The iPhone: Without Sight and Hearing
Chapter 3: Touring Your iPhone
Physical Tour of your iPhone
Once your iPhone is set up and Voice Over is running, it is time to tour your phone. Physically, if you start with the phone in portrait mode or the long side going up and down, the top left on the narrow width area, you will find a headphone jack which is the 2mm plug. Next to it, and almost impossible to feel is a very tiny hole that is for the forced reset key if you ever need to do that (you should only do that if when having problems or your phone completely locks up and the powering fully down and then rebooting doesn’t work), and the little key comes with the phone is like a paper clip piece of metal that comes stored in a cardboard flap with an Apple logo sticker. On that same top, width edge to the right is your sleep/power down button. Click once and quickly to put the phone in sleep mode and lock screen or if asleep, to wake the phone and open the lock screen and the phone. To fully power up your phone, you hold this button down for a few seconds and then wait a minute or so until your phone boots up similar to any computer. Or, power down your phone, hold down this switch for several seconds until your braille display shows the message, “slide to power off” at the top of the screen and cancel at the bottom where you reach it by advancing the display once. If you want to power off, you select the slide to power off or click the joystick on your braille display or tap and slide your finger across the top of the touch screen. Next, the left side edge has a flip switch at the top which is a mute button and below that is two toggle buttons for volume up and down. You will need to know those two buttons if your sound gets turned on and a hearing person complains. There are some braille commands as well for toggling speech on and off listed in an appendix later.
Now the most important button is on the face of your computer just below the touch screen. It is called the Home button. Pressing it once will wake the phone up and bring up the lock screen. While you are in an app, if you want to close that app and go back to the main or home screen, you can press the home button once. While in an app, you can press it twice quickly to get you in the app switcher. That is similar to the task switch on a computer and will let you change between open programs. Any apps that you have open, you can quickly switch between without losing your place. For example, you can be typing an email when you want to check some information for your email on that web site you were looking at first. You click the home button twice and then advance through the apps and select or click the joystick. The new app will then appear on the screen and display. You follow the steps again to return to your original app. Periodically, though, you will want to clear out your task switcher and close all programs to prevent too much from possibly running in the background if some of your apps have background processes. We will discuss that later. You can also set up in the Voice Over settings to use the triple click of the Home button to turn on and off Voice Over quickly. This can also be a quick navigation tip to know. We will talk more about the app switcher and triple click later in the book, but you need to know that this is the home button and pressing it once will wake your phone up or get you out of an app and back to the main page, double clicking will take you to the app switcher, and if set up, triple click can switch Voice Over on and off. If you ever get confused about where you are in an app and don’t know what to do, you can always just click the home button to get back to familiar territory and try again later.
IPhone Apps Tour
The Lockscreen Buttons
Now, let’s see what your iPhone can do. First, turn on your braille display. With the braille display, the best way to avoid any problems with pairing or losing Bluetooth connection when switching things on and off to save power or whatever, always start with your display. It goes on first, and it goes off first. Turn on your braille display. Then press the home button to wake up your phone. Unless you hold the power button at the top of the phone for a while to do a full power shutdown, your phone merely goes to sleep when your screen goes dark or you hit the power button quickly. That is good. It allows your email, phone, text messages to get to you at all times. You should seldom have to power down. Now after you press the home button to wake your phone, you only have a few seconds to unlock your phone. The phone is locked and a slider must be activated to move the phone to the home screen. This lock screen prevents you from inadvertently starting apps or making calls, etc. Voice Over and display will put the time first. If your phone has been asleep for a while, it may take a couple of seconds for Bluetooth to wake back up, but it will. When you feel the flash of dots on your screen, you can read the time if you want. I like this time on the lock screen, because I don’t have a braille watch. However, if you want to use your phone and don’t need the time, press the advance button or move the joystick to the right once. This is the date. If you have any alerts such as an email, text message, or any other alerts you have allowed to be pushed to your phone at any time, you will see that in the box after the date. Visually, this is in the middle of the touch screen. Knowing it is there, you can always just touch the middle of your screen, to check for alerts quickly. One touch selects the box, so you can immediately read the alert using your advance buttons on your display to read all of the information in the alert box, if there is one. If there isn’t an alert, the display will be blank just as visually the screen is blank. You then just advance one button to the right or you can touch the bottom of the screen with the pad of your finger to select the slider as I describe again in more detail next. Now you can advance once more to get to the slider activation button or do a “finger tap” to select the slider. It is called a slider because you use your finger to swipe from left to right to unlock the screen. The slider is visually at the bottom of the iPhone’s touch screen. Thus, you can make it quicker to unlock the phone by pressing the home button and then touching the bottom edge of the screen to select the slider. You then have two options for unlocking the screen. You can select the button with your braille display‘s selection button or click the joystick or use the braille chord command for enter or if you have dots 7 and 8, you can type chord 8 (hit spacebar and dot 8 at the same time). You can also just slide your finger across the bottom of the screen from left to right after you tap to select the slider. This sliding gesture will unlock the phone, too, and quickly. As you see, a totally DeafBlind person can use a touch screen quite efficiently, and I will show you more ways as we move through this manual.
