VoiceoverEasy.net courses are tutorials geared toward blind and visually impaired users of iPhones and iPads with Siri capability, and who use Apple Corporation's accessibility technology called Voiceover to read the screen of their device.

Debug Label

Unit 3: Lesson 1, Basic Phone Features

For iOS7 and 8

SECTION 1: Introduction.

In order to display customized text to meet your needs VoiceoverEasy.net needs to know if you want to learn about iPhones or iPads.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

Communications have come a long way in the last 60 years. We've gone from hard wired rotary phones and party lines to touchtone phones, and from touchtone phones to cordless phones so you could wander around your home or workplace. From cordless phones we moved to cell phones, and you could be almost anywhere and still receive a phone call. Finally, the mobile phone was combined with a mobile computer, a camera, and a host of other miniaturized devices to become the smart phone of today. Now we have conference calling, video chats, and internet surfing to name a few of the available ways to communicate.

By the end of this lesson you should have learn how to:

SECTION 2: Setting Ring tones.

IMPORTANT! Don't let yourself become obsessed with finding the one ring. The quest didn't end well for Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. Pace yourself! Do a little each day and don't forget to eat, take a walk, and smell the roses. Besides, taking a break from your quest will give you a chance to finish the lesson.

There are two ways to set a Ring tone. You can set up a special Ring tone for a contact, and you can set a default ring which will ring for any other incoming call. To set up a ring for a contact see Creating and Managing Contacts, Section 5.8. To set the default Ring tone for everyone else follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Home Screen and Activate the Settings icon.
  2. Find the heading that reads, "Sounds."
  3. Below the heading is a series of buttons that allow you to customize the sounds your iOS Device plays when a particular event takes place. In this case the event is when a call comes in.
  4. Explore down the list until you find the Ring tone button. VoiceOver will announce "Ring tone," followed by the name of the sound that is set as the default Ring tone.
  5. Activate this button.

2.1: The Ring tone Screen.

The screen for selecting sounds has an Action Row at the top. When the screen is activated, There is a heading which Voiceover reads as Ring Tones to indicate the type of sound you are selecting, and to indicate the Current Item. Use the Next Item gesture to move to the Sound Volume Picker Item.

The Sound Volume Picker Item.

This Picker Item allows you to adjust the overall volume of your iOS Device in 10% increments. You make the adjustments useing the Increment and Decrement gestures. Be careful not to turn your volume down to zero. If you do, you won't be abale to hear Voiceover.

Change With Buttons.

This button toggles the ability of the volume Up and Down buttons on the side of the iOS Device to affect the volume of the Ringers and Alerts.

The Sound Selection Screen.

Explore a little further down and you will find a heading which reads as, Default. Below this is a button which Voiceover reads as, "Selected," followed by the name of the sound that is played by default for an incoming call. If you Activate this button, you will hear the default sound. However, if you want to change the devault sound, it must be done from the Settings App.

The Ring tones List.

The list of available sounds begins immediately below the Action Row. The list is divided into two sections, ring tones and Alerts. If you dial the rotor to the Headings function, you can move quickly between the two sections with a Set Mode gesture. You can set any sound from either section as a Ring Tones sound as follows:.

  1. Make one of the sound buttons the Current Item.
  2. Use the Select gesture to select the sound and play it.

At the end of the ring tones and the Alerts sections there are "Classic" buttons. They open other screens with even more sounds. There's some good stuff here, so don't forget to check it out.

Use the "Ring Tones, Back" button at the upper left to return to the previous Screen.

NOTE: When you press the "Ring Tones, Back" button, the last sound you played will be the sound set for the Ring Tones sound. If you decide you liked the previous setting best, be sure and select the sound again before exiting the Sound Selection Screen.

SECTION 3: Handling Incoming Calls.

3.1: The Start/Stop Action Gesture, Two Finger Double Tap.

When a call comes in, the easiest way to answer it is to use a two finger double tap anywhere on the display. This gesture is the "Start/Stop Action" gesture. It will answer, start, a phone call. When you're ready to hang up, this gesture ends, or stops, the call. As you progress through these lessons, you will find many other uses for the Start/Stop gesture.

3.2: Ending a Call.

When you are ready to end the call, you have two options:

3.3: Using the Wake/Sleep Button on an incoming call.

It never fails. Calls come in at inconvenient times; when you're meeting with the boss, when you just got the baby to sleep, when you're in church, or when you're at Ninja practice and you need to be stealthy. Anyway, when this happens, you can use the Wake/Sleep button to silence those rings quickly. If you press the button once, your iOS Device will stop ringing, but the call is still active. Now you can quietly exit the area and answer the call with the Start/Stop Action gesture. Of course, you have to get it before the call goes to Voicemail.

This technique also works if you failed to hear the caller information over the ring tone. Press the wake/sleep button once to silence the ringer. Then you can Explore near the top of the display to find the information, or you can simply use the Read Top Down gesture and wait to hear the information. Then decide whether or not to answer the call.

