iOS and Android phones compared

Android Vs. iOS: Accessibility Features Compared


In the digital age, smartphones are our windows to the world, essential tools that keep us connected, informed, and entertained. But not everyone interacts with these devices in the same way.

People with disabilities or impairments may find standard smartphones challenging to use. That's where accessibility features come into play. These features transform smartphones into versatile tools that anyone can use, breaking down barriers and opening up a world of possibilities.

Whether you're a loyal user of Android or prefer the sleek interface of iOS, knowing what accessibility options are available is crucial when choosing the right device for you.

For this guide we will give a set of more than 50 accessibility features across iOS and Android and compare the two platforms. This aims to shed light on the Android Accessibility Suite and the iOS accessibility features, offering a comprehensive comparison for anyone contemplating their next smartphone purchase or considering a switch.

We'll delve into the various apps and tools designed to assist with vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive needs, ensuring you have the information needed to make an informed decision. So, whether you're exploring your options or looking for reasons to try something new, this comparison will help you navigate the expansive world of smartphone accessibility.

Features of Android Accessibility Suite

The Android Accessibility Suite is like a toolbox packed with tools to help everyone use their phones, no matter their abilities. From talking screens to easy-to-read text, this suite makes Android phones friendly for all users.

Please note that there are many, many more features available than we can possibly list here. If you are looking for a specific feature, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.

Vision features: screen reader & display changes

Imagine your phone could talk to you, reading out everything on the screen. That's exactly what the Android screen reader does! It’s called TalkBack. A highlight of TalkBack is that you can edit many settings to your preferences.

A downside of this is the lack of consistency, when you change phone’s or even have a software update, many of the things you are used to know might have changed. Generally, people who are into technology and like to invest time in this prefer this method, whereas people who are more new to using the phone can find this difficult to use.

If you find your screen too bright or too hard to read, Android lets you tweak the display settings. You can make text bigger, change colors, or even simplify what you see, making everything easier to read. This way, whether you're reading a text or browsing the web, your phone adapts to your needs.

Overview of the Vision features:

For low Vision or visual impairment:

  • Change Colors
  • Dark Mode
  • Contrast

For blindness:

Speak to getting things done:

  • Dictation
  • Google Assistant

Hearing features: subtitles & closed captioning

For those who find it hard to hear or prefer reading over listening, Android has got your back with subtitles and closed captioning. You can use “Live Caption” by pressing the volume buttons and tap live caption - whenever you are viewing media.

This means, when you're watching videos or listening to audio messages, you can read what's being said in real-time. 

Additionally Google introduced Live Transcribe allowing people who are deaf or hard of hearing to use their phone as a live transcription service. This can describe and interpret sounds in over 70 languages!  

Overview of the Hearing features:

Turning sound into text on the screen:

Improved hearing:

Special Alerts:

Physical and motor features

Not everyone can tap or swipe on their phone with ease. The Android Accessibility Suite includes features for those who might find these actions challenging. Tools like voice commands let you control your phone by just talking to it.

On Android this is called the Google Assistant.  You can open apps, send texts, or even navigate your device without ever touching the screen. 

Additionally Android has a feature called Switch Access. This allows people to use the phone without using the regular touchscreen. This can be via the volume buttons, keystrokes or external keyboard like the Hable Easy

For those who can use their hands but struggle with small buttons, there's an option to make those easier to use too. Android makes sure that everyone can be in charge of their phone, no matter what. 

Overview of the Physical and Motor features:

Hands-free navigation:

Connecting via other input methods:

Customizable gestures:

Other adjustments:

Cognitive accessibility

Android also thinks about users who might need a little extra help understanding or remembering how to use their phones. With simplified interfaces and reminders, it makes using a smartphone less overwhelming.

One of these features is called Action Blocks. This feature simplifies the layout of the phone, making it a perfect companion for people with a cognitive disability.

Overview of the Cognitive features:

Reduced distraction:

  • Action Blocks
  • 3rd party applications

Help with identifying things and people:

Different control:

This is one of the departments where Android excels. There are many 3rd party applications available that simplify the layout, send automatic reminders and help people with a cognitive disability to use the phone.

That's what Android's cognitive accessibility features do, making smartphones smarter for everyone. 

Features of iOS accessibility

iOS accessibility features are like superpowers for your iPhone or iPad, making them accessible to everyone, regardless of how they see, hear, move, or think.

Apple has truly been a big driver of adding accessibility features in the core of its design. We see this till this date, let’s dive into some of the accessibility features on iOS. 

Vision features: screen reader & display changes

In terms of Vision features, iOS offers VoiceOver, a screen reader that talks to you, describing what's happening on your device. Whether you're texting, emailing, or browsing, VoiceOver narrates it all.

