Apple Releases iOS 9.1 with New Features, Enhancements and Some Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 9.1, bringing with it some new features and improvements across the operating system.

For blind and low vision users, Apple has made some progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs still present in iOS 9.0.2.

At this point, it is worth noting that our testing of iOS 9.1 has been somewhat limited. While a majority of our editorial team has been using iOS 9.1 since September, it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. Though we are quite confident in the accuracy of the information presented below, it is possible that, as with all software testing, we have overlooked some changes, regressions, or improvements. 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 changes in iOS 9.1 that we do not have listed on this page, please do let us know in the comments. As additional information becomes available, we will update this post accordingly.

Accessibility Bugs Fixed in iOS 9.1

  • In the Mail app, VoiceOver now states the actual number of messages in a grouped conversation rather than saying “multiple messages”.
  • Fixed the problem where VoiceOver behaviour appeared to indicate that it was not possible to enter text into some webpage text fields (such as the Search fields on the AppleVis and BookShare websites).
  • When using a Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad, VoiceOver now correctly speaks the available keyboard commands displayed onscreen. (Note: Not all possible keyboard commands are displayed onscreen; this is not a bug with VoiceOver.)
  • VoiceOver no longer becomes unresponsive upon receiving an incoming phone call.
  • Audio now returns to the correct level after being interrupted by VoiceOver when audio ducking is enabled
  • VoiceOver sound effects no longer randomly disappear.

Accessibility Bugs Possibly Fixed in iOS 9.1

There are some bugs which we have been led to believe should be fixed in this release, but cannot 100% confirm. It is possible that in these cases that Apple has resolved the problem in specific use cases, partially resolved the problem, or resolved a similar but different bug.

The bugs in question are:

  • Switching VoiceOver voices in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Speech > Default Dialect now behaves as expected (the only situation where voices may not switch automatically are when you have limited storage space available on your device or poor internet connectivity).

Accessibility Bugs Introduced in iOS 9.1

  • Using the VoiceOver Actions Rotor on a Contact icon on the Proactive Search screen will occasionally result in the information from another contact being used/shown.
  • VoiceOver may not always automatically announce the time when you press the Power button to wake your device.

Other Changes

Support For New Hardware

This release will put in place support for the soon to be released iPad Pro and fourth-generation Apple TV.

More Emojis

iOS 9.1 adds support for Unicode 8, which means that you will now have a number of new emojis to choose from. These include new emojis for sports, weather, animals and foods, and the selection of new smilies includes upside-down face, money-mouth face, nerd, rolling eyes, hug, and thinker. If that weren’t enough, you can now give people the middle finger emoji.

iOS 9.1 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings> General> Software Update) or from iTunes on the Mac or PC. As always, we would encourage you to make a backup before installing this update.

We will update this post as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please let us know via the comments of any additional fixes or new bugs that you find.

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57 Comments

#1 Interesting that you claim

Interesting that you claim that the audio ducking and vanishing earcon issues have been fixed. They are both still alive and well on my 5S. The former is especially noticeable if you start an app such as BlindSquare. The latter is intermittent but seems to occur more often when dealing with sluggish applications whose main GUI threads are blocked, e.g. Facebook.

#2 Audio ducking now working properly

Hello,
I am running iOS 9.1 on a 6+. The audio ducking issues seem to have been fixe on my device. I was just listening to a book on audible and it was working fine.

Regards,
Greg Wocher

#3 update was fine, but a bug still exists that's worth mentioning

My upgrade to iOS 9.1 went as smooth as silk. It was a little faster than previous releases and I've not noticed any real show stoppers. There is, however, a bug that still exists that I thought it might be worth mentioning. I'd be interested to see if anyone else still has this particular thing going on. I plan to write to Apple's accessibility team. The bug is that when using a Bluetooth device like headphones, the device is disconnected if you disable VoiceOver, and re-enable it. Here are the steps to reproduce this, just so everyone understands...
1. connect any Bluetooth device to your iDevice like a pare of headphones, or a Bluetooth speaker.
2. What I usually do is start an internet stream or some music on Pandora, just so I can get something going through the Bluetooth device.

