5 Top Cell Phones for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired in 2022

Published: June 17, 2022

Updated: June 17, 2022

This post reviews five popular cell phones for people who are blind or visually impaired. Two of these are basic cell phones: the MiniVision2+ and Jitterbug Flip2. The remaining three are smartphones: the Synapptic, Google Pixel and the iPhone.


The MiniVision2+ is a basic cell phone with large tactile buttons that is one hundred percent accessible to individuals who are blind.

The phone speaks everything on the screen and everything that is typed. It can also be controlled to a large extent through voice commands. The MiniVision2+ is a basic cell phone but includes a number of features associated with smartphones. In addition to making calls and sending text messages, the MiniVision2 has an alarm, camera, FM radio, light detector, color identifier, money identifier, calculator, recorder, voice notes, flashlight, weather and a “where am I?” feature.

As will be discussed further below, the MiniVision2+ is a 4G LTE phone that works on the T-Mobile network, and is also authorized to work on the AT&T network, which is quite an accomplishment since it is the first and only cell phone specifically designed for people who are blind that AT&T has authorized.

Physical Description

The MiniVision2+ is a little smaller than the typical smartphone. It is 4.9 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.5 inches thick.

It is made of hard plastic and has rounded edges that makes it feel comfortable to hold. The lower sixty percent of the phone consists of the keypad, which has large black buttons with large white characters. The buttons are well spaced, making it easy to press the correct key. The navigation buttons are especially tactile. The OK button has numerous tiny bumps on its surface, giving it an unmistakable textured feel. The navigation buttons, which surround the OK button, are raised. And the Call and Power buttons each have three large bumps on their surfaces. In short, the MiniVision2’s keypad is the most tactile keypad we have experienced.

The bottom edge of the phone includes a micro-USB charging port, a 3.5 mm audio connector for headphones and two small holes to charge the phone when it sits in the charging station. The power and volume buttons are integrated into the keypad and not on the edge of the phone, as is typical on smartphones.

The Voice Guide

The voice guide is what makes the MiniVision2+ a “talking phone” and therefore a fully accessible device for people who are blind. The voice guide speaks everything that is on the screen and everything that is pressed. For example, the MiniVision2+ will read the senior’s text messages. And when the user is typing the reply, it will speak the letters as they are typed. If the user deletes a letter, say the letter “h”, it will say “h deleted.” The MiniVision2+ provides blind users all necessary information to use every feature of the device fully and independently.

In addition to providing the blind user access to all features, the voice guide provides him or her various types of information. For example, it speaks phone status information, such as the time, date and battery power level, and it notifies the user when the phone is charging.

The default language is English. The MiniVision2+ supports 19 languages in total. Users can download premium voices for free so that they can select a voice that is most pleasing to their ears. The speed at which the voice guide speaks can be adjusted to either normal, fast, faster or very fast.

Voice Commands

Many of the basic functions of the MiniVision2+ can be controlled by voice. Most importantly, calls can be made by pressing and holding the OK button and saying “call” and then the name of the person the user wishes to call. Similarly, the user can send a text message by pressing and holding the OK button and saying, “send message to” and then the person’s name. Messages can be composed by voice. In our experience, the accuracy of the speech-to-text is very good.

The visually impaired user can use their voice to control other aspects of the phone, as well. For example, to add a new contact or create a voice memo. And virtually any text field can be filled by voice.

The level of voice control is generally excellent and provides the user who prefers to use their voice with ample opportunity to do so.

Making Calls

Calls can be placed in four ways: First, the blind user can dial phone numbers with the keypad. The numbers are spoken out loud as the user types the digits. Second, calls can be placed directly from blind users’ contacts. Third, calls can be placed from Call History. Finally, calls can be placed by voice command. As discussed above, the visually impaired user presses and holds the OK button and says, “Call John”, for example.

