Five iPhone Apps/Tools to Introduce to Your Child Who Is Blind or has Low Vision

Photo of Iphone showing various apps

The iPhone offers Vision Accessibility and various apps. These help with reading printed text, understanding surroundings, enjoying audiobooks, and finding routes. While many app options exist, the following are well-known and may be worth exploring with your child. To reduce frustration, I recommend using them in natural contexts and for short time intervals.


I’d explore Apple’s integrated, pre-installed screen reader, VoiceOver. Your child will be able to access digital text by audio and navigate phone use without the use of vision. To learn how to use VoiceOver, read American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)’s Working with Text and VoiceOver on a Mac and Apple iOS for iPhone and iPad: Considerations for Users with Visual Impairments and Blindness. To begin using the tool in a natural context, perhaps you can familiarize yourself with VoiceOver and invite your child to listen to an email or text from a family member.

KNFB Reader

Discover the KNFB Reader app, which utilizes a photograph/ scan of printed text and converts it to speech—no cell service or WiFi needed. To begin using the app in a natural context, perhaps your child will ask for a letter, document, or menu to be read to them, and you can encourage your child to use the KNFB Reader alongside you.

Seeing AI

Seeing AI is a free app that offers several features. It reads text, identifies products through barcodes, and recognizes objects like money, seating, or people. It works much like KNFB reader but needs cell service. For more info, check VisionAware’s article on Seeing AI for blind and visually impaired users. To use it practically, try identifying food by barcode while making a snack with your child. Or use it to help them understand new surroundings.


While not specific to individuals who are blind, the Overdrive app enables folks to listen to audiobooks for free when connected to your library card. To learn more, read Getting started with OverDrive eBooks, Audiobooks using OverDrive app. To use the app in a natural context, and if your library utilizes Overdrive, I highly recommend listening to audiobooks together during an afternoon or evening rest time or while your child plays with a quiet activity.

Accessible GPS

An accessible GPS such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, Blind Square, or Seeing Eye GPS will provide your child a method for learning and navigating new routes and orienting to new areas. I recommend trying a few different apps with your child and allowing them to decide which they prefer. To learn more, read Smartphone GPS Navigation for People with Visual Impairments. To begin using the app in a natural context, plan a family walk to get dessert!

The iPhone has many accessible tools and apps. It can be overwhelming to start. Begin with one or two apps that help your child daily. Or choose those that prepare them for independent adulthood. As a veteran I spoke with said, “Nowadays so much is electronic.” This is a great advantage for those with visual impairments. A smartphone, common in many households, offers extensive accessibility options.