Many people say VoiceOver is the first proper screen reader for the smartphone and it has changed the lives of many. At Hable we are huge VoiceOver fans. A major difference with Android from TalkBack, is that VoiceOver is consistent. It's almost exactly the same across iPhones and iPads. 

Plus, with display adjustments, you can customize colors, contrast, and text size to suit your visual preferences. These tools make the iPhone and iPad more accessible, ensuring that users can enjoy a seamless experience tailored to their needs.

Overview of the Vision features:

For low Vision or visual impairment:

For blindness:

Speak to getting things done:

Hearing features: subtitles & closed captioning

iOS understands the importance of ensuring everyone can follow along with audio and video content. With live subtitles and closed captioning, users who are deaf or hard of hearing can read a text version of what's being said in real-time.

This feature supports multiple languages and can be a game-changer for enjoying media, making calls, or attending virtual meetings, ensuring no one misses out on important information or entertainment.

Additionally, there are hearing aids that can directly connect into Apple’s iOS. This allows the user to stream sounds from the iPhone directly via the hearing aid. This is especially useful for people who are hard of hearing and have trouble seeing as they can link to their VoiceOver.

A final feature that stands out to us is Live Listen. This feature helps users to have a conversation in loud places. It turns the iPhone or Ipad into a remote microphone, sending the audio directly to your audio device or hearing aids. 

Overview of the Hearing features:

Turning sound into text on the screen:

Improved hearing:

Special Alerts:

Physical and motor features

iOS is designed to be user-friendly for people with a wide range of physical and motor skills. Features like AssistiveTouch allow users to customize gestures, making it easier to interact with their devices without the need for precise taps and swipes. 

Additionally, voice control options enable users to navigate their device, open apps, and even type messages without lifting a finger. These features empower users to control their devices in ways that work best for them.

Lastly iOS Touch Accommodations let you adjust the responsiveness of your touch screen. This feature exists across all Apple platforms and we recommend you investigate how modifying this can help you.

Overview of the Physical and Motor features:

Hands-free navigation:

Connecting via other input methods:

Customizable gestures:

Other adjustments:

Cognitive accessibility

Recognizing the diverse needs of its users, iOS offers features to help those with cognitive and learning disabilities. Options like Guided Access help users focus on one task at a time by limiting access to a single app, and Siri suggestions offer predictive actions to simplify smartphone use.

These tools support users in maintaining focus, completing tasks, and reducing cognitive load, making the digital experience more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Overview of the Cognitive features:

In the end, iOS has many features that can help people with any type of disability. All of these features are already available through the settings in the phone, allowing a flawless integration. 

The differences between the devices

When comparing the accessibility features of Android and iOS, several key differences emerge, highlighting each platform's approach to inclusivity and user support. Here's a structured look at how these two giants stack up:

iOS Accessibility: The Pioneer

  • Native Features: iOS has long been at the forefront of integrating accessibility features directly into its system. With a wide array of native tools like VoiceOver, Magnifier, and Live Listen, iOS devices are equipped to serve users with diverse needs right out of the box.
  • Innovation and Leadership: Apple's commitment to accessibility began early, making it a champion in the space. They've set high standards, continually introducing groundbreaking features that enhance user experience for individuals with disabilities.
  • iOS Accessibility Features: The suite includes a comprehensive range of options designed to assist users with vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive challenges, showcasing Apple's dedication to inclusivity.

Android Accessibility: The Fast Follower

  • Up and Coming: While the Android Accessibility Suite might have followed iOS's lead, it's quickly catching up. With features like TalkBack, Sound Amplifier, and Lookout, Android is making significant strides in becoming more accessible.
  • Third-Party App Support: One area where Android stands out is in its openness to third-party accessibility apps. This flexibility allows users to tailor their devices with a broader range of tools and apps that meet their specific needs.
  • What is Android Accessibility Suite App: Beyond built-in features, the suite encourages the development and integration of innovative third-party solutions, providing users with unique customization options not always available on iOS.

In summary, while iOS continues to excel in native accessibility features and innovation, Android's approach of embracing third-party applications and rapidly improving its own suite demonstrates a strong commitment to accessibility.

This competition benefits users, offering more choices and fostering continuous improvements in accessibility technology.

New features per operating system in 2024

  • Android: In 2024, Android 14 is enhancing device customization and accessibility features. Users can now personalize their lock screens with shortcuts and choose from new lock screen templates using AI to adjust based on situations, like weather changes. Additionally, Android 14 introduces generative AI wallpapers, allowing users to create unique backgrounds. For health and security, Health Connect is integrated into settings, offering a centralized place for health data, which is encrypted for privacy. Android is also improving PIN security, making devices safer and more personalized for users.
  • iOS: at the end of 2023, Apple introduced accessibility features, including Live Speech, which displays real-time transcriptions of in-person conversations, and Personal Voice, enabling users to create a synthesized voice that sounds like their own. These innovations, aimed at enhancing communication for users with disabilities, showcase Apple's commitment to accessibility and user experience. For more detailed insights into these features, you can read the full announcement on Apple's newsroom website. Additionally, there have been many updates with VisionOS of the Apple Vision Pro. 

