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.



Submitted by chris R on Monday, December 12, 2016

The mail bug above has been present since iOS 10.0 was first released, or at least it was for me. I hadn't heard any talk of this bug before, like it was just me, so nice to hear Apple is working on a fix. It's been driving me crazy for ages.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, December 12, 2016

I noticed that the hint for uncovering messages sent with Invisible Ink is to double tap and scrub with 1 finger. I contacted Apple before and told them that this seems to be impossible to do and I still can not do it after updating to 10.2. Has anyone been able to do this gesture?

Submitted by Mohammed Al-shara on Monday, December 12, 2016


if I want to move an app from inside a folder to the home screen, that was possible through the actions "drop app out of folder". I no longer see this choice in 10.2

can anyone confirm this?

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, December 12, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

I do not know for sure if this is related to the iOS 10.2 update, or if something else was going on for me.

When logging in on AppleVis, I need to activate the user name text field, then look for the button to autofill the password from my keychain. This worked fine in the past, but today I had an issue, as follows.

I activated the user name field as usual, then navigated to the autofill button at the bottom of the screen. When I activated the button, nothing happened. I also could not find the button when navigating by touch, because an autocomplete suggestion appeared to be covering it up. I found that if I used the previous and next buttons to move to other text fields on the page, then returned to the user name field, the autofill button showed up properly and I could activate it to fill in my credentials.

I never had this problem before. I am using an iPad Mini 4, and I was using a Bluetooth keyboard at the time of this occurrence. I will need to do some testing to figure out what other factors might have led to this problem.

One thing I have never been able to figure out is why I have to find and use the autofill button on this site. Most other websites where I have my credentials saved to keychain are automatically filled as soon as I visit the login page, without having to do any interaction with the text fields, but at AppleVis this does not happen, and never has.

Submitted by Luke on Monday, December 12, 2016

Same old story -- they fix some things and break some things, leaving us with an only partially usable product. Is it too much to ask for them to just actually *fix* VoiceOver so our user experience is comparable to that of sighted users? I pay as much as a sighted customer for my Apple products; I should either get 100% usability or they should cut us a discount until they get it together. I'm tired of being patient

Mohamed and others:

Yes, you are correct, I no longer see the option for moving an app out of a folder under iOS 10.2. I just tried this with several apps in several different folders and was not successful. I'm in the process of composing an email to Apple Accessibility regarding this issue.

Submitted by Michael Feir on Monday, December 12, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

I was able to move an app out of a folder by double-tapping and holding it then dragging it until you were outside the folder. You then hold your finger for five seconds until the foler closes. At that point, the app is outside the folder. Just like how you used to have to do it before they came up with the better movement system. Not ideal but still very doable. Adding apps to folder still works fine.

Submitted by OldBear on Monday, December 12, 2016

I haven't updated yet. I have been using the two finger scrub gesture to close folders when moving apps because I didn't know about the feature you all are discussing. Might give it a try; it stays in edit mode until you push the home button.

Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I've noticed a slight redesign of the news app, in the UK at least. You no longer have the tabs running along the bottom whilst your inside of a story. Also when you've saved an article, VO no longer repeats the title. Just some observations. Hope the Braille display issue is resolved quickly for those affected by that, and moreover, the removal of apps from folders as well. I'm so disorganized I rarely use folders at all, but slightly counter-intuitive to introduce a new, highly useful feature and then break it almost immediately.
I do find myself agreeing with Joe's point above, but at least the bug with edit fields is now fixed. Finally, I've had BSI crash on me since installing the update tonight, only once, and also flaky dictation once or twice when your double tapping to finish what your saying, it seemed to freeze strangely.
Best to all.

Submitted by JeffB on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

@CrockerBear that is a good tip and in some ways it may be even faster to scrub to close the folder. It would make it faster to move an app from 1 folder to another! Thanks for the work around.

