@Voice Aloud Reader (TTS Reader): Free
Listen to this app read web pages, news articles, long emails, and various documents.
ACB Link: Free
With ACB Link, you can 1) Access valuable resources offered by the American Council of the Blind. 2) Get push notifications designed to keep you in the know about late-breaking news items of value to ACB members and friends. 3) Easily connect to the state and special-interest affiliates of the American Council of the Blind via the app's affiliate tab. 4) Be informed ACB Radio's various channels via the radio tab. 5) Play ACB podcasts on demand so you never again have to miss information. 6) Gain valuable information that focuses on dealing with sight loss.
Aira– Visual Info On Demand: Free* & Subs
Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. Through an app on your smartphone, Aira delivers instant access to visual information at the touch of a button. Free to download, but pricing is set by the amount of minutes per month. You can also connect for free by utilizing Aira Access offers within the app. Aira is free to use in a variety of locations that they are partnered with, such as Walgreens, airports, federal buildings, and some Starbucks!
Android Accessibility Suite: Free
This app functions as an accessibility feature update for your phone, helping to provide various features like Google TalkBack, spoken content, live transcription, and vibration. Download to have the most up to date offerings for accessibility.
Amazing MP3 Recorder: Free & Paid Features
A no-nonsense audio, field, and call recorder as well as a voice changer. This app is TalkBack and blind/low vision user friendly. Paid features (except MP3) are free for TalkBack users, otherwise you must pay for MP3, Voice Changer, Call Recorder (auto-outgoing), Themes, Noise Gate, and Voice Activity Detect.
Assistive Touch for Android: Free, In-App Purchases
An easy tool for Android devices that puts a floating panel on the screen to stop from having to use the physical buttons (home, volume, power). You can have virtual home, volume, back, favorite app, settings, and close applications buttons for your Android, however in-app purchases are likely to apply.
This app can be very useful to screen reader users and can be used in conjunction with Android TalkBack to refine the accessibility of your device using a Smart Labeling System that automatically labels all unlabeled controls throughout your apps and device. Users can customize sounds for every event, such as clicking, touching/hovering, swiping, scrolling, etc.
Audible: Free Trial & Subs.
Listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and Audible Originals with your Amazon account. With two different membership plans to choose from (Plus and Premium Plus), you can listen to endless content or pick titles to keep in your library.
Audm: Free Trial & Subs.
Audm presents the world’s best long form jhournalism, read aloud word-for-word by celebrated audiobook narrators. Listen to many hours’ worth of new stories every week, from publications including: The NYT, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed News, Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast, and more.
Ava: Free & Subs
Provides deaf or hard-of-hearing people instant captions to follow any conversation and be included. The perfect companion to making your conversations accessible. This app is free for occasional use and costs $14.99 monthly or $9.99/month for a year for “power users.”
Aware Audible Wayfinding: Free
A mobile app to help people who are visually impaired explore their surroundings independently and provide indoor directions and descriptions to help you confidently navigate public buildings. This app can even help you navigate The Chicago Lighthouse and all of its various departments!
Allows people registered with their local NLS library to download books from the NLS BARD library – which contains nearly 50,000 books and magazines – onto their phone, save them, and have them read aloud featuring simple to use navigation and playback controls.
Be My Eyes: Free
Utilizes your camera to allow a sighted person to see what the camera is looking at and tell you what it is. Simply point the camera at something you want identified and it will connect with a sighted volunteer. They can then see through your devices camera and tell you what it is pointed at! The app also has various organizations partnered as resources, providing an easy method of contact through the app.
Big Launcher: $10.99
Simplifies the home screen for seniors or people with visual impairments by replacing it with enlarged buttons. The customizable menu features 6 easy to use, high-contrast buttons for calling, texting, gallery, camera, SOS, and accessing other applications. TalkBack is supported for blind users.
Blind Abilities: Free
Blind Abilities produces podcasts and blogs dealing with accessibility, technologies, devices, and enhancing the opportunities in the job market for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and DeafBlind.
Braille Academy: Free
Effectively learn, practice, and test Unified English Braille with a unique method. Learn while playing as this app strategically teaches Braille of all 26 letters of the English alphabet, numbers 0-9, punctuation marks, special symbols, contractions, wordsigns, groupsigns, and short-form words.
Brailliac - Braille Tutor: Free
Braille Tutor is a fast, free, and fun way to learn Unified English Braille braille regardless of how much sight or experience you may have. So much more than a dictionary, it has targeted practice modes, challenge modes, and translation modes.
