Apple Releases iOS 10.3; Bringing a Number of VoiceOver Fixes, but also Introducing at Least One New Bug of Note

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 10.3 to the public.

At the time of posting, release notes are not yet available; however, this release brings a number of new features to iOS in addition to the usual mix of under-the-hood improvements and fixes.

For blind and low vision users, our testing indicates that Apple has made some progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs present in iOS 10.2.1.

As we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. Consequently, it is entirely possible 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 10.3 that are not already listed here, please do let us know in the comments below.

Accessibility-Related Fixes in iOS 10.3

  • When opening a message in the native Mail app on iPhone, VoiceOver focus is once again placed into the body of the message. (Note: Based on our testing, this does not appear to be the case on iPad.)
  • It is once again possible to move an app out of a folder using the VoiceOver rotor. When moving an app out of a folder, VoiceOver users will find a new Rotor option to close the folder. Once activated, focus is moved out of the folder and the user can then navigate to wherever they wish to place the app.
  • The Space bar on the onscreen keyboard can again be reliably and consistently located by touch.
  • Navigating by Heading in the native News app is now more consistent and reliable.
  • VoiceOver no longer announces “incoming call” when making a call with the native Phone app.
  • VoiceOver now provides feedback when dragging an app from a folder on the Home screen.

New Accessibility-Related Bugs Introduced in iOS 10.3

  • Behavior of Shortcut Menus triggered on app icons by 3D Touch is unreliable. Things appear to work as expected if, after triggering the 3D Touch menu, you keep your finger pressed to the screen and drag to locate a menu item by touch or perform a very distinct swipe gesture to move VoiceOver focus. However, anything else (such as lifting your finger and then trying to locate a menu item by touch) may result in one of the menu items being triggered with no input from you.

Some Other changes of Note in iOS 10.3

Help With Finding Mislaid AirPods

Find My AirPods is a new option available in the "Find My iPhone" app. It keeps track of the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device over Bluetooth, making a mislaid AirPod easier to find. It also allows you to play a sound to locate a lost AirPod. .

Some Changes to App Store Reviews

According to MacRumors, iOS 10.3 will introduce a number of changes to App Store reviews.

App developers will be able to respond to reviews; and users will be able to label reviews as "Helpful" or "Not Helpful".

The number of times that an app can prompt users to submit a review will now be limited; and there will be a new setting option that lets you turn off app review request completely. The process of submitting a review when prompted by an app is also reported to be more streamlined, and should now be able to be completed without leaving the app in question.

iOS Gets a New File System

When installing iOS 10.3, the device’s file system will be updated to use Apple File System (APFS). Announced last year at WWDC, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption, space sharing, copy-on write metadata, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, and more.

This article from iMore provides information on APFS and what it will mean for you.

It has been reported by AppleInsider that the conversion to APFS is making the upgrade to 10.3 take longer for some than is typical for an iOS release.

And a Few More Changes

  • Settings covering Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store are now grouped together in a new section in the Settings app.
  • The Settings app now provides a list of your installed apps which Apple say may slow down your iPhone and will not work with future versions of iOS if they are not updated by the developer. This is located at Settings>General>About>Applications.
  • SiriKit has been updated with new features that will let Siri be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments, and schedule future rides from services like Uber.
  • You can now use 3D Touch on the weather icon in the native Maps app to see weather-related details for your current location.
  • The "Diagnostics and Usage" option in the Privacy section of the Settings app has been renamed to "Analytics". It continues to allow you to decide whether or not to send usage information to Apple to help the company improve its services. There's also a new "Share iCloud Analytics" option.

How to Update to iOS 10.3

iOS 10.3 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings>General>Software Update) or via iTunes on your Mac or PC. As always, we recommend making a backup of your device before installing any software update.

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Submitted by JeffB on Monday, March 27, 2017

The bug still exists on my iPod touch when trying to jump to lettered headings in my music app. When sorted by artists I can't go down past A. When going from the bottom up and it gets to T it then jumps all the way back up to A. I have like 200 some artists and it's a lot to get to a certain one. I was really hoping this was fixed. I will be contacting Apple about this.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, March 27, 2017

When I go to news open article and read and come out voiceover still says unread. This bug still there in iOS 10.3. So much for fixing the problem.

Submitted by Darren12 on Monday, March 27, 2017

Holger Fiallo, I know. I've told them twice now. It is a small issue of course, but by the same token, damned irritating, because it is unnecessary and worked fine before. Wouldn't like to estimate when a fix will be forthcoming, and frankly, I've told them twice, can't really b bothered to email for a third time, I've a life and a job. Such a small issue, such a simple fix, they've improved news in other aspects by adding a helpful hint when you save an article and fixing the headings issue, you'd think this would be a doozy.
I'd encourage all of you to continue emailing of course, and maybe they'll get around to it in a couple of years.

