Switch Control – Head Movements to Control Interface of iOS 7

iOS 7 Switch ControlOne of the main proponents of the web is that all users should have accessibility to it; this is also the case with mobile products apparently as there is news that iOS 7, which is currently in beta, allows users to control aspects of the user interface with the left and right movements of their head.

To try it out, make sure you have installed the iOS 7 beta 2 version which is available as of now.

Switch Control – What Sorts of Things Can Be Done?

While this sounds cool at first, like with all new things technological, it isn’t exactly the most practical for the average user, being able to simply touch the screen; rather, this feature is more for users who aren’t able to easily touch the screen to operate their device, and for these people this feature is pretty cool.

Basically, there is a feature in the “Accessibility” section that allows users to control various aspects of the operating system with head gestures. There is a setting that modifies left head movements and a setting that modifies right head movements – Switch Control, where in you see different options to control the interface and select the options.

Some of the configurations that can be applied are: setting a particular head movement to mean the home button–i.e. when you move your head the left, for example, it will be just like touching the home button on your device, activating Siri which is very helpful, changing the volume, or even signalling to the device that you want to tap whatever element is currently selected.

How does Switch Control work?

Some features are pretty obvious in how they work, essentially the front-facing camera can capture the motion of your head and use that as input to send to the hardware. Depending on the configurations of left and right head movement, the operating system can execute whatever command was set–e.g. if Siri is supposed to be activated with a right head movement then the system can simply execute the app.

For more dynamic uses, such as making use of the tap feature with head movements, the operating system cycles through the available elements on the screen, highlighting  each with a blue dot. When the blue dot lands on the element that you want to execute,  simply move your head in the direction that executes the tap function. While this does require a bit of timing, the newest version of iOS is still in beta, which means that the possibility of elongating the length that the dot stays on a given element could potentially increase.

iOS 7 Switch Control


While there has been somewhat harsh criticism on iOS 7’s new user interface design by strongly opinionated individuals, this aspect of the operating system seems to be something that everybody can get behind. Increasing the access of technology for everyone should be the goal of all manufacturers.

The web has had an accessibility agenda for the longest time and it’s nice to see that this is translating to hardware. While this is primarily for those with accessibility issues, I’m sure some enterprising–or bored–individual will come up with a way to make this feature compelling of a mainstream audience. The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system will be available in the Fall of this year.

There’s a lot being included in the iOS 7, and you can check the iOS 7 features list, which explain the best and very useful ones which were newly introduced or were upgraded. One of them is Control center which although quite criticized, is helpful with the shortcuts.

Contributed by Satyakam

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