Accessibility on macOS

macOS includes a wide variety of features and assistive technologies, such as screen and cursor magnification, a full-featured screen reader, visual flash alerts, closed captioning support, and much more. Take advantage of these features to make your apps accessible to users with disabilities.

Making Your App Accessible

Support for assistive apps is built-in with standard controls and subclasses. Accessibility APIs define how macOS apps can make their user interface available to an external assistive application or service.

We strongly encourage you to support these APIs in all of your apps so your apps will be compatible with features built into macOS, such as VoiceOver, as well as other third-party products. The Xcode IDE and Cocoa frameworks make it easy to add accessibility tags like descriptions. For example, the inspector pane allows you to enter a description for any control in the user interface, and that description will be synthesized into speech when VoiceOver is enabled.

How it Works

An assistive application in macOS interacts with accessibility objects in your app to allow people with disabilities to drive the user interface in non-traditional ways. For example, a VoiceOver user relies primarily on the keyboard or trackpad for control, and on Speech Synthesis and Braille for feedback. Users with low vision can set the built-in zoom, grayscale, and white-on-black display mode options in macOS to adapt the onscreen experience to their specific needs. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can set audible alerts to automatically flash the screen instead. And users with physical and motor disabilities will rely on AppleScript and Automator workflows to simplify complex tasks, and can take advantage of keyboard and mouse preferences to make them easier to control and use. It is important that your app work as intended for those who rely on these assistive features of macOS.

Through accessibility APIs that support technologies such as VoiceOver, Switch Control, Zoom, Closed Captions, and Audio Descriptions, macOS provides an extraordinary opportunity to deliver a superior user experience to every customer, including those with special needs.