Accessing Missed Call Information

The MiniVision2+ presents the blind user’s Call History. As the user scrolls through Call History, the Minivision2+ will speak information regarding those calls. For example, if it is a missed call from someone who is in the user’s contacts, the MiniVision2+ will speak the name of the contact, as well as the date and time in which the call was received. Importantly, all information that is presented visually is spoken by the voice guide, making it 100 percent accessible.

Sending and Receiving Text Messages

Text messages can be composed and sent with the assistance of the voice guide. The process for doing so is quite simple. Text messages can also be composed and sent using voice commands and voice dictation. Voice commands is by far and away the easier way to send text messages. The MiniVision2+ will verbally notify the visually impaired user when new text messages are received and will provide the number of new unread messages. Incoming text messages will be read out loud.

Other Features and Capabilities

Although the MiniVision2+ is a basic cell phone with buttons, it offers much more than just calling and text message capability. The phone also offers an alarm, camera, photo gallery, FM radio, light detector, color identifier, banknote recognizer, calculator, recorder, notes, flashlight, weather, “where am I?” and an emergency feature. All of these are accessible to someone with no sight and work very well.

We tested the banknote recognizer feature with $1, $10 and $20 bills. The MiniVision2+ recognized the bills correctly and consistently. Similarly, the “Where Am I?” feature consistently provided the correct location. These and other features should be very helpful for individuals who are blind.

Features for Visually Impaired

Font size can be set to either small, medium, large or very large. When set to very large, the letters are larger than any font size on a smart phone. In fact, when set to very large, some words are unable to fit on the display and scroll across the screen as a result.

Visually impaired users can also adjust the color schemes. Available color schemes include white on black (the default), black on white, blue on yellow, yellow on blue, yellow on black and black on yellow.

Finally, characters can be made bold.

All of these options make the MiniVision2+ an excellent phone for people who are visually impaired.

More Info

RAZ Mobility is offering the MiniVision2+ phone on its website. It’s in stock and typically ships the next day with FedEx 2nd day shipping.

Wireless Service

The MiniVision2+ is unlocked and operates on AT&T, T-Mobile or other wireless providers that operate on one of those networks, such as Cricket Wireless, Metro by T-Mobile, MINT Mobile and Ultra Mobile. Except that the MiniVision2 does not work with Cricket Wireless or Consumer Cellular. Purchase of the MiniVision2+ includes a free SIM card and three (3) free months of service from MINT Mobile. After the free months of service, MINT Mobile costs as low as $15/month for unlimited service. 


The Synapptic solution consists of software that can be placed on most Android smartphones or tablets to make them more accessible to individuals with low vision or who are completely blind. Synapptic is a British company; the solution is more popular in Europe than the U.S. RAZ Mobility, however, believes that Synapptic is an excellent solution and deserves to be popular in the U.S., as well.

RAZ Mobility sells the Synapptic solution on a Motorola Moto G Pure smartphone.

Physical Description

The Synapptic solution is software that can be placed on almost any Android smartphone. As mentioned above, however, RAZ Mobility sells it on the Moto G Pure.

The Moto G Pure includes a 6.5-inch display with a teardrop-style display. At 6.5 inches, the device provides plenty of real estate to accommodate large font sizes. The Moto e generally has small bezzles, providing for a modern design. There is, however, a somewhat larger bottom bezel.

The top of the phone has a headphone jack, while a speaker and a USB Type-C charging port sit on the bottom. The left side holds a SIM card slot, while a volume rocker and textured power button are located on the right. The buttons are easy to recognize by touch.

The phone is water repellent but not waterproof.

General Approach

Synapptic replaces the standard Android user interface with its own user interface, which is more intuitive for individuals with vision loss. It includes a simple menu structure where every menu screen is presented as a vertical list. The text size can be increased and made very large, larger than on any other device; much larger than on a standard android device or iPhone. There are a number of options for different color schemes.

The ability to adjust text size and color schemes makes Synapptic an excellent option for individuals with low vision who want to rely on their own eyes to use a smartphone rather than a screen reader.

