Using the Reader Available and Reader Appearance Features on iOS

A helpful feature for readers with visual impairments is the Reader Available setting available on iOS.  On portable devices such as iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the extra noise on webpages such as advertisements and other information can overload low vision readers as well as blind readers using VoiceOver.  Reader Available and Reader Appearance features are also found on Mac computers.*

The video below shows the Reader Available feature before and after the feature has been activated.  This feature is only available on select webpages using the Safari web browser.

For sighted readers there is a visual icon to let you know when a webpage has the Reader Available feature.  The icon is found on the top right side of the webpage, to the left of the web address box.

Screenshot of Reader symbol outlined in read.


For Blind users, VoiceOver will say “Reader Available”. 

The following screenshots show the difference between a webpage without Reader Available on and one with Reader Available on.  (Example website

Reader Available Off

Screenshot of Wikipedia page with items in the column on the right side of the page (Reader Off).

Reader Available On

Screenshot of Wikipedia page arranged in one column, taking up the entire screen. (Reader On)

For Low Vision readers, font and background settings can be adjusted to allow for more efficient reading.  It is called the Reader Appearance option.  Users can increase and decrease text size, change the color theme (white, sepia, gray, and night), and change font styles. 

Some examples of those features are shown below

Reader Appearance Menu

Screenshot the Reader Appearance dropdown menu, with font and color options.

Reader Appearance Background Options


Screenshot of Reader feature with the white background.


Screenshot of Reader with Sepia colors (off white background and dark brown font).


Screenshot of Reader with grey background and white font.


Screenshot of Reader with Black background a light grey font.

Below is a screenshot of the Font options.  The page showing is set on the San Francisco font style.

Screenshot of Reader feature displaying Font options with San Francisco font selected.

Let us know in the comments below how using Reader Available and Reader Appearance features have helped your students!

*To access the Reader shortcut command on an iPad (in Safari), press and hold the command button when in an app and it will bring up the Shortcut keyboard commands for that app. To toggle the Reader on/off press command+shift+R.  This command works with and without running VoiceOver. This Reader shortcut keyboard command also works with a Mac computer.

VoiceOver Resources

Use VoiceOver on a Mac

Getting Started with VoiceOver on an iPad 

VoiceOver Gesture iOS Lesson Plan


Collage of iOS reader

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