The latest operating system for the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch, iOS 7, has introduced some major changes to the accessibility of these devices.  In particular, switch access is now built right into the accessibility options, providing operating system level alternative access to these tablet devices for the first time – and this update is the main purpose for this blog post. In addition, there are also a range of apps that have switch access built into the app itself – and I’ll cover those apps and the options for switch interfaces too as I believe these still have a relevant place in the switch options for iOS.

And before I go on – I just want to apologise in advance as this is a REALLY long blog post with several videos but I wanted to cover this topic thoroughly.

Jelly bean switch

Switch Access to iOS7

As mentioned above, Apple has now added switch access into iOS 7 as a standard Accessibility feature. For those of you who tried to use the old VoiceOver based scanning in iOS 6, this new feature should be a big improvement. It is much more user friendly – and is more typical of the sort of switch access we are accustomed to in other assistive technologies. It isn’t, however, something that works seamlessly with all apps – it is up to each app developer to build in support for this form of access. Apple has done a great job in making it as flexible as possible but there are still apps, or features in apps, that it isn’t compatible with. You’ll see some examples of this in the videos below. Generally, you can be sure that Apple apps will be compatible and that the iOS is compatible as well.

And before I get too far into this blog post I wanted to strongly recommend the fabulous booklet from AbleNet iOS 7 Switch Control: The Missing User Guide. It truly is the missing manual – and thank goodness that they put it together!!  If you are looking at setting up Switch Control and want a plain English explanation of the settings then this is the booklet for you!

Now – back to iOS 7….

Accessibility is now much higher up the list of items in the General Menu under Settings (hooray!). Once you go into the Accessibility settings, you will need to scroll down to the “Physical & Motor” category to find Switch Control.

IMG_0322Once you enter the Switch Control section of Accessibility Settings then you need to turn Switch Control on. Immediately, you should see a scanning box moving around your screen. However, unless you have previously turned on Switch Control on and setup some switches, you won’t have any way to control this scanning box as yet and after a short period of time, the box will stop moving around.


Apple is using the word switches in a very general way, as there are a range of options that can be used as a switch with this new feature. If you go into the “Switches” section you will see a box titled “Add New Switch”. Selecting this box, takes you to a further menu that allows you determine whether you are going to use an external switch, the iPad screen or the camera.

We’ll start by talking about the external switch options as this is the most varied and complex!

External Switch Options

Before setting up your external switch, you need to have a device connected to your iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth that can send a “switch” or a “key” press. This can include a Bluetooth keyboard or most of the pre-existing iPad switch interfaces. To setup a Bluetooth keyboard or switch interface, you simply need to make sure that your external keyboard or interface is “discoverable” (check the manual) and then go to the Bluetooth menu in Settings. Pair the device with the iPad also following the instructions in the manual for the device.  It will then appear in the Bluetooth menu as connected.

IMG_0323I was able to use the Apple Wireless Keyboard, the APPlicator from Pretorian, the Blue2 from AbleNet (and please note – the information from AbleNet is that only the Blue2 interfaces that require a passcode are currently compatible), the Switch2Scan from Pretorian, the older Tecla Shield and the SimplyWorks switch options from Pretorian and Inclusive. All of these interfaces worked with the new iOS 7 Switch Control, although I did need to turn my iPad completely off and then on again when changing between interfaces and I had to make sure that each of them was set to send a typical keyboard keypress such as a letter, number or enter.  I was also able to use the new Tecla Shield DOS – although that shouldn’t be that surprising as it was released after the iOS 7 beta became available.  Christopher Hills has also produced a preliminary video where he uses the Tecla Shield DOS with iOS 7 – and I can’t wait to watch his next video which should give us a much more thorough review both of the Tecla Shield and also of how he has used Switch Control.

I was also able to set the J-Pad and the Simply Works Joystick up. I was able to set the left and right movements of these joysticks to each have a different function in Switch Control which could provide some users with a very nice and neat two switch option.

I wasn’t able to get the Zybox for iOS to work with the new Switch Control – although it still worked perfectly with VoiceOver control under iOS 7.  This is probably understandable as this external switch option in Switch Control seems to need to a Bluetooth keypress and the Zybox is a hard wired interface using the iPad/iPhone dock.  I would imagine that this may also be an issue with the Perrero but I have been unable to test this as I don’t have access to one at this stage.

