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 Usman on Monday, November 17, 2014

This is certainly very good news. I will update my iPhone 5s and iPad as soon as I get home. I'm very excited to finally have these bugs addressed. Good job Apple.

Submitted by Kelly Sapergia on Monday, November 17, 2014

I've been wanting to upgrade my 5th Gen iPod Touch to iOS 8 for awhile now, but have held back as some apps I have, specifically the ones from Choice of Games, didn't appear to work well with that version and Voiceover. I'm wondering if the first item regarding the Voiceover focus enhancement means those games will finally work correctly? If that's indeed the case, I'm going for it, though I'll of course wait to see if any bugs are discovered first.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, November 17, 2014

It's nice to finally see positive comments from folks, instead of the usual complaints about how Apple doesn't give a crap about accessibility, bla bla bla. I think that this update just goes to prove that Apple is, indeed, listening and is really trying. My iPhone 6 is already updated and is running very smoothly.

Submitted by David Goldfield on Monday, November 17, 2014

On my iPhone 5C with iOS 8.1.1, Voiceover is still not always speaking notifications as they come through. Can anybody else confirm this? I have reset my phone just to see if doing so will make a difference.

Submitted by Jason SW on Monday, November 17, 2014


I just downloaded the update, and the screen scrolls with the VoiceOver focus like it should. The radio buttons still read as "one of one", though, but that's the only issue I've seen so far. You can select your choice and activate the next button without having to manually scroll the screen. Awesome.

Submitted by Tree on Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm glad that Apple is continuing to improve iOS, since it sounded like a pretty sloppy job when iOS eight first came out. I would be curious what bugs are still present, since I am still running seven and am very happy with it. Are all issues with siri fixed? because she is not even great on iOS seven. How does eight run on older devices? I am running a five.

Submitted by Chelsea on Monday, November 17, 2014


This is great news, as TuneHead said above.

Regarding the last comment: IoS 8 runs fine on the iPhone 5. I am glad the scrolling bug is fixed. I am wondering if VO not reading all notifications when the screen is locked is a feature? When my phone is in my pocket and I'm in class, the vibration is enough to let me know something is going on, and I don't need vO blathering away; I'll look at it after the lecture.

The only potential bug I've found may be hardware specific, but not sure. Can anyone confirm? After browsing a few pages in Safari, I get the VoiceOver bug where only one element on the page is spoken. However, placing my finger on the address bar doesn't help and the phone becomes unresponsive. I have to close and re-launch Safari from the app Switcher, and sometimes toggle VO. It is similar to the lag on an iPhone 4 where VO wouldn't respond for awhile and then play all the sound effects/speech when you returned to the home screen, but not quite as bad.


Submitted by Usman on Monday, November 17, 2014

I like not having voice say anything once a notification is received. Its a lot less embarrassing for me especially when I am in public around a lot of people that don't know voiceover.

Submitted by Aliya on Monday, November 17, 2014

If you don't want people hear what voice over says, you can turn off speaking or showing notifications on the lock screen.

Submitted by Usman on Monday, November 17, 2014

Yes, I'm aware of that and have it set. However, VO still says one notification upon receiving a notification. I personally don't even want that spoken.

Submitted by Robert A.M. on Monday, November 17, 2014


Just a quick warning for those interested in jailbreaking their devices. iOS 8.1 is the last firmware that can be jailbroken at this point, so you should stay away from the 8.1.1 update if this is important to you.


Submitted by Ken Downey on Monday, November 17, 2014

Can this new version still be jailbroken? I just got back from Turkey, and when I get home, I'm going to have a new iPhone 6 to check out. The first thing I'm doing is getting the latest update, then I'll jailbreak if the jailbreak still works on it. Thanks!

Submitted by Ken Downey on Monday, November 17, 2014

Good timing. Thanks Robert!

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, November 17, 2014

There seems to be improvement with Safari. Faster loading and not lagging

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Monday, November 17, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

To clarify, what we meant when we said that "VoiceOver now consistently announces when a new push notification is received, even when the device is locked" is that VoiceOver always speaks "One Notification" (or how many ever notifications you have) when something comes in, rather than saying nothing at all. In earlier versions of iOS 8, VoiceOver sometimes did not say anything when notifications came in.

Are people still experiencing the issue where VoiceOver was completely silent when a new notification came in?

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, November 17, 2014

With phone features, is 2 finger double tap working to answer. Also, are tones corrected when dialing.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, November 17, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

The long-standing issue on my iPad 4 with task switcher not behaving correctly in portrait mode is finally fixed. Now I can be in either landscape or portrait, and task switcher behaves correctly either way. Yay!

