How to use Switch Control on iPhone and iPad in iOS 16

One in seven people have an impairment that prevents them from interacting with their gadgets and their surroundings. In order to ensure that all of its users, regardless of their skills, can connect with their devices in ways that work for them, Apple has gone to tremendous efforts.

“Switch Control” is one of the less well-known accessibility features. It enables users to interact with their iPhones in a variety of physical ways, such as by clicking their tongues, moving their heads, or tapping their backs. Continue reading to find out more about how to configure switch control on iPhone and iPad for those with limited movement so they can utilise their Apple device to the fullest.

What is Switch Control on iPhone and iPad?

The tech giant’s Accessibility package includes Switch Control, which enables users to control their iPhones using switches. You can configure switches to tap or pick the objects that the iPhone highlights in order on the screen. Even using a switch, you can draw on the screen of your iPhone.

These switches may be external, such as an external adaptive switch that can be Bluetooth-paired or connected to the iPhone.

The switches may also be fully customised and fine-tuned so that each executes a particular operation, making it simpler for those with limited mobility to use one or more switches to navigate through their iPhones.

How to setup Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

Switch Control is considerably simpler to set up by adding a new switch and assigning a few crucial tasks before turning it on.

The scanning features are activated as soon as it is turned on and are inaccessible without switches being set up.

You have the option to use the following as a switch for your iPhone:

  • iPhone screen
  • Camera
  • Back tap
  • Sounds
  • External adaptive switch

The first step in adding an external adaptive switch to your iPhone is to connect it to it using the supplied instructions. Go to Settings Bluetooth and couple your switch if the switch communicates via Bluetooth.

Add a new switch

  1. To set up a new switch, go to Settings → Accessibility. 
  2. Then go to Switch Control → Switches.

    Add a new switch, go to Settings, tap on Accessibility, then go to Switch Control and Switches
  3. Tap Add New Switch, then select any of the following:
    • External: This lets you use a Made For iPhone (MFi) switch that plugs into the Lightning connector on your iPhone or an already paired Bluetooth switch.
    • Screen: This lets you tap anywhere on the iPhone screen. 
    • Camera: This uses your front camera to detect Left Head Movements and Right Head Movements, which you can assign as a switch.
    • Back Tap: You can do a Double Tap or Triple Tap to perform a switch action.
    • Sound: Choose from various voice and voiceless sounds such as “La,” “Sh,” or a tongue click to perform an action

      Tap Add New Switch, then select any of the following, External, Screen, Camera, Back Tap, Sound
  4. To designate a switch action, choose one. Select Item, which picks a highlighted item, and Move to Next Item, which advances the selection to the following group or item, are two of the most fundamental operations you need to configure a switch for.

Aside from these two, below are other actions you can assign for the scanner:

  • Scanner Menu: This reveals the scanner menu.
  • Stop Scanning: This stops Auto Scanning, which will continue indefinitely.
  • Move To Previous Item: This moves the selection to the previously highlighted group or item.
  • Resume Auto Scanning: This enables the iPhone to resume Auto Scanning items on the screen.

In addition to the standard Tap functionality, you may set switches that instantly execute System operations. By doing this, one is able to carry out actions that otherwise call for specific gestures. App Switcher, Notification Centre, and Control Centre are a few of these.

Remove a switch

  1. To remove a switch from Switch Control, go to Switches.
  2. Choose the switch you want to delete, and swipe left.
  3. Tap Delete.

    Remove a switch, go to Switches, choose switch you want delete, swipe left and tap Delete

How to enable Switch Control on iPhone or iPad

  1. Go to Settings → Accessibility
  2. Tap Switch Control → toggle Switch Control on.

    Enable Switch Control, go to Settings, tap on Accessibility, and toggle on Switch Control

You may also triple-click the Home button or the Side button (depending on the model of the iPhone) at any time to disable Switch Control. You may also manually repeat the process to turn the feature off.

How to customize Switch Control on iPhone and iPad

Now that you’re done, you can now fully customize Switch Control. Here are the following aspects you can customize.

Scanning Style

  • Auto Scanning: This moves the focus automatically after a specified duration.
  • Manual Scanning: To use this, you must have a switch that you can engage to move the focus and a second switch to activate or select focused/highlighted items.
  • Single Switch Step Scanning: This also requires you to have a switch you should engage to move its focus. If you don’t do any action within a specified duration, the focused item will automatically be activated.

    Scanning Style Switch Control


This section lets you adjust the timing and timing-related scanning behaviors.