The final button on the lockscreen is the camera located in the bottom right of the screen. With Voice Over off, you can slide your finger from the bottom up to quickly bring up the camera app to take a picture for those “catch it quick moments”. Now with Voice Over on, which is how it will be for most of us who are DeafBlind, you can’t activate the camera app by sliding up or even sliding left to right to unlock the phone. That is good. We wouldn’t want to get confused by having that camera app open up when we can’t see it. If you do want to take a quick picture, though, you can tap once in the bottom, right corner once to select the camera app, and then double tap to open the camera app. You can also move the advance button of your display through the lockscreen buttons until you get to the camera app or type the cord command space + dots 4, 5, 6.
Taking a picture is easy enough if you have your subject straight in front of you. Hold your phone in front of your face at eye level and then click the top button on the left side of the phone along the side edge. Normally that is volume up for voice in the phone app or ringer or sound for other apps and sound notifications. In the camera app, though, it is temporarily used as the shutter button to take the picture. Basically, you can just point and click to take pictures to share with your sighted friends. This will make taking scenery pictures and even pictures of friends posing easy to do without sight or sound. Action pictures might be hard or impossible, but you can learn to take still shots with practice. I enjoy doing that myself; instead of always having to ask someone to do it for me. I like that little bit of independence and joy when I share the pictures with friends. However, if you don’t want to take pictures, just know that button is there, but with Voice Over on, you can’t accidentally activate it by just sliding to unlock the screen. It takes a tap and then another double tap to open the app.
Your Phone’s Main Apps
The best way to operate your phone is to know how to navigate it as well as you can navigate your own home. Like most of the mental maps we DeafBlind have, it just took several “walk throughs” to get it down, right? Well, knowing your phone that well will make it easier and faster to use. First, let’s just take a tour of what comes with your phone and a general description of the app and where it is on the screen when you first receive your phone.
For this, I am assuming that you have just gotten your phone and is at least a 3Gs, and has the latest update of the iOS software which is 5.1.1 or later. The phone comes with several apps. Some are very usable for a totally blind, totally deaf individual while some aren’t usable at all. Again, our tour will just start with what comes on the phone, where it is, and a general description. Later, chapters will cover each of the usable apps in greater detail. I will also have a chapter on how to set up your phone’s app order that is more usable to you as you use your display and/or touch screen gestures. Let’s get started.
First Row of Four Apps
Place your phone in the portrait mode or lay where the long side is up and down to be able to follow this tour. The first app is Messages found at the very top and left of the screen and is also called iMessages. It is for sending messages or SMS text messages to any or straight to another iPhone customer using your data or wireless internet connection. The only difference you will notice between when this app is functioning as messages or iMessages is the word that is listed in the text field (visually like a watermark or faded image on a page or screen), but not readable in braille. iMessages uses data when not on wi-fi, so you need to be aware of this issue, since many may have limited data. Data usage is different from text messages which many have unlimited, so know your plan and if you are texting an iPhone customer to decide if you wish to use iMessages when not on wi-fi. Unless you are calling another iPhone customer, the app will be a regular text messaging app. iMessages can be turned on and off in the settings area under Messages. This is great if you have a limited number of text messages and know a friend who is an iPhone user. Next app, to the right, is your calendar. You can enter events and birthdays like any other calendar and set up alert notifications to remind you from the start time to back a day or up to two days. You can have more than one calendar such as a personal one or a work one, and you can also connect a calendar to your Gmail calendar if you use that. Continuing next, going from the left to the right of the screen at the top edge, is the Photos app. This is the app where you can save your pictures taken with the camera app or saved from emails or text messages, or downloaded from the web or a Cloud program like Dropbox or Apple’s Cloud space. Though you may not be able to see them, you can share photos of your family, your vacations, and your loves with others who can by opening this app, choosing roll call or creating albums, and scrolling through them. The app that is next, in the top, right corner of the touch screen, is the camera app. You may not have taken pictures yourself before, but, I did explain in the upper section on the lock screen how you could take pictures as easy as pointing the camera in the direction you are looking. Then you can save them to the photos app to share with others.
