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A few simple settings tweaks can greatly improve the overall usability of modern iOS versions, including iOS 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 and everything since the iOS 7 redesign, whether running on an iPhone, iPod touch, or the larger screened iPad models. We’ll show you how to quickly increase text size, which can help reduce eye strain, enable more powerful fonts to make just about anything easier to read, make setting changes more apparent, improve the overall appearance of the home screen, and also how to reduce the risk of motion sickness from the parallax eye sandwich.
1: Make the text size bigger
While you’ve been able to make the font size bigger in iOS for a while, it’s better managed in iOS 7 and is a bit more important for readability due to the new default font choices. Even if you have good eyesight, increasing the text size just a little bit can nicely improve the appearance and also reduce eye strain.
- From Settings, go to ‘General’ and choose ‘Text Size’
- Drag the slider to the right to increase the text size, view the preview to see what the results will be
This affects many apps, but perhaps two of the most important are Messages and Mail, which have pretty small fonts by default. Third-party apps that use the Dynamic Type engine are also affected by this setting.
2: Make all fonts bold for easier reading
iOS 7 has really slimmed down the default text across the operating system, which makes it more difficult for many of us to read. Fortunately, getting the bold fonts back system-wide is super easy, all you need to do is change a setting:
- Open the Settings app and choose ‘General’ then go to ‘Accessibility’
- Set “Bold Text” to ON
Switching bold text causes a quick restart, after which all text is replaced with a much easier on the eyes more powerful version. Don’t expect super fat, fat weight, it’s quite understated and actually more closer to the default system font that existed before iOS 7.
3: Enable ON / OFF labels
The settings switch indicators are now color dependent, with green indicating that a setting is on and white indicating that a setting is off. However, that’s tricky for some users to understand, and you can make it much clearer by adding a simple ON / OFF indicator label to all of the settings toggles:
- From Settings, go to ‘General’ and then to ‘Accessibility’
- Look for “Power Labels” and turn the switch to ON
The On and Off labels use the old computer standard of binary 1s and 0s, where 1 indicates a setting is on or on and 0 indicates a setting is off or off.
This setting only makes things clearer, it is a good one to improve usability even for those who don’t have problems with color perception.
4: Use a subtle background
The look of iOS 7’s home Screen, Dock, Lock Screen, Control Center and Notification Center largely depend on the wallpaper set on the device. That means the wallpaper matters a lot more than usual in the overall look of things, so if you find iOS 7 sometimes gaudy or hard to read, putting in a more subtle background might make a big difference to the overall look and feel. This is especially true for the home screen icons, where a bright and cluttered background can cause the icons and text to collide with the background and be difficult to identify. The screenshot below shows this pretty well:
Subtle gradients and more abstract images look great as background in iOS 7, as does any image that isn’t particularly busy or full of clashing colors.
5: Reduce the risk of nausea by turning off motion effects
Some users have reported getting motion sickness from all the wild and beautiful motion parallax and zoom effects in iOS 7, but you can reduce the motion effects with a simple adjustment of the settings. This won’t turn them all off (however, such a switch may appear in a future update), but it is reported to help some who are prone to nausea:
- From Settings, go to ‘General’ and ‘Accessibility’ to ‘Reduce Motion’
- Switch Reduce Motion to ON
This is particularly recommended for iPad devices intended for use by young children, as the motion effects on a larger screen seem more likely to cause nausea, and the youngest of us may not fully understand why they suddenly don’t I don’t feel so good. Better safe than sorry, it’s never fun feeling sick! A nice little bonus is the potential to extend battery life by cutting out some of the eye candy as well.
As you continue, you will notice some of the speed improving tips can also contribute to overall usability, if only to improve the overall responsiveness of devices, especially some older models of iPhone and iPads.
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