Submitted by Jon on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I am not sure if it is just be but, after closing Firefox and reopening it, there are no spaces in the bulleted lists.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I know the feeling. When I called tech support to discuss my app movement problem, & recently, when I was trying to figure out how to copy & paste text from the body of an email, that someone had sent me, the people were on the phone trying to figure it out with me! They helped me solve the problem of copying/pasting from an email, but I spent 2 1/2 hours on the fhone with them!

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the fact that these products are accessible to us, & I like the fact, that there's a tech support line for people with accessibility needs/issues, to call & get the help they need. Apple gets plenty of kudos from me on that front.

I think that Apple Support techs are the most patient, helpful, caring people. I've had to call jech support hundreds of times when I had a braillenote, BARD. & Bookshare. And all in all, I think Apple's techs are the better of all of them. I've talked to some good people on HumanWare tech staff too, but Apple's techs take the prize. But I agree that Apple needs to have more people working on this kind of stuff accessibility & otherwise.

That being said, I also understand that not everything is perfect nor will it ever be, & every circumstance is different. But I also think that it's getting better. I think Apple, like every other company, has it's weaknesses & strengths.

Personally, I like that the rotor no longer defaults to actions on some things. I hope it's the case with Safaari. I found out that was why I couldn't move by links in a webpage. Once I got the rotor on links after a few times, it worked fine.

Submitted by AppleForAll on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

After clicking on the send button in the Mail app, VoiceOver doesn't react anymore no matter what I do. I have to turn VO on and off several times until it works again. Furthermore, in longer mail conversations navigation with VO is very sluggish.
I have to work with lots of mails on my phone so this is a real show-stopper!

Submitted by Janet Tuggey on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

Hi all

I haven't upgraded to iOS 10.2 yet, just wondering if the problem with the spacebar has been fixed. Sometimes when I land on it it says Dictation and I have to double tap to make it work every time, until I use punctuation and it clears up. this has happened since iOS 10, so it's about time Apple fixed it, as it puts me off using the keyboard for comments etc.

Submitted by Alana on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I am happy to report that the bug where voiceOver would say metres instead of minutes has been fixed from the few notifications I had today. Thanks to the team for fixing this bug. I hope the alarm is fixed. Remember the bug where the alarm would sound softer when audio ducking was on?

Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In the grand scheme of things this is quite small, but I use news a lot on the way to work, especially in the morning, and I've found that VO no longer announces the state of read and unread articles correctly. It just says unread now for every article, even if you have in fact read it. This persists until you close and reopen the app.
However, it would be much worse if this behavior was exhibited in mail, for example, so it isn't the end of the world.

Submitted by Daniel on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hi all, bit early to say I know but has anyone so far who have updated, seen any improvements to there battery life on your ios devices? Ever since ios 10 my battery really does drain a lot more than it use to. And before anyone asks, no, I'm not using it more than usual and no, I don't think it is hardware but more of software issues. That's only my opinion though.

Own an iPhone 5 and iPad mini 2

What is your verdict? Is battery life better or worse for 10.2?

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I'm not sure. I've not noticed the battery drain issues you speak of Daniel. It might just be hardware. Maybe the battery is failing in your iPhone. It's just my opinion. I'm running 10.2 on a 6S plus.

Submitted by Kareem Dale on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

Does anyone know if the issue with VO reading rows and columns on some websites and in some emails been fixed? I am using an iphone 6 and this appeared to start with IOS 10 or 10.1. When reading emails or on a website (including the Apple Vis website), VO will say things like row 2 of 15 rows and column 10 of 30 columns or things like this. It presumably only happens when the email is in some sort of table but this never happened before. It happens on linked in emails as an example. It happens when reading every line so it's very annoying and makes reading these emails or websites that are impacted nearly impossible.

Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

the extra verbosity is still present in 10.2.
I got a useful, perhaps the most detailed response I've ever received from Apple accessibility regarding the news regression I mentioned above.
 Thank you for your email. We can reproduce this in iOS 10.2 but not in 10.2.1
In 10.2.1 if an article has already been opened once it will not be labeled as unread if you go back and flick through the articles again.

Apple Accessibility.
Roll on 10.2.1 then.

