You could also try an app that alerts you to certain noises, like your doorbell.
Sound Alert detects specific indoor and outdoor sounds and sends you an alert on your smartphone, smart watch or other smart device.
Hearing aid control apps
Some hearing aid apps help you to customise volume, filter noise and focus on speech. Others can connect your phone's audio to your hearing aids.
Most hearing aid manufacturers offer these apps but compatibility depends on:
the make and style of your hearing aid
your phone model
Ask your hearing care professional for more details.
There are many apps that help visually impaired people. There are also a range of built-in accessibility features that help make using your phone and apps easier, including magnification, text to speech and voice control capabilities. Check your phone's accessibility features for help.
Envision AI. You can also train this app to recognise friends and family. Available on Apple and Android.
Seeing AI. This app can also describe photos on your phone and in other apps. Available on Apple devices.
You might also want to try:
Soundscape app. This tells you about your surroundings by creating 3D sound. It can run in the background with other apps to give you additional context about the environment. Available on Apple devices.
Be My Eyes. This service connects you to a volunteer via a live video call. Volunteers can help you with things like checking expiry dates, distinguishing colours, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings. Available on Apple and Android.
BlindSquare, a popular, accessible GPS app that describes the environment. It announces points of interest, like shops or restaurants, and street crossings as you travel. Available on Apple devices.
Some apps can help you communicate. These might include apps that:
Relaxation and meditation apps can sometimes help you face barriers and challenges in daily life, sometimes related to your condition, sometimes not. Other apps can be more helpful for specific sensory support when you need it the most.
Relaxation, meditation and sleep
You could try apps like:
Moodpanda helps you track your mood and get anonymous support and advice from the MoodPanda community. You can also analyse your mood on graphs and calendars.
Relax Melodies helps with relaxation and sleep by combining soothing sounds, sleep meditations and breathing techniques.
Stop, Breathe, and Think app for daily meditation and mindfulness. This app offers short, guided meditations, yoga and acupressure videos tuned to how you feel.
Headspace also helps with relaxation, meditation and mindfulness.
All the apps are available on Apple and Android.
Some apps are specifically designed to help those who experience sensory overload. Some apps will calm or relax the user. Others might stimulate the user with things like kaleidoscopes, infinity tunnel and touch effects.
You could try:
Miracle Modus uses hypnotic mathematically-patterned rainbow lights and soft bells. The creator is autistic and wanted something to help with sensory overload. There are different settings to suit your needs.
There are plenty of apps that can help you organise your life. These types of apps can help you with different things, such as:
organising a work project
making 'to do' lists
reminders for daily activities, like brushing your teeth or taking medication
The right app for you will depend on your needs, you could try:
Habitica is a free habit-building and productivity app that treats your life like a game. With “in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and a strong social network to inspire you”, the app can help you achieve your goals.
Todoist helps you organise and prioritise your tasks and projects.
Both apps are available on Android and Apple.
Reading and dyslexia apps
Some apps can help people with dyslexia or reading challenges. These apps can help by:
reading out text
copying text from documents and images
highlighting text as it is spoken
correcting spelling, grammar and misused words
You could try looking at:
Claro apps, which can help you with different tasks, including reading text for you, editing pdfs and magnifying text.
basic actions and navigation from any screen ('go back' or 'go home')
gestures that interact with things on the screen ('click next' or 'scroll down')
text editing and dictation ('type hello')
Voice Access may work better with some types of voice than others.
Swiftkey and Gboard (the Google keyboard) are keyboards that let you to swipe across the keys to type. They're useful if you need help using a standard keyboard or type one-handed. Gboard also has a 'one-handed' mode that makes the keys easier to reach. Both apps are available on Apple and Android.
Dotkey helps you type quickly and comfortably with one hand. The app uses taps, swipes and other hand gestures to type instead of using a keyboard.
Some phones might have in-built features similar to these apps, such as the iPhone's Siri or one-handed keyboard.
Developers are releasing apps that can help you go out and enjoy activities with fewer barriers. Many of these apps are designed for disabled people and might help you with things like finding accessible locations, such as restaurants, pubs, cinemas or theatres.
It can also help to look for apps that are not specifically designed for disabled people but support your access needs, like travel apps with live updates or apps for pubs and restaurants that let you order and pay from your table.
Available on both Apple and Android devices, you could try:
AccessAble, which used to be 'DisabledGo'. This helps you to search accessible places to go. They also have 'access guides' for some stores.
Access Earth is a free app that allows you to find and places by your accessibility needs.
Cinemap app lets you search for cinemas and book tickets.
Trainline app and Bus checker app help you find out travel times and get live updates to your phone rather than relying on displays or announcements.
Uber app and Gett black taxi app can help you order a taxi without needing to call. Most black cabs are wheelchair accessible. With the Gett app you can add a note to your booking telling your driver you might need assistance. Uber offer accessible taxis in certain cities.
Apps that store tickets and documents can help you avoid printing and carrying paper when you're out. This might be:
boarding passes for planes
phone contactless payments
Some apps will have this function as part of the app, like train or airline apps. Other apps might come with your phone, like Apple wallet.
Help at home apps
There are some apps that help around the home. This could be anything from food shopping and prescription delivery apps to apps that connect to tech in the home, like heating systems, lights or devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Online banking apps
Ask your bank if they have an app to make it easier to manage your money from home and avoid needing to call or go to a branch. This can also help if you need to report a stolen or lost card but cannot call.
Gas and electricity smart meter apps
Ask your supplier if they have an smart meter app to top up gas and electricity from home.
There are apps that let you control your heating and thermostat. For example, Hive or BT.
Echo NHS app lets you order medication for delivery to your home. It also reminds you to take your prescription and when you need to order more.
Finding apps for your needs
There are a few ways you can find out about apps that may meet your needs:
Talk to other people
Asking other people about the apps they use can help you find out what apps are out there. You could try:
asking disabled friends or colleagues what apps they use
reading conversations about apps and other assistive technology on online communities or forums
talking to other people or asking for advice on online communities or forums
Social media can be a great place to find information or connect with others in a similar situation. You could try:
searching Twitter using searches like 'accessibility apps', 'A11y apps' or 'a11y tech'. 'A11y' is short for accessibility.
finding disability blogs or blogs by people with the same condition or impairment as you
looking for Facebook groups, such as general accessible tech groups or groups for your condition or impairment
Reviews can help you learn more about an app and its features, or tell you about how others have used it and whether it will meet your needs. You could try reading:
tech reviews and assistive tech reviews
Warning Reviews are not professional advice
Advice on communities, forums, customer reviews and social media are often based on one person's experience. Finding more reviews may help you to understand how people feel about an app, but reviews are not professional advice.
Help with apps and technology online
Searching online and on app stores can be overwhelming with so many apps on offer. These websites are a good place to start