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How to Download and Use Apple VoiceOver

VoiceOver is an “advanced screen-reading technology integrated into the Mac OS X operating system. VoiceOver enables users with visual disabilities to control their computer using a rich set of keyboard commands and gestures.”

Apple's Official Documentation for Apple VoiceOver provides an in-depth explanation of VoiceOver capabilities and use.

The default “VoiceOver keys,” or “VO Keys” is Caps Lock or the Ctrl + Option keys.

How to Download Apple VoiceOver

Apple VoiceOver comes preinstalled on Apple computers. There are multiple ways to enable VoiceOver:

Option 1. Press Command + F5 to toggle VoiceOver.
Option 2. Navigate to System Preferences > Accessibility > VoiceOver and check the “Enable VoiceOver” checkbox.
Option 3. Use Siri and say “Turn VoiceOver on” or “Turn VoiceOver off”

How to Navigate with Apple VoiceOver

University of Houston’s pages are developed with accessibility in mind. Each page is equipped with a keyboard-accessible “Skip to Main Content” button that will jump to the current pages focused content. Various html semantic elements are also heavily used throughout the website allowing for ease of navigation.

To use VoiceOver commands, press the VoiceOver modifier key (VO) & the designated key(s). The default VO-keys are Caps Lock or Control-Options.


  • VO + Up arrow: Move VoiceOver cursor up
  • VO + Down arrow: Move VoiceOver cursor down
  • VO + Left arrow: Move VoiceOver cursor left
  • VO + Right arrow: Move VoiceOver cursor right
  • VO + K: Pause or Resume Keyboard Help
  • Ctrl: Pause or Resume Speech

Web browsing

  • VO + U: Show list of window navigable items. Press left or right arrow to choose for different menus and up or down arrow to choose the item
  • Tab: Select the next hyperlink
  • Shift + Tab: Select the previous hyperlink
  • Alt + left arrow: back through browsing history
  • Alt + right arrow: forward through browsing history

Quick Reference

  • Command + F5: Enable/Disable VoiceOver
  • Command + Shift + F8: Open VoiceOver tutorial
  • VO + H: Open the VoiceOver Help menu
  • VO + U: Open the Window navigation menu

There are hundreds of different Apple VoiceOver keyboard commands. It is highly encouraged to use the interactive Apple VoiceOver tutorial (VO + Command + F8) and/or reference Apple's Official Documentation to learn more.