Submitted by Paul Martin on Monday, March 27, 2017

i've not seen it mentioned anywhere yet, but the mBraille system keyboard will actually fail to load after a couple seconds of showing a blank area when trying to switch to it in this fancy new update. This ihas been the case for the past 3 or 4 beta builds. i of course sent an email, and Hari's rejoinder to this was a hope that apple would get this straightened out.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

So do I. I work full time as social worker but I making the time to report this problem with news. Maybe if someone can send T Cook email to look into the bugs in VO he will get them to focus more on them.

Submitted by Kelsey Nicolay on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Has anyone noticed any change in connectivity speed of the Brailliant family of braille displays? On Ios 10.2.1, my Brailliant is very slow to connect to my ipad and I was wondering if this has been improved in 10.3.

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I just use BSI on my iPhone. Much easier than using Mbraille/other braille apps and it does what I need it to do.

Submitted by dvdmth on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Club AppleVis Member

Copied from the iOS software update screen:

Find My iPhone
View the current or last known location of your AirPods
Play a sound on one or both AirPods to help you find them
Support for paying and checking status of bills with payment apps
Support for scheduling with ride booking apps
Support for checking car fuel level, lock status, turning on lights and activating horn with automaker apps
Cricket sports scores and statistics for Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council
Shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to last used apps
Apple Music Now Playing screen gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album
Daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music
Other improvements and fixes
Rent once and watch your iTunes movies across your devices
New Settings unified view for your Apple ID account information, settings and devices
Hourly weather in Maps using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature
Support for searching “parked car" in Maps
Calendar adds the ability to delete an unwanted invite and report it as junk
Home app support to trigger scenes using accessories with switches and buttons
Home app support for accessory battery level status
Podcasts support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows
Podcast shows or episodes are shareable to Messages with full playback support
Fixes an issue that could prevent Maps from displaying your current location after resetting Location & Privacy
VoiceOver stability improvements for Phone, Safari and Mail

Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Related to the unread bug, is an issue that was drawn to my attention a while back by someone commenting on 10.2.1. Basically experiencing crashing when reading stories, I've had this myself, but only in certain publications, it is actually very frustrating when it happens continually, I'm assuming it is because of advertising or other content that VO has trouble navigating over when reading. This I will definitely report again, and I do wonder if this has been fixed with the other improvements in news this release. Regarding reporting bugs to Apple, of course do this, it is just we should not have to report issues consecutively without action. 10.3 had many, many betas.

Submitted by Mattie SV on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hello all!

I fix the 3D Touch bug by going into accessibility 3D Touch settings and turning it off then I did a hard reset and after my phone re-booted back up I turn 3D Touch back on. That's all it took! I hope it works for you all!!!

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hi! Regarding for a free D touch that wase writen in this blog post, i wasen't incounter this with my iPhone Works fine to me.

Submitted by Mattie SV on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

In reply to by Lielle ben simon

Thank you so much for your feedback! I have an iPhone 6s and when I first downloaded iOS 10.3 it was doing that weird 3D Touch thing but the fix I talked about earlier work for me I did contact Apple and the representative was able to reproduce it hopefully they will help those who are affected thank you so much!!!

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wow, reading the comments it's sounding like this update isn't so great for some folks but it's working beautifully for me. In fact, i'm finding that on my iPhone 7, VoiceOver is even more snappy than in 10.2.1. I can swipe through apps very quickly and there's no lag or delay, even with Bluetooth headphones connected. I also like the idea of having the settings for your Apple ID, right there in the settings screen. It actually makes a lot more sense to put them in there. I'm sorry some folks are experiencing the issues they are for sure, it's always rough when things don't work as you expect them to. For me, however, this 10.3 upgrade is working great! I'm also liking the close folder option when moving apps around. I tried it last night and it worked perfectly.

Submitted by forereel on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For whatever reason, when I'm sent the 6 digit code, I can't read it. I can only find a couple of the digits, or whatever. Anyone have an idea why? I turned it off for now, but if I could read the code, I'd use it.

Submitted by DPinWI on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I am struggling with the 3D Touch bug on my iPhone 7. After finally making it a habit, now i am having to break it. Ha. I will try the work around suggested, and after letting Apple know I am having the issue, wait impatiently for the fix.

Submitted by MsHollyWeezy on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I'm trying to update my iPhone and it askeds me to enter my pass code. I do that and after I do that my phone freezes and I'm not sure what is happening. When I swipe it makes that noise like I'm at the end of a page.