Having covered all that hardware – let’s go back to setting it up! Once you have a Bluetooth keyboard or switch interface setup, you need to go back into Switch Control (under Settings -> General -> Accessibility) and go into the submenu for switches once more.

At this point, you need to know how many switches the end user can access and you need to have these switches ready to go and plugged into the interface the end user will be using. I am going to set the system up with 1 switch and with 2 switches to give you different examples.

Single switch scanning

Thoughout this blog post I have sprinkled different videos, including videos of single switch scanning using Switch Control in iOS 7. You can also watch Luis Perez’s video on Switch Control in iOS 7 for a shorter summary.  I have also explained much of the setup within the text of the blog post for people like me who do better with text versions!

To setup a single Bluetooth switch, I need to go into the Switches menu and select “Add New Switch…”. and choose “External”. Once the iPad prompts me to “Activate your external switch…” I simply press the switch. The iPad then sees the switch press and asks me to save it under a specific name – and pulls the onscreen keyboard up so that I can label it.

Once you have given it a name, the Actions menu appears. Since I am setting this switch up for single switch scanning, I am going to choose “Select item”.

And the video below shows all of the above happening and then demonstrates how scanning works in both iOS and in the Notes app.

When I set Switch Control up for an individual, there are also a number of settings which may need to be altered. The video below will walk you through the switch and scanning settings – or you can read below for a text based version.

Firstly, it is important that Auto Scanning is turned on. Without this turned on, single switch access isn’t possible.

IMG_0326 I also need to look at the Timing settings. Auto Scanning Time is the speed at which the scanning cursor is going to move around the screen. The default is one second but each individual user may want it slower or faster than this. It is easy to increase and decrease this at increments of 0.5 of a second using the + and – buttons under Auto Scanning Time.

Pause on First Item is an interesting setting. ZYGO USA had this feature many years ago in their Macaws and many users were much more accurate with that extra delay on the first scanning item.  it is definitely worth turning this on and trialing it.

Loops will be familiar to most people who use other forms of assistive technology. This is the number of times that the scan will cycle through before stopping. Most users I know prefer 1, 2 or 3 cycles but there is an option to go all the way up to 10 if needed.

The Auto Tap feature is one that some users may prefer – but requires quick switch timing. In this mode, every item is automatically selected after the switch is pressed – unless the user does a quick double switch press which will bring up the onscreen menu that appears after each switch press when this item is off. I look forward to trialling this with different users to see which option they prefer!

The Move Repeat option doesn’t work in single Switch Control so you can quickly move beyond that one.

There are also another couple of settings under switch stabilization that should be investigated. Firstly, Hold Duration. This is the length of time that a user will hold their switch down before the iPad interprets it as a switch press. This is ideal for some users who do quick accidental mishits of their switch.  Turning this on means that the iPad will ignore these quick mishits and only respond to slightly longer, deliberate switch presses. Similarly, some users find they accidentally double hit the switch – and the second setting, Ignore Repeat, can be setup very successfully to ignore those second, accidental presses.

The next setting is called “Gliding Cursor”, which is the only setting for Point Scanning. This is a feature that the iPad defaults to whenever it cannot see relevant hotspots in an app. This is very similar to the crosshair scanner used by some computer switch interfaces and enables the user to select any point on the screen using a clever moving cursor.  The speed of that gliding cursor can be controlled using this setting.

The next subcategory of features is audio. Sound effects turns on an audible click that accompanies the moving cursor. This is an option in many other assistive technologies and has often been helpful when someone is learning to use scanning – although they have often elected to turn it off as they become more proficient. Speech is an option for auditory scanning. This reads out the VoiceOver cues programmed into different apps – and as soon as you turn this on an extra menu item called Speaking Rate appears to enable you to control the speed of this voice. Unfortunately I found that turning this feature on caused some apps to crash and caused other apps to be unusable. Coupled with the fact that this relies on an app having VoiceOver cues recorded, this means that there will be many fewer apps that are accessible through auditory scanning than through visual scanning. In addition, the apps that work only with Point Scanning (the gliding cursor) are not able to make use of the auditory scan cues at all.

Included Menu Items is a subcategory that controls what appears in the little pop up menu that shows whenever a switch is pressed. This enables you to turn items on and off in this menu.