Synapptic offers many apps, each of which is designed by Synapptic. As a result, they all work in the same way, and once the user learns how to use one app, they have pretty much learned how to use them all. Because of this, Synapptic does not require very much training.

For individuals who cannot rely on their vision at all, there is a very simple screen reader, which most people can learn quickly. A user can exit the Synapptic software and use the regular Android environment whenever they wish.

Voice Control

Synapptic allows the blind user to control much of the device by voice. The user can dictate with their voice, make calls, request various types of information, open applications and control various device settings.

Basic functions, such as text messaging, emailing and calling can be accomplished by voice. For example, the blind user can say “send a text message to Jane,” and then compose the message by voice. The user can also ask Synapptic to “call Jane,” assuming that Jane is in their contacts.

Information, such as the time, date, signal strength and battery level can be obtained by voice.

Certain basic functions can be controlled by voice. For example, the user can use their voice to turn the Wi-Fi and speakerphone on or off, put the ringer on silent, view pictures, change the voice speed and more.

Synapptic’s voice recognition generally does a very good job at understanding the user.

Making Calls and Text Messages

The blind user can place a call primarily in three (3) ways: first, they can use a dial pad and type the phone number. Second, the user can select the person and number they wish to call from contacts. Third, they can call using a voice command.

To answer a call or hang up, users can press the green or red accept or reject buttons on the screen. In the alternative, the power button can be used to end a call.

All calling options are accessible to low vision and blind users (everything speaks) and are very simple to operate.

Text messages can be typed using Synapptic’s keypad, which is high contrast. In the alternative, text messages can be composed and sent by voice.

Searching the Web

Synapptic has its own web browser that is completely accessible. It presents in Synapptic’s large text and high-contrast format, as well as speaks.

Search results are also presented in Synapptic’s typical format with large text with high contrast. Search results are also spoken out loud.

Websites are spoken and can be explored with either the volume buttons or the “Previous” and “Next” buttons at the bottom of the screen. Individuals with low vision can increase or decrease the size of the text on the screen. There is an advanced mode for exploring websites, that allows the user to move around a web page by heading, link, text or even letter by letter.

Other Applications

Synapptic offers many well-designed applications. These include a calendar, voice memos, note pad, camera, weather app, magnifier, OCR for reading, color identifier, GPS, letter writer, calculator, clock, flashlight, compass, music player, internet radio, YouTube, and a news feed. They are all presented with Synapptic’s large text and impressive color contrast.

Blind users can also download apps from the Google Play Store. Downloaded apps will appear in Synapptic’s menu system.

Synapptic Lite

Synapptic Lite is a less expensive version of the Synapptic software. It does not do those tasks that require an internet connection. Features that it includes are the following: All calling features, text messaging, magnification and changing color contrast, speech output, voice control, voice memos, address book, music playing via MP3s, calendar, reminder, alarms and note pad. The lite version does not include features, such as email, web browser, digital video magnifier, news feed, internet radio and others.

RAZ Mobility sells the Standard and Lite versions of the Synapptic software. Watch a video.

Wireless Service

The Moto e with the Synapptic software is unlocked and compatible with all major networks, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and their respective resellers.


The Jitterbug Flip2 is designed primarily for seniors who are interested in emergency and health services.  It has a limited Voice Guide that unfortunately speaks in a robotic and somewhat shrill voice.  As a result, accessibility is quite limited.  However, it does offer voice dialing.       

Physical Description

As the name suggests, the Jitterbug Flip2 is a flip phone.  When it is shut, it measures 4.3 by 2.2 inches and is .7 inches deep. It comes in red and graphite.  There is a standard headphone input on the left edge of the phone close near the top, and below it, a USB port for charging.  On the right edge, near the top, is the volume toggle.

The keypad is described in the section below that addresses features for people with low vision.  

