Apple Releases iOS 8.1.1 with Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

iOS 8.1.1 is now available for download, and - just as with iOS 8.1 - it includes a number of bug fixes for blind and low vision users.

Here are the changes that we have found in our initial testing. Please do let us know in the comments of any further fixes or new bugs that you find in this release.

  1. The screen now correctly scrolls to follow the movement of VoiceOver focus. This has been a significant problem since the initial release of iOS 8, and means that VoiceOver users no longer have to resort to 3-finger swiping and locating by touch to do simple things such as opening email attachments or making purchases from the Amazon Mobile app.
  2. Siri now functions correctly when used with VoiceOver, and all commands/responses appear to be spoken fully.
  3. VoiceOver now consistently announces when a new push notification is received, even when the device is locked.
  4. VoiceOver now automatically reads the Caller ID for incoming phone calls.
  5. If your iPhone is muted, VoiceOver once again provides feedback when you touch or swipe the screen when there is an incoming call.
  6. It appears as though some work has been done to prevent the screen from auto-locking while VoiceOver is speaking.
  7. VoiceOver appears to perform better when navigating the “Details” screen of message threads that contain attachments.

Apple’s Accessibility Team is now making some significant headway into fixing the accessibility-specific bugs that were introduced in the initial release of iOS 8. However, many bugs are still present - from the petty to the not so petty - so it is important that we continue to let Apple know of any problems that we encounter and provide them with as much information as possible to help them with isolating and correcting the cause of the problem. As always, emailing the Accessibility Team at is the best way to report accessibility-specific bugs.



Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When ending calls, I just double tap after making sure the screen isn't locked. Never had any problems. Running a 5S with iOS 8.1.1.

Submitted by 780KixxFan on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanks to everyone for putting this up here. Thanks as always to Applevis for doing such thorough work. I am still an iOS 8 holdout until I hear people say that the Safari issues have been solved, as I deem them too inconvenient, but I am glad all the other serious bugs that kept me from upgrading have been resolved. iOS 8.1.2 I'll likely be on board.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I've been playing around with moving icons, and can definitely reproduce one issue. It is impossible to move the last icon on a page. As a workaround, move some other icon so that it is the last one, then the icon you want to move will be second to last, and you'll be able to move it. Pain in the butt.

There appears to be a new bug in 8.1.1 regarding notifications. Under VoiceOver settings, if I have "Always Speak Notifications" turned off, then I expect VoiceOver will tell me when a text message arrives, but not read it to me. It worked that way up until 8.1.1. Now VoiceOver reads the text message to me regardless of how this setting switch is set.

Someone above suggested we continue to file bug reports with Apple, and indeed I will do so. However, I reject the notion that Apple can't know about bugs unless we report them. Apple is the largest company on the planet by market cap. I refuse to believe that they are unable to test their own products.

Submitted by Aidan JK on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For me on a 5C, I still don't get caller ID at all, and one occasion after a reset I got the number, rather than contact name read to me. whilst the phone is ringing, and the screen is locked, it is also not possible to swipe up with two fingers, I can only find the information by swiping left through the elements on the screen. I also find hitting the back button in Safari causes it to crash, almost all of the time. It seems a shame that, These bugs have not been addressed in the latest update, but I still have every faith in Apple.

Submitted by Jesus R on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I don't think I said this in my other comment, but for me on the iPhone 5, it was the last row of icons that couldn't be moved. 17 through 20 in portrit mode. Not just the last icon as one form poster said.
Thanks all.

Submitted by Bandit on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In reply to by Usman

I went right from iOS7.1.2 to 8.1.1, so I'm not sure if this issue was around in 8.0 and 8.1...But this issue when scrolling up and down with 3 fingers is a major pain in the ass.
I use twitterrific with that gesture frequently when trying to catch up on hundreds of tweets...Having the control center/notification center coming up every time I do that is rediculus.
I'm glad a lot of other issues I have read about are fixed in this release though.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I have also come across the disappearing keyboards issue. I really don't think this is a feature… Definitely a bug. I know the keyboard is supposed to be there… That's obvious… But just can't find for Internet browsing, I mainly use atomic web, not Safari, and I haven't really found any problems with's definitely worth sacrificing for the jailbreak.

