The Accessibility Bugs Introduced and Resolved in iOS 12 for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

iOS 12 is now available to the public; this post contains details of the accessibility bugs for blind and low vision users which we believe to have been introduced in iOS 12, as well as details of the bugs from earlier versions of iOS which have been resolved in this release.

As is now our routine practice, each new bug has been given a severity rating; these ratings are based upon what we believe to be the implications for accessing and using iOS features and functionality and the level of impact on the overall user experience for those impacted by each bug. However, as these ratings are subjective, it is very possible that they may not reflect your own use case, so please bear this in mind when making any decision on whether to upgrade to iOS 12 upon its release.

At the time of posting, our team has identified only one bug which we would classify as serious; however, while this bug is serious, it is one which is unlikely to affect a vast majority of users.

We strongly recommend that you read through this post and any comments before updating—as this will allow you to make an informed decision on whether to install iOS 12 when it becomes available on 17 September.

As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases.

Some of the bugs listed below will be specific to a certain device, configuration, or use case; this is definitely the case with the one serious bug we have identified at the time of writing. So, it is entirely likely that you will not encounter all of what we list; and it is also possible that you may encounter bugs or regressions that we did not identify during our testing. This post represents the findings of a small group of people using iOS 12 in every-day scenarios during the beta cycle, and our testing is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive.

To help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, we would appreciate feedback from those who have installed iOS 12 —both to confirm whether they are encountering the same problems (or have found workarounds), as well as to let us know of any additional issues that are not on this list. Of course, it’s even more important that you let Apple know of any additional bugs that you find (they already know about the ones currently listed here and are actively working on resolving them). This post explains why you should report bugs directly to Apple, as well as the best ways to do so.

With all of the disclaimers out of the way, here are the new bugs for blind and low vision users which we believe to be present in iOS 12:

Serious Bugs

  • If you do not have a passcode set on your device, it is not possible to activate notifications on the Lock Screen with VoiceOver enabled. The options to clear and manage notifications work as expected; however, when a VoiceOver user double-taps on a notification and there is no passcode set on the device, it is not possible to activate the notification. We cannot stress enough that this bug is limited to devices that do not have a passcode set; activating notifications on devices with a passcode works as expected.

Moderate Bugs

  • When using a braille display with the Messages app, if one presses a cursor routing button and then immediately starts typing text, the word "message" will be inserted.
  • When using the “Misspelled Words” rotor option with a braille display, replacements do not show up on the braille display, though you can hear with speech that carrying out the appropriate action does occur. On the braille display, the word only remains highlighted until the replacement is inserted.
  • The Misspelled Words option sometimes does not appear in the Rotor when in a text field. In some apps, this feature never appears; whilst in others, the behavior of this feature is inconsistent.

Minor Bugs

  • There are several pronunciation and inflection issues with the new Irish Siri Female voice when it is used with VoiceOver.
  • In Notes, there are duplicated rotor actions to pin, move, lock, and delete notes.

Some Further Reports

Since posting our own findings, many others have shared their own experiences of iOS 12 and reported issues that we had either missed in our own testing or which are specific to certain use cases. These reported problems include

  • iPhone X users no longer receive haptic feedback when Face ID unlocks their device.
  • There are many people who report that the native image description feature has either stopped working completely or that it's 3 finger single tap gesture has become less reliable in triggering the feature.
  • There are many people who report that the 4 finger swipe left or right to move between open apps has either stopped working completely or become inconsistent and unreliable.

If you encounter any additional accessibility bugs in iOS 12, please let others know by posting a comment below. When doing so, please provide as much information as possible so that others know exactly what to expect; when and where the problem occurs; and any possible workarounds you have found.

Accessibility Bugs Resolved in iOS 12

Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 12:

  • Cancelling the drag of a Home Screen icon now leaves it in its previous position as intended.
  • After using 3D Touch to access ‘Peek’ menus in the Music app, VoiceOver users will no longer be able to locate screen elements which are not part of that menu and should not be accessible.

If you encounter any additional fixes during your own use of iOS 12, please let us know by posting a comment below.

In Closing

We have been compiling these lists of new bugs for every major iOS release since iOS 7; and we can state with complete certainty that iOS 12 introduces the fewest number of new bugs for VoiceOver and braille users since we began our testing. Our experience during the beta cycle has been one where most new bugs have been resolved very quickly by Apple's engineers; for this, our thanks go to everybody at Apple who has been involved with the development of iOS 12 and to the community of VoiceOver users who participated in the beta cycle.

