Apple’s new accessibility features: a game changer in health care

Apple’s new accessibility features—eye tracking, music haptics, and vocal shortcuts—mark a major technological leap to enhance life quality for individuals with disabilities. These innovations promise to revolutionize health care by boosting patient autonomy, care quality, and inclusive design. Here’s a comprehensive look at their transformative potential.

Eye tracking on iPad and iPhone for enhanced patient communication

Eye-tracking technology is a groundbreaking development for individuals with physical disabilities, enabling users to control their devices solely with their eyes. This technology is particularly beneficial for patients with conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injuries, where motor control is limited. Medical professionals can leverage this feature to help these patients communicate more effectively, access information, and even control environmental systems directly from their iPads or iPhones. The privacy-centric design ensures that all data is processed on-device, maintaining patient confidentiality—a critical aspect of health care.

Empowering patients

The introduction of eye tracking on iPad and iPhone is transformative for patients with limited mobility. This technology allows these individuals to interact with health care apps, access their medical records, and communicate with health care providers effortlessly. By simply using their eyes, patients can navigate through medical information, schedule appointments, and even relay their symptoms and concerns, fostering greater independence and participation in their health care journey.

Enhanced telehealth

Eye tracking significantly enhances the telehealth experience by allowing patients to navigate virtual consultations independently. Patients can select options, respond to doctors’ inquiries, and even control the camera angle during a video call, all through eye movements. This autonomy makes telehealth sessions more efficient and user-friendly, especially for those who may struggle with traditional input methods due to physical disabilities.

Music haptics: a new dimension of music therapy for the deaf or hard of hearing

Music haptics introduces an innovative way for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals to experience music through tactile feedback. Utilizing the Taptic Engine, this feature translates audio into taps, textures, and vibrations. This technology can be transformative in therapeutic settings, such as music therapy. It allows patients with hearing impairments to feel the rhythm and vibrations of music, which can be used to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and facilitate non-verbal communication.

Assistive technology integration

Apple’s eye-tracking feature can be seamlessly integrated with other assistive devices, creating a holistic ecosystem for individuals who rely on technology for daily living. For instance, patients who use speech-generating devices or environmental control units can now have a unified system where their gaze controls their communication tools and their interaction with mobile devices. This integration reduces the learning curve and enhances the usability of assistive technologies, making everyday tasks less daunting and more accessible.

Rehabilitation with eye tracking

In rehabilitation settings, eye-tracking technology offers a unique tool for therapists to monitor patients’ progress and adapt exercises to their needs. Eye tracking can assess cognitive function and visual coordination for patients recovering from neurological injuries or dealing with conditions that affect motor skills. Therapists can design custom exercises that patients control with their eyes, providing a non-invasive, engaging way to strengthen neural pathways and improve motor skills. The data collected from these sessions can inform treatment plans and measure recovery milestones, making rehabilitation more responsive and personalized.

Vehicle motion cues: Alleviating motion sickness in patients with vestibular disorders

Vehicle motion cues reduce motion sickness by providing sensory cues that align with vehicle movements. This feature can make using digital devices in moving vehicles more comfortable for patients who experience motion sickness due to vestibular disorders or other conditions. It effectively decreases the sensory conflict that leads to nausea and discomfort, enhancing the user experience.

Additional medical applications and benefits of Apple’s accessibility features

CarPlay accessibility. For patients with hearing impairments, the sound recognition feature in CarPlay can alert them to critical sounds like sirens or horns, enhancing safety during travel.

Live captions and VisionOS. The system-wide live captions in VisionOS help patients who are deaf or hard of hearing follow conversations and media content more easily, which is essential for clear communication in telemedicine sessions.

Magnifier’s reader mode. This mode assists patients with low vision in reading medication labels, instructions, and other essential health information without additional devices.


Apple’s latest accessibility features are more than just technological innovations; they are transformative tools for the health care industry. By empowering patients, enhancing telehealth, integrating with assistive technologies, supporting rehabilitation, and addressing specific medical needs, these innovations promise to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and contribute to a more inclusive health care environment. As these features become available, the potential for positive change in patient care and therapeutic outcomes is immense, showcasing the power of technology in fostering health and independence.

Harvey Castro is a physician, health care consultant, and serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the health care industry. He can be reached on his website,, Twitter @HarveycastroMD, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. He is the author of Bing Copilot and Other LLM: Revolutionizing Healthcare With AI, Solving Infamous Cases with Artificial Intelligence, The AI-Driven Entrepreneur: Unlocking Entrepreneurial Success with Artificial Intelligence Strategies and Insights, ChatGPT and Healthcare: The Key To The New Future of Medicine, ChatGPT and Healthcare: Unlocking The Potential Of Patient Empowerment, Revolutionize Your Health and Fitness with ChatGPT’s Modern Weight Loss Hacks, Success Reinvention, and Apple Vision Healthcare Pioneers: A Community for Professionals & Patients.


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