Apple Releases iOS 9.2 With a Number of Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 9.2, bringing with it some new features and improvements across the operating system.

For blind and low vision users, Apple has made significant progress towards addressing the accessibility-related bugs present in iOS 9.1.

As always at this point, it is worth noting that our testing of iOS 9.2 has been limited and that it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. Consequently, it is possible that your own experience with this release may be different to our own and that additional fixes or new bugs may exist. With this in mind, we would greatly appreciate your help in ensuring that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible. If you spot any accessibility changes in iOS 9.2 that we do not have listed on this page, please do let us know in the comments.

Accessibility Bugs Believed to be Fixed in iOS 9.2

  1. This release appears to have resolved a number of connectivity issues with Bluetooth devices. For example, turning VoiceOver on/off whilst connected to a Bluetooth device appears to no longer cause that device to be disconnected; and after putting a Braille display into Airplane mode and turning Bluetooth back on, displays now auto-connect as they should.
  2. VoiceOver now again announces the time when you press the Power button to wake your device.
  3. Sending audio iMessages is once again completely accessible.
  4. Problems with the Raise To Speak feature appear to have been resolved.
  5. Owners of the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus can now use 3D Touch on the left of the Home Screen to open the App Switcher.
  6. Using the VoiceOver Actions Rotor on a Contact icon on the Proactive Search screen will no longer occasionally result in the information from another contact being used/shown.
  7. The occasional crashes in the News app when using the ‘Say All’ gesture appear to have been fixed.
  8. The Search field in the Mail app is now back to being treated by VoiceOver as a single element.
  9. The 3 finger swipe once again works reliably for moving between pages within Home screen folders.
  10. There is no longer an extraneous audio tone when using the 3-finger swipe in the Notifications Center.
  11. There is no longer a missing button label when viewing downloads in progress in the Music app.
  12. Removed the extraneous text present on calendar names when adding a new event to the native Calendar app.

Accessibility Bugs Introduced in iOS 9.2

At the time of posting, we are unaware of any new bugs being introduced in this release.

Other Changes

The focus of this release appears to be on under-the-hood fixes and performance enhancements, as there are few outward-facing changes.

If you use a Content Blocker, you may appreciate that a long-hold on the Reload button in Safari now offers an option to view the current page without the Content Blocker. Previously, this would only offer the option to request the Desktop version of the website.

This release also rolls-out support for AT&T's new NumberSync service, which enables AT&T users to receive calls to their phone numbers on Macs and iPads even when those devices are not on the same Wi-Fi network as the iPhone.

Arabic speakers in our community will be pleased to learn that this update also includes the addition of Arabic language support with Siri for the first time.

Main Changes and Fixes

According to AppleInsider, this update includes the following improvements and bug fixes:

  • Fixing issues with VoiceOver when using Camera face detection
  • Adding support for VoiceOver to wake up the screen
  • Adding support for VoiceOver to invoke app switcher with 3D Touch gesture
  • Fixing an issue with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls
  • Improved functionality for Switch Control users when using 3D Touch
  • Fixing an issue with speech rate of Speak Screen
  • You can now create a new playlist when adding a song to a playlist
  • Your most recently changed playlist is now listed at the top when adding songs to playlists
  • Download albums or playlists from your iCloud Music Library by tapping the iCloud download button
  • See which songs have been downloaded with the new download indicator next to each song in My Music and Playlists
  • See works, composers and performers while browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog
  • A new Top Stories section in News so you can stay up to date with the most important news of the day
  • Mail Drop in Mail for sending large attachments
  • iBooks now supports 3D Touch to peek and pop pages from the table of contents, your notes and bookmarks, or from search results inside a book
  • iBooks now supports listening to an audiobook while you browser your library, read other books, or explore the iBooks Store
  • iPhone support for the USB Camera Adapter to import photos and videos
  • Improved stability of Safari
  • Improved stability of Podcasts
  • Fixing an issue that caused mail attachments to be inaccessible for some users with POP email accounts
  • Resolving an issue for some users that caused attachments to overlap text in mail
  • Fixing an issue where Live Photos could have turned off after restoring from a previous iCloud backup
  • Addressing an issue that could cause search in Contacts to display no results
  • Resolving an issue that could have prevented Calendar from displaying all seven days in week view
  • Fixing an issue where Camera screen on iPad could be black when attempting to capture video
  • Addressing an issue that could cause instability in the Activity app when viewing the day of Daylight Savings Time transition
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent data from appearing in Health
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent Wallet updates and Lock screen alerts from displaying
  • Addressing an issue where updating iOS could prevent an alarm from going off
  • Fixing an issue where some users were unable to login to Find my iPhone
  • Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing
  • Addressing an issue where using the iPad keyboard could unintentionally trigger text selection mode
  • Improved keyboard responsiveness when using Quick Reply
  • Improved punctuation input on the 10-key Chinese (Pinyin & Stroke) keyboards with new expanded view of punctuation symbols and better predictions
  • Fixing an issue on Cryllic keyboard where caps lock would be enabled when typing in URL or email fields
  • Siri support for Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)

iOS 9.2 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings> General> Software Update) or from iTunes on the Mac or PC. As always, we would encourage you to make a backup before installing this update.

