VoiceOver on Lock Screen of iPhone / iPad? How to Unlock iPhone if VoiceOver is Enabled

Aug 4, 2018 - 47 Comments

VoiceOver on iPhone or iPad speaks the screen

Have you ever found yourself with an iPhone or iPad that is stuck in VoiceOver mode and as a result you can’t unlock the iPhone or iPad? When VoiceOver is active and the screen is locked, if you’re trying to unlock the device or enter a passcode you may instead find that whatever is on screen is instead spoken aloud, and it may be preventing you from unlocking your device. If this has happened to you accidentally and suddenly your device is talking to you when you touch stuff on the screen, we’ll show you how to unlock an iPhone or iPad when the screen is locked while VoiceOver is active. Additionally, we’ll show you how to disable VoiceOver from the locked screen so that you can enter the passcode or unlock the device as usual.

Stepping back for a moment, you may be wondering why your iPhone or iPad is randomly talking to you describing what is on the screen. And maybe you’re wondering what VoiceOver is in the first place. Well, VoiceOver is an excellent accessibility feature that reads the screen, this allows the iOS device to speak aloud whatever is on screen so that individuals who are visually impaired, or who prefer an auditory interface, can interact with and use the iPhone or iPad, without even seeing it. VoiceOver is fantastic for so many use cases, and countless numbers of people use VoiceOver with great success, but if you’re not accustomed to the Voiceover interface, and you find that VoiceOver has somehow turned itself on, then admittedly it can be confusing if suddenly your device is talking to you and describing screen elements rather than behaving as otherwise expected. Not to be concerned though, there’s nothing wrong with your iPhone or iPad, and it’s quite easy to disable the VoiceOver feature if you need to turn it off.

How to Disable VoiceOver from Lock Screen of iPhone or iPad

The simplest way to disable VoiceOver from the lock screen of an iPhone or iPad, to then be able to unlock the iPhone or iPad as you normally would, is to use Siri. This is possible because Siri can toggle certain iOS Settings switches, and VoiceOver is one of them. Thus, if your iPhone or iPad is stuck in VoiceOver at the lock screen and you can’t unlock the device as a result, here is what you’ll want to do:

  1. Summon Siri as usual on the iPhone or iPad
    • Use “Hey Siri”
    • Or, if the device has a Home button hold that until Siri responds
    • Or, if there is no Home button then instead hold the Power button until Siri is active
  2. Tell Siri “turn off VoiceOver”
  3. Siri will respond by turning off VoiceOver and disabling the feature

You can now unlock your iPhone or iPad as you normally would, by entering in the passcode as usual.

You can use any method of getting Siri to become activated. Hey Siri or you can use the Home button / Power button activated Siri, either works and there is no right or wrong way to summon Siri.

How to disable VoiceOver from lock screen of iPhone or iPad

Disabling VoiceOver with Accessibility Shortcut

Another possible way to disable VoiceOver is by using the Accessibility Shortcut on the iPhone or iPad.

Triple pressing the Home button brings up the Accessibility Shortcut if your iPhone or iPad has a Home button.

If the device has no Home button, then triple pressing the Power button brings up the Accessibility Shortcut.

This won’t always work however, particularly if you customized the Accessibility Shortcut and toggled the VoiceOver feature to be not available through the shortcut.

Some users may also have Accessibility as part of a customized Control Center in iOS, and you can toggle the feature off or on from there too.

The Accessibility Shortcut in iOS with VoiceOver

The two methods above, using Siri to disable VoiceOver, or disabling VoiceOver by Accessibility Shortcut, are probably the two easiest methods of resolving this, so the next time you’re saying “Help! My iPhone / iPad is talking to me while on the lock screen, and I can’t unlock the device!” or “My iPhone / iPad is stuck in voice over mode and I can’t unlock the iPhone!” then try those methods, you’ll be able to deactivate the Voice Over feature on the locked screen and then use the device as normal. Of course you can also enter the passcode when VoiceOver is enabled, and you can turn it off in settings too, as we’ll discuss next.

How to Enter a Passcode When VoiceOver is Active on iPhone or iPad

While you can use Siri to disable VoiceOver, another option is to simply enter the passcode while VoiceOver is active on the iOS device. The passcode to unlock the iPhone or iPad will be the same, but how you enter it will be slightly different. Here are the steps for how to unlock a device an enter a passcode on the lock screen of an iPhone or iPad with VoiceOver active:

  1. Slide or swipe to unlock as usual, or fail to use Touch ID or Face ID to cause the passcode screen to come up
  2. At the unlock screen with pin entry, tap the first character of the passcode – this will read the character aloud
  3. Now double-tap on that same character to enter the character of the passcode
  4. Repeat the single-tap then double-tap process to enter the entire passcode and thereby unlock the iOS device

Once the iPhone or iPad is unlocked, VoiceOver is still active but you can repeat the tap and double-tap processes to turn off the feature if needed through Settings, or you can triple-click the Home button and toggle it off from there, or you can use Siri to disable VoiceOver as well.

