Swift Playgrounds Video

Wondering how to interact with the Swift Playgrounds coding app while using VoiceOver?

Hi! My name is Tyler Sheft. Today, I want to show you how you can code in Swift Playgrounds while using VoiceOver. VoiceOver is Apple’s screen reader that speaks what’s on the screen. 

Watch the video at the bottom of this post to learn how to use VoiceOver to write and run code in Swift Playgrounds. The following glossary includes terms that may be unfamiliar to those using Swift Playgrounds and/or VoiceOver for the first time.


New: Playground that has just been downloaded.

Function: Code block that can be reused.

Argument list/parameter list: Allows the function to take in different pieces of data. Useful when using the function multiple times, and you want a different result each time.

Code completion results: Options at the bottom of the screen or above the keyboard that allow you to quickly enter pieces of code.

Placeholder: Text within the code that must be filled in with a name or a piece of data.

Indent: In code, there are multiple levels of indentation that makes it look more organized. The number spoken represents the indentation level.

Typing mode: An option to customize how VoiceOver reacts to tapping the on-screen keyboard.

Action: What will happen when you double-tap, which is normally used to select the item you’re focused on.

Rotor: Allows quick navigation and changing settings by flicking a single finger up or down. Rotate 2 fingers left or right to move through the rotor options.

Literal: A piece of code that appears to the user as an image, color, or file thumbnail, not as code. When encountering a literal, the literal type is spoken, followed by the color name or filename depending on the type of literal.

Instructions: Text that appears above the coding area. Note that this area isn’t displayed in every playground. While exploring code, move your finger up to near the top of the screen to hear these.

Run options: Additional options for running your code.

Hint: In some playgrounds, you can use this button to reveal hints about how to write the correct code.

The video tutorial below demonstrates how to code using Swift Playgrounds with VoiceOver running. Video transcript here.

 In the first post, Understanding Swift Playgrounds, I gave an overview on how the puzzles are laid out and I demonstrated how tactile grids helped me to understand the app. The third post, How to Find and Fix Issues in Swift Playground when Running VoiceOver post is now available!

Attached File(s)

By TS12345

Symbol representing a written document.

Creating Headings for a Screen Reader: Lesson Plan

Cartoon detective scratching his head and  bending over to look through a large magnifying glass to view a question mark.

Inference Activities Part 1: Hands on Activities

StellarTrek, a small handheld GPS device with 9 buttons.

StellarTrek: O&M Tool