If you want the call to go directly to Voicemail without waiting, press the Wake/Sleep button twice.

3.4: Simultaneous Incoming Calls.

NOTE: When a call begins, VoiceOver pipes its audio to the earpiece speaker. If you're using headphones, this isn't an issue, but, if you're holding the phone to your ear, it's pretty hard to do VoiceOver gestures. If you were using speaker phone, you can do the VoiceOver gestures, but you can't hear VoiceOver. To have VoiceOver switch to the speaker phone, hold the phone to your ear, and then move it away again after a second or two. Now VoiceOver will use the speaker output. You will be able to hear it again, and you will be able to do the necessary VoiceOver gestures.

It's bad enough when your iOS Device rings during ninja practice, but what do you do when you're on the phone and another call comes in. When this happens, you will be presented with two options, but VoiceOver doesn't read them automatically. You have to explore the screen to find the buttons, or move around with the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the button you want. Your options are:

Table of Options When a Call is Received while Another Call is in Progress.
Option. Description.
Send to Voicemail. This option will send the incoming call to Voicemail and allow you to continue your conversation with the caller you were speaking to. You can accomplish the same thing simply by ignoring the second call.
Hold and Accept. This option will put the caller you were speaking with on hold and allow you to converse with the incoming caller. When you disconnect from the new caller, your iPhone will ring to remind you there is still a call on hold. Answer the ring to talk to the original caller again.

NOTE: There is a technique to switch back and forth between the two callers which will be discussed in Section 6.7 below.

3.5: Other options when a call comes in.

If you aren't already on with another caller, and an incoming call is ringing, there is an options screen that is displayed, but VoiceOver doesn't read it by default. You can get VoiceOver to read the screen using one of the two methods below. You might want to press the Wake/Sleep button once to silence the ringer first. That will make it easier to hear VoiceOver without disconnecting the caller or sending them to Voicemail.

3.6: The "Remind Me" option.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

3.7: The "Message" Button.

When you press this button, the caller is sent immediately to Voicemail, but you can quickly send a text message back to the caller. You can choose from one of the short messages provided, or you can choose to customize a message.

NOTE: If the phone you are being called from is a land line or otherwise cannot receive texts, then the caller will never know you responded via text message.

3.8: Declining a Call.

Selecting the Decline button sends the caller directly to Voicemail. It's the same as pressing the Wake/Sleep button twice.

3.9: Accepting the Call.

This is the same as the Start/Stop Action gesture in Section 3.1 above. Select this option and start talking.

NOTE: Eight out of nine people surveyed by VoiceOverEasy.net disagreed with the grumpy one and recommend, "Hello," as a nice ice breaker.

Handling incoming calls is only a small part of the things you can do with your iPhone. You can make calls, call contacts, add new numbers to contacts, make three way calls, and use voicemail just to name a few others. However, to do the rest of these things you will need to use the phone app.

SECTION 4: Launching the Phone App.

The Phone App only exists on the iPhone. Therefore the remainder of this section is not applicable while your device type is set to iPad, or to None Selected. To see this section change yur device type to one of the iPhone selections.

SECTION 5: Making a Phone Call.

5.1: Calling a contact.

First, you must display the Contacts List. You can do this by launching the Contacts application as discussed in Creating and Managing Contacts, Section 3.

  1. Make the contact you want to call the Current Item.
  2. Open the Contact Card in View mode using an Activate gesture.
  3. Use an Activate gesture on whichever number you want to call.

5.2: Calling a Number that is Not in Your Contacts.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

5.3: Saving a number as a contact.

At this point we could Activate the call button to dial the number, but this is a very good number to have in your contacts. So let's save it instead. If you already have this number in your contacts, you won't be able to do this part, because the "Save as Contact" button disappeared when you completed entering the number.

Press the "Save as Contact" button located above the number 1 on the keypad. An alert popup appears asking you if you want to create a new contact or add this number to an existing one.

You can use the techniques from the Creating and Managing Contacts lesson to complete adding the number to your contacts list. Since there is no specific person you will be calling, VoiceOverEasy.net recommends you enter "Apple Access Hotline" in the first name field, and "Apple" in the company field. You may want to change the label for the phone number to "Work" or create a custom label called "Technical Support." You can leave everything else blank.

OK, Let's suppose you hit the "Call" button and forgot to save the number. Don't panic! You can get the number from the Recent Calls List, discussed in Section 7, and create the contact from there.

5.4: Dealing with Automated Menu Systems and VoiceOver.

Often you have to place a call to a business which requires you to press numbers on the keypad in order to direct your call to the correct department. When this happens, sometimes it's hard to hear VoiceOver while the automated system is speaking. Follow these steps to correct this.