3. Now, triple tap the home button, and you'll notice that not only does VoiceOver get disabled, which it should do, but you'll also find that VoiceOver is now coming through the iPhone's speaker once again. Depending on the app you're using for music playback, the music may continue playing, but it also might be paused, so be aware of that. I haven't tried reconnecting the Bluetooth device manually, I usually turn off the Bluetooth device and then turn it back on and let it re-connect on its own. Other than that I've nnot found any other bugs.

#4 Audio ducking fixed over here for now

The audio ducking issue has been fixed over here for now on my iPhone 6 Plus. So far I've tested it out with the music app and Pandora, but haven't used any other app with audio content yet.

#5 issue with bluetooth headphones

Hello,
I do not have any bluetooth headphones, so I'm unable to directly reproduce the issue you are experiencing, however, I was able to reproduce it with a bluetooth speaker. That's the work-around I've been using as well, just turning the device off and on again.

#6 blindSquare

To the user who mentioned as an app with which they are having audio issues, that is a BlindSquare issue, I believe, rather than an iOS issue. That's something that the devs of BlindSquare will have to fix.

#7 Vibrate bug fixed iPhone6s

When one mutes the phone using the vibrate switch on the side and receives a call, the phone now vibrates continuously as expected. Additionally, when a call is ended, VoiceOver now comes back to the speaker as normal and does not stay on the ear piece or speakerphone.

#8 Just updated now

well as the update come out
I have updated now, as far as bugs regarding,
I din't face any bugs after upgrading it
though it may still there are few or more bugs
need to be resolved, which have mentioned
in accessibility bugs list of ios 9.0
maybe some of them have been fixed and some has to fixe next updates
so on, hads off to apple
and 1 more thing, great job dun by applevis team
for reporting us that what have been fixed and what new bugs have been introduce
in every new update
once again thanks in tun to applevis team

#9 The audio ducking issue also

The audio ducking issue also occurs if you play anything in the native music app, so I must disagree that this issue is exclusive to BlindSquare. The other problem that still exists is the VO hang after replying to an email. One nice thing I've found is that some other apps which monitor external audio interfaces, such as AmpKit, work again in 9.1 where they didn't in 9.0x, so that's something.

#10 RE: BlindSquare

Interesting, BlindSquare is the only app that I have noticed where the volume of the audio drops every single time you enter the app until you close it from the app switcher. I did not know that about the Music app.

#11 stating the time when lock

Yes. The time does not states when pres power button. You hear lock and nothing. Is this a bug or not.

#12 I wasn't aware that killing

I wasn't aware that killing BlindSquare from the app switcher would restore the media audio level. Thanks for the tip.

#13 hi.

hi.
Can anyone confirm if the bug with bluetooth keyboard in edit fields was fixed?
I will not do the update without  know  if  this bug has been fixed.
thanks.
cheers.

#14 9.1

I can also confirm that the phone vibration bug along with the vo distortion bug has been fixed. Yes, vo not announcing the time when power button is pressed is a bug but one I can live with.

#15 Problem with phone and VO

Since 9.0, I am experiencing a major problem with navigating the phone app when I am on a call. VO is either mute, or unresponsive. I have to redial several times until it works well. I haven't seen much discussion about it, I wonder if anybody else had this same problem.
Thank you

#16 Can Confirm

I can confirm that navigating on the phone app is iffy with VO while in a call, but I did notice it works better if you switch it to speaker phone first.

#17 Bluetooth headsets with VO

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

HI Tunehead. I can confirm your bug regarding VoiceOver and Bluetooth audio devices. When I connect either my soundpod or my ComPilot for my hearing aids, I'm seeing the same behavior. This has been around since 9.0.

#18 I have a question

This isn't really a bug, I don't think. But has anyone else noticed that when restarting your phone, the settings app is automatically opened when the phone restarts?

#19 keyboard hints

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Pressing the command key twice on a bluetooth keyboard now presents a list of keyboard shortcuts accessible to Voiceover.

#20 facebook problem

reading coment problem on facebook

#21 sharing

I sent a pic to someone via sharing message. One had problem with selecting person, when typing voiceover did not read the word I type after tapping space bar. Can someone check to see if they can share pic via message? Thanks.

