Found an Accessibility Bug in iOS or OS X? Here’s How to Let Apple Know and Why You Should

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
With Apple constantly working on updates to its software, I thought that it would be both timely and appropriate to remind people of the importance of reporting accessibility bugs to Apple and to make a few suggestions for the best way to do so.
 
AppleVis is a great platform for talking about accessibility bugs: to confirm with others that what you are experiencing is actually a bug; to seek and share workarounds; or to simply vent the occasional frustration. But we also need to make sure that the Accessibility Team at Apple is aware of each and every bug so that they can hopefully get them fixed in a future software update.
 
It’s tempting to assume that somebody else will have reported the bug that you are encountering, or that Apple's developers must surely already know about it. However, this may not always be the case. There is also the possibility that you can provide a specific piece of information that will help the developers to isolate and fix the cause of the problem. Lastly, the reality is that numbers do matter; the more people who report a specific problem, the more likely it is that Apple will allocate developer time into finding a fix.
 
So, please do make a point of letting Apple know of any bugs that you find in iOS or OS X. If it’s an accessibility-specific bug, the best way to do this is by sending an email to Apple’s Accessibility Team at accessibility@apple.com.
 
It is important that you provide enough information in your email for the Accessibility Team to be able to replicate the problem, so be sure to include the following:
 
  1. A brief description of the problem.
  2. State the frequency of the problem - for example, does it always happen, only sometimes, or very infrequently.
  3. Give details of the steps necessary to reproduce the problem.
  4. State what you would expect to happen after taking the steps above.
  5. Explain what actually happens after taking the steps above.
  6. Give details of the software and hardware that you are using.
This should be all that the Accessibility Team needs to know, but they will contact you if they need additional information.
 
As a general rule, it's good practice to send a seperate email for each bug if you have more than one to report. Doing so makes it easier for Apple to log and track specific bugs and also reduces the possiblility of any confusion.
 
Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you don’t get a response to your email. I can understand why people would want to at least receive an acknowledgement that the report had been received and that the problem is being investigated, but this doesn’t appear to be Apple’s normal practice. So, sit back, and accept that you would be happier that their time was spent working to find fixes and add new features rather than writing emails.
 
Apple does have a dedicated telephone number in the US for sight and hearing impaired users of their products, but email does appear to be the best way of getting information about accessibility bugs to the right people. However, if you are in the US and looking for help with using an Apple product, this is an option if you don’t have an Apple Store nearby. The telephone number is 877-204-3930.
 
If you want to provide feedback to Apple which isn’t specifically related to accessibility, you will need to use one of the feedback forms available on their website at www.apple.com/feedback.

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7 Comments

A couple of VO bugs I've found in IOS 7.1

Hello, all. I'm going to paste a copy of the email I sent to this morning. Neither of these are major bugs by any means, but I reported them because I find them annoying and hope that they will be fixed in a future update.

Good morning! I'm writing to report a couple of minor bugs I've discovered since upgrading to IOS 7.1 yesterday. I can provide audio recordings of these bugs if you'd find them helpful, but for now, I will try to describe them in written form. If it makes any difference, I am using a 64 GB IPhone 5S, and I don't have any folders on my device as I have yet to master the task of rearranging apps.

The first bug I've discovered pertains to the app switcher. I tend to visit the app switcher on a very regular basis to close apps that I'm not actively using, and everything works fine. However, when I press the home button to exit the app switcher, it pauses for a second or two, and then says "app switcher" before reading whatever icon or app info I happen to be returning to. I find this behavior rather annoying, but am reporting it because I think it could be very confusing/disorienting for a brand new VO user. If possible, I would really appreciate it if this could be fixed in a future update.

The other problem I've encountered is slightly more of a time-waster than the app switcher bug, and it pertains to the notification center. I always have my phone configured to show me all notifications, and then clear them out a few times per day. Now, when I go into the notification center and find the first thing to clear, it clears it and then jumps back to a button labeled "today." I need to swipe at least twice to the right to find the next item I want to clear, and then, once I've done that, it once again jumps back to this today button. It used to be that it would at least try to keep your place in the notifications list until it was empty. I also was used to it saying empty list, but can get used to the "There are no notifications message" if need be. The jumping back to the today button, though, really needs to be looked into as soon as possible as it definitely decreases productivity, even if only by a few seconds.

I really appreciate all of the work that has gone into this update; from what I understand, a lot of bugs have been squashed, so it made these new ones stand out a little more than they might have done otherwise. Thank you very much for your time and attention to these issues, and please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions regarding either of these bugs.
Sincerely,
Melissa J. Hoppe

Apple's Accessibility Support Desk

Definitely agree with the previous 2 comments, and that was a nice email. I'd like to report my experience with Apple's accessibility support desk. I phoned them shortly after purchasing my Mac Book Air. There was some confusion as to whether or not my Apple ID had been created, and I was having a bit of trouble with Apple's website. Their site is very accessible, I just had issues navigating it since at the time I hadn't done much web browsing with either Google Chrome or Safari. So I called the support desk on a Monday morning, and was immediately connected to a support technician named Stephen. I told him my problem, and he was very helpful. He put me on hold while he went to look up the personal information I had given him. The wait time was not long at all. He then came back and had my information pulled up. He informed me that no Apple ID had been created for me, and offered to help out with that. So he patiently walked me through the necessary steps, and when we got to the audio CAPTCHA he helped me out there too. I think this was an easy one for me to solve on my own, but because I wasn't yet that familiar with Safari our session timed out. So he walked me through again and my Apple ID was finally created. I told him he did a very good job assisting me and thanked him for his time.

Ok. I'm a dunce. Can someone

Ok. I'm a dunce. Can someone provide the accessibility number again? i thought I had it in my contact card but I guess not. I normally do the email route as I send logs as mu bugs are with internal stuff, but yeah must in case I ever have problems with the public build the iOS or osx team cannot reproduce it would be good to demo it. over a phone.

From the Original Post

This is quoted directly from the original post.

"The telephone number is 877-204-3930"

Thanks. must have missed

Thanks. must have missed it.

Take care of yourself and will put this in my card for apple.