Group Items is the setting that causes the scan to first select a group of items. In traditional assistive technology the closest thing to this would be “row column” scanning. Due to the highly indivudualised nature of iPad apps there isn’t always a row – but the visual scan will cluster nearby items to enable faster scanning of the screen. Some users may find this difficult in the beginning – so I can see that this is a setting which might get turned off but will get turned on later on as the user becomes more familiar navigating around.

And finally, we have the visual category. Turning on Large Cursor makes the visual scanning cursor thicker and easier to see. The cursor colour can also be changed if needed or desired.

The next two videos show some extra features of switch and scanning access not seen in the previous videos. Point Scanning (gliding cursor) and some of the device control functions are demonstrated in the first video.  The second video shows auditory scanning in action.

Two switch scanning

Two switch scanning is the preferred option for many switch users – for a wide range of reasons. Some prefer it because it is faster, others because it doesn’t have the same timing requirements. Two switch scanning is extremely easy to setup on the iPad – with the first switch moving the cursor around the screen and the second switch selecting the item. Most of the above settings still apply – but for this option to be successful you need to turn Auto Scanning off and you also need to set the first switch up to “Move to next item” and the second switch is set to “select item”.

The video below demonstrates this setup and gives a short demonstration of two switch scanning.

Using the Screen as a Switch

As well as the external Bluetooth switches and interfaces mentioned above, the iPad also has the option to use the screen as a switch. At this stage, the whole screen becomes a single switch – so all the information above about single switch scanning applies to this setting.

Before setting the iPad screen up as a single switch there is another setting that it is very important to have setup. You will definitely want to go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility and turn on the Accessibility Shortcut at the bottom of the Accessibility Menu. This setting allows you to triple click the Home button to escape from Switch Control. This is most important when using the whole screen as a switch as it allows you to quickly turn off Switch Control and use the screen as a touch screen once more. So just make sure that Switch Control is ticked under this menu. Generally, I find that this setting turns itself on automatically when Switch Control is enabled – but you might want to turn the other Accessibility features off to make it faster to get out of switch mode if you are just learning or experimenting.

IMG_0328Once you are happy with these settings, then go into Switch Control and set the screen up as a switch. You can do this by going into the Switches sub menu, selecting “Add New Switch” and then selecting “Screen” and “Full Screen”. Since you are currently limited to one switch scanning in this option, it is best to set the screen up to “Select Item” when the Switch Actions menu appears.

Now – you can operate your iPad using the screen as the single switch using all the settings discussed above.

Using the Camera as a Switch

Apple also offers an option to set the iPad/iPhone camera up as a switch. It can track your face movement and determine whether you have moved your head to the left or the right. This is an option that is only available in newer iPhones and iPads. Even with a 4th generation iPad I haven’t had a lot of success using it as it is very specific about the way in which you move your head and also requires good lighting to work well.

However, when setup successfully it will allow you to use your head for one or two switch scanning of the iOS. Once again, go into Switch Control and then into the Switches sub menu, selecting “Add New Switch” and then selecting “Camera”. At this point decide whether you are going to setup a “Left Head Movement” or a “Right Head Movement” or both. If you are just setting up one, it is best to set it up to “Select Item” when the Switch Actions menu appears. If you are setting up both, then you could do two switch scanning and should set one of them up as “Move to Next Item”.

And that’s my full rundown of the new Switch Control in iOS 7. I need to spend more time on gestures and custom gestures and will blog about them separately in the future.

Switch Accessible apps

As I mentioned earlier, there is also a range of apps that have been made switch accessible by their developers.  These work with a different group of switch interfaces and may be an easier option for some users to master – but these options don’t allow the user to move from app to app – switch access is in-app only. For many users this switch access will be simpler and require fewer presses and steps. Many of the apps are also cause and effect type apps.

For these switch accessible apps, you also need to have an iPad switch interface – and there are several which have been released just to work with these apps. The good news is that most of those now also work with the new Switch Control in iOS 7 – giving you more bang for your buck!

There are several of these interfaces – and you can see the full list in my blog post on this topic from October last year. I expect this range to change now due to the extra options with iOS 7 – and AbleNet, for one, has already announced that they will be releasing a new edition of the Blue2 soon.