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hmm, thats weird that the control center pops up. I know that when you swipe down with the status line in focus the n the center pops up by default since iOS 7.0. Very interesting. I've never had the three finger swipe pull up the control center unless i am on the status line at the top of the screen.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is anyone else finding that they are losing speech after dictating a message? this seems to be happening more consistently after updating.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Thursday, November 20, 2014

"the bug that is being reported regarding safari becoming inoperable while going back a page also exists on the Mac. this leads me to believe that this is a bigger issue."

previously, when one used the back button to go back to the previous page, the page got reloaded, the whole problem started when apple modified the behavior of safari so the page no longer reloads. in the same time, apple also modified the behavior of command-return (open link in new tab( so vo no longer auto focuses on the new active tab, which is nasty in my opinion. talking about fixing things that ain't broken.

Submitted by Troy on Thursday, November 20, 2014

No problems here when losing speech after dictating on my IPhone 5s running 8.11

Submitted by Brooke on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I noticed the keyboard issue for the first time yesterday when signing into AccuRadio. The onscreen keyboard was nowhere to be found, and I had to flick around to enter each character, which took forever!

Submitted by Adrianne on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I have an iPhone 5 and I'm still on 7.1.2. I'm encouraged by the progress made in this update, but I'm still too scared to update. I don't want to take the chance until the major bugs with Safari and BARD Mobile are resolved. Has anyone tested BARD on this update yet? Someone above mentioned using Atomic Web... I installed the light version of that app to see if it had the same problem as Safari with losing focus, and it did - at the time at least. Maybe I'll try it again. Anyone have any better luck with other browsers?

I think I'll be patient and stay with 7.1.2 for now, but I'm following this closely - I think it's improving quickly!

Submitted by Ken on Thursday, November 20, 2014

As a new user, not sure if these are bugs or just things to get used to!

1 After reading mail, hit escape on bluetooth keyboard to close message and it also closes in box. Wasn't like this in IOS7.
2 When entering text, volume reduces.
3 When deleting text in eg SMS or mail message accent changes from UK English to English with a German accent!

Any thoughts wil help.

Submitted by Daniel on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hi all, hearing about the two related bugs in Safari.
1. Vo isn't scrolling the screen as your either swiping to get at each element.
2. The one where VO becomes either unresponsive or doesn't correctly load the previous page when you go back. (need clarification) As I'm only going by what I read because I'm still using 7.1.2

A thought has occurred to me.

Are the above bugs present with either Google Crome or Insta Browser? I don't know if the latter has been updated for IOS 8 so if any can confirm if this app does work under 8.X then that would be good to know. It might be good for anyone to try this app out and see if it does work. I'm just putting this information out there to see if anyone has tested any other browsers with VO instead of just Safari to see if the bugs are global rather than just one effected app.

Let me know what you think and I hope this helps rather than hinders..

Hoping you all having a good day.

Submitted by Christina on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I am using 8.1.1 and I am wondering if I am the only one with these issues. I have seen some of my problems slightly touched on but I have not seen the problem number one discussed anywhere.

1. Often, when I use Siri via the home button, I get the initial Siri tone and then it is followed immediately by a bong and I cannot use Siri. Often after this happens I lose speech but not always. The only fix I have found is to only use Siri when I am at the home screen and not in an app when I try to initialize Siri. This is not 100% effective but mostly reliable.

2. I often seem to completely lose speech after using Siri or dictation. The only things that fix the lost speech is to either ask Siri the current temperature or to ask Siri to turn Vo off and then back on again. Sometimes I have to do these things several times to get speech back.

3. I can't seem to navigate consistently via images or headings. I am having this problem in Safari and in the Amazon app. Strangely, I can navigate just fine via headings in the Bard app when visiting the bard website through the app. I have not tried the headings in other parts of the bard app. I have also not tried navigating by headings in other apps besides Safari And Amazon.

Submitted by blindgator on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Regarding Siri causing VoiceOver to complete crap out and not have any sound you are not alone in this. I often press the home button or try and do a two finger double tap in a text field and VoiceOver/dictation/Siri completely craps out on my iPhone 5S, and there is no solution. I went to the Apple store and the genius bar on Monday about this, and they pulled up a log on my phone and were able to tell that Siri is constantly crashing on my phone. There only solution was a complete factory restore which I did and then reinstalled everything from iCloud, and 5 minutes after all of this the same problem occurred. I have not been able to go back to the Apple store and am going to try and call them tonight as it is quite frustrating and ruins the user experience. This does not happen on my new iPad mini so I am thinking it is a serious operating system issue on some 5S. If anyone finds a solution do let us know. Can you live with it, yes, should you have to no.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I noticed they still haven't fixed four and five finger navigation for the iPad. If its something they removed, it needs to reflect that in settings.