Second Row of Four Apps
Next on the tour, but the first on the left of the second row using portrait view is the videos app. Any videos you save to your iPhone through purchasing through iTunes, downloading to your phone from your computer through iTunes, or through Cloud software will be stored in this app and available to for play. This manual won’t go over this app, since the manual is designed for totally deaf and totally blind users. Other manuals such as National Braille Press’s IPhone book can give details to those who may have some residual sight and/or hearing. I will say that if the video is closed caption that the iPhone will show them. The navigation of the app with a braille display will be very similar to other apps that will be described, so if you wish to share a video with someone such as your child, you can navigate to and start the video easily with the braille display. The next app you come to on what is this second row of your iPhone, is the YouTube app. This app will let you search or browse videos on YouTube, an internet video site, and view the videos on your iPhone. The app navigation is accessible to the braille display as other Apple apps are, so if you wish to share something with someone, you will most likely be able to navigate and find it for yourself if you know the name of the video you wish to share. Since as a totally deaf and blind person, the audience member this manual is directed to can’t use this app directly, we won’t say more here. Again, you may find this information in other manuals, if you desire. Next, third going to toward the right of the second row, is the Maps app. With this app, you can find nearby places and directions to your destination. The app is accessible even if the map drawing itself is not. For a braille display, you use the list of directions to guide your way. With the built-in GPS, you will be able to use your braille display to get to many places described for use by car, bus, or walking. Many aspects are involved for safe travel, and some locations give better details in this app than others, so use caution when using this app until you are familiar with how well it works for your local area. This, however, not a full navigation program, so it doesn’t give audio turn by turn directions or any of the other features found in more advanced navigation programs. The next app, fourth in this second row and a little more than a fingertip away from the edge of the touchscreen and about four fingertips down from the top, is the simple Weather app that comes with the phone. Once your phone is set, the Weather app will give you local high and low temperatures for each day for the next five or six days. The current temperature in your area is given first along with a image of the type of weather such as sunny, cloudy, rainy, etc. The image representation is listed in text on the braille display. Each day can be selected to give you the predicted temperatures for that day by the hour and whether it will be clear, cloudy, or rainy. This is definitely a useful and completely accessible app.
Third Row of Four Apps
The third row contains the Notes app, the Reminders app, Clock app, and the Game Center. The Notes app is a simple text program suitable for jotting down anything you need to remember or use later. It can also be used as a simple face to face communication app. It isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t send you the information typed to you in such a way that you can read it at your leisure, but with a little patience and cooperating, it can help you communicate with others who can’t communicate with you otherwise. The Reminders app is designed to let you set up to-do lists and check them off until completion. You can sort through this as lists or by dates. The last app on this row to the right along the edge of the touch screen about six fingertips down toward the middle is the Game Center. This app is a way to coordinate game apps and play against your friends through the internet or compete against their scores. Most of the game apps are not accessible, so even though the Game Center app is accessible with a braille display, we won’t go through that app in this manual.
Fourth Row of Four
The fourth row of apps includes Newstand, ITunes Store, App Store, and the Settings app. Newstand is actually a folder type app that will automatically download every morning the newspapers and magazines you subscribed to from the App Store. Some of these subscriptions are free, and some are not. Like the Game Center, the Newstand is accessible, but not all of the newspapers and magazines you can subscribe to are accessible. We won’t explore this app, but the navigation will be similar to iBooks and many others that we will discuss, so if you find a subscription that is accessible, you will easily be able to find it and read it from the Newstand app. ITunes Store is the app that you can go to purchase movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks, etc. The App Store, the next on the list and third on this fourth row, will be very important for you to learn how to use if you want to find other apps useful to the DeafBlind. Later in this manual, we will explore some of those apps from various categories like Glooko which will allow you to connect many blood sugar monitors to your iPhone, so you can read it in braille, or Apple’s iBooks or Read2Go which is Bookshare’s app, both of which will help you to read books on your iPhone.