So I need to wait for iOS 10.2.1 to come out to address this problem. I do check news all the time and sometimes I forget what I read now I have to wait to get the new update to get VO to not said unread even when you read. This is a big major blanck. I am to pist now.

Submitted by Francisco crespo on Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Six months ago, when with two other fellows I brought resolution 2016-04 to the floor of the NFB convention in order to call on Apple to do better testing of its software releases, we were told on this forum that we had no idea of how Apple works and that we ware being ungrateful with the progress Apple has made towards accessibility. I just wish to see more blind iOs and Mac Os users act like consumers instead of justifying whatever steps the company takes even when they go against their own productivity and competence. Hope the next time this concerns are raised to Apple you don't forget the frustrating situations that these bugs got you through.


Submitted by Darren12 on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I think the reality is that people regardless of any kind of disability can become fans of something, anything, and this predisposes them to become tolerant of mediocrity. Everyone should think like consumers and choose the product/service that works best for them and their individual use cases and specific circumstances.
Apple do a great job, not perfect, could be better, but so do other companies. The reality is that all of these companies want to maximize their revenues, that is their primary objective, so blind loyalty, pardon the pun, usually is counterproductive. Always be critical, self-reflexive and unremittingly empirical.

Submitted by John Moore on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I am using a Humanware Brailliant BI40 with the UEB setting. In certain apps, including the messaging app and the Bible app from YouVersion, if using that table, certain words are no longer displayed. Random punctuation marks are displayed instead. I found that switching back to the old North American code fixed the problem by displaying the word, but said weird signs are still their. I tried re-pairing the display and restarting everything with no luck. Not sure if this is a compatibility thing or a genuine bug. Any Braille display users out there having this issue as well?

Submitted by Unregistered User (not verified) on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hi all! Has anyone installed iOS 10.2 on iPhone 5S, and what's your experience with it? Is it working good or not, what's fixed and what's still bugging? Anything new about the Music app bug? Thanks!

Submitted by charles on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In reply to by Francisco crespo

And I hope that you realize the complexities of an app such as Voice-Over and an IOS. A question and suggestion:Are you a beta tester who contributes to the improvements that need to be made dealing with this issue? The more feedback that Apple receives, the better the ever ongoing development will be.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In reply to by Unregistered User (not verified)

iOS 10.2 is working great for me on my iPhone 5S. One bug was fixed but another was introduced in the music app. The first bug that was fixed in the music app is when you access the "for you" tab you will see that your 2 personalized playlists are now labeled correctly. The second bug that was introduced is in the library tab if you access any of the categories such as: Songs, Albums, Artists and so on, before the "shuffle all" there is an unlabeled button.


Yes, I'm registered as developer and have bugs reported without fix since the first final release of iOs 10. I know what I'm talking about when I point that fixing accessibility related issues is not today a priority at apple. I recognice the progress they've made but we can not justify the fact that with a software update loke this one we get important bugs like the one related to Focus Blue

Submitted by Adam Samec on Friday, December 16, 2016


the bug where VoiceOver is not reading the first character if rotor is set to lines, described in this post, is still present in iOS 10.2, and, by the way, in macOS 10.12.2 as well.

I am glad to see that text fields in Safari are now read correctly when reading by character or word, but navigating by line in a text field in Safari using the Up or Down arrow keys on a bluetooth keyboard now never reads the lines even though the cursor is actually moving, and in the Notes app, and maybe elsewhere, it repeatedly reads the whole paragraph even though the cursor is actually moving only by line within the paragraph. Therefore, when it comes to reading by line, there is a serious degression in iOS 10.2, however, there are other long-standing issues regarding VoiceOver not reading what it should when navigating by line.

And one new inconsistency regarding Safari, if you move by word using Alt + Right arrow, the cursor is now positioned after the space following the word, whereas before in Safari, or currently in other apps, or when reading by word using rotor, the cursor is positioned right after the word, which seems better to me.

