Apple Releases iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2; Bringing Many Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 to the public. In addition to bringing some new features - including some originally slated for the initial iOS 13 release - these releases bring fixes for a large number of the bugs that iOS 13.0 and iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 introduced for blind and low vision users.

One Change of Note

In iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2, Apple has made one change that may initially have you believe that something is broken.

The Context menu item has been removed from the VoiceOver rotor's Actions menu and replaced with a new gesture: a one-finger triple- tap. Our assumption is that this change has been made to address the problem where this item would be present in the Actions menu when on UI elements which didn't actually have a Context Menu. Regrettably, this change does make it harder to discover which UI elements do have Context menus - one must use a mix of experience, educated guesswork, and trial and error.

If you would prefer to have a different gesture to access the Context menu, you can change it by going to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Commands > Touch Gestures.

Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2:

If you encounter any additional fixes during your own use of iOS or iPadOS 13.2, please let us know by posting a comment below.

New Bugs for VoiceOver and Braille Users in iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2

Disappointingly, our testing suggests that iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 also introduce some new bugs for VoiceOver and braille users:

  • There are numerous places system-wide where the Misspelled Words item will be in the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu where this functionality is not available (examples include when viewing a web page in Safari and when reading an email in Mail). In some of these it is the default position of the VoiceOver rotor, which is a frustrating hit on the user experience - for example when opening a webpage in Safari and expecting to be able to immediately flick down to navigate by heading.
  • When editing text that contains line breaks using a braille display, the cursor which is represented by dots 7 and 8 will often disappear after a cursor routing button is pressed.
  • After one app has opened another (for example when double-tapping on a link in an email opens Safari), you may find that it is not possible to locate the Status Bar by touch. Our experience suggests that this is a device-specific issue, and most devices are not affected.
  • Previously, the Misspelled Words item was not available from the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu in Safari text fields. It is now present, but does not work. It also does not appear to work consistently when composing emails in the Mail app.

As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases. Accordingly, to help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 13.2 and iPadOS.

General Changes in iOS 13.2

New Emoji

iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 introduce 59 new emoji characters. According to MacRumors, these include:

Orangutan, sloth, otter, skunk, and flamingo are the new animals included in the update, while new food items include garlic, onion, waffle, falafel, butter, oyster, beverage box, maté, and ice cube.

New faces, gestures, and poses include yawning face, pinching hand, person kneeling, person standing, and new people holding hands options that are both gender and skin tone inclusive.

Also new are the 13 disability-themed emoji proposed by Apple last year. These include a guide dog, woman with white cane, man with white cane, and ear with hearing aid.

When using a multi-person emoji, there's a new skin tone picker that lets you select a different skin tone for each person. Our experience is that this works well with VoiceOver.

Announce Messages with Siri

You can now have Siri read out messages without having to unlock your iPhone when second-generation AirPods and H1-equipped Beats headphones are connected. Siri will avoid interrupting you and will listen after reading messages so you can reply without saying “Hey Siri”.

This can be turned on by going to Settings > Siri & Search and toggling on Announce Messages.

Other Changes

  • After upgrading to iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 there will be a splash screen that allows you to opt out of sharing Siri‌ and Dictation audio recordings with Apple. This can also be set in the iOS privacy settings.
  • There is a new option in the Siri & Search settings that allows iPhone and iPad users to delete their Siri and Dictation history from Apple's servers.
  • iOS 13.2 adds Deep Fusion support to the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
  • When using Haptic Touch or 3D Touch on a Home screen icon, the resulting menu now includes an option to delete the app.

How to update

iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 are available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina, or via iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier.

Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either locally or in 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 device is available on this Apple Support page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates. Do you like the new features and changes? Let us know by adding a comment below.

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Submitted by Reginald George on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

This choice is still available on the rotor settings but even if it’s selected it does not show up on the rotor rotor. I believe this is partly because it never has worked consistently but I am curious if they’re going to bring it back. If not they should probably remove it all together.
I believe that on the home screen and other places where actions are available on the road or that it should only give us that message if hints start enabled. The whole point of being able to turn off hints as to stop unnecessary messages like that. Also if there is a context menu they could put that under hints. all that being said I am extremely pleased. Has anyone experienced any bugs or fixed behavior when using a Bluetooth keyboard?