  • Auto Scanning Time: This lets you adjust the scanning speed.
  • Pause on First Item: Selecting the first item in the group can be challenging when the scanning speed is fast. This option makes scanning pause on the first item in the group.
  • Loops: Select how many times scanning will cycle through the items on the screen before hiding the cursor. You can choose from 1 to 10.
  • Move Repeat: Enable this to delay before moving to the previous or next item while a switch remains pressed.
  • Long Press: When enabled, you can enable Pause Scanning, which will pause Switch Control. Select from 1 to 8 seconds.
  • Tap Behavior: Define what happens when the Select action is activated. Choose Default to displace the Scanner Menu, Auto Tap to automatically tap the screen after a specified duration, or Always Tap to immediately tap the focused item instead of showing the Scanner Menu.
  • Focused Item After Tap: Choose whether Switch Control scans the First Item or resumes scanning the Current Item after you tap an item

    Adjust the timing and timing-related scanning behaviors, Tap Behavior, Focused Item After Tap-


This contains adjustments in the keyboard behavior and includes:

  • Scan Same Key After Tap
  • Always Tap Keyboard Keys
  • Extended Predictions

    Keyboard switch control, adjustment in keyboard includes, some scan after tap, alway tap keyboard keys, extended predictions

Switch Stabilization

Switch stabilisation prevents switches from being activated by accident by accounting for movement production errors that people with tremors or other movement disorders may make when moving to activate the switch. The duration ranges from 1 to 10 seconds.

  • Hold Duration: Requires a person to hold the input device for a time before the device recognizes it.
  • Ignore Repeat: This treats multiple presses as a single input.

    Switch Stabilization, Hold Duration, Ignore Repeat

Point Scanning

This lets you choose from Gliding Cursor or Head Tracking as the scanning method you want. If you select Gliding Cursor, you can modify the selection mode:

Point Scanning this lets you choose from Gliding Cursor or Head Tracking

  • Single: Uses one vertical and one horizontal selection, which is helpful for larger targets.
  • Refined: This adds a second scan in the range of your initial selection.
  • Precise: This adds a final low-speed scan for more accurate targeting.

If you wish to use the iPhone’s camera to track a user’s head movement to control a pointer on the screen and particular facial motions like lifting an eyebrow or opening a mouth to accomplish extra actions, turn on Head Tracking.


Toggle Sound Effects to enable sound effects, such as when selecting an item.

Tap Speech → toggle on Speech to make the iPhone speak items or item attributes as they’re being scanned. You can also adjust the speaking rate and add pauses while speaking.

Audio, toggle on Sound Effect, tap Speech to make phone speak

Menu items

Modify the actions shown in the Scanner Menu and how you would like them arranged.

Switch control, tap Menu items to Modify the actions shown in the Scanner Menu

Group items

This is enabled by default, which groups items together for faster navigation. Disabling this makes the scanner focus on one item at a time.

Group items


Visual modifications can help a user see the cursor items better. You can make the cursor larger or change its color to make it easier to spot.

Visual, you can make the cursor larger or change its color to make it easier to spot

Create new gestures

Tap Saved Gestures → Create New Gesture to record a gesture the user can activate from the menu by going to Actions → Gestures → Saved.

Create new gestures

Confirm with Switch Control

Toggle this switch if you want to confirm payments using Face ID (for iPhone models with Face ID) instead of using the side button to confirm.

Confirm with Switch Control

Create new recipes

You can utilise recipes, which are specialised operations, to carry out repetitive or complex tasks within apps. To temporarily assign special actions to switches, you can develop recipes. These might be used as controls for video games or for flipping the pages of an eBook.

How to use an iPhone to control another Apple device

You may also use your iPhone to remotely control another Apple device connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

This lets you navigate your Apple TV or Mac using the same switch setup that controls your iPhone.

To begin controlling another device:

  1. Make sure that both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and iCloud account.
  2. To control a Mac:
    • Go to the Apple menu → System Settings → Accessibility.
    • On the right side, select Switch Control.
    • Tick the box beside Allow platform switching to control your computer.
  3. Then turn on Switch Control on your iPhone or iPad.
    • Then go to Devices → Other Devices.
    • Select the device you want to control, then choose Connect

You should now be able to use the switch connected to your iPhone, or your iPhone itself, to control the other device.

How to stop iPhone from controlling another Apple device

Once you’re done controlling the other device, just press and hold your switch for 10 seconds. This will revert the switch’s control to your iPhone or iPad again. 

If you’re controlling a Mac, you can also navigate to the Switch Control menu → select Device → Stop Using Device

Wrapping up…

With Switch Control, you may improve the usability and accessibility of your iOS device for someone with a disability or limited movement, such as yourself.

Seeing your loved one use their gadget more easily is worth the effort, even though the customising process can be challenging and is more of a trial-and-error process based on what works best for them. So, while you work to make technology more accessible, don’t be scared to try new things and be patient. Good fortune!


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