This is the ninth post in a 12 part series covering the accessibility features we would like to see Apple bring to its products in the coming year. This series is being written with the help and input of my two best friends, Jessica and Jocelyn Gladysz.
For the ninth request of Christmas, we ask Apple to give to us:
9. Custom Ringtones and Vibration Patterns that Sync Across Devices
On Macs and iOS devices, custom ringtones can be set to identify callers. iOS devices that support vibrations take this a step further by allowing custom vibration patterns to be set for each contact. These features make it easy for blind and visually impaired users to know who's calling. Custom vibrations in particular are a great way to know who is calling, without the need to have VoiceOver read the caller ID out loud, something that is not always desirable in situations where quiet is required. Custom vibration patterns are also used by deaf users to identify callers, without needing to look at the screen.
Unfortunately, custom ringtones and vibration patterns do not sync across devices, requiring them to be configured on each device, a time consuming and often difficult task. Furthermore, the Apple Watch does not even support either feature. We are therefore asking Apple to add custom ringtones and vibration patters to Watch OS and allow them to be synced across devices. As a bonus, we would like to see Apple add a way to change the default ringtone on the Mac.
The Christmas season is upon us and the spirit of giving is in the air. Writing articles for the Accessible Apple column takes time and energy. If you enjoy Accessible Apple articles and would like to see them continue into 2016, please consider making a donation to Camp Bowen, a summer camp for the visually impaired and blind that promotes independent living, education, and the fostering of creativity. A few dollars can go a long way towards ensuring the project can continue to serve generations to come.