I had several older kids, teens and young adults that preferred the portability and the “look” of pocket-sized AAC. There are several iOS AAC apps that can be used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. And Android AAC apps that can be used on an Android phone. This allows it to fit in a pocket. Some used it as an alternative to their larger device. Others used it as their primary AAC. A few used wrist sized AAC on an Apple Watch.
Here are the iOS AAC apps that can work on these smaller devices that I’ve found the most helpful. Each of these has unique features and vary in how robust they are. Some of the features may be slightly different than those seen on an iPad or iPad Mini.
Symbol-based apps for iPhone & iPod Touch:
* Avaz (also available for Android)
* Bridge Communication
* Cboard (also available for Android)
* CoreVoice (also available for Android)
* CoughDrop (also available for Android)
* Proloquo + Proloquo Coach
* Proloquo2go (can also be used in a limited way on an Apple Watch)
* Speak for Yourself
* Touchchat with WordPower
Text-based apps for iPhone & iPod Touch:
* ClaroCom Pro
* Dialogue AAC
* Flip Writer AAC Pocket
* Predictable (also available for Android)
* Proloquo4Text (can also be used in a limited way on an Apple Watch)
* Speech Assistant AAC (also available for Android)
* Talk Assist
* Talk for Me
* Talkie (also available for Android)
* Type and Speak
* Vocable (also available for Android but with fewer features)
There are several other text-based AAC apps for Android devices. See the Basic Feature Chart for Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps linked below.
The keyboard area in a symbol-based AAC app could also be used and some of those apps have a way to toggle off symbols to create a text only set up.
There are lots of other specialty AAC apps than can be used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Many are designed for use in medical situations or can be helpful for very specific situations. See this post on for screenshots of how I have them organized in folders on my iPhone: https://www.facebook.com/174264525957894/posts/3917269238324052/?d=n.
Updated 2/9/23: AAC on an Apple Watch
Proloquo2Go & Proloquo4Text are both robust AAC apps that can be used in a limited way on an Apple Watch. Proloquo2Go: https://www.assistiveware.com/support/proloquo2go/apple-watch/set-up. Proloquo4Text: https://www.assistiveware.com/support/proloquo4text/apple-watch/set-up.
There are two basic AAC apps that can only be used on the Apple Watch:
- GoTalk WOW: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-wow
- JTalker: https://www.jwerfel.com/jtalker/ (not available yet, undergoing beta testing)
You may need to consider connecting the Apple Watch to a wearable Bluetooth speaker to amplify the sound: https://support.apple.com/en-ie/guide/watch/apd67b3ac484/watchos. See this blog post for info about the Noxgear 39g and other wearable Bluetooth speakers: https://bit.ly/CanYouHearMyAAC
SpeechWatch with TalkTablet Pro: I don’t typically recommend the TalkTablet app since it’s not very intuitive to use but wanted to include their watches in this post for those who might watch to research them further. I have no idea how well these work and am not sure what type of watch was used to build them (it’s not an Apple Watch): https://usaspeechtablets.com/products/swa & a much larger one: https://usaspeechtablets.com/products/swb
There is a need for more AAC apps to be usable on an iPhone & Android phone. I get numerous requests every month for info about the options. Sadly more than half of the robust iOS symbol-based AAC apps can only be used on an iPad. I had several older kids, teens and young adults that preferred the portability and the “look” of pocket-sized AAC on their phone. Some used it as an alternative to their larger device. Others used it as their primary AAC.
Some app developers claim that it would be impossible to offer their app on an iPhone because it would “mess with the motor plan” or “the buttons would be too small”. Hmm… somehow Speak for Yourself did this way back in 2016 and their app has 120 buttons per page and is a “motor planning” based app. In the years since then I’ve seen several posts from AAC users, parents, SLPs, teachers, etc. who all appreciate the flexibility that this offers. The screen on the largest iPhones are only a couple of inches smaller than an iPad Mini. Even on my iPhone 11 with its 6.1” screen I’m able to use this app well enough to do some modeling and use it all the time to take a look at the Settings area to answer questions about the app when I don’t have my iPad with me.
Read these posts on the Speak for Yourself website: https://speakforyourself.org/does-aac-button-size-really-matter/ & https://speakforyourself.org/tiny-speak-coming-soon-iphones/. A quote from the second post: “The buttons are small, BUT they are twice the size of the keyboard buttons that we all use, including our students who flawlessly use mom or dad’s phone to search for videos on YouTube. Many of our users will be able to access Tiny Speak for Yourself (Tiny SfY), but even if they are not able to access it, having the app on an iPhone also puts the ability to model seamlessly into the hands of parents, professionals…and siblings. That may be the biggest game changer of Tiny SfY.”
Look at the data and the button size comparisons. Look at the pictures and video of it in use. Read the linked blog posts about the impact of having this option.
