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Apps for Users Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

August 20, 2016 • sensorytravel

(UPDATED: 2020-03-22)

Time to bring back an old post of apps that can be used for independence in the community, for Orientation and Mobility, etc. Seems things are continuing to evolve and change at an ever increasing rate and updates to the original list have become necessary. At times an app will be updated by the developer and it may not have the same level of accessibility, at other times apps completely disappear from the various app stores when the developer is no longer supporting the app or the company is perhaps gobbled up by a larger company. In any event, I will update this post from time to time, which may include significant changes as the app world evolves. These apps are either specifically designed for blind or visually impaired users or are apps that work well with VoiceOver on iOS or TalkBack on Android devices; many are multiplatform and available on iOS via the Apple Store and Android via Google Play. The list is divided into several categories; there are quick links immediately following this paragraph to make it easier to jump to the category you are interested in. So, without further ado, here are the quick links and the list…

Accessibility Navigation and GPS Apps Transportation and Route Planning Weather



Seeing AI

An app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide information about what the camera sees. Can read text, handwriting, describe scenes, identify items from their barcode, and more. iTunes Store:


This is another AI app that offers lots of options for obtaining information, even learning peoples faces. The app presently has a relatively small monthly subscription fee for iOS users, after an initial trial period; it is still free for use by Android users. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Voice Dream Scanner

Very affordable and powerful text to speech app from that is another addition to the Voice Dream suite of apps, all designed for blind and visually impaired users. iTunes Store:

Aira (free for first five minutes of each call and in some locations)

Remote assistance from trained representatives. Something similar to a Mission Impossible movie where the hero or heroine is able to be helped by someone in the background with computer information and a live video feed. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:


Text to speech by photograping print with automatic reading available and tactile guidance for aligning camera; expensive but very reliable and easy to use. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Amedia Live Reader

Wherever you point your camera and there is text, this app will begin reading the text. Once the app is open there are no required buttons to press; just point the camera toward the text and it will begin reading what the camera is seeing. iTunes Store:

Visor Low Vision

Easy to use screen magnification with very simple controls; open the app an it is ready, touch on the screen to focus, etc. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Vision Assist

This app is like having a CCTV in your pocket, complete with options for zoom, contrast, reverse polarity, freeze frame, etc. iTunes Store:

VoiceDream Reader

Document reader that reads many formats of documents and has high quality voice with available options for fine tuning the playback of the text. There is also a lite version which is free. iTunes Store:

TextGrabber (free)

Text to speech using optical character recognition (OCR) by photographing text with the camera iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Cash Reader (free with in app purchases)

Money identifier that works with currencies from around the world. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

EyeNote (free)

Money identifier from the United States Mint. iTunes Store:

Examine Clothes Color (free)

Color identifier that works quite well in describing even complex patterns. iTunes Store:

Color Identifier

Color identifier (choose basic colors once added unless you would like much more modern or esoteric names for colors) iTunes Store:

TapTapSee (free)

Can take photographs and describe what is in the photograph or describe what a photograph is if it is already in your camera roll iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Be My Eyes (free)

To quote their website, “Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.” iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

BeSpecular (free)

Can take photographs and receive a voice recorded or typed question, that then goes to a crowdsourced pool of volunteers who will answer the given question about what is in the photograph or describe what a photograph it is if it is already in your camera roll (e.g. what kind of soup is this? what is the code date on this medicine jar?, etc.) iTunes Store:

Drafts 4

Basic note taker that will automatically save any note you write and will also integrate with the Reminders app on iOS devices iTunes Store:


Easy QR code (quick response code) and barcode reader. iTunes Store: Google Play Store: Microsoft Store:  


Navigation and GPS Apps:

Apple Maps and Siri (built in iOS app, free)

Apple Maps is built into iOS devices and can provide spoken location information and pedestrian directions as well as use VoiceOver and Siri for accessibility. There are a number of cities that Apple Maps provides public transportation information for, but to date it only covers a portion of cities around the world; you can find the list of supported cities at the following link for information on Apple Maps:

Google Maps with Google Now and TalkBack (free)

Along with knowing the current location, can also provide location and directions with voice input and provide spoken details iTunes Store: Google Play Store: Microsoft Store:

Compass (built in iOS app, free)

This app is built into every iPhone and can be used with Zoom or VoiceOver to make the information accessible

Speaking Colored Compass (free)