CallerNameAnnouncer Hands-Free Pro: Free
A free call and SMS announcer app that lets you hear who is contacting you.
Daily by ViaOpta: Free
ViaOpta Daily is designed as a personal assistant and can be used to: scan and recognize real world objects or an object’s color, read out written text to the user from documents, packaging or other items, recognize and read out the value of banknotes, and provide users with live support from sighted volunteers via an integration with BeMyEyes.
Desmos Scientific Calculator: Free
Scientific graphing calculator that cannot speak but can pair with a braille display.
Envision AI: Free Trial & Subs
A fast and reliable OCR app that speaks out the visual world. Use your phone camera to scan any piece of text, your surroundings, objects, people, or products and have them read out to you. Envision is free to install and offers a 14 day trial to experience all of the apps features. Thereafter, you must purchase a $1.99 monthly subscription, $19.99 annual subscription, or $99.99 for a lifetime subscription. To connect with people through video call within the app, download the Envision Ally app.
GiganticonBig Icons: Free & In-App Purchases
Have big icons on your home screen for any app you want. Users can have two widget icons for free and must pay thereafter.
GoodMaps Explore: Free
Discover the world with this indoor and outdoor navigation app for people who are blind or visually impaired. The app stays aware of your location, providing you with automatic updates about your immediate surroundings. Receive notifications about your current destination, nearest room, street, or points of interest.
Google BrailleBack: Free
An accessibility service that allows you to use your braille display with your Android device via Bluetooth. It can work together with TalkBack to give a combined braille and speech experience.
Google Assistant: Free
The google assistant is built into most android phones, or can be downloaded as an app. To start the google assistant, hold down the home button until it begins to listen. One way of activating the voice assistant through speech is by enabling the setting, “Hey Google” under Voice Match settings. This will teach your assistant to recognize your voice and begin listening when you say, “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” aloud. The Hey Google feature must be enabled under Voice Match settings. Once it is enabled, you can utilize this voice assistant by having it read and write messages, texts, or emails to people in your contacts. It can also search the internet, get you directions, answer basic questions, perform math calculations, and a whole lot more using simple voice commands!
Set up and control your compatible Nest, Chromecast, Google Wifi, and Google Home devices, plus thousands of compatible connected home products like lights, cameras, thermostats, and more – all from the Google Home app.
IDEAL Currency Identifier: Free
Identifies US currency notes for people who are blind or low vision.
Image to Text & Translator: Free
Take a picture or use one from your gallery to then convert the text, have it translated into multiple languages, read aloud, or shared!
Instapaper: Free & Subs.
The simplest way to save and store articles for reading: offline, on-the-go, anytime, anywhere, perfectly formatted with a clean and uncluttered experience in addition to enhancing the standard reading experience with features like text-to-speech for your favorite articles. Instapaper offers a premium subscription for $2.99/month or $29.99/year.
A speech communication application designed to help non-verbal children and adults communicate, known as augmentative & alternative communication (AAC).
LazarilloGPS for Blind: Free
A GPS app that incorporates mobility tools while using audio messages to tell you about a nearby place, the street you’re walking on, the upcoming intersections, and more! This app can run in the background while you use other apps and features of your phone, while announcing places around you while you more.
Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications
Real time transcriptions of conversations and sound event notifications. An easy way to make everyday conversations and surrounding sounds more accessible when with deaf and hard of hearing individuals. You can change the size of the text that is transcribed use as well as color contrast to provide white text on a black background. This is a research app by Google that may not be available for every phone.
Lookout – Assisted Vision: Free– Android 6+
Helping people with low vision explore the world with 5 modes: Food Labels mode to quickly identify packaged foods by their label in addition to their barcodes, Documents mode to read a whole page of text and have it read aloud or magnified, Text mode to quickly skim text and hear it read aloud – perfect for sorting mail –, Currency mode to identify banknotes, and Explore mode to offer information about objects in your surroundings. This app may not be available on all Android devices.
You can quickly zoom in on the screen to display content more clearly by enabling magnification in your phone’s accessibility settings. Instructions for usage should be displayed in the Magnification setting.
Microsoft Lens: Free with Office 365 Subscription
A pocket PDF scanner with integrated OCR through an Immersive Reader feature that can read out the text from the images in text sizes ranging from 14 to 64pt with various contrast colors available. Scanned text and images can also be saved as PDFs, into OneNote, OneDrive, PowerPoint, or Word as an OCR document.
