Apple has today released macOS Big Sur 11.3, watchOS 7.4, and tvOS 14.5; bringing support for AirTag, new features, security enhancements, and bug fixes.
macOS Big Sur 11.3
Our testing suggests that the following issues have been addressed in macOS Big Sur 11.3:
- It is once again possible to trigger and access context menus on Dock items with the VO+Shift+M keyboard shortcut, however selecting menu items still does not work as expected. The current issue of selecting Dock item menu options is described here.
- Widgets can now be added to Notification Center using VoiceOver.
- When using a Siri voice as the VoiceOver voice, it is once again possible to change the speaking rate.
This update also includes an optimization for using iPad apps on M1 Macs Which may offer added value to VoiceOver users - when running iPhone and iPad apps on M1 Macs, there's a new Touch Alternatives preference pane that allows you to set keyboard commands for touch input alternatives such as taps, swipes, and drags. Touch Alternatives can be enabled for iPhone or iPad apps by clicking on the app's name in the menu bar and then selecting the Preferences option. .
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any changes, fixes or regressions for blind and low vision users in watchOS 7.4. We will update this post if this changes.
At the time of posting, we are unaware of any changes, fixes or regressions for blind and low vision users in tvOS 14.5. We will update this post if this changes.
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 these updates.
macOS Big Sur 11.3
AirTag and Find My
- Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
- The Find My network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn't nearby
- Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted
iPhone and iPad apps on Macs with M1
- Option to change an iPhone and iPad app's window size
- Support for displaying the highest resolution version of an iPhone or iPad app in full screen
- Keyboard support for iPhone and iPad games designed to use device tilt
- Keyboard, mouse and trackpad support for iPhone and iPad games that support game controllers
- Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
- New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji
- Siri now includes more diverse voice options
- Autoplay keeps music playing by automatically playing a similar song, once you've reached the end of a song or playlist
- City charts showcase what's popular in over 100 cities from all over the world
- Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
- Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
- Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
- Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows
- Redesigned News+ feed enables Apple News+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
- All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories
- Start Page section order can now be customized
- Additional WebExtensions API lets developers offer extensions that replace the new tab page
- Web Speech API lets developers incorporate speech recognition into their web pages for real-time captioning, dictation, and voice navigation
- WebM and Vorbis video and audio format support
- Ability to sort Today Smart list
- Support for syncing the order of reminders in lists across your devices
- Option to print your reminder lists
- Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSense™ Wireless Controller support
Mac computers with the M1 chip
- Hibernation support
About This Mac
- About this Mac displays Apple warranty status and AppleCare+ coverage in the Service tab when signed in with Apple ID
- Support for purchasing and enrolling in AppleCare+ for eligible Mac computers from About This Mac
This release also fixes the following issues:
- Reminders created via Siri may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
- iCloud Keychain might not turn off
- AirPods audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
- AirPods Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
- External 4K monitors may not display in full resolution when connected over USB-C
- Login window may not display properly after restarting Mac mini (M1, 2020)
- The Dwell feature may not work in the Accessibility Keyboard
watchOS 7.4 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:
- Ability to unlock your iPhone X and later with Apple Watch when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
- Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
- Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and devices
- Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Australia and Vietnam
- Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam
How to Update
To install macOS Big Sur 11.3, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, click the Software Update preference pane, and click the Update Now button to begin the update process. If other updates are available, you can click "More info" to see details about them and select specific updates to install.
More information on how to update the software on your Mac is available on this Apple Support page.
watchOS 7.4 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple Watch is available on this Apple Support page.
To install tvOS 14.5 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install.
More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.
If you discover any additional fixes, regressions or changes of note during your own use of these releases, please let us know by posting a comment below.
New designed podcasts app really buggy with VoiceOver
unfortunately, the new designed podcasts app introduces some new bugs while navigate the show pages with VoiceOver. First, the back button no longer appears reliably when the page was scrolled down a bit. Also, the focus jumps a little bit around so it makes more sense to navigate the show page not with the swipe gestures. In addition to that, if you are navigating through all episodes of a show, the focus sometimes jumps to the vertical scroll bar and the page scrolls down so you lose the point where you were before that focus jump. In my opinion, these bugs are really annoying and I hope that the'll get fixed very soon with the next iOS update (i.e. 14.6 or so).
