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Apple announces accessibility feature that allows you to control your iPhone or iPad using your eyes

By Brooke Villanueva Published May 16, 2024 10:47 am

Apple has announced an eye tracking accessibility feature that lets users navigate their iPhone or iPad with their eyes.

In a press release, the tech giant said that the AI-powered built-in option makes use of the front camera to "set up and calibrate in seconds."

Designed for those who have physical disabilities, the new option allows one to control the elements of an app and "use Dwell Control to activate each element, accessing additional functions such as physical buttons, swipes, and other gestures solely with their eyes."

"With on-device machine learning, all data used to set up and control this feature is kept securely on device, and isn’t shared with Apple," it noted.

The feature works across iPadOS and iOS apps. No extra hardware or accessories are needed for it.

Aside from Eye Tracking, Apple also announced Music Haptics for users with hearing problems. "With this accessibility feature turned on, the Taptic Engine in iPhone plays taps, textures, and refined vibrations to the audio of the music," the tech company explained, adding that it works across millions of songs in its music catalog.

Vocal Shortcuts, meanwhile, is for users who are dealing with "acquired or progressive conditions" that affect speech, including cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and stroke. It lets iPhone and iPad users "assign custom utterances that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks."

Under it is another function, Atypical Speech, which lets one enhance speech recognition "for a wider range of speech." It relies on-device machine learning to identify the speech patterns of its users.

The aforementioned accessibility features will reportedly debut in iOS and iPadOS 18, which is slated for release later this year.

The tech giant said the new options "combine the power of Apple hardware and software, harnessing Apple silicon, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to further Apple’s decades-long commitment to designing products for everyone."