Apple Releases iOS 10.2; Bringing Fixes, But Also Some New Bugs for VoiceOver and Focus Braille Display Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 10.2 to the public.

For blind and low vision users, our limited testing suggests that Apple has made continued progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs present in iOS 10. However, despite this progress, our testing also suggests that a number of accessibility bugs have been introduced in this release—one of which we believe to be potentially critical for those who use the Focus line of braille displays. Thus, if you have not already updated your device to iOS 10.2, we strongly recommend that you read this post and any comments below before doing so.

As we always stress in these posts, it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. With this and the fact that the first version of iOS 10 introduced a number of bugs which were not common to all users and use cases, it is very likely that there are changes, regressions or improvements that we are not aware of at the time of posting. With this in mind, we would greatly appreciate your help in ensuring that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible. If you spot any accessibility-related changes in iOS 10.2, please do let us know in the comments.

Accessibility Bugs Introduced in iOS 10.2

  • Users of the Freedom Scientific Focus line of braille displays may experience issues pairing their display with devices running iOS 10.2. The information we have available to us suggests that this issue primarily affects users who attempt to re-pair a Focus display which has previously been un-paired from the same iOS device, although in our testing it was also impossible to pair a Focus display for the first time when running iOS 10.2. It is our understanding that Focus displays paired before updating to iOS 10.2 should continue to work correctly. This issue was apparently discovered very late in the beta cycle, and Apple has assured us that a fix is in the works and will be released in the near future. In the meantime, we recommend that you do not upgrade to iOS 10.2 if you use a Focus braille display and have a use case which may require you to un-pair and re-pair the display, or if you may need to pair a Focus display for the first time before Apple releases a fix. At the time of posting, we believe that the Focus line of displays are the only displays affected by this issue; in addition to the Focus 14 Blue and Focus 40 Blue, the models we were able to test under iOS 10.2 include the Braille Edge, Braille Sense, Refreshabraille, VarioUltra, and Brailliant.
  • When opening a message in the Mail app, VoiceOver focus is no longer automatically placed in the body of the message. To find the body of the message, the user must either swipe or explore by touch. It is our understanding that this change is not by design, and that we should expect to see this revert back to the previous behavior in a future iOS release.
  • The VoiceOver rotor no longer consistently switches to the 'Actions' rotor item when VoiceOver focus lands on an element which has actions available.
  • In certain situations, VoiceOver will randomly speak the contents of previous notifications which do not appear onscreen visually. This issue does not occur consistently, and the notifications are no longer spoken once speech is stopped or focus is moved to another element.

Accessibility Bugs Fixed in iOS 10.2

  • It is once again possible to navigate by character when in a text field on a web page.
  • Enhanced Quality voices no longer occasionally revert to their compact variants.
  • The Enhanced Quality Siri voices are once again available for use with VoiceOver in all use cases.
  • It is now possible to manage shared access in the Home app using VoiceOver.
  • VoiceOver now correctly announces the status of the Love and Dislike buttons in the Music app.
  • VoiceOver now correctly provides feedback on the current selection status when editing the list of mailboxes / folders in the Mail app.
  • There is no longer a duplicated heading at the top of the 'For You' tab of the native News app.
  • VoiceOver now behaves as expected when using 3D Touch and the scrub gesture inside Home Screen folders.
  • VoiceOver rotor actions now work as expected in the 'Up Next' section of the Music app.
  • VoiceOver now behaves as expected in the Weather app when you have multiple locations set.
  • When new widgets are available while browsing the list of all widgets, VoiceOver correctly reads their names.
  • It is once again possible to rearrange the order of favorites in the Phone app when VoiceOver is enabled.

New Features and Changes

In regard to general changes and new features, here are some that you may wish to explore in iOS 10.2:

  1. The new TV app introduced by Apple in its most recent keynote is coming to iOS with iOS 10.2. This new app is intended to be a central location for TV content and video subscriptions; and will suggest new shows based on your preferences. This app will replace the native Videos app. It is believed that the app will only be available in the US at launch, with other regional roll-outs expected to follow in coming months.
  2. iOS 10.2 introduces 72 new emojis. These include some new smiley and sick faces, new professions that include both men and women, more food essentials and a selfie arm.
  3. A new option enables you to preserve camera settings for the next time that you open the Camera app. So, instead of defaulting to the original camera settings every time you launch the app, you can choose what mode or filter to open on. This option is available under Photos and Camera in the Settings app.

How to Update to iOS 10.2

iOS 10.2 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings>General>Software Update) or via iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC. As always, we recommend making a backup of your device before performing any software update.

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63 Comments

I noticed something

I have a Braille Sense U2 braille display, and when I type, it is slower now. In iOs10.1.1, it was fast. Now, it is slow in iOs10.2.

