Accessibility Overview Workbook Series 2: Rotor

In this workbook series we will learn how to access basic accessibility features on a mobile device running iOS (iPad/iPhone). Today’s lesson will cover section 3 (Rotor).

Section 3: Rotor


Select the functions that you would like to appear in the Rotor. For example: Select Containers, Headings, Links, Tables, Text Fields, Punctuation, Handwriting, etc.

While VO is on, the Rotor allows quick access to additional accessibility features. As we learned during our VO practice, the Rotor can be turned clockwise and counter clockwise to navigate options. Rotor options vary depending on which app you are in. The Rotor is beneficial for quickly navigating apps and the web by moving backward or forward by links, buttons, headings, etc.

For more about Rotor options, check the Apple Accessibility page.

Per the Apple website:  

"With all of these options, you can move from one item to the next by flicking on the screen from top to bottom with one finger. You can move VoiceOver to the previous item by flicking from bottom to top.

Review text as you type with Characters, Words, and Lines

  • Characters: Reads one character at a time.
  • Words: Reads one word at a time.
  • Lines: Reads one line at a time. 

Move through the organization of a page or screen

  • Containers: Moves from one onscreen container to the next. The Dock and Home screen, for example, are containers.
  • Headings: Moves from one heading to the next. Try using this rotor in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Landmarks: Moves between banners, navigation, and buttons in HTML content (such as a webpage or HTML email).
  • Same Item: Moves from one item to the next item of the same kind. Try this with the links in the results of a Safari web search.
  • Vertical Navigation: Moves up or down with one-finger vertical flicks. Try this on the Home screen.
  • Static Text: Moves from one line of static HTML text to the next. Static text is the main text on the page—not links or button names, for example.

Move from link to link

  • Links: Moves from one link to the next.
  • Visited Links: Moves from one link to the next, but only those that you've already clicked.
  • Non-visited Links: Moves from one link to the next, but only those that you haven't clicked yet.
  • In-Page Links: Moves from one in-page link to the next on a webpage.

More ways to move through a page:

  • Tables: Moves the VoiceOver cursor to the start of a table on a webpage.
  • Lists: Moves the VoiceOver cursor to the start of a list on a webpage.
  • Buttons: Moves from one button to the next in HTML content.
  • Form Controls: Moves between buttons and menus when using a form.
  • Text Fields: Moves from one text field to the next in HTML content.
  • Search Fields: Moves from one search field to the next in HTML content.
  • Images: Moves to images.”


Rotor Worksheet

Use the Rotor to explore features within the Safari app, Calendar app, Notes, etc.

Download the Rotor worksheet here.

Write what each rotor setting does:  













Same Item


Vertical Navigation


Static Text




Visited Links


Non-visited Links: 


In-Page Links








Form Controls


Text Fields


Search Fields





Additional Rotor Resources


Which Rotor settings do you think would be most beneficial for your student’s needs?  Leave a comment below!


Read more about: Assistive Technology