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Tech Standards: Adding Image Descriptions to iOS Photos

How to add "captions" or image descriptions to photos - a critical Tech skill for students who are blind or low vision.

Mainstream National Technology standards require students to add photos and images to documents and slide presentations, which is typically introduced in First Grade. But first, students who are blind or low vision need to be able to identify the pictures. In this post, we will discuss how to add “captions” or image descriptions to images in the Photos app on iOS devices. This method does require that the student be familiar with the image – either by taking the photo or receiving a photo and immediately adding the description or by having someone describe the image and adding the description.

Note: In recent years there have been advances using AI (artificial intelligence) to identify and describe images. While AI continues to improve, many images are not yet identified correctly.

Adding a Description

Descriptions can be added with or without VoiceOver running. The directions below and the video tutorial demonstrate how to add descriptions while running VoiceOver.

Note: VoiceOver will announce the date that the photo was taken. Remember the date as the date is always announced when the VoiceOver focus is on the image.

Note: For regular pictures, the VoiceOver focus will be on the Add a Caption Textbox. If the picture is a live picture, the VoiceOver focus will be on the first picture under Effects. If VoiceOver is on the Live image, left swipe twice to move back to Add a Caption Textfield.

Note: VO automatically announces the date the photo was taken. To hear the caption, repeat the process.

The video below demonstrates how to add photo descriptions.

Additional Resources

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