Apple Universal Access Quick Start Guide

Last updated: August 16, 2022

Apple’s Universal Access panel allows you to adjust the keyboard and mouse settings further than their standard options under System Preferences.

Changing Universal Access Settings

From the Apple Menu, click on System Preferences and select “Universal Access”. From the Universal Access control panel, four categories can be adjusted.

Visual Settings

From here, users can manage various options related to visible interface.

  • Zoom: Enlarges display for blind and low-vision users
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION> + <8>: Enable zoom
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION> + <=>: Zoom in
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION > + <–>: Zoom out
  • Display: Adjusts color scheme.
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION> + <CTRL> + <8>: Cycle color schemes
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION> + <CTRL> + <,>: Reduce contrast
    • <APPLE> + <OPTION> + <CTRL> + <.>: Increase contrast

Audio Settings

Deaf and low-hearing users can benefit from use of Apple’s accessible audio features.

  • VoiceOver
    • <APPLE> + <F5>: Activate/Deactivate VoiceOver

Keyboard Settings

A suite of accessibility settings make the keyboard easier to use for people with limited digital mobility.

  • Sticky Keys: Lets users hit combinations of multiple modifier keys, such as <ALT> and <CTRL>, one key at a time. Enable Sticky Keys through the Universal Access menu. In the Sticky Keys menu, you can change options to dictate the behavior of the Sticky Keys feature.
  • Slow Keys: This feature alters how long you must hold down a key to type a character. This can be used in conjunction with the standard key repeat setting, which adjusts the rate at which a character is repeated when the key is held down.

Mouse Settings

This section allows customization for users who have difficulty with a standard mouse.

  • Mouse Keys: This allows pointer control by the numeric keypad instead of the physical mouse. Please note that with Mouse Keys enabled, you will not be able to use the keypad for its accustomed numeric functions. With Mouse Keys activated: 
    • <5>: Click mouse
    • <CTRL> + <5>: Right-click mouse
    • There is an option that allows you to turn on and off Mouse Keys by pressing <OPTION> five times. Note: when using both Mouse Keys with this option as well as Sticky Keys, you will need to hit <OPTION> one more time to turn the lock off from Sticky Keys. Also if the option that allows Mouse Keys to be turn on or off is enabled, there is no notification of what the status is.
  • Adjusting the Mouse Pointer Movement: There are two settings that can be adjusted, initial delay and maximum speed. Initial delay is the length of time a key has to be held down before it moves. Maximum speed adjusts the speed that the cursor moves across the screen.
  • Cursor Size: You can adjust the size of the mouse cursor on the screen.


For additional help with Universal Access, consult Access Technology Center staff.