How To Use iPhone Switch Control

This article explains deeply what is iPhone switch control and how to use iPhone switch control.

Our smartphones have long ceased to be more useful than just texting, calling, and listening to music. Now they are an extension of our lives on our computers. Compared to older phones, iPhones and their equivalents have also become more affordable for those with physical problems.

One feature that is often overlooked on the iOs is the iPhone Switch Control, which makes it easier for users to navigate their devices. But what exactly is iPhone Switch Control and how do you use it? Let’s see.

iPhone Switch Control is an accessibility feature in iOS 14 that allows people with limited mobility to fully utilize their devices using ability switches and other adaptive devices. When Apple makes iPhone more affordable, it helps make iPhone the best, and Switch Control is a very robust feature.

Items on the screen are highlighted sequentially and can be activated by tapping, moving your head in front of the selfie camera, or pressing adaptive buttons. You can also use point scanning and gestures such as pinch to zoom. You can even use multiple switches. Here’s How to Use iPhone Switch Control.

Using Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

Switch Control comes with a wide range of features and offers full customization so you can customize all the essentials. Before we get into the customization aspect, let’s get the basics out of the way first!

What is Switch Control on iPhone and iPad?

iPhone Switch Control is designed to let you control your iPhone and iPad with one or more buttons. To be more precise, it changes the gestures used to control your iOS/iPadOS device.

People with limited mobility can use Switch Control on their iPhone or iPad using ability switches and other adaptive devices. It highlights items sequentially on the screen, allowing you to perform actions by tapping, moving your head, using adaptive accessories, or even smiling.

Notably, Switch Control also supports point scanning and custom gestures. It allows you to adjust the time, keep the duration and customize the menu for a more personalized experience.

Using custom options, you can perform various actions such as selecting and dragging items, activating Siri, calling the control center, and much more. Long story short, Switch Control ensures that limited mobility doesn’t stop you from getting the most out of your iPhone and iPad.

Enable Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Accessibility.
  3. Then select Switch Control.
  4. Then turn on the switch next to Switch Control. You may receive a pop-up asking you to confirm the action. Tap ‘OK’ to confirm and activate the function.

Note: If you want to disable Switch Control, follow the steps above and this time disables the switch. You can also triple-click the Home button or Power button to disable Switch Control on your iPhone or iPad.

Add a new switch

Switch Control allows you to add different types of switches that you can use to control your device. Make sure to assign a key to the Select Item action so Switch Control can work properly.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS or iPad OS device and go to ‘Accessibility -> Switch Control’.
  2. Now tap on Switches.
  3. Then tap Add New Switch.
  4. Then select a switch source:
  5. External: This allows you to activate your external switch. External switches “maybe Bluetooth, MIDI or Made for iPhone/iPad Assistive Switch Control devices”.
  6. Screen: This allows you to choose Full Screen so that you can use Switch Control by tapping anywhere on your iPhone screen. Select Fullscreen and then choose the desired switching action.
  7. Camera: Select this to use Switch Control by moving your head left or right. After selecting Left/Right Head Gesture, you have the option to choose the desired key action, which can be scanner or system related.
  8. Back Tap: With iOS 14 or later, you can perform certain actions such as activate Siri, activate Dictation, or adjust the volume by tapping the back of your iPhone two or three times. Moreover, you can also use this super-handy gesture to enhance the functionality of Switch Control. For example, you can use this gesture to start/stop scanning and open the scanner menu.
  9. Select the desired shift action. You then have the option to choose Long press to set up a long-press action.
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Removing a Switch from iPhone Switch Control

If you don’t want to use a particular switch anymore, you can easily remove it from Switch Control.

  • Open the Settings app on your iOS or iPadOS device and go to “Accessibility -> Switch Control”.
  • Now tap on Switches.
  • Then swipe left on the switch you want to remove. And then tap Delete.

Create a new recipe

Interestingly, you can also create a new recipe, a series of complex actions, which you can temporarily assign to switches. Recipes come in handy when performing a variety of tasks, such as activating controls in games and even turning pages in the Books app. In addition, you can also include various gestures as part of a recipe.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and go to Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now tap Recipes.
  3. Then tap Create New Recipe. Then give it a suitable name, assign it an option, and adjust the timeout.