Interesting Fact or Estimate

  1. Accessibility for All: In the United States, around 25% of adults, which amounts to 61 million people, have a disability. Digital accessibility not only benefits those who are blind but also encompasses guidelines for individuals with other types of vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities. Importantly, prioritizing accessibility generally enhances usability for everyone, whether they have a disability or not​​.
  1. Smartphone Ownership and Usage: A fascinating gender divide in smartphone ownership reveals that 97% of U.S. women aged 16-64 own smartphones, compared to 95% of men in the same age group. Americans spend an average of about 7 hours and 4 minutes daily on their smartphones, a figure that increases among college students in the U.S. to an average daily use of 8 to 10 hours​​.
  1. Rapid Adoption of Smartphones: The smartphone has become one of the most quickly adopted consumer technologies in recent history, with about 77% of U.S. adults reporting they own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. This surge in smartphone adoption is more pronounced among younger or more affluent individuals. Interestingly, from 2013 to 2016, the share of adults aged 65 and older who report owning a smartphone rose by 24 percentage points, from 18% to 42%​​.

These facts highlight the importance of making digital platforms accessible to everyone, the significant gender divide in smartphone ownership, and the rapid adoption of smartphones across different demographics, showcasing the pervasive influence of mobile technology in our lives.

Which one is better?

Deciding which platform offers the better accessibility features—Android with its Android Accessibility Suite or iOS with its comprehensive accessibility features—boils down to personal preference and specific needs.

If you're looking for a system that has been a pioneer in integrating accessibility directly into its ecosystem, offering a wide range of native features, iOS's accessibility might be your choice.

On the other hand, if customization and the ability to use third-party accessibility apps are more your speed, the Android Accessibility Suite could suit you better.

Ultimately, the choice between ios accessibility and what is android accessibility suite app depends on what you value most in your device's accessibility options.

Final takeaway

In wrapping up our exploration of the Android Accessibility Suite and iOS accessibility features, it's clear that both Android and iOS have made significant strides in making technology accessible to everyone.

Whether you're drawn to the Android Accessibility Suite for its flexibility and third-party app support or prefer the comprehensive and pioneering ios accessibility features, the choice hinges on your personal needs and preferences.

We hope this comparison has illuminated the path towards selecting the device that best suits your accessibility requirements. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to us at

Your journey towards a more accessible digital experience is just beginning, and we're here to help every step of the way.


Why would someone use an accessibility feature?

Accessibility features, such as those found in the Android Accessibility Suite, are designed to make devices more usable for everyone, including individuals with disabilities.

These features can assist with a range of needs, from vision and hearing to motor and cognitive challenges, enhancing the overall user experience. Essentially, they ensure that everyone can effectively interact with their device, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities.

Is accessibility only for the disabled?

No, accessibility is not only for the disabled. IOS accessibility features, for example, benefit a wide range of users, not just those with disabilities. Features like voice-to-text and screen magnification can be useful in situations where it's not convenient to use a device in the traditional way, like when driving or with busy hands. Accessibility improves usability for everyone, making technology more inclusive.

How do I put my phone on accessibility mode?

To activate accessibility mode on your phone, go to the settings menu. For Android devices, you can find the Android Accessibility Suite by navigating to Settings > Accessibility. Here, you'll be able to turn on features like TalkBack, magnification, and more.

Each feature is designed to make your device easier to use, based on your specific needs.

Can accessibility features help with reading small text?

Yes, both iOS and Android have accessibility features designed to help with reading small text. On iOS devices, you can use the Magnifier or adjust text size and boldness under Display & Text Size settings.

Android devices offer similar functionality through the Magnification tool within the Android Accessibility Suite, allowing users to zoom into small text on the screen.

Are there accessibility features that can help me navigate my phone with voice commands?

Absolutely, voice command features are a significant part of both Android and iOS accessibility options. On Android, the Voice Access feature within the Android Accessibility Suite app allows users to control their devices using spoken commands.

Similarly, iOS offers Voice Control, enabling users to navigate their iPhones or iPads hands-free. These features are incredibly useful for individuals with physical disabilities or when your hands are otherwise occupied.

How to Choose the Right Braille Display in 2024 as a Blind Person

A Guide to Choosing the Best Braille Keyboard for You 2024

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.