Kind regards

Submitted by Emilio on Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hello: it looks like they didn't fix the "actions available" announcement when voice over focuses on the apps installed or the preinstalled ones. I even tried to create a dictionary entry to tell to the voice over, to read the line of string "actions available" differently, but no luck.
is there a way around to escape from this issue?it should have been involved in the new verbocity section added to IOS 10.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, December 15, 2016

What does "Region Tracking on" mean? This has appeared in my status bar.

Submitted by AppleForAll on Thursday, December 15, 2016

I still have a lot of trouble to add/remove receivers and CCs. Adding them is simple but removing them selectively is not easy to handle.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, December 15, 2016

If everyone here writing about all these bugs wrote to Apple with the same energy, imagine what good stuff you could do? Everyone who writes here should write to Apple as well. and if you've already done it, keep at it! keep doing it and show them that when you've found a bug, you're serious about wanting them to squash it. Don't forget the steps you took to produce the bug and wether or not the bug is re-producible all the time.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, December 15, 2016

I just noticed that if you share a article from the news app, voiceover does not says share. I will let apple know. Anyone has this problem. Also I agreed complaining about problems does not solve it self unless you report it.

Submitted by Josh on Friday, December 16, 2016

I know Samantha isn't fashionable anymore, but I still like her better than Alex.

After updating to 10.2 I found that on the home screen and in keyboards, Samantha now speaks a bunch of extraneous stuff. On the positive side, it does appear that I'm again able to use the HQ version.

On the home screen, every app and folder name spoken by Samantha is followed by the spoken string "s l n c 800"

Keyboards are even worse, with each letter I touch being sandwiched in between "char ltrl" and "Char Norm". For example, if I touch the letter g on the standard on-screen keyboard, Samantha says "Char ltrl, g, Char Norm" with the commas in the previous quotation denoting speech pauses. The same thing happens with on-screen numeric keyboards.

Switching to Alex gets rid of all this extraneous stuff.

I'm also sending a copy of this to the Apple Accessibility team.

Any thoughts?

Let's not bring up the resolution drama again. We've all voiced our opinions on it--loudly!--and it's over, thank goodness. Bringing it up again now will only derail the discussion. I entreat all of us: please, please, please do not derail useful discussions with the past and, to the person who brought it up originally... this is not the place to toot your own horn at the expense of the conversation at hand.

I can confirm this one and have reported it to Apple already. What is happening is that, rather than being rendered as words, the original graphics are being rendered to the Braille subsystem. That's what the unicode indicator means, and the value that follows it (for anyone interested) is the hexadecimal value of the character or graphic in question. This is not limited to the Brailliant by the way, nor does it seem limited to UEB. It appears to be a bug in VoiceOver's rendering of these symbols, as if a speech dictionary is being applied but the Braille text is not.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, December 17, 2016

Again if anyone who shares articles from news via message, and after going back to for you and voiceover does not says share please report it. I did reported to accessibility and they forward my email to someone.

Submitted by DPinWI on Sunday, December 18, 2016

I get a kick out of the new item on the status bar. To the left of the bluetooth status, I hear Headphones Connected when I am using my bluetooth audio device. However, when I connect headphones to my iPhone 7 using the lightning port dongle, I do not have the Headphones Connected status.

So, when they are connected physically, nothing, but when they are wireless, I'm told they are connected. No biggie, just a funny addition in 10.2

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Sunday, December 18, 2016

In reply to by DPinWI

Are you using a Bluetooth headset? Maybe that's why you see "headphones connected" in the status bar.

Submitted by dvdmth on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

Regarding the Samantha voice giving additional feedback from what is expected, I am not able to reproduce that issue. I would delete and reinstall the voice, and if the problem persists, restart the device.

Regarding the status icon for headphones connected, this icon is a more descriptive version of the Bluetooth connected icon. The icon replaces the Bluetooth icon, so it is intended to show Bluetooth headphones status, not wired headphones. It makes sense visually, since there is no need to show that headphones are connected when you can see the wire going into the headphone or lightning port. When using wireless headphones, the indicator is more useful since it would explain why there is no audio coming from the built-in speaker. For a blind user, who can already tell from the VoiceOver speech that headphones are in use, this change in the status bar does not really offer anything useful.