Nav by ViaOpta
Take the stress out of navigating your surroundings with Nav by ViaOpta, a navigation app designed to help those with low vision reach their desired destination with voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. Use this app to give you your current position as a street address, insert waypoints into your journey for a more efficient route, list the intersections around you, alongside their distances from you, set favorite locations by category, and use the integrated Be My Eyes service.
Otter ai: Free & Subs.
Record, transcribe, share, and turn meetings in searchable notes. Otter.ai records and takes meeting notes for you in real time for 600 minutes free every month (English only). For a Pro subscription, you can have 6,000 minutes of transcription per month.
Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and streaming video from your library, with 24/7 access, no late fees, and easy signup with a valid account with a participating library, school, or other institution where library builds its own collection of titles.
Pen to Print – Handwriting OCR: Free & Subs.
Pen to Print is the first handwriting to text OCR scanner converting handwritten notes into digital text available for edits, search, and storage in any digital platform.
RedShelf eReader: Free with Account
An eReader companion app providing on or offline access to your textbooks located in your RedShelf account. RedShelf is compatible with VoiceOver and offers the option for text to be read aloud. An active RedShelf account is required.
ReVision Fitness: Free & Subs.
An audio based fitness program designed to be accessible for both blind and sighted users, to teach all you will need to know about fitness. Each exercise lesson is designed by blind personal trainer and 4 time Paralympic athlete Tyler Merren, with lessons meticulously described using clock face directions, reference points, and step by step instructions to teach proper mechanics for any exercise. All workouts can be accessed with a simple monthly subscription of $5.99 or yearly sub of $59.99.
A virtual accessibility assistant that helps users easily orient themselves in new or casual environments. In Outdoor Mode, get your current location and direction headed, points of interest (sourced from Open Street Map) around you and nearby, make recordings of personal points of interest for navigating, and use an object recognition tool. In Indoor Mode (supported in RightHear enabled locations), you can get all of the same information customized to the building you are in. In addition, this app contains public transit information on bus and train arrivals and departures.
ScripTalk Mobile: Free
Use this app to read your ScripTalk Talking Labels, which are RFID tags attached to medication containers by pharmacies participating in the ScriptAbility accessibility program to provide those who are blind or low vision with audible prescription info.
Seeing Assistant Home: Free
Operational by voice command. Allows users to utilize color recognition, light detection, bar/QR code scanning and generation, text detection, & magnification.
Sero (formerly iBlind Radio): Free
Has radio stations, podcasts, and reading services of special interest to blind and visually impaired persons accessible on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Without a subscription ($5.99/month), you can only access a small subset of Sero audio content, and no community features such as forums or voice chat.
Shouter Pro – The Announcer
Customize what this app can do with voice notifications for battery and charging status, a notification reader, caller name, missed calls and time announcement, and text message reading.
Assists the visually impaired to read text and identify products with various modes, such as: Document, Short Text, Barcode, Object, Color, Money Recognition, and Product Identification.
Speaking Email: Free and Subs.
Makes email easy to use for those with visual impairment, blindness, stroke, dyslexia, or motor dysfunction. Designed to be used without needing to see or touch the screen, Speaking Email works as a fully voice operated email app. Note: a sighted assistant or VO is required to sign into your email account and configure preferences.
Spectrum Access: Free
This free app contains Audio Description content for various movies and a few TV shows that can be downloaded and then synced seamlessly as your media plays.
Speechify – Text to Speech: Free & Subs.
A text-to-speech audio reader that can turn reading material such as books, documents, and articles into interactive audiobooks. Scan physical book pages with your camera, import internet articles from your mobile browser, or open a PDF to listen to at up to 900 words per minute. Premium voices with natural human inflection can be purchased as a sub based fee on monthly, quarterly, or annual plans.
Supersense: Free Trial & Subs.
Read text, explore your surroundings, and find objects such as people, chairs, doors, stairs, animals, and more! You can have unlimited access to Quick Read, Explore, Find, Import, and Read History modes. For premium features such as Document, Handwriting, Currency, Multi-Page Scanning, Barcode, and additional languages, you must subscribe at $4.99/month, $48.99/year, and $99.99 for a lifetime.
A visual-aid app to enhance accessibility through various features like AI Mode, Text, Face, Image, Color, Light and Document Recognition, PDF Reader, and Magnifier.