#22 Not a lot fixed for me

The two finger tap to pause and resume audio in Downcast still seems to be broken as doing so starts music playing from Apple Music. Heading Navigation in GrubHub and Newsify which worked perfectly in IOS 8.4 is still gone as there is no longer heading navigation. Mail still says no unread messages on home screen even though there are several unread messages. Not sure what was updated if anything at all. Very disappointing.

#23 interesting?

I just got my iPhone 6S set up the other day and it asked me to install IOS 9.2, which I've done.

#24 A bug I saw...

A bug I've seen is that VO will state the "clear section" element in notification center when notifications are present as a heading, but it can still be double tapped. also, when using roter settings, I prefer to keep mine set on headings. however, this doesn't stay as it should. It'll sometimes go back to characters if no headings are present. Quite odd.

#25 Downcast

The issue with Downcast is a bug with downcast. This is the only app where I have seen this happen. The two finger double tap works in all the other apps I have used it in. This bug in downcast is why I have moved to using overcast instead. The two finger double tap works just fine in overcast.

Regards,
Greg Wocher

#26 Bluetooth headset issue

I have also noticed the issue with VO and bluetooth connected audio. I've found that if I press the play button on my headset, audio usually returns to the headset immediately. I think this would only work when media is paused. Otherwise, I turn my headset off and back on.

#27 some issue fixed

Hello.

I think audio ducking work very well.
and fixed bluetooth keyboard not working without VoiceOver command.
thanks.

#28 bluetooth issues

The issues with bluetooth devices have been present since the release of 9.0. My hope was that they'd fix it for this release but sounds like that hasn't happened yet. I haven't installed it myself yet but i will be. For those who may not know the email for apple accessibility is
accessibility@apple.com
Hope this helps and, to the apple vis team grate job on these articles they're very informative.

#29 Apple Loves to Break Things

After reading this entire post, it's very clear that Apple's supposed fixes for Blind/VI are definitely far outweighing the encountered bugs. I myself struggle with the Bluetooth problem Mario pointed out, where in a text field you have to fight with VO to get it to properly accept letter input, whether quicknav is on or off. Granted, I have not gone to great lengths to test out every single scenario across multiple devices but I will say this. On my iPod 3g and 4S, which both use IOS4.3.5 and IOS7. something, respectively, it works. On my tablet and my iPhone 5S, which use IOS9.2, it doesn't work. Seems pretty cut and dried for me.

The audio ducking/VO not reading time after device wakes, seem kind of minor. The audio ducking seems to be flukey, (go figure Apple), and I find a good old-fashioned sleep+home reset works to help that problem on occasion. It's only one more thing to try anyway. The time announcing thing ... while annoying, I'm sure it'll be overlooked and then randomly fixed exactly how it was broken: by accident.

There are a few other bugs not listed here but might be popping around on some other forum pages that I am not looking at currently, so if they're already out there, I'm sorry for the redundancy. However, in the app switcher, VO no longer accurately reads app badges indicating how many unread items/unattended items you have. This broke within the IOS9.1/2 days, I'm quite sure. Also, VO is no longer echoing text as you try and edit it within edit fields. Not sure about anyone else, but this seems somewhat major to me. The app-switcher not giving me accurate counts of how many icons are bouncing up and down doesn't piss me off too much, but I do know that it is a commonality shared by both my IOS9 devices. I have not however had a chance to test whether VO's inability to edit text fields character by character, or backspace them character by character is a problem that they share as well. I will do it if I get a few moments of solidarity and/or silence ... tomorrow. Somehow. :(

Hope this helps someone.

Best,
J_A_D

#30 Bluetooth issue thought

If the bug is present in the operating system you are using, I would think that it can't get worse if you upgrade, especially if this is your only concern.

#31 jpdate to my previous cooment on bluetooth and a few other thing

Okay after installing 9.1 i can confirm the previous bugs with bluetooth headphones are still very much alive. One thing i've also found is in my opinion anyway the configuration screen that comes up after a big update like this is difficult at least for me i have had issues with that otherwise updating went smooth and the phone seems fine I'm using a 4s

#32 Audio routing bug

I notice there is no discussion of the audio routing or call answering bug that was affecting some users which meant that they could not answer calls especially when wearing headphones. I have been running 9. 9.1 for a while and have never experienced this, but I was wondering if someone who has had this problem could tell me whether it is fixed so I can help a friend.