Submitted by Troy on Friday, November 21, 2014

This must be one of those hit and miss issues because I am not having these issues with my 5s, I have a brand new 5s that already came with ios8 and I updated it to 8.1.1, if I do come across any I will update.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Friday, November 21, 2014

so the focus issue does not happen on Google Chrome. Nor the the previous page voiceover bug.

Unfortunately, it seems to impact the native safari browser. But Google Chrome has its own issues.;

Submitted by Tim X on Friday, November 21, 2014

I do think 8.1.1 has resulted in improvements since the 8.0 release. Certainly for me, VoiceOver is working better. However, I have encountered one significant issue. I cannot disable VoiceOver on either of my two devices now running 8.1.1 (iPhone 5s and iPad 4).

Going to settings -> general -> accessibility -> voiceover and hitting the toggle button which enables/disables voice over does not work. The toggle switches to off, but then immediately switches back to on. I've tried rebooting, killing running apps in app manager and everything else I can think of with no luck.

This is a real problem on the iPad as I sometimes like to run without voiceover on the larger device - expecially for some apps which work better without voice over i.e. viewing movies, where I need to scroll through large lists or use slide controls a lot etc. Also, other members of the family sometimes like to use my iPad and they find the change in gestures frustrating under voiceOver.

Submitted by Tim X on Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanks to a post in the forum, I now have a workaround for the problem of not being able to turn off VoiceOver.

The solution was to enable the Accessibility Shortcut option in settings -> general -> accessibility.

Once enabled, I can enable/disable voice over either by tripple pressing the hjome button or via the toggle under settings -> general -> accessibility -> voiceOver

Submitted by Misty Dawn on Saturday, November 22, 2014

OK, so I've heard at least a few people report that Safari still does not scroll properly with VoiceOver. Some have said it has to do with headings. Others have said that it has to do with scrolling at the top of the page.

How many people are having this issue and what does it involve? How many are NOT having this issue and what iDevice are you using?

Since I am using an iPhone 5, I am particularly interested in this before I pugrade.

Submitted by Misty Dawn on Saturday, November 22, 2014

Also, how often does the scrolling bug happen for those that are experiencing it? If you experience it once, can it be corrected in any way, say, by moving back a heading and forward again and then trying to right-swipe to text under that heading?

Submitted by Misty Dawn on Saturday, November 22, 2014

Even if you're not having the Safari scrolling problem, please write in to let me know so that I can guage how common it is.

Submitted by Chris Bruinenberg on Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hi all.
Does anybody else have the issue with not being able to enter their passcode using a braille display with IOS 8.1.1?
I'm using a brailleConnect and an iPhone 6.
I'm not sure if this is a bug with iOS 8 or with 8.1.1. I just got the braille display back on thursday.

Submitted by Jesus R on Monday, November 24, 2014

Hello. I have also had the Disappearing keyboard problem on iOS 8.1. Seems to happen in pasword fields for apple things like iCloud and iTunes radio and maybe a few more password fields. It has only happened to me the the iCloud sign in field.

Submitted by Clare Page on Monday, November 24, 2014

I don't have iTunes Radio, it's not available here, but I can definitely say that the disappearing keyboard issue is rather random. I still haven't enabled Touch ID, so today I tried signing into iCloud again, and the onscreen keyboard showed up as normal. Also, when signing in to buy music from the iTunes Store on my iPhone recently, the onscreen keyboard was also totally normal there. But at least I know what to do if it disappears again!

Submitted by Infoblind on Monday, November 24, 2014

Even with brand-new iPad air, not restored from a backup, three finger scrolling just years as well as notification Center and control center gestures, are being confused between landscape and portrait mode in both third-party apps and made an apple apps.

Keyboard disappears sometimes still, and the two finger double tap does not always ring the dictation.

Also, voiceover still crashes particularly when using Safari. Often times Safari just freezes up and the iPad is unusable until it is rebooted.

I'm interested in anyone else's experience with these issues, primarily the issue with basic gestures in landscape and portrait mode on the iPad getting jumbled up. Any thoughts?

Submitted by Usman on Monday, November 24, 2014

the issues mentioned above hasn't shown up yet for me, but I'd love to get my four and five finger navigation back.

Submitted by Orko on Monday, November 24, 2014

Better, but still needs work...

After playing with it for a couple of hours...

For me, VO still does not read the caller ID information for incoming calls.

Some phone app settings changed. I had both call waiting and call forwaring turned off, after installing IOS 8.1.1 I noticed that call waiting had been turned back on.

