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Making your device easier to use

Many smartphones and tablets come with a range of features which you can adjust to make sure the device meets your needs. On this page we'll explain helpful features, like changing text size, adjusting audio settings and using voice activation.

Read our tips on the following accessibility features:


Changing your display settings

On most smartphones and tablets you can 'pinch' the screen to zoom in and out, for example to zoom in to a web page or look more closely at a photo.

You can also quickly and easily make your phone or tablet easier to read by increasing the font size and the size of items like icons and images on the screen.

Changing your display settings on an Android phone or tablet

To make your font size bigger or smaller on an Android device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility, then Font size.
  3. Use the slider to choose the size.

To make items on your screen, like app icons, smaller or larger on an Android device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility, then Display Size.
  3. Use the scroller to choose your preferred size.

Changing your display settings on an iPhone or iPad


To make your font size bigger or smaller on an Apple device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility, then Display & Text Size.
  3. Tap Larger Accessibility Size.
  4. Use the slider to choose the size.

To make items on your screen, like app icons, smaller or larger on an Apple device:

  1. Open your phone or tablet's settings.
  2. Tap on Display & Brightness.
  3. Tap View under the Display Zoom setting.
  4. Tap Zoomed, then Set.
  5. You’ll need to restart your phone for the new settings to take effect.

Some of these functions may only work with newer phone models, but all phones should have an Accessibility section in the Settings menu. There are many more tips for adapting your Android device to suit your needs on the Google Support website or your Apple device on the Apple Support website


Changing your sound settings

If you’re struggling to hear phone conversations, you can increase the volume of your phone by using the volume buttons on the side of your device. It may sound simple, but using speakerphone may also help you hear what the person on the call is saying.

If you still need to boost the volume of your phone, or if you wear hearing aids, you might be able to connect them to your phone to help you hear.

On an Android phone or tablet: You can use the Sound Amplifier app to boost or modify sounds, and you can link some hearing aids to your device to hear clearly.

On an iPhone or iPad: You can adjust the audio settings and amplify sounds, as well as link your device to some hearing aids.


Using voice activation

Using voice activation is a handy way to control your device without having to touch the screen. You can open apps, call someone by saying their name, write texts and emails, and much more through using spoken commands.

Find out how to set up voice activation:


Setting up your device to read aloud

You can set up your phone or tablet to read notifications, messages and emails and webpages aloud to you. To do this, you can adjust your phone's accessibility settings. On some phones, you can test out different voices and adjust the speed of the voice.

Find out how to set up read aloud functionality:


Making your computer accessible

There are a number of adjustments you can make to your computer, as well as your phone or tablet, to make life easier for you.

Tips for vision

You can adjust your computer display settings to increase the size text and images on the screen.

On a Windows computer:

  1. Go to Settings, then Display.
  2. Choose Change the size of text, apps and other items.
  3. 150% is recommended, but you can choose a bigger screen size.

On an Apple Mac:

  1. Go to Apple menu, then System Preferences.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Click Zoom.

You can increase the size and colour of your cursor, or pointer, or other items on your screen to make them easier to see. Find out how on a Windows computer and an Apple Mac.

You can also set up a program that reads aloud what's on your screen. Find out how to set this up on a Windows computer and an Apple Mac.

Tips for hearing

You can adjust your audio settings, for example to just play sound through one speaker. Or you set up your screen to flash or show notifications when you get an alert, rather than using on audio alerts.

Read about the settings:

Tips for mobility

Windows and Mac computers have settings that allow you to control your computer with your voice, letting you write emails and messages without having to type. Find out how to set this up:

There is also specific equipment you can buy to make your computer easier to use. You may find that a standard mouse or keyboard doesn't give you the control you want, especially if you have limited dexterity. If you have arthritic fingers, you may find a trackball mouse easier to use.

You can choose from a wide range of different shapes and sizes from a provider like AbilityNet. Contact AbilityNet's advice and information team on freephone 0800 269 545 to find out more about specialist equipment and adaptations (much of it is free or low cost) if you have a disability that makes using a computer difficult.

Looking for a computer training class?

The majority of our local Age UKs provide computer training, making getting online simple and enjoyable.

For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

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By donating today, you could help us answer more calls to our advice line, campaign harder for older people’s rights and fair treatment and provide regular friendship calls to people who are desperately lonely.

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Last updated: Nov 02 2020

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