The crucial iPhone feature you probably didn't know existed

iPhone 11
2019's iPhone 11 (Image credit: TechRadar)

While it's the headline iOS features that tend to get people talking, there are tons of powerful and innovative options hidden away in your iPhone's settings menu, particularly when it comes to accessibility. One visually impaired Twitter user has shared a video of one such accessibility feature – and it seems many had never even heard of it. 

Viewed over 6.5M times in two days, Kirsty Viers' video (below) shows the iPhone's Braille Keyboard in action. With the device facing away from her, Viers is able to compose a tweet with lightning speed by tapping dots on the screen which correspond to the Braille alphabet. The iPhone is already one of our best camera phones, but this video demonstrates why it's a fantastic choice for accessibility. 

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Thousands of users have responded to Viers' tweet, with many impressed with how swiftly she is able to write using the keyboard, and even more aghast that the feature even exists. "I had no idea the iPhone even *had* a Braille keyboard," one exclaims, while another added, "I don't think I've ever seen the Braille keyboard in action – my jaw just dropped."

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But perhaps the most overwhelming response is that Viers' video demonstrates the importance of accessibility in software design – seeing the feature in use shows just how much it can benefit the visually impaired. "This is why Apple is in my opinion the go-to brand for people with disabilities," one user tweets. If you're an app developer, here's how to make your app accessible

In a support page on its website, Apple explains how to enable the braille keyboard. With VoiceOver turned on, the user can simply rotate the on-screen VoiceOver rotor to Braille Screen Input.

Many developers still have a long way to go to make their software fully accessible – even Apple. In response to one developer asking what features "make or break" the iOS experience, Viers replies: "Missing or incorrect labels are the biggest problem. Some buttons only show up visually. Some of the included selections in iOS like the wheels used for time and date are not accessible."

Accessibility awareness is certainly improving though – according to The Next Web, web accessibility lawsuits saw a 177% increase between 2017 and 2018. Here are 8 steps to ensure that your web design is as accessible and inclusive as possible. And if you want to grab a rare deal direct from Apple itself, check out the Apple Back to School sale

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).