Finger touching a screen

Stylus Options for iPad and iPhone Users: Easy Grip

Directly touching the screen is a very easy access method for most people, and has many accessibility benefits, but for others it’s brought new accessibility challenges.

To touch the screen you need to be in a close enough position, be able to isolate a finger or thumb to point with, and be able to control your hand and finger well enough to touch where you’re aiming for. People with disabilities may have trouble with one or all of these.

Using a stylus is one way that some disabled iPhone and iPad users can overcome problems with touching the screen. A stylus isn’t a solution for everybody, but for many users it can make the difference between an inaccessible device and a usable device. There are many different types of stylus and pointer options available to users, and this series will cover all of them.

I’ve divided the range of stylus and pointer options into three groups:

A “standard” stylus for an iPad or iPhone is really just a conductive stick which you hold in your hand and touch the screen with. It needs to conduct electricity because of the way the device’s screen works – you can’t activate the screen without some teeny flow of electricity from your skin.

This article is on simple variants of the ‘stick’ type stylus – those which make a standard “stick held in hand” stylus easier to hold and manipulate and reach the screen with:

Easy-grip stylus – Wide body

Styluses are often narrow and this can make them difficult or painful to grip for many users. Now that iPad styluses are in use by many people though, wider models which are designed to be easy to grip – often aimed at young users – are quite common.

Ergo Stylus from The Pencil Grip
Fat easy-grip stylus.

Ergo Stylus from The Pencil Grip

The Kids’ Stylus from Stylus-R-Us
Wide diameter sturdy stylus designed for children to use. They also offer a 30% discount for severely disabled customers.

Cosmonaut Wide-grip Stylus from StudioNeat
Designed to feel like a dry eraser marker.

Many other wide-bodied stylus have been helpfully reviewed by OTs with Apps in several articles, including these:

If you still need more options, I recommend you google phrases like “iPhone stylus for kids” as there are many results.

Stylus With Unusual Ends

These stylus are designed to be easier for users with limited strength or limited hand positions to grip.

Balltop Stylus from ShapeDad
Stylus with a wooden ball to grip.

Ball-top stylus and adult steady stylus from Shape Dad.
Ball-top stylus and adult steady stylus from Shape Dad.

Steady Stylus (3 options) from ShapeDad
T-shape stylus with 3 options:

  • Regular (adult), special composite material grip with wooden look and feel
  • Junior (kids), yellow grip based on Chewy Tubes
  • Mini (kids), blue grip

Swiss Stylus versatile gripper from ShapeDad
Curled brass can be used as a ring stylus or held in the hand.

Adjustable Aluminium T-bar Stylus from Dad in a Shed
Can be used with T-bar centred or offset.

Ball Topped Stylus from Dad in a Shed
Alumunium stylus topped with 52mm diameter resin ball.

Small Ball Topped Stylus from Dad in a Shed
Aluminium stylus topped with very light 43mm diameter ball.

Small Ball top stylus from Dad in a Shed
Small Ball top stylus from Dad in a Shed

Stylus With Hand or Wrist Straps

For users who can’t grip at all because of pain, paralysis or positioning reasons these styli can be strapped to the hand or arm.

Strap Stylus from ShapeDad
8″ stylus with velcro strap.

Adjustable length Touch Screen Stylus from Enabling Devices
Telescoping stylus up to 24″ long with hand and wrist straps with replaceable tips.

iPad/Tablet HandPointer from RJ Cooper
Adjustable T-shaped stylus with velcro strap.

HandPointer Stylus from RJ Cooper
HandPointer Stylus from RJ Cooper

Short cuff stylus by iBilityStick

Adjustable Length Stylus

Adjustable length styli are best for users who have issues with positioning or can’t be very close to their device for other reasons.

Adjustable length Touch Screen Stylus from Enabling Devices
Telescoping stylus up to 24″ long with hand and wrist straps with replaceable tips.

Telescoping Stylus (9 styles available) from Stylus-R-Us
Stylus-R-Us offer 9 different telescoping models with extended lengths varying up to 25″. They also offer a 30% discount for severely disabled customers.

Bendable Stylus

Some of these flexible styli will bend at any point along their length, others have a specific joint in them. If you have exacting positioning requirements they can be very helpful.

Caduceus Serpentine Stylus from iFaraday
Bendable 15″ stylus.

Caduceus Serpentine Stylus from iFaraday
Caduceus Serpentine Stylus from iFaraday

Flex Stylus from ShapeDad
13 inches long.

Stick with bendable joint (or straight) custom length by iBilityStick

Caduceus stylus by iBilityStick

Shallow Angle Stylus

Shallow Angle Light Touch (SALT) stylus from iFaraday
Developed for people with hand or wrist injuries, may also be used by anyone who holds the pen at an angle of less than 45 degrees.

Coming up in this series, you’ll be able to read articles about finger styluses, mouth pointers, head pointers, and what the options are for having custom styluses or doing it yourself.

It’s brilliant to see so many options popping up for access for iPhone and iPad users. Here’s hoping that once the Apple Watch is released that we see the same mushrooming of accessibility possibilities!

– Ricky

Pointing finger image ProtoplasmaKid, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0 license.

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