#33 The audio routing bug has not

The audio routing bug has not been fixed.

#34 Recording audio messages bug

Hello,

I wonder if the bug present since IOS 9 has been fixed. Sometimes after recording a message and hitting either play or send, the message disappears. Seems to be a losing focus issue with VoiceOver or something else. I know I'm not alone experiencing this bug, so just curious if it has ever been addressed. Thanks!

#35 Legends and radio buttons

Since the introduction of iOS 8, VO has been unable to announce legends and radio button field sets correctly in Safari. I can't believe in iOS 9.1 these bugs have still not been addressed. Moreover, Mac OS 10.11 does not announce a legend grouping either!

Come on Apple, sor it out!

I still have the ducking issue on my 5S. Will upgrade to 6S soon.

I can also confirm that the double finger tap to pause and start podcasts in Downcast is an actual bug in Downcast. i don't experience this with any other app. It seemed to creep in with iOS 8.4.

I'd switch to Overcast, but I like to override the volume limit of some quiet podcasts as I am hard of hearing.

I know others have stated that their Mail icon does not expose the number of new messages to VO; it is working fine for me.

#36 Sprint Wi-Fi calling

Hello,
In the iOS update that was released yesterday, something was mentioned about Sprint enhanced Wi-Fi calling. I am a Sprint customer, and I have had Wi-Fi calling for about 6 months now. Does anyone know anything about this, or what it means? Thank you.

#37 bluetooth audio routing issue.

I have had this pop up as well. I deleted my device and started over, but this didn't solve the issue. I have had issues with bluetooth with versions 8 and 9 so I hope this is fixed soon.

#38 Sprint enhanced Wi-Fi calling.

Good afternoon, Lisa, I am a customer of sprint as well. I have not enabled Wi-Fi calling yet. The reason I chose not to do this, is because it will keep me from using my Mac book Pro and iPhone together as they are intended. Carefully read the information in regards to Wi-Fi calling before You enable this feature. Also, keep in mind, that if you are on a call and go out of range of your Wi-Fi network, your call will be disconnected. I could see this as being a major inconvenience if you are on an important call.

#39 Crackling sounds on 6S

I had hoped this was fixed, but I still experience a crackling sound with Vo sound volume on 50 or 60, not all the time, most often when I flic through items, and even then not all the time. It would be nice to hear from other 6S users if you have the same experience before reporting to accessibility.

#40 number of unred mails fixed

Hi,
The number of unred mails on the mailicon should be fixed. Check if show unred messages on app symbol is turned on in messages, under mail and then each mail account. The English text might be different, but turning that setting on has solved the problems for other users.

#41 Crackling Sound

I have a 6S and I do not have this crackling sound issue that you mentioned.

#42 Bluetooth

Problem continues with voiceover not working when making a call with Bluetooth. Sent email to accessibility to let them know again. Using iOS 9.1, iPhone 6. I wonder if new Bluetooth4.4 works for iOS 9.1?

#43 Bug issues

I have noticed that the enhanced Voiceover Samantha voice still sounds like it is under water. Also, when Wifi nor cellular data is availavle, it does not automatically switch over to text messaging. I do have SMS enabled. I have to turn iMessaging off in order to send messages when I cannot send iMessages. I have the iPhone6, and have updated to iOS9.1

#44 Siri Voices For VoiceOver Laggs?

Has anyone experienced using the Siri Voices for VoiceOver lagging? I think that Apple should know about this.

#45 braille sdsplay Wi-Fi SSID?

Hi all,
Thanks for all the info about the bugs still alive and fixed in 9.1. One thing I've not seen anyone talk about is the Wi-Fi braille display info displayed in the stuatus bar. When using my braille edge, and I go in to the status bar and connected to wi-fi, voice over displays 2 or three wi-fi bars, SSID. When I review the info with speach, it says 2 or 3 wi-fi bars, and the network name. I am runing 9.0.2 on an iPhone 5s, I'm not sure if its a braille edge problem, or if its just my phone, or if its only when 2 or 3 bars of wi-fi are around, or a strange mix of both. If anyone else has seen this around, I'd like to know.
Thanks all, i look forward to reading your input.