A basic talking compass app that has excellent contrast as well. Google Play Store:

Speaking Compass (free)

Speaks the direction every four seconds; includes the cardinal name as well as the degrees. Google Play Store:

Microsoft Soundscape

This app allows you to hear what’s around you in 360 degree sound or 3D Audio Technology. You can set landmarks and then navigate to them or hear them in your environment to aid in orientation; some points of interest will be known and others you can add yourself. iTunes Store:

Nearby Explorer

At present, there is one version of this app for iOS (a paid version) and there are two versions of this app for Android devices (a paid version and a free version). The paid version is a full featured GPS app and the free version, called Nearby Explorer Online, is similar but requires a constant data connection as the maps live online rather than being stored on the device as they are in the full, paid version. As a special note, the is the option of utilizing APH Quota Funds for students in the United States) iTunes Store for full, paid version: iTunes Store for free, Online version: Google Play Store for full, paid version: Google Play Store for free version, Online version:


Terrific GPS app that is tailored to travelers who are blind and visually impaired. It integrates with other apps, such as Google Maps and Transit to provide route details with public transportation. Best value for price and features in this category. iTunes Store:

Lazarillo GPS for Blind (free)

A relatively new addition to the field of accessible GPS apps; this one is available on both iTunes and Google Play and its price is a perfect match for trying it out. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:


Very reasonably priced GPS app for Android systems; this is also a free version (see NotNav) that does not include some of the features available in the paid app. Google Play Store:

NotNav (free)

Free GPS app available for Android users. Google Play Store:

Seeing Eye GPS

Full featured GPS app that has been developed specifically for blind and low vision travelers. The app is free to download and use for the first 30 days, but requires subscription to use after the initial trial period. There is also a fully paid version without subscription that is named Seeing Eye GPS XT. iTunes Store for subscription version: iTunes Store for full price, non-subscription version:


Very handy and accurate app for providing information about travel environment, such as direction of travel, landmarks, addresses, and street names, but does not generate point to point route directions. iTunes Store:


Transportation and Route Planning:

Google Maps (free)

Great way to have a national, in fact an international connection to travel planning. Allows user to select directions based on travel modes of vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, or transit iTunes Store: Google Play Store: Microsoft Store:

Apple Maps and Siri (built in iOS app, free)

There are a number of cities that Apple Maps supports public transportation information as well, but to date it only covers a portion of cities around the world, you can find the list of supported cities at the following link for information on Apple Maps:

Transit (free)

Transportation planning app with large bold numbers for bus routes; this app immediately shows you which bus routes are nearest to you and in many areas provides real time arrival information. iTunes Store: Google Play Store:

Moovit (free)

Transportation information for most areas. iTunes Store: Google Play Store: Microsoft Store:

Where To?

To find what is nearby, such as restaurants, banks, etc.; paid version seems to work best with VoiceOver iTunes Store:



Dark Sky

Weather app that tells how long until rain is at your present location iTunes Store:

10 opinions on “Apps for Users Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

  1. Hello

    We wanted to share that we have recently announced our new app on the Apple and Google Play stores for Envision ELI. We wanted to share our patented app for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Be sure to check out the website also at

    Envision ELI on the App Store

    ELI – Android Apps on Google Play

    1. Hi Nancy,
      So glad you found this helpful so glad you found this helpful enough to request posts by E-mail! I really have not developed my technology skills to the point of having an RSS Feed on the blog. I just post when new resources come up. You can always send an E-mail with questions to Sorry I do not have a way to automate it all for you. Thanks for visiting the site! Chris : )

  2. Seeing AI combines a lot of apps in one. It has a short text reader, document reader, bar code scanner,currency reader, scene description, a handwriting reader, a color identifier, and light detector.

    O&M students have begun using ViaOpta Nav and Soundscape. I need to learn more about these apps to be able to use them.

  3. Hi! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for
    the great information you have got here on this post.

    I am returning to your site for more soon.

  4. hello here. wanna say lots of thank you to those who took part in compiling all these APPs vital for persons with visually impairment. am very much grateful for you guys. have downloaded a good number of the APPs. you are making us to have a true and real picture of the world. lots of thanks to you. the problem or I can say a challenge is, most of the vital applications are not available in the Google playstore. and many of us to be specific; in Africa I being in Kenya; are using the Android devices. will be very much grateful if this APPs will be made available in the Google playstore.
    regards: MR. Cheruiyot Victor.

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