Once you have a switch interface, the next question is generally “which Apps are switch accessible?”  To help with this question, Alex Dunn from Inclusioneers and I put together a Switch Accessible Apps resource. The resource lists all the apps that we are currently aware of that have switch access, details the type of switch access (e.g. cause and effect, 1 switch scanning, 2 switch scanning, visual scanning, auditory scanning) and also lists which switch interface(s) the App is compatible with. Alex and I are working on keeping this updated – so if you find any Apps missing or have any comments please let us know!

And I hope you’ve found this blog post useful – and you probably deserve a medal if you’ve made it to the bottom of this extremely long post! I’d be really interested to hear how other people are going with all the new options for switch access – and, as always, really happy to receive comments about this post.

Cheers 🙂

This Post Has 71 Comments

  1. Barb Lyons

    What a wonderful person you are, I have shared with my small community of switch users and professionals that support other switch users. Thanks for all your hard work, love the videos extremely informative.

  2. David Harraway

    Jane you just saved a lot of us hours of work with this wonderfully deep level of testing. I was busting my brain trying to figure out how to get gliding cursor to work and now I see it’s a default when there are no hotspots. Agree with you about the issues with the head movement. We also found background mattered and angle of idevice too. Really hoping that the API will allow more devs to build in better auditory scanning and a way to scan in and out of apps too!

    1. Jane

      Thanks David! And as regards gliding cursor, you can also turn it on manually. In the little menu that pops up you need to go to Settings and then select “Item Mode” so it now says “Point Mode”. You can manually toggle between what Apple calls Point Mode and Item Mode yourself. It took me quite a while to find this – not until after I’d finished this blog post in fact. And great to get the feedback about the background. I just had a white wall behind me in one situation but low light (a low watt ceiling light in the evening) and that was probably my worst experience with using the camera as a switch.

      1. Adam Lynn

        Thanks for the review Jane! In regards to Gliding Cursor, I got myself into a spot of bother when using it to access the pop up menu. I found it very difficult to turn it off and go back to group scanning using switch control, in the end resorted to triple clicking out of switch access altogether. Any ideas? Have you noticed too that only grouped items onscreen are scanned, any items “below the fold” are ignored and you have to use the pop up menu to navigate (scroll), making them visible to allow scanning to happening. A very switch intensive action.

        1. Jane

          Hi Adam,

          With regards to the Gliding Cursor, if you go to the pop up switch menu and select Settings and then Item Mode the system will go back to Item scanning if it can. If it can’t see hotspots to scan it will stay in Point Mode (Gliding Cursor). And you can always select the Home button on the switch menu if you get stuck – that will take you back to the Home screen without having to exit scanning.

          With regards to the menus – yes – you need to navigate by scrolling but I’m sure that’s better than not having access and probably more time efficient than having to scan through a whole menu every time.



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  5. Colin Dean

    Thanks Jane for this wonderfully clear and comprehensive explanation. I think there’s still a role for some apps to have their own switch support, in cases where it’s useful to have simpler control of some of the app’s functionality with less presses. The great thing with iOS 7 is both options are possible. Certainly, in our apps (from Special iApps) Apple’s switch control takes precedence if it’s turned on, and our own support kicks in if it’s off. I imagine other apps will behave similarly.

    1. Jane

      Thanks Colin – and I completely agree about the need for some apps to have their own switch support. For many people who are learning to use a switch the simpler control will be an awesome starting point.

  6. Brian Franklin

    We noticed you had posted links using the ‘original’ Blue2 in your blog and links to their website. I did not see you mention it would not work as we have found and that is what Ablenet is stating now too. Did you find the same?
    You mention the Blue2 but then later that new Blue2 would be coming out.

    1. Jane

      Hi Brian, I’ve had no problem getting the Blue2 to work. I’ve had two people (now three including you) write and say that they haven’t been able to get theirs working. Similarly, I cannot get the Switch Box from Therapy Box/RJ Cooper to work but one of the people who emailed me about the Blue2 says that is working just fine for him. So – I’m going back into the blog post to add a statement that just because an interface is working for me doesn’t mean it works overall and people should check with the manufacturer. It does seem like it’s hit and miss with some.


      1. Jane

        HI Brian,

        I’ve also just had information from AbleNet that the Blue2 that require a code to pair are compatible, but the units which don’t require a code to pair aren’t.

        So, that explains why mine is working and others aren’t.



  7. Kati


    you know on the 2 switch video.. can you just keep the ‘mover’ switch pressed down for it scan faster (say item you wanted was at bottom right) or do you have to keep repeatedly pressing to move by one item per press?