However, both mail and safari still have problems in portrait mode. Namely that the 3-finger swipe direction behaves as if the device is in landscape even though it's in portrait.

These bugs have persisted for far too long. Apple still gets a failing grade for iOS 8. This release demonstrates Apple is more interested in marketing hype and obsoleting existing products than they are in usability and supporting existing customers. Put me down as waiting for 8.1.2. And not optimistically, I might add.

Usman, the best option to avoid unwanted VoiceOver speech while still having convenient lock screen access to some notifications is to mute speech with a 3 finger double tap. If my notifications are too frequent while I'm listening to podcasts or an audiobook, I mute the speech until I want to use the touch screen again. Another option you have, which I believe was already suggested, is to simply prevent all notifications from showing on the lock screen. I believe the VO option you referred to only prevents the banner style announcements while the phone is locked, not the automatic reading that occurs when the phone comes out of standby onto the lock screen with a notification. The idea is, if no notifications are allowed to show on your lock screen, the iPhone won't come out of standby to show them and therefore result in unwanted VO speech.

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

hmm think the fixes might be worth sacrificing my jailbreak for, and its rare for me to do that,
can anyone confirm if the issue with the on screen keyboard popping out in places it has no business like the springboard and app switcher or the middle of webpages has been fixed?
are there any improvements to braille screen input? I like the theory but haven't bothered using it much due to issues.
also has the notification center been fixed where it says confirm clear section for clearing notifications as if you had already tapped the clear button once?

Submitted by Paul on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It appears that the bug that resulted in inaudible VoiceOver speech after interrupting a response from Siri may be fixed. The procedure for testing it is to request something from Siri that generally results in a long response and either locking the phone or pressing the home button to exit Siri while Siri is speaking. I ran this procedure a couple of times, and the bug seems to be fixed, or had its frequency significantly dropped, on iPhone 6 Plus.

Submitted by Caleb Eee on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello all, I noticed that when clearing notifications, it now says nothing at all. Is this happening to everyone else?

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just had a problem in the appstore where I went to update an app, it said there were updates available, showed me the app and the what's new details etc,
however the update all apps button was dimmed, and there was no individual update button for the app, just an open button,
deleting and redownloading the app appears to have installed the update now, just lucky I didn't have a lot of information in the app or I wouldn't have been happy.

Submitted by Shaktikumar on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bluetooth keyboard bug still remains on IPhone 5S. It is still not possible to type in searchfield or message compose form without having the quick navigation feature turned off. I do not know when the apple is going to fix this bug. fealing extremely frustrated.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In a post above, I mentioned continued problems with 3-finger scrolling in portrait mode. Here are a few more issues that are still unresolved as of 8.1.1.

Scrolling in Safari while VO reads is not completely fixed. This seems to be fine as long as reading begins at the start of a page, but scrolling is erratic or nonexistent if reading commences somewhere in the middle. For example, if you rotor to headings, then swipe down with one finger to a heading a few screens down, then 2-finger swipe down to start reading. Scrolling doesn't work well in that case.

If you have zoom region set to full screen mode, it changes to window mode incorrectly. I've seen this happen if you enable zoom while the onscreen keyboard is visible. It's conceivable that apple intended this as a feature, but it's still broke, as the region doesn't change back to full screen as you would expect. Indeed, if you go into settings, you'll see that the zoom region is still set to full screen, even though it's behaving as window mode.

Finally,there is an ongoing non-accessibility issue. iOS 8 introduced a new feature, the ability to set "do not disturb" on a specific text message thread. This would be quite useful if I could get it to work, but toggling "do not disturb" on a text message thread seems to have no effect. I continue to get notifications for that thread whenever a new text comes in.

These issues are all with iOS 8.1.1, either on an iPad 4 or an iPhone 5.

Submitted by Sebby on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In reply to by Kelly Sapergia

Kelly, go for it. I was in a similar place, but decided to finally make the leap. Undoubtedly the iPod startup time is considerably longer, as are app launch times, but it's nothing I can't deal with. I'd suggest leaving the device for a while to boot, after which the TTS should be snappy enough to be usable. Choice of Games aren't quite as satisfying as before because the focus isn't set to the top of the web area when you hit Next, and the radio buttons aren't counted correctly, but at least you can now play without scrolling all the time.

Submitted by JN.V on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On my 6 16 GB running 8.1.1 VO still sometimes does not read notifications coming in on the lock screen. I can here the alert sound from Facebook, whatsapp or whatever, but VO says nothing.
It will actually be kind of cool if this can be a feature, VO reading notifications is no problem for me, but I would prefer that VO does not read out notifications if my phone is on silent. Sometimes VO defeats the silent feature, phone is not making a sound but then VO blabs out the notification.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

OK when I get home, I'm going to take the plunge and upgrade to iOS 8 on my 5S. Thanks Team for keeping us posted on bug fixes.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I have not had a problem double tapping to answer calls. Also, the toens all work now. I have not had a stuck tone since updating to iOS 8.1. And finally, the caller ID announce seems to work again. To the person with the phone questions above, I hope this answers your questions.

