Apple has today released iOS 12.2 to the public, following its event that saw the launches of new video, news, and gaming services, and a new Apple credit card.
In addition to some new features and enhancements, iOS 12.2 brings one fix for braille users.
When placing a Real-Time Text (RTT) call, the display will automatically refresh to show text typed by the other party. Previous to this release, braille users had to scroll back and forth to get any new text typed by the other party to show up. This now works as expected, and scrolling back and forth between the text area and other parts of the screen to get newly-added text is no longer necessary.
Disappointingly, we do not believe the problem with VoiceOver focus in apps such as Safari and News that many have been experiencing in recent iOS releases has been completely resolved in iOS 12.2. Our own experience has been mixed, so our expectation is that some users will find this behavior to be improved, whilst for others it will be as prevalent as before.
Also of great disappointment is that many of the bugs for braille users still remain unresolved. Some of these bugs, such aslack of braille output support of VoiceOver’s auto-detected text feature and issues with erroneous text insertion after using cursor routing buttons in the Messages app are bugs that have been around since iOS 11; to see these bugs still active near what has historically been the end of the current iOS release life-cycle is incredibly frustrating and disheartening.
In addition to the braille bugs, other issues still remain unresolved for all VoiceOver users. As of iOS 12.2, we have documented seven moderate bugs and four minor bugs which remain to be fixed. It is our sincere hope that blind and low vision users will not have to wait for this fall's iOS release to see fixes for these out-standing bugs, especially as issues such as the focus problems in Safari are a significant degradation of the user experience that - were they to affect non-VoiceOver users - would be fixed in very short order.
There is, however, one new feature for VoiceOver users: a new option called ‘Accessibility Events’ located at Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Web. This option is enabled by default, with Apple saying that Accessibility Events:
... allow websites to customize their behaviour for assistive technologies, like VoiceOver. Enabling Accessibility Events may reveal whether an assistive technology is active on your iPhone.
We're currently unaware of any websites which take advantage of this facility, so do please let us know in the comments if you know more about this feature and any websites where it can be seen in action.
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any new regressions for blind or low vision users in iOS 12.2. However, 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 12.2.
Some General Changes in iOS 12.2
- iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada, where news stories will be available to read in English, French, or both.
- There are four new Animoji included in iOS 12.2 - a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl.
- In Screen Time, you can now set Downtime options on a day by day basis.
- HomeKit gains initial support for AirPlay for compatible televisions.
- AirPlay destinations are now grouped by content type, which makes it faster to find a destination device.
- Apple has improved the quality of the audio messages sent in the Messages app - it has reportedly switched to using a new Opus codec at 24000 Hz, up from the previously used AMR codec at 8000 Hz.
- There's a new “Motion & Orientation” option located under Settings > Safari > Privacy >Security, which controls whether websites can display content that relies on motion data from your device's accelerometer and gyroscope. This option is disabled by default.
- Warnings now appear in Safari when loading unencrypted webpages.
- The information available at Settings > General > About has been rearranged to be grouped more logically. There is also a new item here which allows you to check the warranty status of your device.
- There have been some minor tweaks to the Wallet app - when viewing a stored card, the “Info” button has been relocated to the top of the screen, , and there's now a "“Done”" button instead of double tapping “Other Cards” at the bottom of the screen. The number of recent transactions displayed in the Wallet app has also increased.
- Adds support for new 2nd-generation AirPods.
iOS 12.2 also adds support for Apple's News and Magazines subscription service, which was launched by Apple for US and Canadian users today at its service-focused event.
How to Update to iOS 12.2
iOS 12.2 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.
Let us know your thoughts and experiences of this release by posting a comment below.