      1. Kati

        Thats gonna take ages on a page full of apps and if typing. can you go down line by line or does it only go on along each line one pic at a time?

        what is the block scanning like? could you speed things up by doing several small blocks?


        1. Jane

          Yes – the block scanning clusters it together. That is on by default. On a home screen, it automatically clusters every row as a block – so you would scan down to the row you want and then across to the app. On the onscreen keyboard it highlights half at a time. Sometimes, point scanning using the gliding cursor might be a faster way of getting where you want as well.

    1. Jane

      HI Neil – have you altered the speed of the Gliding Cursor in Settings? Just in case – it’s under General -> Accessibility -> Switch Control -> Gliding Cursor Speed (it’s the only item under Point Scanning). If you’ve already done that and are still finding it too fast then please let me know – and also report it to Apple.

    1. Jane

      HI Sliderr,

      I’m sorry – I didn’t realise that you were asking a question last time.

      As far as I can tell, you can use any Bluetooth keyboard but not all keys work. For example, on two different Bluetooth keyboards I haven’t been able to get the up and down arrows to work. It seems to be mostly limited to numbers, letters, space and enter.

      I also haven’t been able to get any Bluetooth mouse to work – although the two I have are both Apple brand so another brand may work.

      Hope that helps.



  8. Bronwyn

    Thanks for a wonderfully informative post as always!
    I’ve not been able to connect a switch interface yet. They have all paired/connected OK. But when I go to set it up in switch access settings, I get stuck on the page where you give the switch a name. The page is basically frozen, with buttons and keyboard not working. I need to restart to get out of this.
    This has been the same issue on my iPad 3 and iPhone 4S.
    I’ve tried the old Blue 2 switch (which requires a passcode, so should work- and passcode was sucessful during the pairing process), Apple Bluetooth keyboard, old model Tecla, and Therapybox- all have the same result. I make sure to disconnect/forget each option before trying another (and even restart).
    I have been able to use full screen as an access method, and this works really well.
    I’ve tried various settings when I try to set up an interface e.g. having the full screen switch set up before setting up another. If I toggle switch control on (to use the full screen switch) when I’m on the frozen screen, scanning occurs but I can’t select.
    I’m assuming its an issue with my iDevices rather than the interfaces as I get the same issue each time.
    I know this is probably a curly one- any suggestions of what I can try?

    1. Jane

      Hi Bronwyn,

      Can you try turning all of the other accessibility features off? There is a specific issue where the Bluetooth devices won’t connect properly if Zoom is turned on which is very similar to the issue you are having – and I know some other people have had issues when VoiceOver is on. Can you turn all of the the Accessibility settings completely off, and then restart your iPad and start again trying to setup an external switch.

      Let me know how that goes.


    1. Jane

      HI Richard,

      Have you turned off all the other accessibility settings first? Please make sure that they are off, then setup a switch (external or the iPad screen) and let me know how that goes.



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    1. Jane

      Hi Sliderr,

      The best device probably depends on what else you want to do with it (if anything).

      The APPlicator works well with the new switch control and is also compatible with all the switch accessible apps. I believe this will also be the case with the new Blue2 – although I haven’t tested it yet.

      The Tecla DOS works with switch control and it also works with Android tablets and with PCs.

      Both of the above use Bluetooth as the connection method.

      Zygo is about to bring out a new Zybox which will work with switch control and which plugs into the port on the iPad/iPhone. This solves problems for some people who find Bluetooth inconsistent due to other things in their environment, such as hearing aid loops.



  10. Sliderr


    I want to have full access to all features the iPad Air / iPhone 5 with iOS7 with only one switch.

    I have Pererro but it only works with VoiceOver and I can not silence the voice 🙁

    Is the new Zybox X (L) is compatible with iOS7 and works without a VoiceOver?

    Do you know the wired device (except Zybox) that is compatible with iOS7 and works without a VoiceOver?

    Will the new Tecla Shield DOS is fully compatible with iOS7 and works without a VoiceOver?

    How do I use the new Tecla Shield DOS with PC (Windows 7)?

    1. Jane

      Hi Sliderr,

      Sorry for the slow response but I’ve been away.

      I believe the new Zybox works with SwitchControl and doesn’t use VoiceOver. I haven’t seen this yet so you would be best to email the company –

      I don’t know of any other wired devices that are compatible with Switch Control in iOS7 except the new Zybox.