Change the scan style

Based on your convenience, you can customize the scan style so that you can adjust how you move items on the screen. While automatic scanning is the default, you can opt for manual scanning if you want more control.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Touch Scan Style and select your preferred style. We explain below what each scan style does:

Auto Scan: This allows you to automatically move the focus after a specified amount of time.

Manual scan: Requires one switch to move focus and a second switch to activate items.

One key step scanning: Also requires a key to be toggled to move focus. Note that if you don’t take any action within a certain amount of time, the item with focus will be activated automatically.

How to adjust the shift operation time?

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the Weather section. Then you can choose from five options:

Auto Scan Time: This allows you to adjust the auto scan time for Switch Control. In other words, it allows you to change how long it takes Switch Control to scan items automatically. Select it and use the +/- button to adjust the tempo.

Pause on the first item: this allows you to set how long the automatic scan waits after the entry is pressed. Depending on your needs, you can increase/decrease the time with the +/- button.

Loops: This allows you to hide the cursor after visiting each item on the screen a certain number of times.

Move Repeat: This allows you to determine the delay before moving to the next or previous item is repeated while a button is held down. It also has +/- buttons that allow you to adjust the tempo.

Long press: A long press allows you to add another action to a switch that is activated when you press and hold the switch for longer than indicated. Not only can you choose the length of the long press, but also pause the Switch Control scan by long-pressing an enabled button.

How to Customize the Key Operation Tap Behavior

You can also customize your touch behavior for a more personalized experience

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now select the Touch Behavior option.
  3. You then have three options to choose from:

Default: Choose this to display the Switch Control scanner menu.

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Auto tap: Causes the Select action to tap the screen automatically unless pressed twice to display the scanner menu.

Always Tap: Allows the ‘Select Action’ to immediately choose the item in focus instead of displaying the scanner menu.

Please note that the ‘Always tap’ feature only applies to item mode. Specifically, the Always Tap behavior is reset to defaults in the Guide Cursor and Head Tracking modes.

How to adjust the hover item after tapping

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now after tapping on Focused Item, tap.
  3. Then you have two options to choose from:

First item: Select it to let Switch Control scan the first item.

Current Item: Choose this to let Switch Control manage the current item.

Customize keyboard for switch control

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the ‘Keyboard’ section. Then toggle the switches for “Scan Same Key after Tap” and “Extended Predictions” based on your preference.

How to adjust the switch stabilization for switch control?

Switch Stabilization lets you adjust the latency and skip a retry to improve the Accessibility Checker.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to Shift Stabilization. You can then choose to adjust the retention time and try to skip again.

Hold Time: This refers to the length of time your input device must be held before pressure is recognized. Please note that the waiting time must be shorter than the automatic call time to use the double-feed press. You can adjust the duration with the +/- buttons.

Repeat: is the duration that multiple input pressures are treated as a single input. Remember that the replay skip time must be shorter than the auto-tap time to use a double-enter key. You can adjust the duration with the +/- buttons.

How to Adjust the Switch Control Slider

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the ‘Scan Point’ section and choose Gliding Cursor.
  3. Then there are three options to choose from, and below we explain what they all do. You can use the +/- button to adjust the speed of the slider.

Single: In single mode, you can make a vertical and a horizontal selection. It is generally faster for larger selection targets.

Sophisticated: Fine-tuned mode lets you fine-tune your targeting in any direction, with a second sweep within the range of your original selection.

Precision: Ads a low-speed final sweep for more accurate aiming.

Using head tracking

Using the camera on your iPhone and iPad, the ‘Head Tracking’ feature tracks the movement of your head to control a pointer on the screen. In addition, it also tracks your facial expressions to perform actions.

Remember that you can only use Head Tracking on iPhone/iPad with a TrueDepth front camera. The TrueDepth camera is available on iPhone X and later, 12-inch iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generation), and 11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation).

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the ‘Point Scanning’ section and choose Head Tracking.
  3. Then turn on Head Tracking, then you can customize the head tracking actions, choose the tracking mode and adjust the pointer speed.

