Apple has today released iOS 12.3 to the public, bringing with it a redesigned TV app; a slightly updated design for the Apple TV Remote app; and enhancements to the Wallet app.
In iOS 12.3, Apple has removed the Accessibility Events switch introduced with iOS 12.2; saying that the feature was removed because “related aspects of the W3C AOM effort are no longer applicable.” It is unknown at this time whether the removal of this setting is permanent or temporary to allow Apple to put more in place to support this functionality.
Apple has also made continued progress towards addressing the accessibility issues in iOS 12. Based on our testing, we believe the following issues are resolved in iOS 12.3:
- VoiceOver focus no longer spontaneously jumps to the "Back" button when reading articles in the News app; we believe that the similar focus issue in Safari may also have been resolved. We are less certain about the status of this behaviour in Safari, as it's a problem which has only effected some users. For this reason, we will be keen to hear whether those of you who have experienced this behaviour previously still encounter it on iOS 12.3.
- VoiceOver once again provides audible feedback when re-ordering tracks in the Now Playing queue - both when initiating re-ordering and when moving tracks to different positions.
- Deleting songs from playlists using the VoiceOver actions menu now works as intended.
While the fixes in iOS 12.3 are welcome and appreciated, we are nevertheless very disappointed that there are a number of serious issues remaining for braille users in iOS 12. With Apple's focus now likely to be on iOS 13, it is extremely disheartening and frustrating that bugs which have a significant impact on the usability and user experience for braille users may now go unfixed for at least a year since having been introduced.
At the time of writing, we are only aware of one minor regression for blind and low vision users in iOS 12.3:
- Users of devices with no physical Home button may find that using the “Home” gesture to navigate away from the Today View is unreliable, and on occasions your device will ‘bounce’ straight back to the Today View.
As we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices; configurations; and use cases—so there may be improvements or regressions that we did not identify during the beta cycle. With this in mind, please do let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 12.3.
Some General Changes in iOS 12.3
iOS 12.3 includes the revamped Apple TV app that Apple debuted at its services-focused event in March.
The upgraded TV app offers better integration of bundle providers including Spectrum and PlayStation Vue, and streaming apps like Hulu, and, as a result, a much improved user experience.
A new feature of the TV app is what Apple calls Channels, which are third-party video services that you can sign up for and watch content from without needing to leave the TV app. The channels available include CBS All Access, Starz, Showtime, HBO, Nickelodeon, Mubi, The History Channel Vault, and Comedy Central Now.
MacStories explains how channels differ from how integrated services worked previously in the TV app:
Channels work differently from how TV app-integrated services currently operate. Today, for example, if you find an HBO show in the TV app that you want to watch, you have to download the HBO app and sign up for HBO Now inside that app, then you can launch HBO content from the TV app and it will play inside HBO's own app – the TV app's only benefits are initiating playback and tracking your shows via the Up Next queue. When Channels launch, things will be much simpler for Channels-partnering services: when you find that HBO content you want to watch, you'll be able to sign up for HBO Now quickly and easily from inside the TV app and the video will play right from TV. There's no need to download or use a separate app at all.
The upgraded TV app uses curation and machine learning to recommend new shows and movies to you. It also includes a new tab that provides access to content appropriate for kids.
A Mac version of the TV app is coming this fall. It will also launch this year on Roku; Amazon video hardware; and selected televisions from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio.
In iOS 12.3, Apple has continued with its upgrading of the Wallet app as it prepares for the release of Apple Card later this year. Changes in this update include more detailed transaction history.
The only other notable changes in iOS 12.3 currently appear to be a slight design makeover to the Apple TV Remote app and adding support for AirPlay 2-enabled TVs.
We will update this post if further notable changes surface when full release notes become available.
How to Update to iOS 12.3
iOS 12.3 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.
Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either in iTunes or iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.
More information on how to update the software on your iOS device is available on this Apple Support page.