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Apple adding Door Detection and Live Captions in huge iOS 16 accessibility push

Apple’s iOS 16 will introduce a Door Detection mode for blind and low vision iPhone owners, to help ensure they reach their destination safely.

The new accessibility features, previewed by Apple today ahead of next month’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC 2022), also include a handy Apple Watch mirroring feature, which enables it be completely controlled from the companion iPhone via AirPlay. That will bring into play different voice and gesture control settings that don’t involve having to tap the touchscreen.

Apple is also introducing Live Captions for FaceTime calls and beyond for users on iPhone, iPad and Mac. It’ll also be available for third-party streaming services, enabling deaf or hard of hearing users to read along with videos. Meanwhile, twenty more languages are about to gain support for the VoiceOver screen reading feature.

There’s also a new double pinch gesture for the Apple Watch, which will make it easier for users with upper body limb differences to carry out time sensitive actions like answering a phone call, for instance.

Beyond that, there’s a forthcoming Buddy Controller feature that enables carers to help users play a game, a voice control spelling mode, and a sound recognition mode that can recognise sounds “specific to a person’s environment, like their home’s unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances.”

However, the most interesting feature is Door Detection, which not only tells users when they’ve arrived at the new destination, but also inform them the distance to the door itself, as well as whether they’ll need to push, pull, or turn a knob to gain entry.

“This new feature combines the power of LiDAR, camera, and on-device machine learning, and will be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner,” the company says in a Newsroom post explaining the feature, which will sit within the Magnifier app.

Apple doesn’t say they’ll be iOS 16 features per se, but does reveal they’ll be new software features rolled out later this year. That pretty much tells you all you need to know.

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