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Submitted by Troy on Saturday, September 15, 2018

I still notice when you are previously in the app switcher and open facebook for example sometimes vo will still read the previous content from the app switcher. Overall my phone is a lot faster, and it's an SE so even though it's being discontinued, for those who don't want to upgrade yet from their SE you will be fine. I would say as roomered earlier 12 is mainly a bug fixer from what was broke in 11.

Submitted by Tasha on Saturday, September 15, 2018

I can no longer use this gesture to get a description of an image. has this been removed? I checked my settings and it's enabled, so I don't know why this gesture no longer works.

Submitted by BlackCat on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hello all
After I typed in any edit field using a bluetooth keyboard, MBraille or Flicktype I discover
after turning off bluetooth, that trying to double tap on an option I want for the moment in any other app, the one finger double tap does not work. Locking the screen for a couple of seconds and unlocking it again solves the problem. For example: It happens when I want to double tap on the new chat field in Whatsapp. It also occured when I wanted to change equalizer under music under settings. Locking the screen and unlocking it again works thus far every time. I have a iPhone 8 plus. Since the releace of IOS 12 beta V12 I become a beta tester. Yes I know I shouldn't enrol my primary device, but I can tell you all this much. IOS 12 beta 12 and beta 13 is brilliantly fast and relyable.

I can confirm this is happening for me also. I have changed brightness and screen curtain settings and that doesn't appear to help. I find that the photos are no longer described too within the photos app.

Submitted by Martin Roberts on Saturday, September 15, 2018

A probable regression for voice-over in iOS 12
It is no longer possible to read PDF documents from Safari or apps like firefox focus which use the ios native pdf viewer. You are able to swipe through the first page but subsequent pages appear to be in accessible. An example document is linked below that used to be fine. It was previously possible to swipe through the document and also swipe up with three fingers to move through the pages and then touch the screen to find out what word or line was under the finger.

In fact I note that even on the first page of a pdf that nothing is spoken if you drag a finger around.
Linked file.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Many thanks to those of you on the developer program or public preview who are already sharing your own experiences, as this will help others to know what to expect from iOS 12 and can thus make a more informed decision on whether to update their own devices when the public release becomes available.

Submitted by Lee on Saturday, September 15, 2018

All, does anyone have an official stance on this? I've done numerous searches on the web and can find nothing for or against the fact that we will no longer have this function. This was a great if unpredictable feature and I find it hard to believe that Apple would simply ditch this with nothing out there to confirm it.

Submitted by Troy on Saturday, September 15, 2018

I'm not noticing this on my SE when using the photos or facebook and I'm running the gm so maybe it's one of those bugs that are device spasific.

Submitted by Martin Roberts on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hello Troy and thanks for this. I can no longer get image descriptions to work on two iPhone sevens and one iPhone SE running from three different settings and two different iCloud accounts. We are running the gold master version of iOS 12 on all these iPhones which has only been available for a few days, are you on the latest beta? Did you do an update to the gold master or was it a fresh install?


Submitted by Troy on Saturday, September 15, 2018

I upgraded from ios11.4.1 to the gm without resetting. I just tried it again just to make sure I wasn't imagineing things and I was able to get it to work. I did not do any of the other beta cycles other than the gm.

Just a thought: You can still report bugs to Apple using the feature in the beta of the gold master. Please, please, please do so, as they can still be resolved with appropriate feedback having been given.

Submitted by Earle on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Image descriptions are working fine for me as well. I've been testing iOS 12 since Dev Beta 1. I'm running the GM and they are still working. Just tested on several photos in my album. I'm using an iPhone 8.

Submitted by jrjolley (not verified) on Sunday, September 16, 2018

Looking through the comments, especially the one above this, I am thinking that perhaps image descriptions are only going to work on more modern devices moving forward. I never found it to be all that reliable anyway, even though I have the iPhone 8 Plus and a 1st generation iPad pro. Results were always hit or miss, more miss than anything to be honest. I'm not a tester, refuse on principle but we'll see if it works tomorrow.

Submitted by Alana on Sunday, September 16, 2018

I would like to state that I appreciate Apple finally allowing AppleVis to communicate such bugs earlier than the actual release date. This is a change that I believe will be welcomed by all. People will be able to decide whatbugs they will be willing to accept. Judging from the list, I also believe that Apple has made significant improvement to the reduction of new bugs in this release of iOS 12. Thank you Apple.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Sunday, September 16, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Like James, my own experience in the past of the native image description feature has been so inconsistent and unreliable that it's become something that I don't even think about using. Fortunately, Seeing AI more than fills the gap for me, even if it means a couple of extra taps.

I did just test for image descriptions on an iPhone X running the iOS 12 GM, and had absolutely no success with images in either my photo library or Twitterrific. It was like the feature simply did not exist.

