Kindle iOS app enhanced for the blind and visually impaired

Users can now hear many books read aloud and use features like Zoom and AssistiveTouch to more easily see and navigate text.

The Kindle iOS app can read aloud to you from more than 1.8 million books.
The Kindle iOS app can read aloud to you from more than 1.8 million books. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Amazon has enhanced its Kindle iOS app with new features of benefit to anyone but especially to those who are blind or visually impaired.

Released Wednesday, the latest version of the app supports Apple's VoiceOver technology, which reads aloud text that you've selected. More than 1.8 million books in the Kindle store are compatible with VoiceOver, according to Amazon. More than 900,000 of them are less than $4.99, while more than 1.5 million are less than $9.99.

You can turn on VoiceOver through the Accessibility options in the Settings menu on your iOS device. Once the feature is enabled, taping on a line or swiping down a page with two fingers reads that text aloud. You can listen to the text line-by-line or continuously from the top to the bottom of the page.

The Kindle app also supports other iOS accessibility features. The Zoom feature allows you to magnify the screen by double-tapping three fingers. AssistiveTouch lets you create your own gestures to control and navigate your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. The app can also work with connected Braille devices.

The new accessbility features will make their way to other Kindle apps in the future, Amazon said. Windows PC users can also take advantage of the new features through the free Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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