"Do not disturb" means notifications should not wake your phone, but I've always found that notifications can arrive and even speak when the phone is already unlocked. I would also expect notifications that arrive while my phone is locked to remain on the lock screen so I can see them when I next unlock my phone. It would be a considerable loss to me for this to change, because I could then permanently miss things.

The alarm, when set, will always go off even during DND. This is also true of Alexa and probably most if not all other devices like these. The theory, I'm sure, is that silencing a requested alarm is a dangerous thing to do.

I do grant that the repeating of the DND alert text when the alarm goes off would be annoying and could be considered a small bug. Then again, that very annoyance might just wake me up. :-)

My apologies if I misunderstood the original post, of course. Otherwise, hope this helps.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

it should dismiss in a few seconds, but now it stays there till yu clear it. it now even has the action roter to clear it. is apple going to spin this as a feature? i surely hope not.

Submitted by J.P. on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

That does sound like a bug. I’m curious, Are your banners set for temporary or persistent? A switch may help. For the moment anyways.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

It looks like I mispoke. The bug regarding VO mention the time at the end of any notification continues. I turn on my iPhone this morning and now when iPhone is on the lock screen, and get any type of notification, VO mentions the time at the end. I was so happy yesterday but now I am so sad. I need a drink.

The audio destination only applies when connected to Apple TV via airplay, possibly other airplay devices too but I've not tested.
I have a vague memory that one could change where VO came from when it came to bluetooth speakers but I think that's a hopeful memory.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hello all. Just updated this morning. So far so good on my end, but I noticed something interesting. This might not be a bug, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced. My iPhone spoke the word "hello" in Arabic, Spanish and Korean. I actually found this to be quite enjoyable as I took Spanish in school.

Submitted by Lukas on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

This has been happening ever since I first got my iPhone 4S with iOS 5 back in 2012. Before the phone is first activated as new, or re-set up after a big update, this always occurs at the initial screen. The greeting also changes languages visually, so it's only appropriate that the VoiceOver voice follows suit dynamically, as it happens. I actually find it a rather cool nice little touch.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

quote Are your banners set for temporary or persistent? unquote

temporary, but it happens only i'm using certain apps, so i think i'll let it slide unless it gets worse.

really don't like the new share sheet, it shows all recent contacts on top and can't be turned off, which genius's idea is that?

the feature i wanted most is the "watch" feature, sort of like the hotspot feature on mac, but the current implementation is very poor. when you watch an area, vo need to focus and stay at the spot for it to work, it's not like you can set up a spot to watch, go somewhere and be prompted when the spot changes. this limits its usefulness, in fact, it's not very useful in its current form.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Just sent an email to Apple Insider. Got a respond from Victor. He asked about where we discus issues related to bugs and anything related to Apple. I encourage him to check applevis. Maybe he would do so and learn about the issues we have and talk about it on his podcast.

Submitted by Gar on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Actually, I quite like that little addition to the share sheet. Since I share things frequently (webpages, app links and other things), and I mostly share them with the same people, it's a huge time saver. Give it some time, it might grow on you.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Names at the top of the share sheet have been there since iOS 13 came out, or so I believe. Yes, it is a bit dumb as I hardly use messages any more preferring to use WhatsApp. Wish you hadn't pointed it out... Now I'm annoyed... Ha.

Replying to Brandon Armstrong:
Yes I have also had that issue since updating last night. I press the side button for Siri and VO says "possible text or what can I help you with?" Alittle annoying.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I know this is not the place but I had not seen anything yet about OS 6.1 Good news for those of us who use Series watch. Siri voice works well on OS 6.1 Go to setting, accessibility, and voiceover. Make sure she is on. If you turn her off, (she might get mad of you), You will hear Samantha. This is nice. She sound good.

If you do so, you will not get notification on the lock screen. I tried it in the past because I got tire of hearing the time of the en of any notification on the lock screen. Sad that the bug came back. I am getting pist having to hear the time at the end of any notification when iPhone is lock.

Submitted by Francisco crespo on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

If I receive a notification but don't open or clear it up, Voiceover will announce it agajn when I press the side button to lock the screen. At least it doesn't read the content and limits to say notification. This is a very annoying bug. Can someone else reproduce».