Reporting bugs to Apple

Hi Toonhead,

I think that's an excellent suggestion.
As some of you may know, there is a website for exactly that purpose, bugreport.apple.com .
As far as I know, the bugs filed on that website will be sent directly to the responsible developer teams at Apple, enabling them to test for and reproduce the problem. In many cases, the bug report will be updated by Apple's developers with the latest status, which you will then be able to see on the bug report website.
You can do this for publicly released versions of Apple's operating systems or for unreleased versions if you're enrolled in any of the beta programs.
I have filed some bugs in the past, some of which were general VoiceOver bugs and some of which were directly related to the German version of VoiceOver, which I primarily use. In all cases, the bugs got fixed in a subsequent update and although I don't know how significant my report was in getting the bug fixed, I do think that this bug reporter is a great way of letting Apple know of any issues.
Yes, bugs are annoying, it's never cool when things break or stop behaving in the way they used to! But still, let's not forget that the guys working on that software are human beings just like all of us. I'm not a developer myself, so I can't even begin to imagine all the complexities involved in maintaining an operating system such as iOS. I can imagine though that things can sometimes be easily overlooked, but to me that doesn't mean Apple's commitment to making those operating systems accessible is in any way declining.
So how about we all take advantage of this opportunity and file all the bugs we come across? It's worked excellently for me in the past and I would imagine that reporting more issues in this manner could go a long way towards having them resolved much faster! :-)

Regarding the bug reporting tool

There is indeed the website at apple for reporting bugs, but this is mostly intended for developers. If you are to submit something there pertaining to accessibility or any other aspect of an apple product, please be well aware of what and how to submit a completed report with logs and other such useful data for reproducing the issue you're having. There are instructions available for capturing logs if they're needed as well, but you'll need to sign in with your apple ID to the developer area and verify your identity with 2-step authentication should that feature be enabled on the ID in question. I'm not sure if a paid developer account is required for accessing these areas.

Hi Paul,

Hi Paul,

a paid developer account is definitely not required. While personally I am registered on Apple's developer site, I do not have a paid membership myself.
In fact, I'm not sure if a developer account is required at all, to me it looks like you should be able to sign in using any Apple ID. Unfortunately I cannot test this, as I only have the one Apple ID that I have already registered on the developer site.
Aside from that, for most accessibility-related bugs it isn't necessary to submit any log files. As far as I know, that's mostly important when reporting a crash, for example, so that the team at Apple can analyse the specific steps which caused the crash.
I'm not a developer myself, but think that the Bug Reporter should be straightforward enough for most users.

Bugs:

Hello,
First, When selecting with Text selection, try to select by word and you will see that at least on the mail app it will tell you the word, then selected, if you keep going it will do the same thing, until you get to the end of the line when it says its unselecting the words you are trying to select.
If you go by line, it just says selected, but it is not reading the content of the lines, even though, I think it is selecting the lines.
Second, Open a new message after copying anything so you can paste it here on the new message. When I did, I tried to delete something off it, but VoiceOver would not read anything... Not by character, or word, or anything. I had no choice but to send it as it was.

Brailliant Bi 32

Hello, I have Ios 10.2 on my ipad mini 4 and am experiencing an issue in which my Brailliant Bi 32 takes significantly longer to connect with my ipad. It connected almomt immediately on Ios 10.1.1, but since I installed 10.2, it sometimes takes up to ten seconds before it is recognized by my ipad. I updated to the latest firmware which did help a bit, but it is still very slow in connecting to my ipad as well as ween typing. Have any other Brailliant users experienced these issues after updating to Ios 10.2? Is there anything I can do to fix them?

Funny bluetooth stuff

I don't know if it's just the BI 32 that has issues like this, though I can say it's taking that long for the the display and some other devices including wireless speakers to connect to both the iOS devices i have here. With the braille display, I find that typing at the rate I do on it often now involves individual characters or even whole words being missed, necessitating a good proof-read before even sending a message.

I have this issue too

It takes longer for my bluetooth keyboard to connect to my phone than it used too. It's a Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard. I'm not sure why this is.

Scrub gesture?

What is a scrub gesture? Is this possiblefor voiceover users with no sight at all?

Scrub

A scrub is how you go back in apps place 2 fingers on the screen and rub it back and forth as if trying to wipe something off the screen.

Braille - Focus, Brailliant, BraillePen 12 touch

Hi,
Yes, I have the slowness with the Brailliant, but I just got it so didn't know if it was normally slower than my focus 14 or a problem with 10.2.
I haven't found anything to try.
I cannot pair my BraillePen either.
My Focus 14 was paired prior to the update and works great.
I have a beta on my iPhone and my BraillePen doesn't work with that either.
I hope Apple can fix this braille and other stuff people mentioned soon.
It's annoying, but I know they didn't mean to break braille.
Keep reporting bugs and they will fix them.

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