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I am running iOS 10.3 on a 128GB iPhone 6S Plus. I am using AirPods and a Logitech Keys-To-Go BlueTooth keyboard.

Because I had heard that VoiceOver and 3D Touch might not work well together in iOS 10.3, before updating from 10.2.1, I turned off 3D touch from the Accessibility settings. I did the upgrade and then turned 3D Touch back on. At first, I thought 3D Touch was working, but my opinion quickly shifted.

Until I used 3D Touch, the phone acted normally. Once I used 3D Touch on the Music app, I started seeing odd behaviors. Here are two of the erratic and hard to predict hiccups.

* My BlueTooth keyboard shortcuts quit working dependably. For example, the keyboard Home button would not always function, and the Control-UpArrow and Control-DownArrow often yielded unpredictable results.

* The Music 3D Touch menu would occasionally just appear without having beeen summoned by a force touch and I was stuck in the menu from my BlueTooth keyboard.

I have now turned off 3D Touch, and performed a hard reset by holding down the Home and Power keys for ten seconds and then rebooting. Things are currently acting as I would hope and expect, but without the utility of 3D Touch. I look forward to a fix. I am a fan of 3D touch.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I was hoping that Apple would add a feature in iOS 10.3 that would allow all iPhones to vibrate the time. This would be similar to the taptic time in watchOS 3. Maybe it will be possible in the next update.

Submitted by DPinWI on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

This could be a coincidence, but, my step counting was working fine until this morning. I installed the new update last night. I'll do some digging.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

In reply to by MsHollyWeezy

Restarting your iPhone should fix the problem. Also try doing a hard reset. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Looks like i'm the only one whose liking this update, but hey. I've been in the minority thousands of times before, and it's a place I know very well.

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In reply to by forereel

Hi! Regarding to your problem, wen you find the code that you have enter, do fllick down with one finger and VoiceOver does focus in the numbers. You can do flick left or right inorder to read the code. I hope that it will help to you. it does accessibility problem.

Submitted by Rafal on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I find this update quite nice though some of the BSI characters for Polish language have not been corrected. After this update, VO speaks correctly names of Apple products and services and there is no need to put suggestions in the pronunciation section.

Submitted by Darren12 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Your not in the minority, Toonhead. It is a good update on balance, especially some of the security fixes, which are very important, and the other additions. I merely wish that they would address the news issue I've taken the time to report on 2 separate occasions.

Submitted by forereel on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In reply to by MsHollyWeezy

Turn it completely off then on. Now do the update, but make sure you are connected to a power source, or have plenty battery. Over 50%. Once you hear the enter your pass code , do so, but then wait and allow the phone to work. You can also turn off your pass code for a bit until you get the update done.
Maybe these suggestions will help.

Submitted by forereel on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In reply to by Lielle ben simon

Okay. Thank you. I'll try that.
I'm one that so far has no other issues with the update accept this, and I don't have to have the two step on. My 3D is working fine. Pinch myself, just in case. Laughing.

Submitted by MsHollyWeezy on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hi. Just came on to say. My problem is fixed. And so far I'm liking the update. Haven't seen the problem with 3d touch that was mentioned yet. And I use it all the time.

Submitted by DPinWI on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

After looking all over the net, I could find no one else with my step counting issues. I decided to try toggling motion tracking off, then on again, but I read that if I switch off motion tracking, I would lose all my historical data. I decided that losing yesterday's data was worth having data today. I toggled it off, then on. My phone started recording steps, and I did not lose any previous data.

The 3D touch issue is still happening, most of the time. Sometimes it works fine, and sometimes it is a crap shoot what will happen.

Now with the step count working, I am much happier with 10.3, though I wasn't really upset given that I know my issues would be fixed in time.

I am liking the simple fix to the landing spot in the mail app.

Submitted by Anna Beige on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I was really surprised, after updating to 10.3, that my issues with Safari have been fixed. With the initial release of iOS 10, Headings in Safari would be... stuck together, for lack of a better way to phrase it. You couldn't tell which link was which sometimes, unless you counted, or something like that. But in iOS 10.3, it's fixed. I'm not having any Safari issues at all now.
They also fixed the "find" problem, too. If you would do the find command in, say, the Kindle app, it hadn't worked correctly since... I don't remember the exact number, but sometime in iOS 9. It's fixed, now, and works as it should.
Overall, I'm very happy with this update.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017


I haven't updated yet to 10.3, but I have a couple questions.