      The new Tecla Shield DOS is completely compatible with Switch Control in iOS7. I’ll be posting a review of that in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t tried it with Windows and you would be best to talk to the company about that too. I only have Macs to try it with.


  11. Lindsay

    I’ve got my switches set as you do and I’ve been trying to use the switches in ProLoQuo2Go, only problem is the “back” button isn’t an option. So once I go into a folder, I can’t go back to the previous section….Any ideas?

    1. Jane

      HI Lindsay,

      I’m not having the same issue as you – the back or home button scans no problem. There have been some updates to Proloquo2Go since Switch Control came out – perhaps make sure you have the most recent version and then try it again.

      If you are still having problems then I would contact the Assistiveware people – their technical support for Proloquo2Go is great.

      Hope you get it sorted.


  12. LHedley

    wow, this is all so informative. Now, a query, I am new to ipads and I am about to set one up for a student who has multiple disabilities including a visual impairment. She uses, very succesfully, an integra mouse to access an interactive whiteboard as she has no hand movement. She is very skilled at this. She is also very goo at using a mouth pointing device but they are too short to access the ipad and allow her to see the screen. The mouse has a usb and can be plugged in using a standard or mini usb plug. Using the cursor you mention as a switch, do you think the integra muse could work with the ipad? I need a way to work this if i can and information is limited.

    1. Jane

      Hi Lynn,

      At this stage there is no way that I know of to get a mouse to work with an iPad – or a mouse alternative like the Integramouse. I know this is something that lots of people would like – and it would be great if you emailed and let them know why you want this form of access.

      Best wishes


  13. Sue

    Thanks for all the info Jane. I have been trying to work out the best course of action re switches and ipad. I work with hearing impaired children many, with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. With your wealth of knowledge and experience which switch/switches and/or switch interface should I be investing in to allow these students to access apps on the ipad. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Jane

      HI Sue,

      I’m finding that a good introduction to switching on the iPad are the many switch accessible apps. I like the ones with some timing component and early scanning. I particularly like that ChooseIt! Maker now works across the computer and iPad so I can make a bigger range of activities to practice scanning with. And then I can look at moving to using Switch Control.

      If you want an interface that works with all the switch accessible apps, the camera, the music and can also work with Switch Control then I would look at the APPlicator. The Blue2 also lets you work with all the apps and with Switch Control.

      I hope that’s helpful. And you can get a list of the switch accessible apps on my site at



      1. Sue

        Hi Jane
        Thanks for the information. I do have some accessible apps but not the switch so will make that my next project on the road to communication for my students. I will let you know how it goes at the Inclusive Technology conference in Australia next year if I get the opportunity to speak to you.
        Thanks again.

  14. Jillian

    Hi Jane,
    Thanks for your help. I get as far as the scanning after setting up the one switch but don’t get the menu with six choices to return to home menu where you hit tap. It just keeps scanning. Any ideas? Thanks.

    1. Jane

      Hi Jillian,

      Have a look in the switch control settings. There is a menu item called “included menu items”. Go into that sub-menu and make sure all the menu items are turned on.

      If they are all turned on, the go back up the list of Switch Control settings and check that Auto Tap is off.

      Let me know if one of those works.


  15. Heather Weaver

    Is there a way to access ios7 with a head mouse/tracker? Or do you know of a Bluetooth version? I have tried using head gestures, but due to being so social, every time there is head movement my student selects something unintended. Any suggestions?

    1. Jane

      HI Heather,

      I don’t believe there is a way to access iOS7 with a head tracker or head mouse. I believe that is possible with Android (although I haven’t tried it myself) and of course it is possible with Windows OS but not with iOS7.

      I don’t have any other suggestions – alternative access to iOS7 is still quite limited at this stage.


        1. Jane

          With Windows you can use a USB device, such as the Tracker Pro. You should be able to Google more information and videos. With Android I haven’t ever tried it – but have been told it has been done. I have no first hand experience of doing this though so it would be best to Google that too.

          1. David Harraway

            First thing I did when I got my Nexus 7 was plug in a Tracker Pro and it worked perfectly as a mouse mover. You are stuck with the range of mouse pointer speeds in Android settings though. I think the Ablenet guys have a video up on YouTube of this too. The problem for some is the lack of a satisfactory dwell/hover click utility – means the person has to use an external switch to make selections of the items onscreen (and if head movement is all they have to manage mouse pointer movement then finding a switch site that doesn’t interfere with this is tricky).

