3 ways to possibly speed up your text input with a braille display in iOS 8

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Ever since iOS 8 was released last fall, users of braille displays who have used the braille keyboard for text input have had varying degrees of success. Some users reported the delay in text input to be minor, while others, like myself, found it painfully slow. It's true that the older the device, the more sluggish it will be, and it's also true that some people are just faster braille typers than others. However, there are a few settings you can change to decrease the lag time between when you type something on the braille keyboard versus when it shows up on-screen. It also partially explains why some users are more annoyed with it than others. There are a total of 3 settings that I know of.
1. In iOS 7, Apple gave us the ability to turn auto-translation on or off. With it off, which was the new setting, the text you had inputted would not be translated until you pressed the spacebar. By default, the option in iOS 7 was set to on, which was the more traditional way of doing things. However, in iOS 8, the setting not only moved, but was also turned off. If you have not turned this on, and you're a faster braille typer, turning this setting back on may help you. Go to settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Braille, and braille display input. Under the options for the various types of input,, you will now find the aforementioned option. If it's not selected, turning it on may improve your text input. If you have not done this since you're upgrade to iOS 8, chances are, it is set to off.
2. For some reason, it appears that Apple has decided to make each character inputted show up as a flash message on braille displays. IN braille, this means that an 8-dot full cell shows up at each end of the display to indicate that the text being displayed is a flash message. This not only slows down text input with a braille device, but if you're someone trying to follow typing being done on a bluetooth keyboard with that braille display, you can only read a letter or 2 at a time, because the text is changing, and new flash messages appear with each character typed. And obviously, the constant generation of these flash messages will cause your device to slow down in the processing of this text. Fortunately, there is a way to mostly stop this from happening, though the settings are not directly related to braille. Go to Settings, general, accessibility, VoiceOver and typing feedback. Under the software heading, move this setting to nothing. The other choices are characters, words, and characters and words.
3. While still in this settings area from number 2, keep moving down. The next heading is for the hardware keyboard. Just like with the software keyboard, you need to set this to nothing. The same options listed above are presented under this heading. Of course, if you change these settings, you may need to change them again if you are someone who wants that feedback from your touch screen or bluetooth keyboard when you are not using text input with your braille keyboard. Unfortunately, because of the way the braille driver and VoiceOver interact, that's just how things are at the moment. It's just another reason I still think that the Settings application on iDevices needs a favorites function.



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Typing Feedback

Do those settings have affect on the braille screen input?

Setting one doesn't appear

I have an IPhone six running the latest Ios version, 8.4.1
I can't find setting 1. When I go to settings, general, accessibility, VoiceOver, braille, braille display input, and look for the Aforementioned option I don't see it. My options are "uncontracted 6-dot braille", "uncontracted 8-dot braille", "contracted braille", and a dimmed button that says on but I can't turn it off or anything. Any ideas as to what this might be?
Thanks and thanks for the post.