Why that secret button on your iPhone is extremely important

When you think of an iPhone, you probably think of the new Dynamic Island and the extensive camera system. The awesome functionalities of iOS; apps like WhatsApp and cool tricks like the secret button on the back. However, what few people think about is the other side of the story.

Options like Accessibility on iPhone there are not for nothing. In addition to the general consumer, there are also a lot of users in the world who have to deal with a disability. Functionalities like Back Tap are therefore a funny addition for most, but make life a lot easier for someone else. Reason enough for that OMT editor Mark Hofman to fly to Naples and find out more about it.

Secret button on your iPhone

It’s been a while, but the story about the secret button on your iPhone went through the roof at One More Thing. It ensures that you as a general consumer can perform an extra action by simply tapping your iPhone.

Quite handy, because this way you can, for example, open the camera app or turn on your flashlight. Take advantage of Assignments, the options are completely endless. It might give your iPhone that little bit extra, although that functionality is there for a reason.

Tap backlike Back Tap in Dutch called (but not, and yet), is a function within the Settings under the cup Accessibility is on your iPhone. Not for nothing, because it can ensure that consumers with a disability can use the device better. And that is a fascinating story in itself.

Accessibility iPhone extremely important

In fairness, I have to say that the personal focus on a new iPhone is almost exclusively with the general consumer. I usually don’t dwell on the person with a disability whose life can literally change because of the new Apple phone. Pretty stupid actually when you consider that there are, for example, 250 million blind and 350 million deaf people living on our earth. People who all want the same thing as you and me. Easily use their smartphones.

Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s Director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, is the person who made that clear to me. During my visit to the Apple Developer Academy in Naples, I not only attended a lecture on the subject, but also had the opportunity to speak with her briefly about iPhone accessibility.

It was a conversation that opened my eyes, because I didn’t realize how much iOS means to some people, for example. A consumer who is (almost) blind can easily take pictures with voice control. Opening the curtains in the morning can be done with one push of a button for someone in a wheelchair. A deaf person can make a video call and then read the transcript.

It is the other side of the story about a product that millions of people around the world use every day. A damn good story if you ask me…

iPhone 14, iPhone, iOS 16.1, Apple
🌿 (Image: Omar Al Ghosson)

Apple motivates developers

That also has to do with Apple’s will to motivate developers. Motivating to use the countless tools that the American company provides in Xcode, for example.

“There’s always talk about why accessibility is an essential part,” Sarah Herrlinger tells me. “Why it turns a good iPhone app into a great app. How you can not only increase your target group, but also your turnover.” The Director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives also refers directly to the software developer kit that developers receive. “There is a special API for accessibility. So in the background we are always busy with that push.”

The important thing for Apple is that the developer understands that accessibility is an important part. Sarah therefore makes it clear that “there is a special tool within Xcode to test your application for accessibility”. (Xcode is software to optimize applications, ed.) While testing applications, the feature provides developers with a report of how accessible the project is and what needs to be done to make it better.

iPhone, iPhone 14, iOS 16.1

In that case, think about things like the right size of the font on iPhone so that everyone can read it. Or the perfect color composition so that people who are color blind (1 in 10) can also use your app.

Sarah does not see a direct difference in figures, but she does notice that accessibility has received more and more attention in recent years. And that is, in all honesty, a good thing.

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