What's VoiceOver?

VoiceOver is a screenreading feature which is built-in to every model of Mac and iOS device from Apple.

VoiceOver is completely free, and you don't have to pay to turn it on or update it.

Getting started on a Mac

You can turn VoiceOver on and off at any time; you don’t have to restart your computer or log in again.

To turn VoiceOver either:

  • Press Command-F5. If VoiceOver is on, pressing Command-F5 turns it off.
  • Use the Universal Access pane of System Preferences.

If you set the Universal Access preference to include a Universal Access menu in the status bar, the menu shows when VoiceOver is on or off.

The first time you start VoiceOver, you can choose to take the Quick Start tutorial, an interactive tour of VoiceOver navigation and interaction basics. When VoiceOver is on, you can start the tutorial at any time by pressing VO-Command-F8.

When VoiceOver is speaking, you can temporarily pause the speech, and then resume where the speaking left off by pressing the Control key. If you’re using VoiceOver gestures, you can use a two-finger tap on the trackpad. 

Getting started on an iOS device

To turn VoiceOver on either:

  • Ask Siri to turn VoiceOver on 
  • Go to the Accessibility settings menu by tapping: Settings > General > Accessibility > Vision
  • Press the home button three times quickly (formerly "Triple-click home"). You will need to ensure that the "triple-tap" feature is turned on before this will work. To do this, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessbility Shortcut > Select VoiceOver. 

More help

There’s lots of help on using VoiceOver on the Apple website.

There’s also a lot of information about VoiceOver on the AppleVis online community forum.


For more advice about using apps, troubleshooting issues or other technology topics please contact our Helpline on:

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