Navigating with VoiceOver When Enabled on iPhone or iPad

Using VoiceOver is really worthy of an entirely separate article, but the basics of VoiceOver Navigation in iOS are as follows:

  • Tap once to select an item (speaks the item)
  • Double-tap to activate the selected item (for example, to press a button or flip a switch)
  • Swipe with three fingers to scroll (for example, scrolling up and down in Settings, or in web pages)
  • Swipe with one finger from the bottom of the screen until you feel a vibration to go “Home” (mimicking the home button press)

There is much more to VoiceOver, but if you’re simply trying to navigate with the setting enabled, either to turn it off or do some other action, those simple tricks should be sufficient to get started.

How to Turn Off VoiceOver in Settings on iPhone or iPad

Of course you might be wondering how to turn off VoiceOver through Settings too. This is necessary if the Accessibility Shortcut trick doesn’t work, or if Siri is not an option for whatever reason. Thus you can disable VoiceOver by going to the following location in iOS, but keep in mind the VoiceOver navigation tips discussed directly above this because if the feature is enabled you will find your usual taps and gestures are not going to be have as expected:

  1. Open the “Settings” app and then go to “General” and then to “Accessibility”
  2. Toggle the switch for “VoiceOver” to the OFF position

Once VoiceOver is off, the iPhone or iPad will respond to gestures and taps as normal, and the device will stop talking to you about what is on the screen, nor will it read aloud anything tapped.

As mentioned before, VoiceOver is really a wonderful feature and it’s one of the great accessibility innovations available for the iOS platform. But indeed, if you find VoiceOver is suddenly turned on accidentally, it can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with how it works. Hopefully the above tips will help to resolve whatever difficulties you had encountered with the feature, and you’ll be able to unlock your iPhone or iPad and disable VoiceOver if you’re in such a situation.

If you have any tips or thoughts about VoiceOver for iOS, share them with us in the comments!


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Malissa says:

    Thank you. My husband is away because he’s in the military and he was going to call at a certain time when voice over accidently got turned on, it was on the lock screen, and siri was not responding. I only had about an hour to fix it. I was crying and could hardly see the screen when I clicked on your article. Your article saved me. I ended up using the third method and it worked like a charm and I was able to answer my phone when he called. So, keep the articles coming. I know I’ll need help when I upgrade from my iphone11 soon. That will be interesting. Have a great day.

  2. Michael Saup says:

    Thank you, you saved my daugther’s day. 2 sessions with apple support were directly suggesting a factory reset which i thought was not a good idea.
    your method 3 enabled us to get rid of voiceover. great advice!

  3. Nene says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was just about to absolutely panic.

  4. steven Hickey says:

    how to unlock myy I phone without sound, while blind..??

  5. I am blind and cannot unlock my I phone 12. I have face recognizion, but nothing works??

  6. Tim Stone says:

    Thank you so much! I thought my iPad was done for.

  7. Silvina says:

    Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Vicki says:

    Worked great!
    The only problem was getting to the right screen.
    Thanks so much!

  9. brian says:

    I turned it on and could not turn on and unfortunately I did a hard reboot and now my siri will not work unless I type in my passcode which I cannot. This is such a waste of an accessibility. Please help as my phone is useless.

  10. Angie Quemby says:


  11. Khyati says:

    I accidently opted on voice over, and I had the madness floating in front of me. I tried to open and enter the pass code for more than an hour but that voice over guy kept on and onnn and on. Finally I found this blog of yours. I followed the steps to enter passcode and hurray!! it worked.. Thank you for writing on this topic….

  12. Harshith says:

    Thank you very much you saved me man thanks

  13. Jay says:

    My passcode is 1234. First i press 1 them i hear Siri sayang “one” after that i press 1 two times, next is 2, next is 3, next is 4.Thats i unlock my phone

  14. Jane says:

    What do you do when you’re not connected to the internet? Because Siri requires a connection to work.

    • Jay says:

      my passcode is 1234. First i press 1 then i hear Siri voice saying “one”. the press 1 two times, next is 2, next is 3, next 4, thats i unlock my phone passcode

  15. Jenny says:


  16. Garry says:

    Thanks! My Son’s iPad had this enabled, but also it was reading it so fast, you couldn’t even understand what it was saying. I wasn’t entirely sure it was speaking in English. Couldn’t unlock it to fix whatever was wrong with it.

  17. Kagya-Agyemang Yeboah says:

    Thanks a lot🙏🤦😭😂

  18. Zeeshan loneee says:

    Thnks for this app lock

  19. Myka says:

    Doesn’t work my Siri won’t turn on now I cannot get into my iPad I remember my code but it says it’s the wrong code 😭😭😭😭

  20. Asif Kamal says:

    Lot of thanks. I was really feeling in trouble

  21. Mariana Velisarato says:

    thank you!!!! my kid blocked the phone with the VoiceOver function and we just could’t go over the lock screen….Siri was disabled, the home button 3 times didn’t work….a nightmare!

    the 3rd option worked, finnally: “While you can use Siri to disable VoiceOver, another option is to simply enter the passcode while VoiceOver is active on the iOS device.”

