Assistive Technology Spotlight: iPad Apps

Ipad with digital accessibility symbol on screen.

The iPad and Apple products in general are great options for those with visual impairments. They have some of the most popular accessibility software in the industry. iOS also offers some very exciting apps that could potentially increase your independence. iPad pricing starts at $329.

Apps For The Visually Impaired

Seeing AI

A free app that uses augmented reality to describe what is around you. For *iOS only.

The app has various modes that describe different things:

  1. Short text: Automatically reads whatever text you point your camera at
  2. Document: Allows you to take a photo of any page or paper. The text is then scanned and read aloud to you. You can even increase or decrease the font size. And pause the reading at any time.
  3. Product: Allows you to scan any barcode and tells you what the product is.
  4. Person: Allows you to take a picture of a person. The app then describes the person for you. This feature is not always accurate, but it does get reasonably close occasionally.
  5. Currency: Allows you to hold up different denominations of currency and it tells you what bill it is. You can even switch to currencies of different countries.
  6. Scene: Similar to the “person” feature previously described, this feature allows you to take a picture of your surroundings, the app, then describes to you what the picture consists of
  7. Color: It tells you the color of whatever you are pointing your camera at
  8. Handwriting: Allows you to take a photo of handwriting, and then it will read it out loud
  9. Light: Uses tones to gauge how light or dark it is in an area. The higher the tone the brighter whatever you are pointing your camera at.


This is an iPhone app that enables people who are visually impaired or who have problems reading to identify items using their iPhone, iPod or iPad. Digit-Eyes reads manufacturer UPC and EAN codes and tells you the product name. For *iOS only.

Other Features

  • Often also tells you the full description, usage instructions, and ingredients of the product.
  • Available in 10 languages.
  • Can create your own custom labels that can be read aloud to you. (they can either be purchased from their website or you can print your own.

*Please be aware that this app is similar to the Seeing AI barcode scanning mode described above. Although this app is more robust in that it allows you to create custom labels

Pricing: $9.99

Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) Apps

These apps enable individuals with complex communication needs to effectively communicate. They work by allowing the user to press virtual buttons on a grid that speak the corresponding word. Users can use these apps to easily construct full sentences.

Common Features

  1. Customizable buttons.
    • Colors
    • Sizes
    • Ability to add pictures to buttons
    • Can customize how many buttons are on each page
  2. Have keyboards that easily allow you to search buttons or to spell words
  3. Can create folders based on specific topics
  4. Has different vocabulary levels so the app can grow with the progress of the user
  5. Can record audio buttons
  6. Some can send copies of the users setup to others


  1. Customizable buttons.
    • Can customize multiple buttons at once
  2. Has automatically programmed buttons for things like days, dates and seasons
  3. Has an additional keyboard without predictive text that could help the user practice with spelling.
  4. Has many different built-in grid sizes to choose from
  5. Progressive language feature: Allows you to phase in buttons in case the user is overwhelmed
  6. Can either choose to scroll or click arrow to advance pages
  7. Works on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch (a separate version is available on Mac)
  8. Available in English, Spanish, French, and Dutch

Pricing: $249.99 or $124.99 (Mac version)

Touch Chat

  1. Allows you to have different-sized buttons on a single page
  2. Predictive chat within buttons
  3. Can create buttons that launch specific videos
  4. Can customize how many buttons are on each page
  5. Offers head tracking
  6. iPhone®, iPod®, and iPad support
  • TouchChat Discover- 30-day free trial version
    • TouchChat HD Lite is a non-communicative configuration of TouchChat HD that allows for the user interface experience but DOES NOT include speech synthesis or any type of audio playback capabilities. (in app purchase in TouchChat Discover)
  • TouchChat® HD – AAC- $149.99 USD + tax
  • TouchChat® HD – AAC With WordPower- $299.99 USD + tax.


  1. Has core words section (words that are used in many different contexts)
  2. Easy to save backups
  3. Robust keyboard
  4. Easy to switch between the keyboard and buttons
  5. Has built-in analytics that track progress
  6. Can print out pages to be used as a book for times when their device is not available
  7. Available on iOS and Android

Pricing: $99. A two-week free trial is offered

In summary, all the AAC apps listed above are extremely similar and have overlapping features. It will come down to which app the user is most comfortable using. All three are fantastic choices.

*AAC users who prefer Android will be limited to Avaz

Assistive Technology Spotlight: iPad Apps
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