Below are some frequently asked questions about iOS 8. If you don’t see your question here, please feel free to post it in the comments.
What are the new features for blind, deaf-blind, and low-vision users in iOS 8?
Scott Davert has written a blog post detailing the new iOS 8 features which are likely to be of interest to blind, deaf-blind, or low-vision users. AnonyMouse has also recorded a podcast discussing what’s new in iOS 8 accessibility. As Apple generally does not publish accessibility feature lists, however, please keep in mind that there may be other iOS 8 features or improvements that we have not found in our testing.
Where can I go to find out what’s new in iOS 8 outside of accessibility features?
What devices can run iOS 8?
iOS 8 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus; the iPad 2, iPad (Third Generation), iPad (Fourth Generation), and the iPad Air; the iPad Mini and the iPad Mini with Retina Display; and the iPod Touch Fifth Generation.
I’m hesitant to upgrade to iOS 8 because of possible VoiceOver bugs. Is there a bug list I can review before deciding whether to update?
Yes. We have published a list of possible accessibility bugs that members of our Editorial Team have found during the initial testing process. Please remember, though, that there may be bugs that we have not found - or, conversely, that things we have reported as “bugs” (because they respond differently than what one might expect) may actually be features.
I have an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad Mini, or an iPod Touch Fifth Generation. How well will it run iOS 8?
Whether to update an iOS device to new software is very much a personal decision. With that said, one of our team members ran some informal performance tests of iOS 8 on the iPhone 4S and noted only a slight increase in VoiceOver lag over iOS 7.1.2. The tester noted that there was sometimes a delay of several seconds between pressing the Home button and VoiceOver announcing the time on the Lock Screen, but this was not always the case. Interestingly, the tester also found that the Enhanced Quality text-to-speech voice was more responsive than the Default (compact) voice. Additionally, the tester performed an iOS 8/iPhone 4S battery drain test lasting 6 hours and 5 minutes - with the screen unlocked and the device set to “Auto Brightness” - and found that the battery only dropped 79% during that time. Considering that the iPhone 4S is three years old, and that the operating system is built to run optimally on hardware three generations newer, these findings are encouraging.
One last thing to note here is that our tester spent some time working with iOS 7 on an iPhone 4 (three years old at the time, the same as the iPhone 4S is now), and they thought the experience of running iOS 8 on the iPhone 4S was much improved over iOS 7 on the iPhone 4.
If I don’t like iOS 8, can I downgrade back to iOS 7.1.2?
Generally speaking, it is not possible to downgrade to an older version of iOS. Before upgrading, therefore, we recommend reading our list of possible accessibility bugs in iOS 8 and asking any questions you may have in our discussion forum.
How is battery life in iOS 8 when compared to iOS 7.1.2?
Battery life depends on many factors, and operating system optimization is only one of them. However, based on our testing, we believe iOS 8’s battery performance is improved over iOS 7.1.2. Two of our team members, both who experienced poor battery life in iOS 7.1.2, reported a significant improvement in battery performance in iOS 8. Another team member, whose iPhone 5 battery was very recently replaced, reported no change in battery life in iOS 8. A fourth team member, who generally charges their device whenever possible, also noted no significant difference across the two operating systems. Though only two of our team members reported battery life improvements, we believe that, given their use case, iOS 8’s battery performance is likely to be better overall.
I’ve found an accessibility bug in iOS 8; what should I do?
It is extremely important that you let the Apple Accessibility Team know about any bugs that you find. This post explains why and gives details on the ways to do it.
Upgrading to iOS 8
What is the process for updating to iOS 8?
You can update to iOS 8 via Over-the-Air (OTA) Update, or via iTunes on a computer. To use OTA update, go to Settings > General > Software Update and download the update. If updating OTA, please keep in mind that you will have no spoken feedback during the installation - a process which could take over 30 minutes to complete.
Should I upgrade to iCloud Drive in iOS 8?
On the setup screen of iOS 8, there is a new option that allows users to upgrade to iCloud Drive. At this time, however, we do not recommend upgrading to iCloud Drive, because the feature does not yet appear to be fully supported across all Apple product lines.
I have some older apps that have not yet been updated for iOS 8 compatibility; do I need to remove them before updating to iOS 8?
To the best of our knowledge, it is not necessary to remove any third-party apps before updating to iOS 8. However, it is worth noting that some apps may not work correctly on iOS 8 due to not having been updated to support the new OS.
If I update to iOS 8 via iTunes, do I need to set up my device as new or restore it from a backup?
No, installing iOS 8 does not normally require setting the device up as new or restoring it from a backup. If you are updating your software in iTunes, simply select the “Check for Update” option and your software will be updated without losing any of your settings or content. Of course, if you wish to start from a fresh iOS 8 instalation with no saved content or settings, you can always choose the “Restore” option and perform the update that way.
What can I do to ensure that my update to iOS 8 goes as smoothly as possible?
Before updating to iOS 8, 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 horribly wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup of your phone 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. Lastly, as mentioned above, we do not recommend upgrading to iCloud Drive at this time … as the feature does not appear to be fully supported just yet.
iOS 8 Feature Questions
What devices is the new Alex TTS voice supported on?
To the best of our knowledge, the Alex text-to-speech voice can only run on devices with Apple’s A7 processor or later - the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus; the iPad Air or newer; and the iPad Mini with Retina Display or newer. As the Alex voice is a very large file (869Mb), we suspect that the processor requirements are simply too great for Alex to be useable on older devices.
How do I download the new Alex voice?
Michael Hansen has recorded a podcast demonstrating how to download and use the new Alex Text-to-Speech voice. As noted above, Alex is only available on certain devices.
How do I use Braille Screen Input on iOS 8?
How do I use Interactive Notifications in iOS 8?
Mehgcap has prepared a guide explaining how to use interactive notifications in iOS 8.
I have a question about something else not listed above; what should I do?
If you have an iOS 8 question that was not answered above, please feel free to post it in the comments section below.