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Submitted by Brian on Monday, December 14, 2015

So… Of all of us who have posted in this particular thread… How many of us are actually using the Samantha voice, be it default or enhanced?
*raises hand*

I already have enough issues with Safari freezing for long stretches of time in iOS 8.4, and was hoping that things were better in iOS 9, what with the content blockers you can now use for Safari. I'm guessing my issues stem from adds and junk on pages, as using the reader function works beautifully. Unfortunately, this isn't always practical, especially with those pages tat like to present articlles in multiple pages. Is this issue a small one, maybe something that might not bug me too much?


Submitted by sockhopsinger on Monday, December 14, 2015

I can't stand the Samantha voice. Frankly, she always sounds P***ed off. I still stick with the Karen voice from amongst the so-so choices.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, December 14, 2015

Just started today. When I attempt to move around my iPhone 6, voiceover takes a while to read what is there. It feels slow and when I slide to move voiceover freezes and comes after several seconds. Using iOS 9.2 I thought it was due to app pluto TV but I remove it and still have this issue. I restart my iPhone and turn voiceover off and on but no luck. Also Bluetooth still disconnect when making a call via Bluetooth.

It isn't just Safari that has the problem; BARD Mobile does also.
I agree with those who say that iOS 9 wasn't worth the hype. However, for the most part, 9.2 is snappier than 8.41 on my iPhone 5.
Also, iCloud backup didn't work for me either until I deleted the backup two or three times and managed to get a full backup (took quite a while). Now it's working fine. I lost my blood glucose readings but, luckily, I have audio recordings of them so can reenter in Glucose R.

Submitted by rdfreak on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I experience all kinds of focus bugs which have been around since IOS 9. Someone did suggest this was fixed a few updates ago, but, not the case.

Submitted by realman on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

For reasons I can't explain, when moving around an app (such as Radium), or moving on the home screen, the screen will lock up -- VO won't read and I can't flick across the screen. also, moving across the screen in an app is vry sluggish and focus often lands in areas I don't expect. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? It started when I upgraded to 9.1 and continues in 9.2.

Submitted by Sean on Friday, December 18, 2015

I very much appreciate the option to increase the speech rate on Voiceover. that is something that I have been waiting for for a long time. But the quality of the speech has, in my opinion, been greatly reduced. Very common words such as "said" that were never mispronounced now are. It sounds like between iOS8 and 9 Voiceover has aged 20 years and been smoking two packs a day in the interim. I generally do a great deal of reading with VO, but the altered speech is difficult enough to understand that I actually end up listening to it more slowly than I did when I had the speech rate maxed out in iOS8. For me, the option of higher speech rate is entirely offset and then some by the fact that the speech is so much more difficult to understand. I find myself much more frequently being forced to navigate by word or character to get at information. Just wondering if I am out here on my own feeling this way or if others have similar feelings. I wish I could go back. I am wasting a lot of time.
Ok, I see now that a couple people mentioned this here. I have just been introduced to the concept of a second page of comments. Per Mike's suggestion I will try the non "enhanced" version. And, I too find my phone less responsive and more sluggish since upgrading to 9.0 and still now in 9.2.

Submitted by Reginald George on Friday, December 18, 2015

I appreciate the bugs that have been squashed. I didn't experience this one until 9.X, and it certainly hasn't been fixed in this update. I was sure hoping as this is the bug I run into the most if I'm trying to dictate a reply by opening the message thread by using the reply option on the rotor from the lock screen, then using the two finger double tap in the edit box, or the microphone button to dictate, almost always Karen parrots along as I speak. often repeating text ends up in my messages like an echo, an echo. Jus to clarify, this happens when you are using the iPhone without a headset. I guess I'm just looking for validation here and that this has been reported to Apple Accessibility by someone besides me. Also if I answer a call on the iphone and I'm using a Bluetooth headset, often the call will not go to the headset.

That being said, I'm a silver lining guy too. Voiceover is still the best screen reader in the world, in the world LOL!

Submitted by Rocker on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Greetings old blind wizards.
Using and iPhone 6s.
I went for a walk with my trusty guy dog tonight. It's blowing snow and colder than a witches thorax let me tell you! Fluffy, got a little confused because of all the deep snow.
Being a man of action, I quickly retrieve my iPhone 6s from my pocket. Fumbled through my navigation folder and double-click on the blind square icon. I quickly navigate to the where am I button under the tools menu. No voice! That's right folks, no voice!! I look down at fluffy who's warm and toasty in his mukluks, and I say fluffy; WTF?
We make it home, no problem! Thanks fluffy! I checked to see if my voices were downloaded, check. I adjust my settings. Bottom line here, I'm getting all the jingle bangle jangles but no speech output. Has anyone else experienced this on their 6s since iOS 9.02 and or the last blind sQuare update?
May the force be with you old blind wizards!