So far haven't noticed anything else different between 8.1 and 8.1.1

Submitted by Jesse Tregarthen on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

hello, I noticed some audit tease when I went to move the apps in my bottom row above the dock. I had accidentally got the messed up in the last update and couldn't move them so I went to move them this time. it seemed that the leftmost icon and the rightmost icon wouldn't budge where the two in the middle of wood. When I managed to use the two middle ones to bump things around, it seemed then that YouTube and settings would not budge. I honestly cannot tell you what the pattern was here. I was eventually able to get them all in the right row but it seemed out of the four of them, only two of them ever seem to want to move. I don't understand the reasoning behind this but I am at least thankful that I can move some of them around. Anybody else noticing this?

I have also had the problem where Bluetooth keyboards no longer work with IOS 8, any version of IOS 8, while Voiceover is turned on. The ability to use a Bluetooth keyboard and Voiceover was intentionally disabled by the engineers who created IOS 8 according to the supervising iPhone support guy I spoke to today. The idea was that no one would want to use VO and a Bluetooth keyboard at the same time because it just takes up RAM and slows everything down. Rather than alerting us to this problem and letting us choose what we want, Apple has taken the option away entirely. The guy I talked to today basically said they won't fix it because no one wants to use VO and Bluetooth keyboards at the same time. So everyone who does that, please start e-mailing the accessibility team and commenting on

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Monday, December 1, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team


I say this only in the interest of providing accurate information to future readers: I believe you have been misinformed about the current state of VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard support in iOS 8.

To the best of my knowledge, Apple is still very much supporting the use of Bluetooth keyboards in iOS 8. If Apple was not still supporting Bluetooth keyboard use with VoiceOver, they would not have made the improvements they did in iOS 8.1...nor would they have publicly mentioned Bluetooth keyboard improvements in the iOS 8.1 release notes.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, December 1, 2014

I agree with you there michael. I have had no issues with bluetooth on my iPhone 5S with 8.1.1. Sy, as michael said, you were miss informed, bluetooth keyboards work fine under iOs8.1.1, or at least my Logitech keyboard does anyway.

I would love it if I was wrong, but I'm not the first on this comment thread to make this observation. I'm glad it's working for you guys, but my Bluetooth keyboard is not working, and the iPhone tech people I spoke to today told me they had gotten this complaint from others. I have tried two keyboards from two different companies on both a 4s and a 6 on 8.1.1, and neither has worked.

Certain buttons on the Bluetooth keyboard I have work fine, but the actual typing does not. I was told by two iPhone tech support people today that typing with a Bluetooth keyboard was specifically and intentionally disabled when designing IOS 8 when VO is on. I know it sounds crazy, but my phone is doing it, and that's what they told me, and told me to write to you guys if it was something I wanted changed. So if, perhaps, you know some more helpful iPhone tech people who could show me how I'm wrong, please direct me their way.

Sorry for the confusion. I really thought the tech people I talked to today were right. Turns out, on IOS 8, quick nav needs to be turned off to be able to type using a Bluetooth keyboard. You do this by pressing the left and right arrows at the same time. This, I imagine, is a pain for people on iPads. Possibly something to fix? I am on an iPhone and don't use the arrow keys much, so no big deal for me.

Submitted by Usman on Monday, December 1, 2014

If you'd only paid closer attention to previous comments on this thread, you would've seen that turning off quick nav has been brought up in order to type.

Submitted by Shaktikumar on Monday, December 1, 2014

Even on IPhone 5S, Turning off quick nav and turning it on after typing is frustrating with Bluetooth keyboard. Apple accesibility team must fix this bug. We were not expecting this while upgrading from IOS 7.1 to 8.1.1.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, December 1, 2014

I honestly don't think this is a bug. I know that some of us use quick nav, it's just like the mac's as far as I can tell. turn quick nav off, type the thing in, and turn it back on. its that simple. I never use quick nav, i find it easy enough to use the VO keys on bluetooth keyboards and my mac that quick nav gets in my way.

Submitted by smhy on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Does anyone else find that if speak hints is off, VO does not read e-mail previews in the mail app? I'm having that issue. I've never turned speak hints off before that I can remember, so I don't know if it's always been that way. But I would like to turn it off now.

And my apologies to Usman for not consulting Shaktikumar.

Submitted by priyaBhatt on Monday, January 19, 2015

Voiceover reads Html5 select box but focus does not move to select if select box is part of scrollable area. Same issue with checkbox also.