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Apple Switch Control helps Todd Stabelfeldt control his life from his wheelchair

the iphones switch control has opened up a world of possibility for quadriplegic todd stabelfeldt apple iphone  s x
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

True magic happens when we’re made to reconsider the realm of what is possible, and in the case of Todd Stabelfeldt, the iPhone helps make magic every single day. After an accidental gunshot from an antique rifle left him a quadriplegic at the age of eight, Stabelfeldt is no stranger to overcoming adversity. Though he’s wheelchair-bound and paralyzed from the neck down, that hasn’t stopped him from founding his own consulting and database management company, serving as the VP of operations for a medical management systems company, or from starting his own foundation and engaging in multiple public speaking gigs, writing books, and teaching. And while the vast majority of Stabelfeldt’s achievements are a product of his own genius, he’s had a bit of help over the last few years from one very distinctive iPhone feature — the Switch Control.

Described by Apple as a tool that allows you to “control your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using a single switch, or multiple switches,” you may know it as the feature you activate when your home or lock screen button doesn’t work anymore. But for individuals like Stabelfeldt, Switch Control makes the user experience as simplistic as possible.

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“The basic technique is to use a switch to select an item or location on the screen, and then use the same (or a different) switch to choose an action to perform on that item or location,” explains Apple. Three basic methods are:

  • Item scanning (default): Highlights items on the screen until you select one.
  • Point scanning: Use scanning crosshairs to pick a screen location.
  • Manual selection: Move from item to item on demand (needs multiple switches).

But Stabelfeldt has really taken Switch Control to the next level, consistently operating a series of 12 switches. “With practice, the switches can be as speedy as any collection of shortcuts,” notes CNN. “Watching Stabelfeldt use his iPhone is a blur of apps opening and closing, texts and emails coming and going.”

Apple’s Switch Control has given Stabelfeldt a new level of control over his life that he calls “mind boggling,” and while the entrepreneur previously depended upon computers for his work, he’s now an all-iPhone kind of guy. He was an early adopter of the Switch Control technology, which was first debuted in 2013, and has since played a key role in assisting the disabled with iPhone operations.

So what was the first thing Stabelfeldt ever used his newfound iPhone control to do? Send his wife a loving text, of course. “Tell my wife, ‘I love you,'” Stabelfeldt recalled saying in an interview with CNN. “I’m a grown-ass man. I want to tell my lady I love her.”