My use of the iPhone 12 with severe end-stage Macular Degeneration.

To a normal sighted person, the images below might appear weird or kindergarten like.

But to a person aged nearly 74, with permanently obscured vision and the prognosis of no cure, which is profoundly scary, these images may be a gift of enlightenment.

If my presentation helps someone, I will have achieved my aim.


Big Clock HD




top left Big Dialler ~ top right Text Messaging – Siri error, should be plain


top left BigCalc Pro ~ top right EyeChart HD


top left Big Text top right Notes and Big Keys


top left Magnified Australian 5 cent coin  ~  top right Siri and Zoom Controller


top left Robert at Byron Bay, 1989  ~  top right Gillian in Jonson Street, Byron Bay, 1998


Back Story

Out the back, no fear, take the drop, go hard ~ in the zone.

In January 2021, my wife Gillian suggested to me that I should get an iPhone. I was seriously sceptical about this proposition, as I held the clear view that it would be of little use to me, because of my serious central vision loss due to severe end-stage macular degeneration in both my eyes. How wrong was I.

The primary benefit of this iPhone 12 purchase was to reduce the pressure upon Gillian and grab a little much needed independence for myself – and Gillian.

With Gillian in the role of the sighted instructor, we embarked on an intense iPhone 12 bootcamp to attempt to familiarise me with various application uses of this device.  In a relatively short time, critical benefits were achieved for both of us, but especially for me.

Key achievements – a work in progress.

Most importantly, I emphasise that I still need the sighted assistance of Gillian in navigation, editing, checking and reviewing my efforts on my iPhone 12.  This is a continuing learning curve exercise for myself, and can only improve with time.  My mantra is – try to learn only a few apps very well,  otherwise you will go crazy – and this is a crazy enough endeavour as it is.

My current primary uses for this 2021 ios 14.4 iPhone 12 are -

  • Mobile phone calls and text messaging by manual keyboard input, touch phone number in my Contacts list, by voice command using various apps or Siri, or by speech to text and text to speech with the onboard microphone and speaker.  FaceTime via video link.
  • Magnification of the outside world. Can also be activated by a double tap on the back of  the device.
  • Commands, questions and device navigation directed at Siri.  Activation by my voice.  Siri has improved markedly in recent years.  However, Siri AI is not perfect, and on occasion will make mistakes.
  • Speech to text and text to speech apps. Used in a variety of applications. Particularly in note taking and for the purpose of text messaging.  Also, confirmation of text to speech of my own created writings.
  • Zoom controller. On-screen icon which facilitates zooming in or magnification of what is on the iPhone screen.  Additional feature of this controller, on activation, is to speak on-screen text.  In Accessibility, in Settings, on-screen text may be resized using the sliding scale feature.

There are a myriad of indeterminable uses for the modern, continually evolving iPhone device, and I will leave this to your own future exploration.


The biggest stressor is sight loss.
The biggest anxiety is further sight loss.
So get out the back again.

Green Tree frog at night
photographed on the window pane
of our Coorabell home, 2021