AssistiveTouch is an accessibility feature built into all iOS devices with iOS 5 and higher. It aims to enable people with physical impairments or people who find the regular gestures and commands difficult to use. That’s not the only use of AssistiveTouch however, it’s also a lifesaver if one of your physical buttons on your iPhone, iPad or iPod stops functioning.

There are a lot of features to AssistiveTouch, from using it to take a screenshot, down to creating your own custom gestures. It can also be used to simplify gestures. For instance, normally on an iPad to bring up the multitasking tab you need to swipe four fingers up (or press the home button twice). With AssistiveTouch, you can have it set to recognize 1 finger on the screen as 4 fingers, allowing you to swipe up with one finger while having the effect of having 4 fingers on the screen.


Using AssistiveTouch

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No need to install anything, all you have to do is enable it. Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> AssistiveTouch -> switch AssistiveTouch to the “ON” position. Once you enable it you’ll see a new semi-transparent button on one of the sides of your iOS device. Tapping this button will pull up AssistiveTouch.

The first screen that pops up has a button for Siri, the home button and favorite gestures. The other button named “Device” brings you to another screen with even more options. This page includes a button to lock the screen, rotate screen, mute/unmute as well as buttons for volume up and down. But wait there’s more. Clicking the more button will bring you to another windows with buttons that take a screenshot, bring up the multitasking bar and tell the device that it being shaken when it really isn’t.

On the 3rd page of AssistiveTouch is the gestures button, tapping it will open another with buttons for 2, 3, 4 and 5 fingers. This allows you to trick your device into thinking that you have 2 – 5 fingers on the screen when really you only have 1 finger on the screen.

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Create Gestures

On the first screen of AssistiveTouch if you click the Favorites button, you will be presenting with all your favourite gestures. It allows you to tap once on the screen with one finger and have your predefined gesture action take place.

To create a gesture, tap the favorites button and then tap one of the empty boxes with the plus symbol. This will bring up a blank canvas where you can work your master piece. To create a gesture that will scroll up for you, make a scroll up motion. AssistiveTouch will show you what it looks like, if you are satisfied with your current work of art, tap the save button and give it a name.

Now to put it to action. So for instance lets say you want to refresh the timeline in the Twitter app. In that specific app to refresh the timeline you scroll up past the content. If you’ve created a gesture in AssistiveTouch to scroll up just select it and tap once in the twitter apps timeline. Your iOS device will take over and simulate the scrolling up action.

Gestured can be removed and added by going to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> AssistiveTouch.