Earlier today, Apple released iOS 12.1.1 and macOS Mojave 10.14.2. iOS 12.1.1 adds new features like new haptic touch features on iPhone XR and expanded eSIM support. The update also brings support for the real-time text (RTT) protocol to Wi-Fi calling, while macOS 10.14.2 brings it to the Mac.

What exactly does that mean? Read on to find out.

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Real-time text has been supported on iOS since 11.2, but only today has Apple added support for Wi-Fi calling. This means that when placing a Wi-Fi call from your, iPad, Mac, or iPod touch, you have the option of using RTT to communicate.

What is RTT?

Real-time text is an accessibility standard that allows users to communicate in literal real-time. This means that as you type message, the other user can see that message. Instead of the normal typing indicator platforms like iMessage support, RTT shows the message’s text as you are composing it.

The feature is designed for users who are hard of hearing or have other impairments that make traditional audio calls challenging.

Here’s how the functionality is described by RealTimeText.org:

Real-Time Text is text transmitted while it is being typed or created, with the characters being sent immediately (within a fraction of a second) once typed, and also displayed immediately to the receiving person(s). This means that the receiving person(s) can read the newly created text while the sender is still typing it. In this way Real-Time Text has the same conversational directness and interactivity as voice.

How to use RTT:

On iOS, you can set up real-time text by doing the following:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > RTT/TTY.
  2. Enable Software RTT/TTY. Once enabled, you’ll see a new TTY status bar icon icon in the status bar.
  3. Enable “Send Immediately” to have characters send as you type.

How to make an RTT call on iOS: 

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Navigate to the contact of the person you wish to call
  3. Choose the “RTT Call” or “RTT Relay Call” option
  4. Once the call connects, select RTT

Meanwhile, the process of setting up RTT on Mac is as follows:

  1. Open the System Preferences app
  2. Click Accessibility
  3. Select RTT in the sidebar
  4. Check the box next to “Enable RTT”
  5. Enable “Send Immediately” to have characters send as you type.

How to make an RTT call on macOS: 

  1. Use either the FaceTime app or the Contacts app to find the person you want to call
  2. In the Contacts app click the RTT icon next to the number
    1. Or in FaceTime, click the audio button then choose “RTT Call” or “RTT Relay Call”
  3. Once the call is answered, click RTT to start communicating via text.

Apple outlines more details about RTT on its website. Read about iOS support here and macOS support here. All in all, it’s an incredibly useful technology for those who need it. Watch it in action in our hands-on video below:


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