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I was giving a presentation on accessibility tools for the Mac and launched the VoiceOver Rotor utility. Someone in the audience asked why it was called "Rotor?" I had no answer for them. In doing some Googling around, I saw that on iOS, the Rotor is like a virtual knob that allows you to toggle through various functions:

iOS Rotor

It being called "Rotor" makes sense if it's a knob-like thing, I guess. But it's just a series of lists on the Mac.

Did the rotor come to iOS first and now that it's on the Mac it has just inherited the name? Or is there some other origin to its name that I'm not seeing?

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I think its as simple as the two-fingered turning gesture is analogous to turning a rotor/knob/dial. There isn’t a secret meaning.

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