    Thank you one more time!

  22. Bernie says:

    thankyou thankyou thankyou. I have spent half the day trying to figure this out, and your simple solution of pressing the home button three times worked perfectly

  23. I’m having a difficult time trying to teach my visually impaired grandson how to put the code in. When he taps it seems that it s not hard enough or the number jumps to another. His teacher sujested taping on the screen after it says number. That sometimes works. It’s just very frustrating. He is eight and he can’t tap hard enough for it to take.

  24. Frank says:

    Thank You !! I was going insane wondering how to fix the nightmare.

  25. Danielle says:

    Thankyou for posting this! It was very helpful as my daughters screen was locked and unresponsive with voice over accidentally activated. The double tap trick worked and I was able to get everything working again. Great tip!

  26. Elena Lizardo says:


  27. Mahesh Kumar says:

    Thank you very much for the great tip….Literally saved my life

  28. Vicki says:

    The tap double tap thing still won’t open my phone. It’s in airplane mode, is that why? Siri isn’t working either. Now what? Thanks.

  29. jules820 says:

    Paul Horowitz, I love you! After hours and hours of fruitless searches, I finally found this article!

    Your tap tap-tap method worked perfectly, and then I was able to tap tap-tap my way to settings and tap tap-tap the thing the f*ck’ off!

    All I wanted was to see the Golden Globe noms!

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  30. saad says:

    ty buddy saved my time but it took alot of my effort to put my lock as it didnot lettin me enter password also lol

  31. Stan says:

    I tried to get Siri to respond but it won’t. Says its unavailable and it won’t let me manually enter my code. I enter it, it calls out the numbers but it won’t fill them in and remains locked. Tried asking Siri to turn it off but it’s not responding to voice. Help please.

  32. Dark Lord Mark says:

    I am blind and use voiceover on my iPhone. I also use a thing called screen curtain, which makes the screen turn totally black. Voiceover is a great thing for blind people, but another thing it does is that if I accidentally leave my phone at the donut shop. LOL. The knucklehead to find it think it’s broken because it talks but there’s nothing on the screen and they can’t get it to work. So when I show up they hand it to me and I don’t have to call the police or anything. I almost wish you guys wouldn’t explain this publicly has would be criminals might be able to unlock my phone someday.

  33. Paul Mayes says:

    Thank you so much. iPhone 8.
    This work perfectly. I thought I thought I was losing my mind when it didn’t accept a code I have been using for years. Thank you again.

  34. Aleksejs says:

    Thank you so much! Locked iPhone 8 is now alive.

  35. Lisa says:

    Thank you! Note to self – never clean screen and home button when iPad is on. Really useful for someone visually impaired. Annoying as hell for the rest of us.

  36. Amy says:

    My ipod somehow got switched to the voice over. I have followed all the directions but I swipe to unlock and nothing happens. It stays on that screen and I do not get to even try entering a pin and siri is not connected to the internet either. I have also tried a hard reboot and that did nothing. What do I do?

  37. Nadiya says:

    Thank you for this article, I was in total panic thinking that my iPad had been hacked somehow and feared for all sensitive information I have on my iPhone too as they are connected by the same ID.

  38. Cheryl says:

    The special way of entering the passcode worked. Thankyou for the info. I just have one question for the designers of this feature WHY!!!

  39. Wyatt says:

    Thanks so much for the article. It helped me, felt like I was having a senior moment, which I am, but your layout of how to correct was spot on!

    • Paul says:

      You’re very welcome Wyatt, glad this could help you escape Voice Over on the lock screen of an iPhone / iPad! This situation has happened to many people, so you’re certainly not alone.

  40. Wendy says:

    WORKED !!! Like a charm 😊

  41. ruth says:

    worked, sincere thanks!!!

  42. Bonny says:

    Thank you for the info, worked and able to get back into the IPad.

  43. Celina English says:

    Locked iPhone 5 with voice over,
    It reads:

    iPhone is disabled – CONNECT TO ITUNES.

    Nothing you mentioned in this article helped… No, Siri, nothing…

    The only thing I was able to do in iTunes was to get my pictures…
    What to do?

    • Paul says:

      This is an article about unlocking an iPhone when VoiceOver is enabled on the lock screen, VoiceOver is a feature which reads the iPhone screen and will read what is tapped on screen, allowing for iPhone usage without seeing the display itself. It’s usually used by people with visual difficulties.

      What you describe as seeing the “iPhone is disabled” error is not related to Voice Over. The “iPhone is disabled” message occurs when the wrong passcode was entered too many times. Here is how you can fix the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” message:


    • Ephraim Kruger says:

      I had this same problem. The iPad had Voice Over enabled but it was disabled displaying the message

      iPhone is disabled – CONNECT TO ITUNES

      To remove Voice Over I just had to tap on the screen once to see the Voice Over boxes drawn around the writing on the screen and then I triple clicked the Home button on the front of the iPad. This turned off the Voice Over feature.

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