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Do you have trouble physically using the phone? This page provides information about a number of products and services which can assist people with physical disability and have trouble using the phone.

It includes information about the features included in the popular mobile phones using Apple iOS or Android, home phones and services available from telco's and specific services to assist people who have physical disability which can cause difficulty using the telephone.

Apple iOS - iPhone and iPad

For more information on accessibility features of Apple products, visit the Apple Accessibility page.


AssistiveTouch lets you adapt the Multi-Touch screen of your iOS device to your unique physical needs. So if you have difficulty with some gestures, like pinch, you can make them accessible with just a tap of a finger. Or create a custom gesture. And if you have trouble pressing the Home button, you can activate it with an onscreen tap. Gestures like rotate and shake are available even when your iOS device is mounted on a wheelchair. And iOS devices also support a number of third-party assistive devices that help you interact with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

New features in iOS 8:

  • Many changes to Switch Control to make it a better user experience
  • Zoom has an option to have a Controller for greater ease of access of the Zoom options and magnification
  • AssistiveTouch now has options for the Notification Center and the Control Center- Siri now has an always-on listening mode where the user can just say "Hey Siri" to activate the personal assistant (only when plugged in to power source).

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keystroke shortcuts can be set up to type words or phrases commonly used – making it easier and faster to type your name, email address, home address, or any other text that you commonly type.


Siri, iPhone and iPad speech recognition feature can be used to send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings, set reminders and access the internet. Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, so you can ask Siri to search the internet and hear the results read out loud.


Dictation turns your speech to text. Tap the microphone button on the keyboard, speak what you want typed and Dictation will convert your spoken words to text. This is useful for texts, emails, notes and reminders.


The Apple Accessibility Support Line is a helpline dedicated to assisting iOS users with vision, hearing, motor or learning impairments. It is a 24 hour service which allows you to directly speak with an Apple representative who is trained in providing support using accessibility services. To access this service call 1300 365 083 (local and national telephone rates apply).

Android features

  • TalkBack now supports gestures to trigger actions, to navigate applications, and traverse text.
  • Gesture Keyboard that lets you glide over letters to type a word while it dynamically predicts what you want to type.

Google Voice Access app

The Google Voice Access app provides capability to operate Android devices by speech commands. The app is available to download free of charge from Google Play store.

More information about accessible apps and other mobile devices can also be found on the GARI website.

Telco services


Call connect fee exemption - a call connect service for registered users available to people who cannot use a phone keypad or otherwise make a phone call on their home phone. This requires pre-registration and certification by a suitably qualified medical practitioner.

For enquiries about eligibility and registration contact the Telstra Disability Enquiry Hotline:
1800 068 424 (Voice)
1800 808 981 (TTY only)
1800 814 777 (Fax)


Free Operator Assisted Directory Service

Optus customers with a disability who need assistance to access directory services can call 133 937 (general inquiries option) to apply for a free operator-assisted service.

On the call a customer service rep will ask you a series a questions to ascertain you meet the criteria. Optus Operator Services will then provision your request and, once approved, will contact you to provide you with the directory numbers to use. This free service will allow you to call in, seek directory assistance and be through connected for local, national and international calls. Standard mobile call charges may apply for calls from mobile phones.

For more information, visit Optus’ Disability Services page.

Useful contact information



Web Address

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Telecommunications regulator

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

Peak telecommunications consumer organisation

Carers Australia

Peak organisation for carers

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Australian peak organisation representing the disability sector

Australian Human Rights Commission

Australian Government funded organisation representing and protecting Human Rights

Physical Disability Australia

Peak organisation representing interests of people with a physical disability

Communications Alliance Ltd

Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry organisation in Australia


Australian Federal Government social security agency

COTA (Council on the Ageing National Office)

Represents interests of older Australians

Department of Communications

Australian Federal Government Department of Communications

National Disability Insurance Agency

Implementing Australian Government's National Disability Insurance Scheme

Department of Social Services

Australian Federal Government Department of Social Services

Independent Living Centres Australia (inc)

Provides independent information about assistive technology products through State and Territory offices


Australian Federal Government workplace modifications program for people with disability

National Disability Services

Peak body for non-government disability service organisations

National Ethnic Disability Alliance

Peak organisation representing people from non-English speaking backgrounds with disability

National Relay Service (NRS)

Australian Government relay service providing telecommunications service for Deaf, hearing impaired or speech impaired consumers

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

Fast, free and fair dispute resolution service for small business and residential customers who have a complaint about their telephone or internet service

Women with Disabilities Australia Peak organisation representing interests of Australian women with disability