Based upon the reports in this thread, it appears that this might be one of those ‘bugs’ where there seems no obvious pattern to who will encounter it.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, September 16, 2018

I can't get them to work on an iPhone 8, and I remember this working. It's a bit of a shame as I found them useful, I only really turned to seeing AI for more complex scenes. This is doubly interesting as one of the big things Apple boasted with iOS 12 is that their photo object recognition database just got much larger to help with the new search features and the VoiceOver description feature ties into the same system.

Interestingly enough, I'm seeing exactly the opposite situation in Mac OS Mojave. Before, the descriptions never worked, only either saying that the item has no description or just saying very blurry. But in Mojave it started to work as expected, picking out expressions, objects and doing OCR just like iOS 11 used to.

Submitted by Ipadman on Monday, September 17, 2018

That’s such a shame, PDF access is great in iOS 11.
Does the problem still exist when opening the PDF document in iBooks?

Submitted by Martin Roberts on Monday, September 17, 2018

In reply to by Ipadman

Hello, PDFs will be fine in books, kindle or other applications. It’s just apples implementation which is broken within their native PDF view.

Submitted by Carter Wu on Monday, September 17, 2018

Hi all,
I am very grateful that Apple can solve a lot of bugs related to voiceover in ios12.But it must be said that for Chinese users, this version of the bugs are still too much.For example,in Chinese voice TianTian,almost all the pronunciation of uppercase letters is wrong.In another Chinese voice TingTing, the pronunciation of the capital letter A is also wrong.We tried to communicate with apple accessibility team for more than a year, this serious bug has not been fixed so far.There is another bug that has plagued us for several years and has not been fixed,when you save a web page containing Chinese in pdf format in Safari and try to open it with ibooks,VoiceOver will not read any Chinese characters, although they will be displayed on the screen.In fact, there are still many bugs. I don't want to say more anything here. I don't know if anyone with the Apple Accessibility team will see this post. If you can have a specific person to communicate directly with me, just fine.After all, every time I get a reply is very official,"I have already passed the relevant bugs to the relevant colleagues", and the final result is that nothing has been resolved.

Submitted by Martin Roberts on Monday, September 17, 2018

Hello, image descriptions have suddenly just started working on one of the iPhone sevens. Still no joy on my se though. I have checked VoiceOver settings and there is parity between the two phones so at this stage I’m unsure what’s happening.

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, September 17, 2018

The iOS 12 install went well with no issues. Their was one small little labeling issue.
After install, I had 8 apps to update. Their was a 16 page Terms of Service to agree to. The back and forward buttons weren't labeled. The left is back, and right is forward. The accept button is at top right of screen.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, September 17, 2018

My update to IOS12 went well and I did find some unlabled buttons in the app store as J.P. reported. Image descriptions are working fine on my iPhone 6S I haven't tried opening a PDF yet though.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, September 17, 2018

Hi all, wonder if anyone can confirm the following bugs?
firstly when I go to unlock my iPhone x and bring up the lock screen VoiceOver audio sounds like it ducks for a split second while its announcing the time, but then it returns to normal.
second and I would say more seriously I now no longer get feedback when I unlock my phone with face ID, by feedback I mean the two little vibrations when you successfully unlock your phone. I get the little audio sound just no taptic feedback, I do still get feedback if my face isn't identified, but even so this is really annoying as I found this feedback particularly useful in noisy environments. grr bring back touch ID, lets be honest face id is only more convenient for the sightlings certainly not us.
I have also found typing with a Bluetooth keyboard seems impossible, I can literally type about two or three words then it just locks up and I can't type anything else, turning the keyboard off and on again establishes the connection but a few more words and bang it happens again. I have turned the phone totally off and on again before reporting any of these to applevis but it made no difference.

Submitted by Ed on Monday, September 17, 2018

When I unlocked my iPhone X under iOS 11 with Face ID, I got some pretty decent/noticeable haptic feedback. However, under iOS 12, I only get a faint sound to let me know that the operation was successful with no haptic/vibratory confirmation at all. Other haptics such as swiping up to press the home button/bring up the app switcher work. Is anyone else experiencing this?

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Monday, September 17, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

My understanding is that Apple chose to remove the haptic feedback when unlocking your device on iOS 12. I know that some concerns were raised by beta testers about this, for the very reasons mentioned above, but unfortunately the decision was not reversed.