Phone Pages? You’ve Got to be Kidding.
Now this concludes the tour of the main page. A page, you ask? A page is merely the information or apps that can be seen at once on a screen. The phone comes with two pages: the main page and the search page. You can add more pages. We will discuss this later when discussing organizing your phone. The Search page is to the left of the main page. You can type in the name of whatever you wish to find on your iPhone in the search text field box. As you add apps and fill the first page, a second page will begin to fill to the right of the main page. Without Voice Over on, you would merely flick a finger across the screen from left to right to move left to the Search page; or you would flick a finger across the screen from right to left to move to a second page or back to the main page from the Search page. With Voice Over on, you still have a few ways to navigate between these screen pages. You can advance with the braille display using either the advance keys or joystick of your display past the apps listed to the page turner and clicking it. You click once to go to a second or more apps page, but after the last apps page, the page selector will take you to the Search page. At this point, Voice Over and the cursor will move to the Search field text box, so you can type in what you wish to search for on your phone. You can advance past the search field box to the page selector again by advancing twice. Select or click the page selector to move forward. Now another and quicker way is to use another of those gestures that many think they can’t do. You merely take three fingers-index, middle, and ring works best, but can be done with others if needed- of either hand turning it sideways or parallel with your viewing mode of the touch screen and swishing left to right to move through pages to the right of your current screen or swishing right to left to move through pages to the left of your current screen. The Voice Over cursor will then land in either the search text field or the first app of the new screen, so you can verify your move. Try this a few times. I think you can see with just a little practice and knowing your phone that this can become a very quick way to maneuver around your phone.
The Bottom Navigation Bar
Now the very bottom of the screen, there are four icons, pictures representing the apps, that stay at the bottom on every page. This is sort of like your most important apps section. Apple puts the phone, mail, Safari, and music apps down there by default, but I will discuss later how to change these and the other apps around to make your iPhone your phone where you have everything you want to use at your fingertips and easier to find. For now, let me just tell you what these four apps do. The Phone app whose icon is a phone handset is the actual keypad and voice call app. If you have missed calls, a little number will appear above it. On the braille display, it will say, “Phone 2 missed calls.” We can’t use that too well, unless you can speak like I can. I can make a voice call in emergencies or for leaving quick messages. It isn’t useful to me, otherwise, though, since I can’t hear what is said back to me, so we won’t go into the use of this app. As with other apps, though, once you know the basic navigation techniques, you could probably figure it out if you wanted to do so. Next, is the Mail app. This is the app where you set the phone to check and download messages from your email accounts. You can have more than mail account checked and the icon will show a little number beside it. Visually, you can picture this as envelope and if you have messages a little number is placed above it. On the braille display, as an example, it will say, “Mail 4 new items.” This will be one of the first we learn about to get you connected to the world. Next, is the browser app which is called Safari for Apple products. The icon or picture is a compass rose indicating a compass face with North, East, South, and West on it and a half red/silver hand with the red marking between North and East for magnetic north. This is the actual logo Apple uses for Safari which is named like you are making an adventurous journey through the internet. You can mentally picture a compass or some other picture that represents the internet to you. With this app, you can surf the web by visiting web sites. The final app at the bottom is the Music app which is represented by two musical half notes that usually represents music. You can visualize a note if you know what one looks like or a song book or person singing a song. You may not hear music, but you can share it with someone who can if you want to, but the app is accessible for navigating, so visualize it like you would the similar apps of Photos and Videos that we will discuss some a little later.
Well, that finishes the general tour of your phone. There is actually a lot of stuff that comes already installed on your phone. Are you surprised that you can learn to use a lot of it despite the fact that you can’t see or hear? I was, too, but I am very glad that I can. Before you learn to purchase or download free apps to add to all of these apps, we need to get your phone better organized for you and talking even more about how to navigate around the iPhone that is primed for you specifically. Now, if you want, you can go through this tour a few times just trying to remember what apps you have with your phone. If you want to open some by clicking your joystick or selecting with your display, you can without fear. Don’t worry if you get confused or lost in an app. To get back to the main page and close that app, just click your home button on the phone. Remember, that is the big button at the bottom of the phone itself below the touch screen. You can do this with a braille chord command, too, space bar + dot 1 + dot 2 + dot 5, but the home button is the fastest way to do it. Try it. When you are ready to learn more, just move to the next chapter.