iOS 18 eye tracking: How to navigate iPhone with just your eyes

Here's how to set up and use the iOS 18 eye tracking feature:

By Chris Smith - Senior Editor
2 Min Read

iOS 18 includes several new accessibility features for iPhone with the headlining one being the ability to control the smartphone with just your eyes. Whether you have an accessibility need or just want to tinker with the new feature, here’s how to turn on iPhone Eye Tracking in iOS 18.

Eye Tracking is one of the primary ways that the Apple Vision Pro functions. It’s used to track what the user is looking at, so screen elements can be selected and used, with a pinch of the fingers to confirm.

The version found in iOS 18 is the same concept, but for a much smaller screen.

This instance of Eye Tracking is intended to help users with physical disabilities. Specifically, if you can’t easily interact with a touchscreen display or are unable to easily navigate iOS or iPadOS with a finger, this offers a solution.

Simply put, Eye Tracking is able to determine where a user’s eyes are looking at on the screen.

It does so without requiring any extra equipment. All it requires is the front-facing camera on an iPhone or iPad, coupled with on-device machine learning.

you can use Eye Tracking to lock your iPhone, go to the Home Screen, scroll, and more.

How to turn on iPhone Eye Tracking in iOS 18

To get the best results, Apple recommends setting up Eye Tracking with your iPhone on a stable surface roughly 1.5 feet away from your face.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap on Accessibility.
  3. Tap on Eye Tracking.
  4. Toggle on **"Eye Tracking," **ensuring the slider turns green.
  5. You will then get a prompt that says, "Follow the dot with your eyes as it moves around the screen."
  6. Follow the dots on the screen with your eyes until you get a white checkmark.

Dwell Control and customizing control

When the Eye Tracking is enabled, a setting called Dwell Control is also turned on.

While a user can force a cursor to move by looking at different parts of the screen, they cannot easily select the item by looking alone. Dwell Control will select items on the screen for the user, by the user maintaining their gaze and not shifting it for a few seconds.

Dwell Control can be disabled completely, or customized using settings with Assistive Touch settings.

To further help users, Smoothing can be adjusted. This specifically alters how responsive the pointer is to the user’s eye movement, with it able to increase or decrease the sensitivity.

For users, this can mean the cursor doesn’t move that much when eyes briefly flit to another point for a second. It also can make it easier for a user to zero in on what they want to select on the screen.

There’s also an option for Snap to Item. As the name proposes, the pointer will tend to gravitate towards the nearest selectable user interface section.

This makes it extremely quick to make selections from menus for users, as it reduces the amount of accuracy required to select it.

A selectable dot can also be expanded to show a selection of other features, including adjustments to Dwell Control, access to Notification Center, and Control Center. This is an addition that makes it easier to access key elements of iOS 18, using a tougher than usual control scheme.

Conclusion

That’s it! You should be all set to control iPhone with Eye Tracking. As shown above, you’ll see a white outline around the button/app/area you’re focusing on when Eye Tracking is in use. Hold your focus (Dwell) to select something.
And you can still use your touchscreen while using Eye Tracking.
If your Eye Tracking doesn’t feel accurate or responsive, try setting it up again with your iPhone on a stand with your face ~1.5 feet away.
More on iOS 18:

By Chris Smith Senior Editor
Chris Smith is a senior editor at GeeksModo based in Canada. He likes to think of himself as a jack of all trades (and a master of at least a few), though he mainly focuses on iPhones and Macs. Often covering both at the same time. When not surrounded by various Apple devices while putting them through their paces, Chris can be found streaming the latest movies or series, gaming on his PS5, or getting fresh air on a hike in the beautiful wilderness of British Columbia.
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