As someone who takes a LOT of screenshots – we make a mobile
app – I am a fan of a set of features in iOS known as AssistiveTouch. With
AssistiveTouch, you can create a virtual button on your screen. Tap the floating
virtual button on your screen to accomplish one of 25 actions. For example, you
can set the menu to take a Screenshot, go to Home, Pinch to zoom, Mute, or Speak

Screenshot, Home, or 23 other actions

Let’s start with my favorite usage. To take a screenshot on
an iOS device, at least for a klutz like me, takes two hands. You must press
the Home and Power buttons simultaneously. I must pick up the device to get the
angles right to press both buttons with both hands. But when I use the AssistiveTouch
virtual button then I simply use one finger to tap the virtual button, then tap
Screenshot. The screenshot is snapped, and I’m on to the next screen.

Here’s what the button looks like on the screen.

iPhone Home Screen with AssistiveTouch Button

Tap the white circle button.

iPhone Home Screen with AssistiveTouch Menu

Now tap a menu option.

(images from

To enable AssistiveTouch go to:

  • Settings
  • General
  • Accessibility
  • AssistiveTouch – toggle to on
  • Customize Top Level Menu
AssistiveTouch iOS Settings

iMore provides a brief tutorial on setting up AssistiveTouch with images here.

On your device screen, you can drag the virtual button to
any location. You can set the opacity, either high contrast or dim. To make the
virtual button disappear or appear, tap the Home button three times fast.

iPad Pro

I also use AssistiveTouch on my iPad Pro. On the latest iOS
devices, there is no physical home button. When my iPad Pro is attached to the
keyboard, there is limited room to swipe up from the bottom edge to swipe to
Home of the App Switcher. Instead, I can tap the virtual button, select Home,
App Switcher, Dock, or Screenshot, etc.

Apple Pencil

Also, when working with the Apple Pencil you cannot
swipe up from the screen edge with the Pencil
. You must use a finger, which
can slow you down. Instead, tap on the virtual button with the Pencil to go to
Home, App Switcher, etc.

Speak Screen

Now that you have dipped your toe in the Accessibility features,
dive in. There are many visual aids, as well as gestures, and automatic VoiceOver.

That long article that you have been meaning to read? Go to
Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > set Speak Screen to On.
Then add it to your AssistiveTouch Top Level Menu. Now you can go to the
article, tap the virtual button, tap Speak Screen and listen to the article.

For fun, be sure to go to Voices in Speech and pick your favorite
accent for Speech.

It’s like having an extra hand and a new Aussie narrator.