Apple Releases iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1; Bringing Many Fixes for VoiceOver and Braille Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 to the public. Our testing suggests that these releases resolve a number of the issues introduced for blind and low vision users with the initial releases of iOS and iPadOS 15.

Our experience is that the following accessibility bugs have been resolved or significantly addressed in iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1:

Additionally, these updates bring a change of behavior - VoiceOver no longer announces when a Focus mode is automatically enabled or disabled (for example at a scheduled time). This previously occurred even if you have speak notifications disabled and your device was asleep.

At the time of posting, we are aware of one new bug for braille users in these releases:

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 additional fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1.

iOS 15.1 Release Notes

SharePlay

  • SharePlay is a new way to share synchronized experiences in FaceTime with content from the Apple TV app, Apple Music, Fitness+, and other supported App Store apps
  • Shared controls give everyone the ability to pause, play, rewind or fast forward
  • Smart volume automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show or song when your friends speak
  • Apple TV supports the option to watch the shared video on your big screen while you continue the FaceTime call on iPhone
  • Screen sharing lets everyone on a FaceTime call look at photos, browse the web, or help each other out

Camera

  • ProRes video capture using iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Setting to turn off automatic camera switching when taking macro photos and videos on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple Wallet

  • COVID-19 vaccination card support allows you to add and present verifiable vaccination information from Apple Wallet

Translate

  • Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan) support in the Translate app and for system-wide translation

Home

  • New automation triggers based on the current reading of a HomeKit-enabled humidity, air quality, or light level sensor

Shortcuts

  • New pre-built actions let you overlay text on images or gifs, plus a new collection of games lets you pass the time with Siri

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Photos app may incorrectly report storage is full when importing photos and videos
  • Weather app may not show current temperature for My Location, and may display colors of animated backgrounds incorrectly
  • Audio playing from an app may pause when locking the screen
  • Wallet may unexpectedly quit when using VoiceOver with multiple passes
  • Available Wi-Fi networks may not be detected
  • Battery algorithms updated on iPhone 12 models to better estimate battery capacity over time

How to Update

iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 are available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, 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 and experiences of the new features and enhancements in these releases, so please let us know by posting a comment below. We will be particularly interested in hearing from those who believe it's now time to upgrade from iOS / iPadOS 14 and those who are still delaying upgrading.

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Comments

Submitted by Jeroen on Monday, November 8, 2021

While testing our app we discovered that on iOS 15.1 (iPhone 12Pro) with VoiceOver the last two buttons vertically stacked on the bottom of the screen could not be focused anymore when swiping right. However, you can touch them and they become focused, but you can't discover them by just swiping right.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, November 8, 2021

When you mute phone, Voiceover reads notification. Bug? Anyone is having this issue? Using 12 pro and iOS 15.1.

Submitted by DurDevil on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

I can also confirm the VO focus bug in the phone recent calls screen others have mentioned here, with focus jumping to earlier calls further down the screen resulting in incorrect calls being made. I’ve reported to Apple. Hopefully others have also and it gets addressed so no more awkward wrong calls!

Hi, I have two questions:

1. How do you swipe up with VO to open a quick note? Has anyone done this?

2. Just updated my iPad Air 4 to iPadOS 15.1. Has someone who still has an iPhone 8 updated their phone?

If I turn it off, will still get my notifications when on the lock screen. Just want them to not get VO to read them when on mute.

Submitted by Bhunneybun on Friday, November 12, 2021

Hi just updated to 15.1 on my iPad Air 3 this afternoon & now having trouble with the text size being limited in Books no matter what font I choose text maxes out to only about 1/2 the size it was this morning & now spoken content pauses at the beginning of every page which it didn’t use to do. I have to use spoken word because I can’t get text large enough to read easily bc of low vision. Was using 14.8. I tried putting Books in control centre, it says it’s 310% & won’t go larger.

Submitted by AbleTec on Friday, November 12, 2021

When I updated to 15.1 on my IPhone SE 2020, my VO voice changed. I had been using Siri 1, & it stated it was selected, but the voice that was speaking was definitively much more female sounding. I finally had to turn VO off and back on again in order to get my preferred voice back. Just a tip in case someone else has this problem. Aggravating!

Submitted by Justin Philips on Saturday, November 13, 2021

Currently, only Westminster has updated their app, and bell tower works; all the rest have no updates.