Apple Watch: Configuring Accessibility Settings

Various accessibility settings are designed to make Apple Watch easier to use for people with vision or hearing problems. Users can configure essential accessibility settings, that’s VoiceOver and Screen Curtain, Zoom, Reduce Motion, On/Off Labels, on Apple Watch. You can also configure the full range of accessibility settings by using the Apple Watch app on iPhone.

How to Configure Accessibility Settings on Apple Watch Itself

  • Raise your wrist to wake Apple Watch and to display the watch face.
  • Click the Digital Crown to display the Home screen.
  • Tap Settings to view the Settings screen.
  • Tap General to view the General screen.
  • Tap Accessibility to display the Accessibility screen.
  • Now tap VoiceOver to use this feature, which announces the names of on-screen items. When VoiceOver is on, tap an item to select it. Double-tap an item to give its command.
  • On the VoiceOver screen, set the VoiceOver switch to On.
  • When the Screen Curtain switch appears, set the Screen Curtain switch to On to turn off the screen. You then need to navigate via VoiceOver.
  • Tap VoiceOver and an outline appears around the VoiceOver button.
  • Double-tap VoiceOver, and the Accessibility screen appears again.

The following steps show VoiceOver turned off. If VoiceOver is turned on, tap and then double-tap instead of tapping once:

  • Tap Zoom to display the Zoom screen.
  • Set the Zoom switch to On, if you want to enable zooming by double-tapping.
  • Tap Zoom and the Accessibility screen appears again.
  • Tap Reduce Motion to display the Reduce Motion screen.
  • Set the Reduce Motion switch to On if you want to reduce animation.
  • Tap Back and the Accessibility screen appears again.
  • Drag up to scroll down.
  • Set the On/Off Labels switch to On if you prefer to see the On/Off labels: a white I on the green side of an On switch and a black O on the gray side of an Off switch.

How to Turn Off Screen Curtain

When you turn on Screen Curtain, Apple Watch turns off the screen. Thus nobody can see what you are doing, although anybody nearby can hear what VoiceOver says unless you are using headphones for audio output.

To turn off Screen Curtain, navigate blind via VoiceOver to the VoiceOver screen. Then set the Screen Curtain switch to Off. It is easier to go to the VoiceOver screen in the Apple Watch app on iPhone and set the Screen Curtain switch to Off from there.

How to Configure Accessibility Settings Using iPhone

If you need to configure the full range of accessibility settings for your Apple Watch, you should work from the Accessibility screen in the Apple Watch app on iPhone. You can turn on the VoiceOver to make Apple Watch announced the name of screen items. This will enable you to navigate by hearing, adjust the VoiceOver speaking rate and volume, choose whether to speak hints. You may also turn on the Zoom feature to make the screen’s contest easier to see.

  • Press Home on iPhone to display the Home screen.
  • Tap Apple Watch to open Apple Watch app.
  • Tap My Watch to display the My Watch screen.
  • Tap General to open the General screen.
  • Tap Accessibility to view the Accessibility screen.
  • To use the VoiceOver feature, tap VoiceOver in order to open the VoiceOver screen.
  • Set the VoiceOver switch to On to turn on VoiceOver.
  • Drag the Speaking Rate slider to set the speaking rate for VoiceOver.
  • Drag the VoiceOver Volume slider to set the volume.
  • Set the Speak Hints switch to On if you want VoiceOver to speak hints.
  • You can set the Screen Curtain switch to On to have VoiceOver speak when you lift your wrist: Set the Speak on Wrist Raise switch to On to have VoiceOver speak when you raise your wrist.
  • Tap Accessibility to display the Accessibility screen again.
  • To use the Zoom feature, tap Zoom, and the Zoom screen will appear.
  • Set the Zoom switch to On.
  • Drag the Maximum Zoom Level slider to set the maximum zoom level.
  • Tap Accessibility again to display the Accessibility screen again.
  • Set the Grayscale switch to On if you prefer to use grayscale instead of color.
  • You can set the Bold Text switch to On to make Apple Watch display bold text. The Apple Watch app warns you that Apple Watch must restart to make this change. Tap continue to restart.

Note: In the Accessibility settings, you can enable bold text to make text easier to read on-screen. You can turn on the Reduce Motion feature to reduce animations in the Apple Watch interface. You can turn on mono audi, which is useful for using earphones, or adjust the left-right balance for stereo audio. You can also turn on the accessibility shortcut, a triple-click on the Digital Crown, and choose whether to use it for VoiceOver or for Zoom.

  • Tap Reduce Motion to display the Reduce Motion screen.
  • Set the Reduce Motion switch to On to reduce interface animations.
  • Tap Accessibility to open the Accessibility screen.
  • Tap Reduce Transparency to display the Reduce Transparency screen.
  • Set the Reduce Transparency switch to On in order to reduce transparency (reducing transparency increases contrast on some backgrounds, making the screen more readable).
  • Tap Accessibility to display the Accessibility screen once again.
  • Set the On/Off Labels switch to On if you want to see the On/Off labels, a white I on the green side of an On switch and a black O on the gray side of an Off switch.
  • Set the Mono Audio switch to On if you want Apple Watch to output audio in mono instead of stereo.
  • To adjust the audio balance between left and right ears, drag the slider toward the L end or the R end.
  • Tap Accessibility Shortcut to display the Accessibility Shortcut screen.
  • Tap Accessibility again to display the Accessibility screen once more.
  • Tap General to display the General screen.

Tip: To turn off the accessibility shortcut, tap the currently selected button on the Accessibility Shortcut screen in the Apple Watch app on iPhone, removing the checkmark from it.

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