  16. Bronwyn

    Hi again Jane,

    Have you had any luck with switch-accessible e-book apps? It seems iBooks and Kindle are not switch accessible- I can’t get it to turn pages. I tried EBook Reader, which works with the gliding cursor (but a pain to have to press the switch 4 times for each page turn).



    1. Jane

      Hi Bronwyn, I haven’t found anything that works well AND easily. iBooks works for some books – but it varies so much depending on the way each book has been formatted that it isn’t reliable. Let me know if you find anything else that works well – I’d love to know!!



      1. David Harraway

        Hi Jane, how have your found the Gliding Cursor vs the normal scanning mode in iOS7? I’m a little hot and cold on iOS7 scanning in general because the scan patterns vary depending on context (location in the app or iOS) which can make motor learning a challenge and the range of adjustments isn’t as extensive as I’d like; but the gliding cursor has been ok for some of the people I’ve seen if they got the concept of scan mousing down well.

  17. Amy

    Hi Jane,

    You don’t happen to have a list of apps that will work without the gliding cursor kicking in? Having to hit the switch 4 times with highly accurate timing is just not going to happen for the children I work with. Just seems to be such a waste of $ to keep having to purchase apps to find out whether they can be used or not. I guess I just don’t understand why the gliding cursor is coming up so frequently…some of the apps I’m trying (many from your list of switch-accessible apps) obviously have buttons to select – why aren’t they being recognized as hotspots??

    Thank you!


    1. jane

      HI Amy,
      I don’t have a list like that unfortunately.

      I’m told that the reason gliding cursor kicks in is because it can’t “see” the buttons because of the way they are programmed. Hopefully developers will fix this. I haven’t had time to check out Switch Control in iOS8 yet either to see if I get the same outcome there.



  18. laura

    Hi, I cannot figure out for the life of me how to get the gliding cursor to stop. In one of your comments, you stated: “With regards to the Gliding Cursor, if you go to the pop up switch menu and select Settings and then Item Mode the system will go back to Item scanning if it can. If it can’t see hotspots to scan it will stay in Point Mode (Gliding Cursor). And you can always select the Home button on the switch menu if you get stuck – that will take you back to the Home screen without having to exit scanning.”

    I cannot figure out how to access the pop-up switch menu though?

    Thanks to anyone that can help me!

    1. jane

      HI Laura, it will depend on the app you are in. If the developer hasn’t created any hot spots or tags then gliding cursor will always be active. You need to contact the developer about this and see if they can make it more accessible. If you are always in gliding cursor in iOS (on the home screen) then let me know and I’ll write you some step-by-step instructions to get out of it. It would also be great if you make sure your iPad or iPhone is updated to the latest operating system. Jane

      1. Kristin Leslie

        I am also looking for simple switch access to ebooks for 2-3rd grade but also with voice output. I need something where the child can turn the page and have the text read automatically with one switch press…no scanning through options. I am having a hard time finding this for the iPad. I am trying to set up scanning for Tarheel reader…as your blog suggested. The problem is I seem to be stuck in glidding cursor and can’t get back to block scanning. Any solutions for this? Is there a setting somewhere that I am missing?

        1. Kristin Leslie

          I resolved the gliding cursor issue…Somehow point mode had been selected in SC scanning menu. I just had to access the menus and scan through until I accessed “item mode.” (-: simple solution. Now on to finding some simple switch accessible books with text to speech.

        2. jane

          Hi Kristin, it might be worth looking at MyOwnBooks2Go as well – although I think you’ll find the reading level is too low although the access might be suitable. I can’t think of anything that exactly fits your needs. Please let me know if you find something. Jane

  19. Lily

    Hi firstly, thank you so much! But I’m having trouble setting up a single switch using a Tapio. When I turn on switch control, the autoscanning field goes gray and is unusable. I’m sure this is a big part of why I can’t get it to work! Any help would be so appreciated! Thank you!

    1. jane

      HI Lily, Unfortunately I don’t know the Tapio. It would be best for you to contact the manufacturer. I haven’t had this happen with any of the switch interfaces I own so I can’t help with any suggestions. Good luck!

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