1. I heard the knew filing system APFS. doesn't handle compression. I use the Bard Mobile App & was wondering if I needed to be concerned about not being able to read those magazines & books since they are compressed?
I'm sure that I probably don't have anything to worry about, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

2. Does anyone know if the dictation bug where VO. would say the instructions for dictation while in dictation mode was fixed?
Only reason I know it's a bug is because I called accessibility support & explained it & the guy said `It's an issue we're aware of & are currently working on.` & that was when 10.2 was out.
Thanks in advance.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I have my message setup to one time only but when I get aiMessage, , VO repeats it several times.Is this an bug or I am not doing something well. I did go to my notificationcheck that I have notice for message one time.

Submitted by Rodey on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Has anyone heard any update on re-springboard? This is the feature that reloads the home screen when you clicked the power button rapidly. I have seen discussion that this was removed because it conflicted with another feature. We still need the feature though, so I wonder if there are any thoughts on a different gesture?
In regard to the news app, I too would like to see this fixed. It is a relatively minor issue however, so I suspect it is pretty low on the priority list. Feedback is the only way for us to impact the priority, so if the feature is worth it to you, make the report. Being silently frustrated helps no one.

I have not experienced MBraille failing to load at all since I've installed the iOS 10.3 update. I was going to post this message a couple of days ago, but decided to wait and test it out for a few days, and it has loaded for me every single time I've pulled it up as a system keyboard in the messages app, and in the notes app. What phone are you using?

Submitted by Paul Martin on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sorry I forgot to mention earlier. Suppose I could have easily edited the thing, but… This is happening on both an iPad pro and a 7plus: When I try to use it as a system keyboard, the screen will go blank for a few seconds, then show a really dumb looking version of the default iOS keyboard. By that I mean that predictions will not be shown, autocorrect will not work, and a couple other things. Note this started happening immediately after I updated to the version of mBraille put out on the store a few weeks ago, which fixed some language issues.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bard mobile works fine with 10.3. if that's the only thing holding you back, don't worry, it's great.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thanks Toonhead! It just had me a bit worried since those books/magazines are .zip files & the new system doesn't support compression. Phew!

Submitted by dvdmth on Friday, March 31, 2017

Club AppleVis Member

When they say that APFS does not support compression, they are talking about automatic compression of files behind the scenes, invisible to the user, as a means to save storage space. This is completely different from having files that contain compressed data, which most media files are. The previous file system, HFS+, also did not have built-in compression to my knowledge, so nothing is lost. It's just a feature other modern file systems like ZFS support, but APFS does not, and it's possible compression may be added to APFS in the future.

Submitted by Mike Bullis on Friday, March 31, 2017

Intermittently, when you go to your message list and swipe, it jumps to the third message, skipping the first two. This was a problem in the previous version as well. Only happens occasionally.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Friday, March 31, 2017

Thanks for the clarification. I thought it would effect things like BARD. If so, I really did not want to update. Couldn't tell if it was something I needed to be concerned about or not. Thanks again.

That's not happening at all on my standard iPhone 7. I suppose the likelihood is that it might be a screen size issue for whatever reason. Maybe report that to the developer of MBraille, and he might be able to come up with some kind of fix for it.

Submitted by Vsevolod Popov on Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hi. I have noticed that accessibility of music app is broken. When i want to watch songs in apple music playlist or album voiceover is stuck and i can't do anything! I am using an iPhone5S. Does anybody know how to fix this issue?

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Saturday, April 1, 2017

Try restarting your iPhone. You can also try closing the music app and opening it again. Also, try restarting voiceover. Hope this helps. You can also send a report to

Submitted by Orko on Thursday, April 13, 2017

I never really bother rating apps, so it would be nice to take advantage of the ability to disable being asked to rate apps entirely, but I can't find where the option is. Does anybody know? Thanks!

Submitted by Orko on Sunday, April 16, 2017

It turns out that the option to disable the rating and review pop ups was in the 10.3 beta, but was removed in the final version.

I suspect that Apple found the option very unpopular with app developers.

Too bad, those pop ups are very annoying!

Submitted by Mandy Palmer on Thursday, April 20, 2017

I tried to change the voice I use, I was using Daniel enhanced but wanted to change it to the English male serie but I double tapped and male serie was selected to speech but Daniel is still there, can't get rid of him and the voice won't change, any one else had the problem and is there a fix? Or am I doing something wrong?

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, April 20, 2017

You'll need to select the voice you want, for instance select the siri male enhanced voice, then either plug your phone in, or turn on your external battery case to initiate charging. Remember to keep your device charging. Also, you'll need to have the phone connected to wifi in order for the voice/voices to download.

Submitted by Paul Martin on Friday, April 21, 2017

The inability to change your selected voice might be a result of the language rotor. You might try to delete all the other languages which may be listed below the voice and pronunciation sections. Should this not be desired, another alternative is to turn the invisible rotor until you find the language option. You're Siri male voice maybe selectable with a flick up or down in that menu.