app more accessible for users with visual impairments, who may have difficulty seeing and identifying different buttons and icons,” the technology writer James Calderon Tell Lifewire via email.

But it doesn’t stop there. Many people use the built-in iOS screen reader for VoiceOver. This tells you what’s on the screen and even reads the name or description of anything your finger passes over it. You can use VoiceOver even if you can’t see the screen, which makes it look like the custom access mode widget isn’t going to help. But the opposite is true.

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“This additional VoiceOver feature would be great for visually impaired and blind people. The ability to eliminate unnecessary UI clutter makes screen reader more efficient,” iPhone Marbles1 user Said on the MacRumors Forums.

But of course, there is more than that.

to organize

Many people may benefit from, or just prefer, a phone that doesn’t yell at them every time they pick it up. Yes, it is possible to reduce the number of notifications, icon badges, and other distractions on your phone and even customize these reductions based on the time of day or where you are. But this is all still too complicated for anyone who isn’t geeks.

So, custom access mode can be a great way to get rid of distracting clutter.

“If this pays off, it will be very beneficial [older adults]iPhone user Riverfreak He said in another MacRumors forum “iOS has become so delicious and so precious that it takes so much time and manual dexterity to do so many simple and common things.”

Antonio Diaz/Getty Images

According to 9to5Mac’s Felipe EspositoYou can also use the new custom access mode to lock down some phone features and password-protect those changes. This could be a boon for anyone who spends a lot of time on their phones.

“In addition to the benefits of basic functionality, this is also a way to simplify the things your phone can do. If you find yourself stumbling around thoughtlessly for hours, for example, this could be a useful tool to help you cut back,” Portillo says.

Apple’s accessibility features are among the best, allowing for deep customization. At the same time, regular user customization is almost non-existent, limited to a few UI elements and wallpaper. There is definitely room for something in between the two. Until then, it’s worth digging into the accessibility settings to see what’s possible.

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