Making Calls

There are three ways in which someone who is blind can place a call:  first they can dial the number with the keypad.  The Voice Guide will speak the number entered, but the keypad is quite flat and not very tactile, making using the keypad challenging for the blind user 

The second method is to call the Personal Operator.  The Operator is accessed by dialing zero and can look up phone numbers, connect to any number in the U.S. or Canada and place calls to anyone in the user’s contacts.  This service costs $.99 per call and the time spent on the phone with the Personal Operator counts towards the user’s allotment of minutes. 

The final method is the most useful for someone who is blind and that is voice dialing.  The phone can be set up so that the user can dial by voice as soon as they open the flip phone.  The user can initiate a call by speaking someone’s name if they are in the user’s contacts or by speaking the phone number. 

Missed Calls

The blind user can access some limited information regarding missed calls. The phone will speak the number associated with the missed call, but it will not speak the date or time that the call was placed. Blind users will need to ask someone who is sighted for assistance in order to obtain this information.

Sending or Receiving Text Messages

Unfortunately, the Jitterbug Flip2 does not support text messaging for people who are blind since the phone does not have a voice guide.  The phone will not speak incoming text messages or allow a blind user to compose text messages. There is no voice typing.

Entering Contacts

Contacts can be entered with the help of the Voice Guide. 

Phone Status

The phone will not speak the amount of battery power left, the phone’s signal strength, the time or the date.


The Jitterbug Flip2 does not have alarms.

Features for Low Vision

The keypad is reasonably well designed for someone with low vision.  The keypad is backlit.  The numbers are white, and the remainder of each key is black, providing good contrast. However, the keys are flat and not tactile.  

The display has good contrast supported by six different color schemes. The font size can be made either extra-large or regular.

Wireless Service

People who purchase the Jitterbug Flip2 must user Lively wireless service.   Lively uses Verizon’s network, so coverage is very good.  Unlimited talk and text is available for $19.99. 

The various health and safety features of the Jitterbug Flip2 cost additional; prices start at $19.99 per month. 

Emergency and Health Services 

Jitterbug Flip2 is really all about the health services.  It advertises itself as a “personal safety device.”  The Basic health and safety package costs $19.99 (on top of the cost of your cell phone service), and most notably includes a private emergency dispatch service, as well as a service that sends medication reminders.  There is also a Preferred package for $24.99 and an Ultimate package for $34.99.  The Preferred package includes access to a board-certified doctor or nurse without an appointment.  The Ultimate package includes a personal operator that can help the user with tasks, such as looking up addresses or phone numbers.       


Perhaps the best android device for blind users is the Google Pixel.  Pixel devices receive updates prior to other devices, and Google guarantees that they will receive such updates for three years from the date that they first appear in the Google store.  In addition, certain accessibility applications developed by Google are first available on Pixel devices

TalkBack Gestures

TalkBack is controlled by a series of gestures.  Here is a list:    

Basic gestures



Move to next item on screen

Swipe right

Move to previous item on screen

Swipe left

Cycle through navigation settings

Swipe up or down

Select focused item


Back-and-forth gestures



Move to first item on screen

Up then down

Move to last item on screen

Down then up

Scroll forward
(if you’re on a page longer than one screen)

Right then left

Scroll back
(if you’re on a page longer than one screen)

Left then right

Move slider up
(such as volume)

Right then left

Move slider down
(such as volume)

Left then right

Angle gestures
These gestures are two-part swipes at a right angle. For example, the default gesture for going to the Home screen is to swipe up then left at a sharp 90-degree angle.



Home button

Up then left

Back button

Down then left

Overview button

Left then up


Right then down
(see note below)

Screen search

Left then down

Open local context menu

Up then right

Open global context menu

Down then right

Some people may find the right angle gestures a little difficult.  However, the need to use such gestures can largely be avoided by customizing the gestures.  Specifically, new actions can be assigned to the one finger gestures, replacing the right angle gestures.  For example, instead of going back to the home screen by using the up and to the left gesture, the user could simply swipe down.      