  1. Follow the link in this step to add the Volume function to the available options when you dial the Rotor.
  2. Dial the Rotor to the Volume Function.
  3. Use the Increment and Decrement gestures to determine VoiceOver's current volume level.
  4. If the VoiceOver volume is already at 100%, you may want to use the volume buttons to raise the overall volume of the iOS Device and then bring the VoiceOver volume down to between 50% and 70% using the Decrement gesture.
  5. Place your call and wait for the automated system to answer.
  6. While the automated system is speaking, use the Increment gesture to raise the VoiceOver volume until you can hear it clearly.
  7. Press the keys to respond to the system menus.

NOTE: If you dial a particular automated system often, and you use the same menu options every time, you can create a Contact Card for that number. After the ten digit number in the Phone Number Text Field add commas or a semi-colon followed by the menu option numbers. The punctuation marks will add pauses to the number dialing sequence and allow the automated system time to react. This technique is described in Creating and Managing Contacts, Section 5.6

SECTION 6: Options During a Call.

When a telephone call is connected, your iOS Device displays a Keypad. This is so you can enter any additional numbers that might be required by an automated system.

The keypad looks just like a standard touchtone phone, but with two additional buttons. The End Call button appears below the number Zero, and a "Hide" button appears to the right of the End Call button. You can use the End Call button to hang up, but it's easier to just use the Start/Stop Action gesture.

The "Hide" button can be tricky to find, but you will have to press it in order to access the Call Options Screen. Of course, the only time you can look for it is during an active phone call. So find one or two patient friends to help you out by spending some quality time on the phone with you. Then, practice, practice, practice.

6.1: The Call Options Screen.

When you press the "Hide" button, the keypad goes away, and two rows of three buttons each appear at the center of the screen. The "Mute," "Keypad," and "Speaker," buttons are on The top row from left to right. The "Add Call," "FaceTime," and "Contacts" buttons are on the bottom row.

6.2: Putting a Call on Mute.

If you press the "Mute" button, your side of the call will be muted. No speech or other sounds can be heard by the persons at the call's other end. You might want to do this if you are dialing into a conference call, or if you want to have a private conversation with someone next to you without hanging up. You will still be able to hear the other caller. Let's go through the steps.

  1. While you are on a call, press the "Hide" button in the lower right part of the display. The keypad disappears, and the Call Options Screen is displayed.
  2. Find the Mute button. It's above and to the left of the center of the screen and press it.
  3. You can confirm that your muted by touching the button again. VoiceOver will say, "selected, Mute," which means that you are muted.
  4. Use an Activate gesture on the button again to Unmute.
  5. You can confirm you are "unmuted" by touching the button again. VoiceOver says, "Mute" without saying "selected."

6.3: Returning to the Keypad.

If you want to switch back to the keypad after pressing the "Hide" button, press the "Keypad" button. It's the middle one in the top row of buttons.

6.4: Using Speaker Phone.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

6.5: Switching a Call to FaceTime.

Apple calls their video phone calling service FaceTime. Pressing the FaceTime button will switch the call to video mode. More about using FaceTime in a future lesson. Be careful. Making FaceTime calls over a celular network will use up your data plan more rapidly. Some carriers may not allow video calls. It's best to be connected to a WiFi network.

6.6: Accessing the Contacts List While on a Call.

If you need to access your contacts list while you are on a call, use the Contacts button.

6.7: Three Way Calling.

The "Add Call" button allows you to add additional parties to the call. This works differently depending on what carrier you use. We'll review this in an upcoming lesson.

6.8: Switching Between Two Callers.

If you are speaking with one caller, and you have another one on hold, the buttons on the Call Options Screen will change. The "Add Call" button, bottom row left, becomes a "Merge" button. We'll discuss this in an upcoming lesson on Three way and conference calling. The "FaceTime" button, bottom row middle, becomes the "Swap" button. Press the Swap button to switch back and forth between the two callers.

SECTION 7: Working with Favorites.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

SECTION 8: Reviewing Recent Calls.


DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

SECTION 9: Review

9.1: New Gestures.

Table of New Gestures.
Gesture Name. Motion. Description. Context.
Stop/Start Action. Two finger Double Tap. Starts and stops an action. Example: Answer or hang up a phone call, Starts and Stops music playback. Any.

SECTION 10: Exercises.

  1. What are the steps to get to the Settings Screen where you can set the default Ring tones?
  2. If you want to silence an incoming call, but not send the caller to Voicemail, what can you do?
  3. How do you put a call on Mute? What is the difference between Mute and Hold?
  4. If you have a caller on the phone, and a second caller dials in, how do you answer the second call without hanging up on the first caller?
  5. What are the steps to alternate between two simultaneous callers?

Click here for answers to Section 10.

Congratulations! You have finished the first lesson on using your smart phone like a real phone. You should call some friends an enjoy your new found skills. But depending on your plan, watch those minutes!

Before you go on to the next lesson, would you like to take the optional survey for this lesson?

Email the Web Master..
© 2014, 2017 VoiceOver-Easy.net
RSS Feed.