It’s doable. Not saying it’s easy for developers to reprogram an app to make it iOS Universal. I’m sure it takes a lot of work. But if you listen to your customers it’s one of the biggest needs. So listen, roll up your sleeves and make it happen.
For in-depth info about features in AAC apps see these five AAC Feature Matching Resources:
• iOS Symbol-Based: https://bit.ly/SymbolBasedAACapps. More info: https://bit.ly/SymbolBasedAACblogpost
• iOS Text-Based: https://bit.ly/TextBasedAACapps. More info: https://bit.ly/TextBasedAACblogpost
• Visual Scenes & Video Visual Scenes: https://bit.ly/AACvsd. More info: https://bit.ly/VSDaacBlogPost
• Robust Android AAC: https://bit.ly/RobustAndroidAACappChart. More info: https://bit.ly/RobustAndroidAACblogpost
• Basic Feature Chart for Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps (iOS, Android Google Play, Amazon Fire, Windows + a few Web-Based options): https://bit.ly/BasicAffordableAACchart. More info: https://bit.ly/BasicAffordableAACblogpost
See this blog post for more info + several videos comparing AAC across platforms: https://bit.ly/5aacFeatureMatchingResources
Looking for fundable / dedicated / managed pocket-sized AAC? It’s unlikely that you could get an iPhone funded as a SGD / DME
but some funding sources may consider an iPod Touch with a robust AAC app in a durable case (updated 10/11/22 – iPod Touch was discontinued).
If your particular funding source won’t, then take a look at these four small dedicated SGDs that are about the same size as an iPhone. The first three allow a choice between several apps. I’ve had some AAC users like them. But many thought they still looked “different” and preferred to use an AAC app on their phone. So it’s very important to try them out to see what the AAC user prefers.
ProSlate 4D: https://www.forbesaac.com/proslate-4d (Updated 10/23/22: Sadly this device is no longer available. I contacted the company and they are still looking for an alternative since the iPod Touch that was used to build it was discontinued)
QuickTalker Freestyle Touch: https://quicktalkerfreestyle.com/quicktalker-freestyle-touch-product-tour/ (Updated 10/23/22: Sadly this device is no longer available since the iPod Touch that was used to build it was discontinued)
wego 5A-D: https://www.talktometechnologies.com/pages/wego-5a-speech-generating-device (Updated 10/23/22: This device is still available (confirmed with the company)
NovaChat 5: https://saltillo.com/products/print/nova-chat-5 (limited to their vocabulary options). (Updated 10/23/22: This device is still available. It’s an Android-based device so it wasn’t impacted by the disappearance of the iPod Touch)
The UK version of the NovaChat 5: https://www.liberator.co.uk/nova-chat-5
NovaChat 5: 5″ screen
iPhone 13 Mini: 5.4” screen
iPhone 14: 5.78″ screen
Lincare AAC – reportedly has a pocket-sized device called the Expression Mini Max but there isn’t any info about it on their website. I’ll update if I receive info about it. ( Updated 10/23/22 : The Lincare AAC website has been updated and now shows a small device called the Expression Micro . But there is just this picture and no info. I’ve messaged my contact at the company and will update this section when/if I receive any details: https://www.lincare.com/en/services/speech-generating-devices
Updated 2/9/23: The Lincare AAC website has finally been updated. Details about the Expression Micro can be found in this catalog: https://www.lincare.com/-/media/project/lincare/files/aac/lincare-aac-expression-series-device-and-environmental-control-catalog.pdf
Update 5/10/22: Apple announced today that they are discontinuing the iPod Touch. It will be interesting to see how this affects companies that have used that to build pocket sized AAC devices.
Looking for an affordable option for pocket-sized AAC? Many users prefer to just add an app to their iPhone or Android phone but some settings don’t allow phones (or it would be a battle to get an exception). The iPod Touch used to be my “go to” option for this. Since the iPod Touch was discontinued I purchased an Android Samsung Galaxy A03s (prepaid TracFone that has NOT been activated for cellular service) on Amazon. Shout out to Karen Erickson for sharing that idea in a comment in the AAC for the SLP group. It was only $59.88 and essentially gives me an Android equivalent to an iPod Touch (which Apple has discontinued) for pocket-sized AAC. I added a $12.99 case that has a tiny ring stand and sliding cover for the camera. So for $72.87 (+ the cost of the app) I have a very affordable pocket-sized AAC device.
See this video for a look at some of the AAC apps I have installed on it: https://youtu.be/ZKio8rtkufg
Fundable iOS-Based AAC Devices: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2021/03/12/fundable-ios-based-aac-devices/. Other sizes of devices & quite a bit more funding info that you may find helpful.
Of course there are lots of other fundable larger tradional SGDs. Check with your local AAC vendor reps to discuss those options. There are also several pocket-sized or wearable mid-tech devices that could be considered.
Have a question? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting
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