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, September 17, 2018

The bug where the word *volume* is spoken twice still exists. This is over a year now. Corrected in pronunciation.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, September 17, 2018

thanks for the info, I certainly plan to write to them and make my displeasure known, face id iinconvenient anyway compared to touch id and this makes it doubly iinconvenient, I don't see why they couldn't just add a setting to disable this feature. I mean noisy environments can easily drown that sound out, so you won't, and yes VoiceOver to some extent, but once you get it unlocked you can often just find things by touch as you know where they will be on the screen. plus I guess this will affect hard of hearing people as well, I wonder what Johnathan mosen will have to say.

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, September 17, 2018

I meant the word volumes. It speaks the word twice.

Submitted by Kyle Smith on Monday, September 17, 2018

I as well have noticed the odd issue upon hitting the sleep/wake button, VO volume sets itself to whatever volume you have siri set to for about half a second. But this seems to only effect iPhoneX users from what I can tell. For some users it would be quieter than VO volume, for some, much, much louder. Another idea I had about Haptic feedback. If a user has voiceover enabled, give them haptic feedback upon device unlock. Just a thought.

Submitted by Niki on Monday, September 17, 2018

Hi my friend is a fairly new iPhone user and she has an SE. She's been complaining that her phone is too slow and so is Siri. Would this update speed up the performance of her phone?

Hello nikicat123,

If you are talking about the Serios bug that we have reported where one could not interact with the Notifications on the Lock screen if your device is set up not to use the passcode. My understanding is that you will need to go to the Home Screen. From there do the three fingers swipe down from the Status bar that will open the Notification Center. From here you can interact with the various notifications. This is a work around for now until Apple comes out with an update to resolve this problem.


Submitted by AnonyMouse on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Niki

Hello nikicat123,

As Apple has made many improvements to the iOS. One of those improvements is the fact that it will run on the older devices better than what you have seen with in the iOS 11. You should see about a 30% faster snappier response. Although as with any older devices there will still be some lag just due to the nature of the age of the devices. So as it
increase of overall response it may still be a bit lagging in other areas. We have used a 5s and an SE and both were much better in terms of being more responsive. Better than the results that we had on iOS11.


Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

All in all an incredible update, for a .0 release. Thanks to all of the beta testers and Apple who obviously went above and beyond to provide something solid on release day. Using iphone 6s and does feel noticeably more snappy. The pdf issue does need resolving, but not a major thing compared to previous years. Also, noticed VO will announce attachment after speaking lock screen notifications.

Submitted by Troy on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This is a very tiny bug but on my SE I've noticed that the navigation clicks don't always sound when swiping

Submitted by Stoo on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hi, I too am really not enjoying the lack of Haptic feedback upon unlocking my iPhone X.

Strangely though if Face Id isn't recognised and the "try again" message pops up, then there is still Haptic feedback to accompany this notification so not sure why it would be removed for an unlock notification only.

Others are saying they get a sound upon unlocking with Face ID, however I've yet to experience this and even in a silent room it's impossible to tell if it's unlocked or not without touching the screen, which surely defeats the idea of a "hands free" way of unlocking the phone.

Submitted by Ipadman on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

So I’ve just updated to iOS 12 and have noticed a few things.
Firstly, New books app seems to take longer to load when in the middle of a book, it can take up to 10 seconds which is quite a long time.
Also, I’ve noticed when I double pressed the home button to close an app using the three fingers swipe up gesture, voice-over does not read out that the app is closing.

Submitted by Charlie on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I am a blind IPhone user and have installed IOS 12 on my 6S+ device. I downloaded and selected the new Irish voices, for SIRI and Voiceover use and, in general, am very happy with them.

The only issue occurs when they read a monetary amount, in my case, Pounds Sterling. When I use a UK voice, it says, for a £50.99 amount, "Fifty Pounds and Ninety Nine pence." When I use the Irish voices, they say "Fifty dot 9 9 British Poundsies."
I have reported this to Apple Accessibility.

Submitted by Angel on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I updated to iOS 12 and I have the iPhone 8. When I open safari voiceover says text field editing and it goes away after. Also the auto fill option for email addresses and user names are not showing up in the edit field on my phone I don’t know if this is a bug but I reported it to Apple Accessibility.


If you haven't already done so, go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > AutoFill Passwords and make sure that AutoFill Passwords is enabled.

If you are using a password manager such as 1Password, make sure that it is also enabled on that screen.

Submitted by That Blind Canuck on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hi everyone,

Usually when a major iOS update is available, I tend to wait until the x.1 release before updating. This time, because I had a new Apple Watch on the way, decided to update but played it smart. Backed it up to my Mac, updated and restored from my backup. For the most part, all is working beautifully. I have noticed a couple of bugs though that others have not mentioned yet, so I am not sure if I'm the only one or not.

