Introduced in iOS 5, AssistiveTouch is one of the most powerful accessibility features on your iPad or iPhone. AssistiveTouch shifts gesture based functions to on-screen, single-tap actions primarily to help users with motor impairments. It’s also handy if one of your device’s physical buttons stops working!
How does it work?
In order to activate AssistiveTouch, head to ‘Settings’ on your device. Select ‘General’.
Select ‘Accessibility’ and scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find ‘AssistiveTouch’, and tap the switch to access the feature.
Tap the switch to turn on assistive touch. You’ll find a new floating icon on your screen, appearing above any app you launch. This icon can be moved to any edge of your screen by dragging it.
Giving this icon a tap will launch the AssistiveTouch panel. Initially you’ll discover four options – Siri, Favourites, Device and Home.
‘Siri’ is as you’d expect, direct access to your favourite personal assistant.
‘Home’ is an onscreen version of your physical home button, and it respects every command you’d usually perform with the tactile version – long hold and Siri appears, double tap to reveal your running apps etc. You can see why this option in particular might be useful for those with a broken home button!
‘Device’ displays two panels of common iOS functions, such as ‘Volume Up’, ‘Volume Down’, ‘Lock Screen’ and ‘Shake’. There’s even an option for ’Gestures’ found in this menu. Selecting it asks you to choose how many fingers the gesture you require uses. Select ‘4’ for example and four circles will appear on the screen where a four finger gesture would otherwise be. Drag this in the direction you need and your device will respect the gesture.
‘Favourites’ is really an extension of the ‘Gestures’ menu, allowing the user to record customised gestures that they use within particular apps. For example an app may rely on a rotate action with three fingers, such as a game. Tap on one of the vacant ‘+’ squares and you’ll be presented with a blank area where you can place as many fingers as you want, and move them as required. Once you name this action, it can then be found in the ‘Favourites’ menu.
AssistiveTouch is obviously a wonderful solution for people with motor impairments, and a great temporary fix if any of your buttons have stopped working. If you want an even better solution for a broken button, get in touch with Jigsaw24’s service team!