#46 Bluetooth and accessibility apple

Hi, I reported it to apple and they send me the following. Maybe those who still have issues when it happen to do the following. Right now my strange and crazy phone is behaving and can not do it. Read below.
Hello,

Thank you for your reply. We appreciate the additional details that you included. We would like to get stack shots to find out more about this behavior.
Please do the following:
The next time it happens press the home button and either of the volume buttons simultaneously.
Let up on the buttons wait a little bit (a 10 count should be fine) then do it again.

Connect your iPhone to a computer and sync it.
The logs and stack shots will transfer to the computer during the sync.

For Mac OS X systems:
Connect your iPhone and sync it in iTunes.
In the Finder press command+Shift+G and navigate to ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/
If you have multiple iOS devices select the appropriate device to get the logs from.
Compress the folder and send it to us.

For Windows system:
Connect your iPhone and sync it in iTunes.
Windows XP: the crash logs are in C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Application Data\Apple computer\Logs\CrashReporter\
Windows Vista & Windows 7: the crash logs are in C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Apple computer\Logs\CrashReporter\MobileDevice\device name

Sincerely,

Apple Accessibility

For more information on Accessibility at Apple, please visit:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/
http://www.apple.com/support/accessibility/

On October 26, 2015 at 22:14:44 PM GMT, hfiallo@rcn.com wrote:

> I am using Bluetooth to listen to my iPhone 6, in iOS 9.1. When I go
>to phone, tap on the number, tap on call, my voiceover stop working. I am
>not able to tap on the number to get transfer. When I finished the call, the
>Bluetooth disconnect and voiceover comes up from the speaker. This also
>happen when I getting call, Bluetooth disconnect and voiceover comes up in
>the speaker and I have to raze the phone to listen to the call. I have to go
>to setting and connect my Bluetooth or turn my Bluetooth off and on to
>connect.

#47 Rotor mixing up with app items

Since I installed iOS9 and above on my iPhone 6 plus, I've noticed that when running certain apps, especially those that require landscape mode, the rotor controls override the apps controls. Sometimes shaking the phone will straighten it out, but often I need to turn VO off and then back on. I've also noticed that on these apps, where there may be multiple pages of controls, flicking up to advance to the next page will cause VO to speak the new number, but the actual available controls do not change. Many of these apps are advanced music apps like synthesizers and multitrack recording programs.
Gord

#48 unable to post review in the app store

Has anybody had success posting a review on the app store? I am running Ios 9.2 on an iPhone 6 plus. I wanted to post a review of Washio, which is a laundry service app. I pulled up the page for the app in the store, went to the review tab, and pressed the submit review button. I am able to select the number of stars with the picker. Then I enter a nickname. Then I enter a subject for the message. This is often where the problem happens. I am suddenly taken back to the previous page. Pressing submit review shows me that all the info I entered is gone. Am I missing something here, or is this a bug in the app store program itself?
Thanks
Gord

#49 Automatic time announcement

I appreciate hearing the time when I wake up my phone by pressing the power button. Hopefully they'll fix this. because sometimes it takes an extra second to find the time on the status bar.

#50 Reporting bugs with voiceover and Bluetooth

Hi, all I sent an email to apple regarding issues with Bluetooth
disconnecting from my phone when making or getting a call. Got
the following. At this time is working but for those of you who
still have issues do the following and send them what they
looking. See below. Hope this help.
Hello,

Thank you for your reply. We appreciate the additional details
that you included. We would like to get stack shots to find out
more about this behavior.
Please do the following:
The next time it happens press the home button and either of the
volume buttons simultaneously.
Let up on the buttons wait a little bit (a 10 count should be
fine) then do it again.

Connect your iPhone to a computer and sync it.
The logs and stack shots will transfer to the computer during the
sync.

For Mac OS X systems:
Connect your iPhone and sync it in iTunes.
In the Finder press command+Shift+G and navigate to
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/
If you have multiple iOS devices select the appropriate device to
get the logs from.
Compress the folder and send it to us.

For Windows system:
Connect your iPhone and sync it in iTunes.
Windows XP: the crash logs are in C:\Documents and
Settings\USER\Application Data\Apple computer\Logs\CrashReporter\
Windows Vista & Windows 7: the crash logs are in
C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\Apple
computer\Logs\CrashReporter\MobileDevice\device name

Sincerely,

Apple Accessibility

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