Yes, I am definitely experiencing this one. I seem to recall it happening on occasion prior to ios 13, but no matter when it started happening, it would be awesome if Apple could fix it. I've also had trouble when dictating of notification sounds playing. I thought that in the past, these sounds would be muted, or at least very quiet, but this is no longer the case.

Submitted by Jeff on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The time being announced after a notification is read on the lock screen is a result of focus returning to the time rather than staying focused on the notification itself. I suspect this is intentional on Apple's part, although I prefer the focus to remain on the notification so it's easier to clear. With focus returning to the time, one must flick back down to the notification in order to clear it. However, I doubt this is a bug. I suggest making it a feature request to return to the behavior prior to iOS 13.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but the answer with the share sheet thing is to learn to touch the screen below that messages section when the share sheet comes up, rather than swiping through them all. Yes, learning to do this takes time, but it ends up being a lot more efficient once you get used to it.

The fact that I can reorder the share sheet and add favourites to it more than makes up for this for me.

Submitted by Aidan JK on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I was another who lost the enhanced voices and got switched to the US default voice although UK English is my default. Took a lot of fiddling about but eventually got things working as they should again.
Sadly triple clicking shift for capslock remains broken for me too which is annoying.
Thanks for another great article :)

If you haven't found it yet, an alternative for going into capslock is to swipe on the shift key. At least in touch typing mode, touching the shift key again should get you out of it, or if not, a double tap.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

quote the answer with the share sheet thing is to learn to touch the screen below that messages section when the share sheet comes up, rather than swiping through them all. unquote

you talking about me? well, i rarely swipe, and the new sheet is a very bad design.

first, one could order things with the old sheet, that's the new favorite section. but now the favorite section becomes one item per line, so if you have a long list, you'll need to scroll to next page and maybe more, how is this more efficient? and you still have some of the commonly used items arranged horizontally, why?

if the favorite section is so advanced, then one should be able to move contacts to the bottom or just hide it. you arrange your most favorites on top, and if you don't want to use recent contacts, why should they be on top?

but just like apple, sometimes they just change the interface around for change's sake.

Submitted by Carter Wu on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Hello all,
I found that when I received a notification message with a banner,sometimes I lose the focus of the app I was operated.Usually to solve this problem I need to close the voiceover and restart it.Have you encountered such a problem?

Submitted by Sarah on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I found the guide dog emoji. I was hoping it would be a person with a guide dog but alas I am still happy that it is there I hope someday they can make it so you can make the lab black or yellow I found the wheelchair emojis and I found the death emoji‘s I found some kind of emoji‘s of a person with a broken cane where are the emojis of the people with the white canes? I cannot seem to find them. I think it is cool that they have these though I’ve been waiting a while for them it is really cool to see new emojis and find out what they come up with it is really fun to see new emojis and see what kinds of things they come up with it’s always crazy to see new things they can come up with anything and make an emoji out of it sometimes it’s cool like this and sometimes it’s so funny that it’s ridiculous. But anyway I guess I am just trying to figure out where the cane white cane accessibility emojis on any help is appreciated. :-)

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

hi all, for the person who had the issue with voiceover talking when you get notifications and you lock your screen, i can confirm this does happen.

Submitted by Lee on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Hi All,

Ok this probably relates to other findings. But I've come across a very disturbing issue. If the phone is unlocked and I get a notification VO keeps reading it back every few seconds and focus is taken to it. This goes on for minutes and you have to clear it to stop it happening. Problem is it takes away from the app so is a nightmare. It may be app specific as I was using audible at the time. Once a new notification comes in then that one becomes the focus. So it seems to be the last one you get. I tried a hard reset and at first this seemed to work. Then, it came back. Very annoying. iOS13.2 iPhone 8.

Submitted by Scott Field on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I updated from IOS12 to 13.2 yesterday. I love the new swipe to type keyboard. I found a bug with it though in that if both VO and zoom is enabled the keyboard doesn't enter any text, it speaks it out loud as if it is working, but nothing goes into the text field.
Such a pity, this is almost as fast for me as FlickType and once working correctly will be great.