Enable Android’s TalkBack feature by going into Settings, then Accessibility. When TalkBack is on, it provides spoken feedback so that you can use your device without looking at the screen.
An app designed to identify objects for blind and visually impaired users. Must be used with TalkBack in order to be able to hear the results, otherwise they are printed in text at the bottom of the screen.
Text Fairy (OCR Text Scanner): Free
Free app that can extract text from images and read it aloud. Easy to use with automatic paper detection. Scan and share documents or edit and manage them in your files.
Visor – low vision magnifier: Free
A magnifying glass for your Android device with 3 different magnification levels and 5 different contrast modes with the option of pausing & turning on the LED flashlight.
Voice Access: Free
Provides accessibility by voice for hands-free mobile computing, helping anyone who has difficulty manipulating a touch screen. Various commands provide basic navigation (go back, go home, open Chrome), control over the current screen (tap next, scroll down), and text editing or dictation (type hello, replace coffee with tea). You can say “Help” at any time to see a short list of commands. This app can be activated after installation using Google Assistant by saying “Hey Google, Voice Access.” To stop your device from listening temporarily, say “stop listening.”
VoiceReader Speech Central: Free & Pro Version
This app offers PDF text-to-speech support without interruption by footers, headers, footnotes, and long web links. This app also offers text-to-speech support for the web as well as various document and e-book formats. Use this app to get an overview of various newspaper headlines for the day.
Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger: Free & Subs.
A walkie talkie app for teams with live voice, text, photos, and location sharing with end-to-end encryption. This app is free to use, with the option for subscription to its pro features for $3.99/month or $29.99/year.
A self-voicing app that doesn’t require TalkBack knowledge. Fully accessible with four gesture based single finger swipes. Great for calling those in your address book if your google assistant isn’t working!
An NFC (near-field communication) Tag reader/writer for WayTags, which can store 2K characters of text, multiple hyperlinks, and more. Put WayTags (sold separately) on your clothes, medication, etc. and then have your smartphone quickly read and write information with just a tap, no camera necessary thanks to your phones built in NFC reader.
WeWalk – Orientation/Mobility App: Free
An accessible navigation and exploration app that pairs with the WeWalk Smart Cane, or can be utilized alongside your everyday white cane. In this app, you can receive O&M friendly walking directions as you navigate to your desired destination. Along the way, you can view public transportation stops near you along with their arrival times and receive alerts when you are reaching your bus or train stop so that you’re never left rushing for the exit.
weZoom– Magnifier and Low Vision Aid: Free
Free magnifier app with color contrast filters, autofocus, flashlight, & up to 8x mag.
Zinio – Magazine News App: Free
A magazine-reader application on the iPhone/iPad (iOS 11.0+) and computer that has nearly every major magazine available for single-issue purchase or by subscription within the app. You can easily zoom in on any column of text or picture, and you can hit a single button to have the article reformatted to allow for enlarging the text, changing the color contrast, and having articles read aloud.
Hadley School for the Blind’s iFocus Series
Series of videos regarding accessible technology use. A highly recommended resource. See all the videos at: https://www.youtube.com/user/HadleySchool/
The Chicago Lighthouse’s AT Helpdesk: 1 (888) 825-0080
A free technology helpdesk available to help with technology questions regarding any blindness or low vision device, including questions on phone and tablet accessibility.
Free workshops by AT&T (you do not need to be an AT&T customer to attend)
AT&T are providing free workshops to teach those with disabilities, caregivers and professionals how to use smartphones and tablets. Contact Kendra.Cox@att.com for more information.
Verizon Resource Center for People with Disabilities
Their resource center includes: quick tips on how to zoom, change color, and use a screen reader, accessibility standards they abide by, and support by disability. They also offer different resources based on specific disabilities, such as: a visual assistance landing page; accessible apps and features; fios text-to-speech; descriptive video services; fios TV channel lineups; alternate billing formats; unlimited plans; prepaid plans; and connected device plans. Access the resource here: https://www.verizon.com/about/accessibility/overview.
The Chicago Lighthouse Tools for Living Store offers Android phone & tablet training! Training on a device is $40/hour with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
If you are 55 or older, contact Noreen Costello at 1-847-510-2500 or email Noreen.Costello@chicagolighthouse.org for hourly training – FREE OF CHARGE!
If you are under the age of 55, please call Patrick Andrade (312) 997-3649 or Michelle Fiocchi (847) 510-2061 to schedule Android phone/tablet training or accessibility help.