Browsing the Web with TalkBack

Browsing the web with TalkBack is quite easy.  First, open a web page in Chrome.  Next swipe up or down to hear the various ways that TalkBack can read the page for you.  When you hear the way that you want to explore the page, stop.  You can then explore the web page using the selected method by swiping to the right to go forward or to the left to go backward. 

The various ways that you can explore a page include the following:

  • Headings – TalkBack will navigate the user from heading to heading
  • Links – Navigate from link to link
  • Controls – Navigate by other elements, such as form fields, buttons, or menus.
  • Characters – TalkBack will read a single character
  • Words – TalkBack will read a single word
  • Lines – TalkBack will read a single line
  • Default – Explore every element of the page in order    

Apps for People who are Blind

There are many excellent android applications for people who are blind.  Examples include Be My Eyes, Bard Mobile and Eye-D. 

An excellent list of android applications for people who are blind or low vision can be found on the RAZ Mobility Accessible App Installer.  This application lists and describes the top applications for individuals who are blind.

Google recently launched an excellent application called Lookout.  This app was developed specifically for people with vision loss.  It recognizes objects and tells the user where they are located in relation to the user, reads text, currency, barcodes and more.  Lookout is available on Pixel devices, as well as certain devices from Samsung and LG.  There is no iOS version of this application.    

While there are some excellent android applications for people who are blind, applications developed specifically for people with vision loss tend to be launched on iOS first. 

Sending and Reading Text Message

The easiest way to send a text message is with the Google Assistant.  The user can easily ask the Assistant to “send a text message” and the Assistant will respond “who do you want to text and guide the user through the process. 

While the Google Assistant will read new text messages, it will not read text messages that the user has already viewed.  In order to access messages that already been viewed, the user must go into the Messenger app using the TalkBack gestures.     

There may be times when you want to use your messaging app rather than the Google Assistant.  In that case, the easiest way to draft a text is voice dictation.  Unfortunately, there is no shortcut for activating voice dictation.  The user must find the voice dictation button and double tap to select. 

Editing text is quite easy in TalkBack; perhaps easier than in VoiceOver.

Obtaining Status Information

The user can access the information in the status bar (such as battery level and signal strength) with explore by touch and then swiping to the right or left to have the different elements in the status bar read out loud. 

In the alternative, the user can obtain the remaining battery strength information by asking the Google Assistant “what’s my battery level.”  The Google Assistant cannot provide the signal strength.

The Google Assistant

The Google Assistant is probably the best virtual assistant available.  It has excellent speech recognition and allows the user to perform many functions by voice.  A few examples include calling, managing your calendar, playing music, listening to audio books or podcasts, sending text messages, listening to the radio, setting alarms, performing Google searches and much more.  


The iPhone is the most popular smartphone with people who are blind or visually impaired, and for good reason: Apple was the first to develop an excellent built-in screen reader, called VoieOver. 


Explore and speak items on the screen


VoiceOver gesture to
perform action

Select and speak an item

Tap or touch the item

Select the next item

Swipe right

Select the previous item

Swipe left

Select the first item on the screen

Four-finger tap near the top of the screen

Select the last item on the screen

Four-finger tap near the bottom of the screen

Speak the entire screen from the top

Two-finger swipe up

Speak the entire screen from the selected item

Two-finger swipe down

Pause or continue speaking

Two-finger tap

Speak additional information, such as the position within a list or whether text is selected

Three-finger tap

Scroll up, down, left, and right


VoiceOver gesture to perform action

Scroll up one page

Three-finger swipe down

Scroll down one page

Three-finger swipe up

Scroll left one page

Three-finger swipe right

Scroll right one page

Three-finger swipe left

Take action on an item


VoiceOver gesture to perform action

Activate the selected item


Double-tap the selected item


Drag a slider

Tap the slider to select it, then swipe up or down with one finger; or double-tap and hold the slider until you hear three rising tones, then drag the slider

Start or stop the current action (for example, play or pause music or a video, take a photo in Camera, start or stop a recording, start or stop the stopwatch)

Two-finger double-tap

Dismiss an alert or return to the previous screen

Two-finger scrub (move two fingers back and forth three times quickly, making a “z”)

Edit an item’s label to make it easier to find

Two-finger double-tap and hold

Tip: As an alternative to selecting an item and double-tapping to activate it, touch and hold an item with one finger, then tap the screen with another.