Submitted by Rob on Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Apologies if this has already been mentioned but I haven't come across it yet. When you wake your device up, the time is now spoken consistently. In earlier versions of iOS 13, when you woke up the device, the time wasn't always spoken, you just heard the Voiceover clicks.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I was using Siri male as my default voiceover and was doing well. Today when I restart my iPhone XS, he is no longer there. I check under accessibility, voiceover, speech and selected siri male yet siri female is default. This is with unlucky 13,2

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I wasn’t experiencing this before, but I now have VO speaking when invoking Siri. Super annoying!!
Hey Sarah,
With blind emoji I typed blind man and got a blind man with probing cane emoji in predictions.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I had this issue for a long time in unlucky iOS 13.1

Submitted by Troy on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Not sure if this is a bug or just a coincidence but after updating to 13.2 my notifications on my ring app stopped working, reinstalling the ring app fixed this.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I've had this issue since 13.1 also. But it's been unpredictable. Sometimes it'll do it, & other times it won't. It might be a hard bug 4 them 2 fix if it's like this because it's not persistent. Not saying it can't/won't be fixed, just saying it might be a more tricky 1 to squash.

Overall, I've had good experiences so far with 13.2 in general. Had a bit of an issue with using Spotify with Siri. Buj I just went in, turned the setting off then on again & all was well.
Haven't tested 2 see if the dock issue is resolved, but I've had this annoying & odd issue since 13.1. I also had issues with Braigo crashing while trying 2 upload images to it. Haven't tested it again either 2 see if it's been fixed, because I''ve been using Seeing Ai. & I'm really loving it. I'd used it before but in a very limited capacity. But now, I'm uiing it, and falling more in love with it every day. But I do plan 2 test the dock issue @ some point. Hope no one else had this issue with 13.1 & it's predecesors. Because I installed it, and it didn't happen right away. Ij happened a week or 2 after.
Then I called Accessibility, did screen sharing, duplicated the bug 4 the tech guy, got videos taken of it & sent out. Even they agreed it's an odd 1.

I subscribe to a lot of podcasts and when you double tapped the expand the mini player there was a track position where you could swipe up or down to go quickly through the podcast or go back if you'd missed something. The rewind buttons are still there but the track position was really useful as if I didn't want to listen to a podcast I could swipe through it quickly and dismiss the screenand go on to the next one and know that one would be deleted, I don't download them, I play them from the cloud, has anyone else noticed this?

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In reply to by Gar

There you go. Just for you. It is my view and please if you do not care for it, do not read it and skipt. I do not mind if you. I like apple and use iPhone since the 4. I do like the product but I am not going to stop saying how this iOS is affecting my iPhone.

Submitted by Gar on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

I'm not telling you to stop talking about it. I'm simply asking, politely, that you not refer to iOS 13 by that particular nickname. As you said, it's impacting your iPhone in a negative way. That is not ideal. However, I'm certain you are perfectly capable of discussing iOS 13 without referring to that unpleasant nickname.

Submitted by Gar on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Also, such a nickname doesn't really do anyone any favours, nor is it constructive.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In reply to by Gar

I am not going to change, I am also saying it nicely.We are not going to agree. Unless the applevis people tell me that I maybe consider it. Still US and not China or Russia.

Submitted by Doug on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Related to the mail bug: When I move through a list of messages and hear enough of the content that I have no needto even open said message, after deleting I get sent to the back button rather than as formerly to land on the next message. It really is a pest!

For me is on the locck screen. Now I use hey siri. I no longer enjoy using my iPhone. Start to give me a headache. When iOS 14 is coming out?

Submitted by Fenrir on Thursday, October 31, 2019

I have a 6s and, while playing audio content (apple music, podcasts, whatever), if I lock the screen it will unlock right away and VO will announce the time constantly. It is so annoying!

I am having this issue as well. When playing any audio the screen locks and unlocks on an infinite loop until you stop the audio. It is the single biggest bug I have encountered in my experience and it is driving me mad! I'm using an iPhone SE. Anyone else having this problem. Only happened on Ios 13.2.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Thursday, October 31, 2019

hi all, i've had an issue with 13.2 where when say for example your browsing bye headings with sites like this one applevis, you can go to the first heading, but if you flick passed it you can't proseed to the next heading. has anyone else had this issue? the only way i've found to be able to proseed when this happens is going back to the top of the page then flicking down.

Submitted by Troy on Thursday, October 31, 2019

I just found a bug, I was watching youtube and had just started playing a video, a call happened to come in at the same time the video started, when I answered the call the video did not pause causing the audio to continue to play in the ear peace while I was on the call. Not sure if this is a youtube thing or an apple thing so not sure who to notify about this one.