Submitted by Lisa on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello all,
If I'm talking on the phone, and I get an incoming call VO does not speek the name of the caller. Has anyone else experienced this bug? I hope it was fixed in this update.

Submitted by MarkSARCH on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To most of the people who think voiceOver will speack or read when some notification come through when screen is lucked this is according to your personal settings. Michael is talking about when receve some push notification voiceover will announce how many notification are already on the lucked screen could 6 or wherever include messages, miss call, twits notifications or Facebook post or comments.
to Lisa the iOS8.1.1 fixed the talking caller ID it means voiceover focus is set to announce the caller ID automatically I don't see why not allow announce the caller ID when you are on the phone during a call.
Personally I haven't seen some voiceOver fixes when launch safari even the work around that gave on the podcast sometimes works and some doesn't safari is constantly crashing.

Submitted by Russ Kiehne on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

after upgrading to ios 8.1.1 on my 5th generation ipod touch I still have the
following issues.

When you activate any link on any web page in Safari when running Voiceover,
the moment you activate the Back button or use two–finger scrub, complete
instability occurs, it is not possible to flick through the content of the
page, no links or headings typically are being reported in the rotor, and the
page is generally just not navigable in any way.

Another Safari issue with Ios 8.1.1

With Ios 7 I could start flicking from the top of a webpage to the bottom
of the webpage. With Ios 8, this no longer seems to be the case. Almost all
of the time voiceover reads the status line at the bottom of the screen instead of continuing to the bottom of the webpage.
When using the rotor to select to navigate by headings or links, In most
cases, voiceover will not read all of the headings or links on the webpage.

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I am running 8.1.1 on a 6 plus, I have noticed that the sleep wake button doesn't seem to work at all for ending a call, tried several times and nothing, I always have to take the phone from my ear and two finger double tap or locate the end call button can anyone else confirm this?

Submitted by dvdmth on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

To the one complaining about having to turn Quick Nav off in order to type into a text field, that is actually by design, not a bug. Usually, when you activate a text field, Quick Nav will automatically turn itself off so that you can type normally, then turn back on after you press Return to start a search, for example. There are some situations where Quick Nav will not turn itself off, such as when a text field is editing by default without having to activate it, so you will sometimes need to turn Quick Nav off manually. Nevertheless, this is not a bug, and it has been the case for as long as I have used VoiceOver, on both the Mac and on iOS.

The reason Quick Nav needs to be turned off while editing is because Quick Nav has its own commands associated with pressing the letter keys, such as advanceing to the next heading when you press H, or to the previous heading if you press Shift-H. It also changes the behavior of the arrow keys, so turning Quick Nav off lets you use the standard arrow key navigation for manipulating the insertion point while editing.

As for my observations with iOS 8.1.1, I will say that, for the most part, this release brings my iPad Air back to the level of stability and usability it was before upgrading to iOS 8, which is a major improvement over the initial release. Some issues still remain, especially in Safari, but I am very pleased overall with how much Apple has been able to fix. I will continue to give feedback to Apple Accessibility regarding issues that still remain, but if they continue to improve at the rate they have been recently, it shouldn't take too long for the remaining significant bugs to get squashed.

Submitted by Jesus R on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hi all,
I didn't use iOS 8.0, but did upgrade to iOS 8.1. When I did so, i found that I couldn't move some apps on my home screen. This is the bottom set of apps. Tapping and holding does nothing, not even when in app editing mode already. I'm running iOS 8.1 on an iPhone 5. I'm not sure if folders can be moved, but I don't seam to have this problem on my first gen iPad mini.

Submitted by blindgator on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apple did a better job with this update in improving some of the many many accessibility issues, but one thing that still does not work is what I believe is called in page links in safari. I have a website that I go to on my 4S still running 7.2 and click on some of the in page links but on IOS 8.1.1 none of the links are clickable, making the site unusable on IOS 8.1.1

Another issue which I have not played around with a ton but the one time I used it it did not work was the clear all of text in the app store. Not sure why in the world this would not be an easy fix considering clear text works in almost every app except the app store. I am sure there might be a work around for this but pretty sad there has to be one.

I still find it funny that in the notification VO hints will tell you two finger tap to clear notifications but we still have to tap three times to do so, so yeah I would consider that a bug even though it is easy to do so with a 3 finger tap.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I also have an iPhone 5, and here's what I discovered about moving apps with VO enabled. It does appear to work in iOS 8.1.1, at least for me, and I know I've had problems with it in previous iOS 8 releases.

