Tablets are great for bringing the internet to those who don’t have a computer, but if you are partially sighted, reading small text and navigating webpages can be tricky.

Apple has equipped its iPad with some extensive features to help.  iOS even includes a dedicated Accessibility menu with a host of options to help, from boosting font size to activating voice instructions. Here are 10 things you can do to make your iPad easier to use. 


Step 1: Use Bold text

iPad screenshot Step 1: Use Bold text A

Head to the Display & Brightness menu and turn the icon on next to Bold Text.

iPad screenshot Step 1: Use Bold text B

A pop-up box will appear informing you the iPad needs to restart; accept this and when the tablet turns on again you’ll see text in messages and emails and next to icons is bolder and easier to read.


Step 2: Increase the font size

iPad screenshot Step 2: Increase the font size

iOS offers the facility to enlarge the native text size. In the Display & Brightness menu, select Text Size and use the slider to increase it. This adjusts the size of the text in all the menus and within applications like Notes, Pages and apps that support Dynamic Type.


Step 3: VoiceOver assistance

iPad screenshot Step 3: VoiceOver assistance

VoiceOver is a great feature for those who struggle to read small text. Find it at Settings – Accessibility and flicking the slider On. Now every time you tap a button, its name is read out and you can then double-tap to select the item.

We recommend slowing down the speed at which the voice talks using the slider though.


Step 4: Magnify text

iPad screenshot Step 4 Magnify text

Remaining within the Accessibility screen, select Zoom and turn the slider On.  A translucent box will appear can drag around the screen, which magnifies the text. Tap the bottom to bring up options such as Zoom Out and Full Screen Zoom.
If you use this feature, we recommend turning the slider next to Show Controller to On so the box doesn’t get lost on the page and you can swap between views easily.


Step 5: Swap to a black background

iPad screenshot Step 5: Swap to a black background
Looking at a white background for a long time can cause eye strain. This can be reduced by swapping to a black background with white text via Accessibility - Invert Colours. Photographs and web pages invert too, so you might only want to use this temporarily.


Step 6: Read out words

iPad screenshot Step 6 read out words

Go to Accessibility - Speech and turn Speak Selection on. Every time you select text on a document or web page you’ll see a Speak option, which you can tap to have the selected word read out. Tap Highlight Content to highlight the words as they are spoken.

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Step 7: Read the entire page

iPad screenshot Step 7 read the entire page
Return to the Speech menu, this time selecting Speak Screen. Now every time you swipe down, the entire content of the screen will be read out from top to bottom, with controls added to let you navigate forwards and back. This works particularly well for articles on web pages.

Step 8: Button Shapes

iPad easier to see 8 button shapes
Heading to Accessibility - Button Shapes and flick the slider to On. This adds an outline to any button to make it stand out on the page.


Step 9: Reduce Motion

iPad screenshot Step9 reduce motion

iOS 8 introduced some motion effects, including an effect where the background appeared to be in moving. Some users complained that this was making them sick, and so you can turn this off by going to Settings – General – Accessibility – Reduce Motion.


Step 10: Accessibility shortcuts

iPad easier to see 10 - accessibility shortcut

You might want to use VoiceOver (Step 4), Zoom (Step 5) or Invert Colours (Step 6) but not keep them on all the time. Go to the Accessibility menu and scroll down to Accessibility Shortcut, you’ll now be able to select any one of them to activate every time you triple-click the Home button.

Do you find text hard to read on tablets and smartphones? Are there any tips you can share with fellow readers to make the iPad easier to use?