For starters, I am running iOS 12 on my iPhone 8 Plus. When using EarPods with the 3.5 mm connector, with Apple's Lightning to 3.5 mm dongle, each time I activate either Siri or dictation, the first tone you hear, indicating that it's listening, seems to stutter. For example, instead of hearing the usual "Dong!" tone, I hear "Da ong!". I have tried reproducing this with my Lightning EarPods, my AirPods and with the iPhone external speaker, but the first tone sounds fine. It's only when using the 3.5 mm EarPods with the Lightning to 3.5 mm dongle that this glitch occurs.

My second issue, when I have multiple apps opened, the four finger swipe left or right to switch between apps doesn't work. For example, if I have the Mail and Messages app opened and try to swipe between them, nothing happens. If I have the Messages app and the Settings app opened though, then switching between them works fine. Switching from any app to the Settings app seems to work fine, but switching between any other apps, minus the Settings app, doesn't work. Some have mentioned that the four finger swipe didn't always work for them on iOS 11, but when I was on iOS 11 myself, switching between apps always worked fine. It's only since I updated to 12 that this has started. Some have even mentioned that a five finger swipe works for them, but I've tried this gesture and got nothing.

On another note, wondering if someone might be able to explain something for me. When going under Settings and in the About section, my phone says I have 100 photos, but when I open my Photos app and look in my Camera Roll, it shows I only have 46 photos. Although in the Photos app, there is now a "People and Places heading with a folder called, as you can figure, a People folder and one called Places, which this Places folder seems to have 86 photos, some from my Camera Roll and even some I had completely deleted. Just so people know, I have PhotoStream and iCloud Photo Library disabled, so all of my pictures are on my phone and do not sync to iCloud. The funny thing is that if I open this Places folder and try and delete one of these previously deleted photos, there is no delete button and when I try to edit them, I get an error message. I know that some people might say that when you delete a picture, it appears in a "Deleted" folder and that these photos have 30 days before they are completely removed, but I had previously gone into this folder and had completely deleted them, so there was no way of recovering them. I'm guessing that this People and Places folders are new with iOS 12, but I would much rather have it so when I delete pictures from my phone, that they stay deleted and don't appear in these folders and don't take space on my phone. I guess that perhaps the 100 photos that appeared in the About section could also include the iPhone's wallpapers, but in iOS 11, they didn't and however many photos the About section said I had, matched the number of photos in my Camera Roll.

Would appreciate any assistance from other users on figuring out what this is and if there is a way of deleting the photos I had previously deleted.


Submitted by BlackCat on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

Hello David
Thanks for your advice in your comment above. It works, because I experienced the same problem described. IOS 12 is installed on my iPhone 8 Plus and I really like it. The first thing I did after installation is to install both the male and female Siri South-African English voices. I make use of a cleaning program called Magic Cleaner. After I used it this morning to my dismay I discovered the new South-African voices are gone from my phone. Luckely I downloaded them again.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I have the same issue as @Blinkan223 when it comes to switching between apps with four-finger swipes. My phone does not do so, even though it did so just fine with iOS11.

Also, I have another issue that is so minor that I don't even call it a bug, just a very slight annoyance. I use iOS Karen as my default voice, and when I open my iPhone 8 plus and swipe around the unlock screen, everything is fine. However, when I get to the prompt that says "press the Home button to unlock your iPhone", the speed of the voice slows way down just for that one sentence! Again, this doesn't make a difference, but I am curious if anyone else is having that issue.

Submitted by taichong on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hello, I update my iPhone 7 and 5s to iOS 12 but it seems I can't see any siri chortcut apps installed, am I missing something?

Submitted by Rob on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hi folks, wonder if anyone else is experiencing this bug? I have an IPad pro 12.9 inch running the new IOS 12 update. With voice over on the new 1 finger swipe down for control center and the notification screen works correctly all the time when the IPad is in portrait mode, however it doesn’t work when the IPad is in landscape mode. Well I shouldn’t say that it doesn’t work at all because I can get it to work by turning off voice-over and accessing control center without voice-over on. once I turn on voice-over on after that the 1 finger swipe will work for a little while up until I close out an app then go back to my home screen. It will stop working after that point. I should note that swiping up to get to the home screen works all the time regardless of the IPad orientation. I will e-mail Apple Accessibility about this but just wonder if this is just me. Thanks.

Submitted by tripolice on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In the new battery settings, I'm not able to navigate through headings. Also at times while flicking right from one info to another, voiceover suddenly gives the impression that it is at the end of the page whereas it is not. Flicking right once or twice more gets to the next info. Generally this happens somewhere around the overall screen on and off usage and before the app-wise usage.