But I still notice at least one issue. If one app is selected, then you tap and hold on a second app, the app that gets moved is the first (selected) app rather than the second app that you tap and hold. This is almost certainly by design, but it seemed like a bug to me when I discovered it.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm noticing a trend here...what some folks perceive to be bugs are actually features, like the quick nav hthing. You sometimes have to just roll with the punches. It takes a second to turn quick nav off, so it's not a great inconvenience. now the experiences some folks are having on the iPod touch 5th gen with Safari, now that really does seem like more of a major bug. You guys runningthe iPod touch 5th gen may want to write to Apple about this and let them know of your experiences, if you haven't already done so. The engineers at Apple aren't going to know a bug exists if it hasn't been reported, so the more people report bugs, the better chance you'll have of them being squashed, especially if they can be reproduced on more than one device. So keep the positive thoughts coming in.

Submitted by Troy on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For those questioning the quick nav, just think of it as forms mode in jaws. If you try to type without forms mode on it doesn't work which frustrates the heck out of a sighted person. I haven't downloaded 8.1.1 yet but when I do if I find anything I'll report it to apple.

Submitted by Usman on Wednesday, November 19, 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.

Submitted by Paula Muysenberg on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Someone mentioned being unable to use the Sleep-Wake button to end calls. I've found the same thing, but I thought it was just because I'm new to the iPhone. When I press the Sleep-Wake button during a call, it causes the screen to lock, but doesn't end the call.

Submitted by Mike Freeman on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In reply to by Paula Muysenberg

In my view, this is how it *should* be. There are times when I wish to monitor a phone call without risk of disturbing the screen. Also, this eliminates an ambiguity that VO would otherwise have to deal with.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On my ipod, if I go into music, select artists and try to flick down (after picking headings of course) it won't navigate through names by first letter like it did in ios7. I may end up putting 8.1.1 on my phone, but I really wish I'd not messed with my ipod.

Submitted by Brooke on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've never been able to end a call with the SleepWake button... not on my iPhone 5 first running iOS 6 and then iOS 7, and not on my iPhone 6 that originally ran iOS 8.1 and now 8.1.1.

Submitted by Shaktikumar on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In reply to by dvdmth

Actually, in IOS 7, quick nav used to turn off automatically everytime I used the text field in the search box or message form. This never turns off automatically since IOS 8 upgrade on IPhone 5S. I have to turn off quick nav manually everytime. It has become bug rather than a design and needs to be addressed. Really it has become a frustrating thing.

Submitted by Clare Page on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hi! I installed IOS 8.1.1 shortly after I read about its release on 17 November, and the installation and setup of this IOS update went totally normally for me, including putting in my Apple ID password to connect to iCloud after the setup. The reason I mention this particular part of the IOS 8.1.1 setup is, that, when I decided to reconnect to iCloud on my iPhone 6 after doing a backup to my PC with ITunes yesterday, the layout of the Sign In screen changed in a way I wasn't happy with: until yesterday, when I'd had to put in my password, I could touch near the bottom of the screen and find the onscreen keyboard straight away, then use the usual touch-typing gestures, finding a character then lifting my finger from it, to type in the password, but yesterday, the only way I could type in my password was by flicking right from the OK button character by character to the one I wanted and then double-tapping that. Obviously, signing in is still doable, but a lot slower than the old way. I should point out that the onscreen keyboard is not always like that in IOS 8.1.1 for me: I opened the Notes app to type a short text as a test there, and the onscreen keyboard came up there and I could touch-type text as usual. I wondered if the onscreen keyboard change on the Sign In screen was a one-off, but when an app randomly asked me to put in my password later I had to flick and double-tap again instead of touch-typing my password as I always used to do. I won't say this is a bug, as, for all I know, Apple may have planned this change, but I could have done without it. I expect you all wonder why I have not enabled Touch ID on my iPhone 6: the answer is simply that I skipped that step to speed things up when I set up my new iPhone 6 and I simply haven't got round to enabling it, but this change to the Sign In screen if I need to connect to iCloud from the iPhone is a good reason for me to finally get Touch ID going.

Submitted by Troy on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've always wondered why I have to type in my password every once in a while on my 5s when I had a 4s I didn't have to do this, so I guess the answer is that it's because I don't have touch id set up? Anyways, I haven't had to do it yet under 8.1.1 so will have to see if I can reproduce what you are saying

Submitted by Troy on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For those who are having issues with the sleep/wake button ending a call are you holding the phone right up against your ear? you have to do this for this to work. No issues here with ending a call.