Apple or Android: Phones for the Visually Impaired

My phone is old. It was a prepaid phone that I got 5 years ago. It’s now so slooooooooow and annoying to use, so it’s time to get a new phone. I already have one in mind, but before pulling the trigger, I thought it might be worth seeing who offers a better system for the visually impaired, Apple and its iOS or Android?

This is not an authoritative exploration of the subject. I’m not getting into the nitty-gritty details and specs of different phones and models. My main goal is simply to review a few videos, and compile the information here to see if it changes my mind, and maybe help someone else making the same choice. There will be repetition of information. I’m just trying to highlight information provided by a variety of different sources.

Video 1: Apple vs Android from The Blind Spot

There is not one phone better than other.

Apple has better hardware and software integration and it works well together, but at the cost of less variety of software like on Android phones.

Android provides more customization, for example you can rearrange and resize icons and widgets on the main screen.

Video 2: iOS vs Android by Circle of Blind Mice and part two focusing on Android

The video is a bit old. but it is still relevant

Apple puts accessibility into each of its devices and is a big part of their product development. This includes voice-over/zoom/invert colours/large text/increase contrast. Many totally blind individuals gravitate towards iPhones. They have an easier learning curve. However, even with large print options, a lot of text on iOS is very small (this was in 2016). They have less flexibility with widgets, including location and size. They also often come with a premium price.

Android: Android has caught up to Apple in many ways with regards to accessibility for the visually impaired (once again, this was in 2016). Benefits include more customization of main screens. No two Android devices look the same. There are also a greater number of phone makers, so there’s a greater variety of price points. At the time of making this video, the zoom feature on Android did not work as well as Apple’s, running slow and with the phone heating up (I imagine this has been improved by now).

Video conclusion: Use Apple if you are totally blind, or want a phone to just work and not tweak it, and you have the cash. Use Android if you have partial vision, can alternate from voice-over to magnification and like to tweak settings.

This blog entry is actually going to be a lot shorter than I had planned. My eyes are getting tired, and nothing new or revolutionary was revealed to me. So rather than checking out several more websites, i’m going to stick to my original decision and I am getting an Android phone. It’s simply a question of comfort and not wanting to change to a completely new system. The main functions I want are the ability to zoom, use the camera as a magnifier, take pictures, change contrast or colour options, use maps (on my bike) and be a system in which the company is invested in making continued improvements for visually impaired users. These are all things that I feel can be found on both platforms, so i’m sticking to what I know.

Do you have a link to a good website or video offering more information on the topic? Please share it below too.

Title image “Appdroid & Andople” by Tsahi Levent-Levi is licensed under CC BY 2.0