Refinement of head tracking actions

Smile: This allows you to choose an action to perform when you smile and show your teeth.

Open Mouth: This allows you to choose an action to take when opening your mouth.

Tongue Out: This allows you to select an action to perform when you stick out your tongue while your lips are closed.

Raise Eyebrow: This allows you to choose an action to perform when you raise your eyebrows.

Fine-tune main tracking mode

Tracking mode allows you to customize how the pointer moves.

With Face: Once selected, you can point your face directly to a position on the screen to move the pointer to that location.

When looking at the edges of the screen: Select this option to aim your face at an edge of the screen and move the pointer in that direction. By rotating directly on the screen, you can keep the pointer still.

Relative head: Choose to move the pointer with your head wherever you are. It’s worth noting that if you move faster, the pointer moves faster.

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Turn sound effects on/off

iPhone Switch Control also offers cool sound effects that you can turn on or off as you wish.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now toggle the switch next to Sound effects on/off.

How to customize the switch voice control

Assistive Control also gives you the flexibility you want to adjust speech. For example, you can choose a preferred voice and even adjust the speaking rate.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the ‘Audio’ section and select the ‘Speech’ option.
  3. Then set the switch to Speech. Then you can choose the desired voice, adjust the speaking rate and enable/disable the options ‘Speak Item Attributes’ and ‘Pause while speaking’.

Customize Switch Control Menu Items

Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to customize menu items. It allows you to customize not only gestures, settings, but also media controls so that you have full control while performing various actions.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, launch the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down and choose Menu Items.
  3. Then there are five menu items for you to choose from Top Level, Gestures, Device, Settings, and Media Controls. Select your favorite menu item and adjust the order in which you want them to appear.

Enable/disable group items

iPhone Switch Control also allows you to group items for faster navigation. However, you can choose to enable or disable it on your terms.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now toggle the Group Items toggle on/off based on your preference.

Toggle large cursor on/off?

While the large cursor looks better and makes navigation a bit more convenient, you can disable it if you don’t find it useful.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the “Visual” section and turn off the “Large cursor” switch.

How to adjust the color of the switch control cursor

Probably the coolest thing about iPhone Switch Control is the ability to customize the cursor color. So, if you want the cursor to look nice (or if you’re colorblind), pick the color you want for it.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down to the ‘Visual’ section and select Cursor Color.
  3. Then choose a preferred color for the cursor.

Create new iPhone switch control gestures

Gestures simplify performing specific tasks. So always make sure to come up with helpful gestures that will help you get the job done faster.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down and choose Saved Gestures.
  3. Then click Create New Gesture.
  4. Then tap or swipe to make a stylish custom gesture. Note that a sequence of gestures is counted as one gesture for multiple taps. Let’s say you draw ‘O’ followed by two ‘I’s, then you have to draw ‘OII’ every time you want to trigger the action associated with that gesture. After making the desired gesture, tap Save.

Now you can activate your custom gestures in Actions -> Gestures -> Saved.

Enable/Disable Side Button Confirmation

You can use iPhone Switch Control to confirm payments with Face ID or when you need to double-click the side button to confirm the purchase.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app -> Accessibility -> Switch Control.
  2. Now scroll down and toggle the switch next to Confirm with switch control on.
  3. Then tap Continue and double-click the side button to confirm.

Enable and Customize Switch Control on iPhone iOS and iPadOS

That is a lot! As I mentioned above, iPhone Switch Control is a very useful accessibility feature designed for people with limited mobility. The best thing about this feature is the wide range of customization options. So you can adapt all the essential aspects to your needs. In addition, it allows you to customize the appearance of the menu and cursor items, which may be useful to some.

Recently, we covered some articles related to accessibility, enabling and using Magnifier, Screen Curtain, Sound Recognition, and Accessibility Shortcut. Make sure to check them out if you haven’t already taken full advantage of these equally useful features.

Conclusion iPhone Switch Control

In the latest iOS updates, Apple has made its devices more user-friendly for those who have trouble performing basic operations with their devices. One of the best examples of this is iPhone Switch Control, which allows users to manage their iPhones much better than ever before. The methods mentioned above should help you to use Switch Control on your iPhone.