Use gestures to control VoiceOver


VoiceOver gesture to perform action

Mute or unmute VoiceOver

Three-finger double-tap.
If both VoiceOver and Zoom are enabled, use the three-finger triple-tap gesture.

Turn the screen curtain on or off
(When the screen curtain is on, the screen contents are active even though the display is turned off.)

Three-finger triple-tap.
If both VoiceOver and Zoom are enabled, use the three-finger quadruple-tap gesture.

Use a standard gesture

Double-tap and hold your finger on the screen until you hear three rising tones, then make the gesture. When you lift your finger, VoiceOver gestures resume.
For example, to drag a volume slider with your finger instead of swiping up and down, select the slider, double-tap and hold, wait for the three tones, then slide left or right.

Open the Item Chooser

Two-finger triple-tap.
To move quickly through the list of items, type a name in the search field, swipe right or left to move through the list alphabetically, or tap the table class=”table-bordered” index to the right of the list and swipe up or down. You can also use handwriting to select an item by writing its name.
To dismiss the Item Chooser without making a selection, double-tap.

Use the VoiceOver rotor


VoiceOver gesture to perform action

Choose a rotor setting

Two-finger rotation

Move to the previous item or increase
(depending on the rotor setting)

Swipe up

Move to the next item or decrease (depending on the rotor setting)

Swipe down

Browsing the Web

Browsing is quite simple.  Open Safari, select the search field and enter your search.  You can swipe right or left to move down or up the list of suggested search phrases. After you hear the desired search phrase, double-tap the screen to search the web using the selected phrase.
Just like with the Pixel, you can explore a web page by element type.  For example, you can explore by heading or link.  Use the rotor to select the desired element type, then swipe up or down to move between the headings, links, or whatever was selected.   


The iPhone has an excellent selection of apps for people with vision loss.  Apps designed for people who are blind are frequently, but not always, launched on iOS first.  This is definitely an advantage that the iPhone has over the Google Pixel.  In some cases, developers decide only to develop an iOS version of their application.  As an example, Seeing AI, a popular app developed by Microsoft for people who are blind, launched the iOS version of their app a few years ago, but has yet to launch an android version. 

Sending a Text Message

As with the Google Pixel, the easiest way to send text message is with the virtual assistant.  Simply activate Siri and say “send text message” and Siri will prompt you for the rest.  You can also ask Siri to read your received messages.  Again, activate Siri, and say something like “read my texts.”  Siri will announce how many messages you have waiting for you.  Siri then starts reading all new messages, beginning with the sender’s name — or if the name is unknown, the phone number it’s coming from. Like the Google Assistant, Siri will not read old messages. 

If you want to send a text message with the messaging app, the easiest way to draft a message is with voice dictation.  VoiceOver offers a great shortcut for activating voice dictation.  After you open the app and select the recipient, use a two-finger double tap to start dictation.  The two-finger double tap also ends dictation.  Editing text is easy using the rotary tool.    

Status Information

An easy way to obtain certain status information, such as the battery level, is to ask Siri.  You can also tap the status bar at the top of the display and swipe left or right to hear the time, battery, signal strength and more.  This is much like the Pixel. 

Siri will not speak the signal strength. 


Siri can do many of the same things that the Google Assistant can do.  For example, it can play music, make calls, text, set timers and more.  Some people feel that Siri falls short in speech recognition, which most people agree is not as good as Google’s speech recognition. 

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