Changeling’s Guide to Discord for iOS VoiceOver Users: chatting: Text, voice and video

What is This?

This is the fourth in a series of posts that explains how to use Discord if you are also a iOS voiceOver user. If you are unsure of what Discord is or whether or not you wish to use it, please see the dedicated page for this guide for more information.


What is covered in This Post?

This post details how to participate in both text and voice chat in Discord for iOS. We then have a final thoughts section, since this is where many of you will have the information you need to use Discord.


Before We Begin: A Word About Keyboard shortcuts

At this time, there do not appear to be keyboard shortcuts for the iOS platform. There does seem to be quite the demand for it, however, so stay tuned.


Text Chatting

This is the primary way to use Discord. If you’ve been using VoiceOver on your iOS device for any length of time, many of the methods you use to navigate text chat will be similar to other messaging apps you’ve used. If this is your first time, you’ll be happy to know that the skills you learn here can be used in other apps. Let’s begin.

The chat Window

The first thing to do is to enter a server, and then pick a text channel within that server. If you’ve joined a public server, you will most likely start out in a welcome channel, and you will probably be able to find the server rules and guidelines for how to navigate and use the channels in the server. As a general rule, regular members do not have permission to actually send messages in these types of channels.

Regardless of whether or not you can send messages, you can read the messages of a channel if you have access. If you know you’ve selected a channel that lets you send messages and can’t find the message box, or if you are unable to find the messages sent by other users, make sure you’ve activated the chat tab in the bottom left corner of the expanded drawer screen.

A Word About NSFW Channels

If you navigate to a channel that is called NSFW, or it has a different name but the admin has designated NSFW, you will first be asked to confirm that you are of age and are willing to view NSFW content. The continue button is recognized as a button by screen readers, so find and activate that, and you’re ready to go.

Reading Messages

Once you’ve selected a text channel, you can swipe with one finger to move through the messages. Each message has the name of the user that VoiceOver recognizes as a button, and this is followed by the message. If you double-tap the user button, you will be presented with their server roles, as well as the option to direct message them if they allow it. You can also react to messages.

Adding Reactions

You can use emojis to add reactions to messages you read. To do this, find the message you want to react to, and double-tap and hold. You will presented with a list of possible reactions, as well as actions you can take on the message like quote or copy the text of the message. Double-tap to choose your action or reaction.

Revealing Hidden Content

To reveal hidden content, find the button that says, “spoiler”, and activate it. You can also make it so that no content is hidden in the “Text and Emojis” section of your user settings.

Viewing Files

To access an uploaded file, double-tap the button or link with the file name. You will either open or be prompted to save the file depending on the file type.

Sending Messages

To send messages, tap the bottom center of the screen with one finger to bring focus to the message box. Voiceover will say “message”, followed by the word “Hashtag” and the name of the channel (e.g., “message hashtag General”). Double-tap this, and you will be presented with the software keyboard. Type your message, then find and activate the send button. If you’re using an external keyboard, you can press the enter key to send a message. Here are some other things you can do with messages.

  • Find and double-tap the emoji button to open the emoji picker. You can also use the iOS emoji keyboard to send standard emoji.
  •  Find and double-tap the upload media file button to upload a file.
  •  Double-tap and hold a message you sent to have the option to erase and edit the message. Press escape to cancel.
  •  Insert the at sign followed by a person’s name to mention that user. You can also type part of the name, then drag one finger above the message box to find suggestions. Double-tap the suggestion to select it.


Voice Chatting

While there are fewer steps to actually using voice chat, you should go into your audio video settings and adjust the following:

  • Make sure Discord has access to the camera and microphone.
  •  Adjust your input volume and output volume.
  •  Disable autogain control.
  •  Run a test of your audio.

Connecting to a Voice Channel and Using video

To connect to a voice channel, select it from the list of server channels. Next, find and activate the “join Voice” button at the bottom of the screen. You will hear a tone letting you know you’ve connected, and everyone can hear you. It’s probably a good idea to do a practice run so you can find the mute and deafen buttons. To video chat, find the camera button after you’ve joined voice and double-tap it.

To disconnect from a voice channel, find the disconnect button. You’ll want to do this, since you can only be connected to one voice channel at a time.


Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, you now have the essential information to actively participate in Discord servers. The easiest way to master the service is to just use it. 

Next Step

The logical next step is to try your hand at running your own Discord server. I have no immediate plans to cover this, but remain open to the possibility. In the meantime, the Internet has plenty of articles from the official Discord help and tech bloggers on the subject. Remember that Discord is made to bring all kinds of people with different skill sets together, so nobody is under any obligation to administer or moderate a server to be an effective Discord user. So long as you’re following server rules and not going out of your way to be less than a decent person, you’re Discording right.

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