Regression with voice speaking on top of itself
When using any of the US English Siri voices, any of the 4 which are available in Big Sur 11.3, you may have noticed in the past that sometimes totally at random, you'd get 3 or sometimes if really unlucky, up to 5 voices speaking at the same time. Oh I'm becoming schizophrenic, no, just kidding, but in all seriousness, this would happen maybe once every couple of days if I was lucky, or maybe once a day if unlucky. Now however, in 11.3, it's so bad that it's practically nearly impossible for me to even use Voiceover at all. I'm even finding with my macbook air cilicon 13 inch 2020 machine, it's happening almost constantly. Even with Alex or the other more widely used voices, it's still happening. It's not even just a diolect thing with the US english voices. I'vew tried with the brittish voices, even with things like Daniel, I've tried with things like Lee austrailian, Tesla, etc. Even those voices now are doing this crap. I called Apple Accessibility, and they gave me the same motif they always do: "Oh, yeah, we're aware of it, we're working to fix it." I'm sorry to say, they've been saying this to all of us who've reported it ever since the beginning of Big Sur 11.2. Forget 11.2.1, 11.2.2, 11.3.4, and never mind 11.3. I get that things can't always be fixed from one version to the next, but ok, let's be realistic here. I know this isn't what a lot of you like hearing, but I don't sugarcote things... you all by now should know that. The truth is, at least for me, and for many others, it's getting way way way worse. It would be one thing, with all due respect to Apple, if the issues just stayed at their current broken status, it would be annoying, but whatever. I'd deal with it. But when every subsequent build seems to not just be getting worse, despite us all reporting things, but actually gets, way worse, key word here, way, worse, that's where I'm drawing the line.
During Install, AppleID Password entry is silent
After downloading and installing, the setup process prompts for your AppleID password. There is no audio feedback while entering that password, even though VoiceOver is enabled and otherwise functioning normally. This has been an issue for multiple recent Mac OS updates.
Please Tell Me More
I waited to update to Big Sur about a month ago. I am running 11.2.3. I exclusively use Alex. I have not seen this issue at all of voices speaking on top of each-other. You have me a little afraid to update to 11.3 as I don't want to start this happening on my system. Could you describe it in more detail? What exactly happens and what causes it to happen? If I'm lucky, maybe it occurs in circumstances that I don't often encounter but I'm starting to think that I may need to leave well enough alone for now and sit out this OS upgrade.
I can reproduce the voice issue
I normally use the Alison voice. I never have an issue with multiple voices talking at once.
As a test, I switched over to SIRI Voice 4, English. Then I navigated through this web page. Sure enough, every once in a while, multiple voices talk over each other.
If using Alex
You're not going to see this issue at all if you're using Alex. The only time it'll occur is when using the Siri voices as your default voice for Voiceover. As long as you intend to keep using Alex as your voice, you'll be just fine.
New braille bug
If you navigate over a text area with links and continue navigating after the last link, only the area before the link is displayed on the Braille display. Using the Mac with a braille display is therefore almost impossible if you want to work productively.
Issue with VoiceOver reading Safari articles in reader view
I've encountered this several times since upgrading to Big Sur 11.3.
Go to some news article in Safari, such as the first article at news.google.com or any new York Times article. Press Command+Shift+R to enter reader view. Begin reading a paragraph at a time with VO+Right Arrow.
After about a minute of reading, and typically when VoiceOver is in the middle of reading the current paragraph, suddenly VoiceOver focus jumps back to the top of the article.
Thanks for bringing this bug…
Thanks for bringing this bug to our attention; it has now been added to our bug tracker and reported to Apple. https://www.applevis.com/bugs/mac/using-voiceovers-say-all-command-read-webpages-unreliable
Interesting Issue with Voices
Hello. I don't think I posted this here yet but here goes. A rather interesting thing happened with the new voices. I did get additional ones, but most of them are compact and none of them are the 2 newest ones that I now have on my iPhone. I signed out of iCloud on my phone and then signed back in, but they're still not present. Not a big deal at all as I like it the way it is, but has this happened to anyone else on here? I'll have to help my sister check her Mac, as she and her tutor updated it last week. I'm also noticing VO speaking over itself but find it rather amusing, lol. I haven't had much time to play around with the other new stuff yet, but so far so good.
Re-appearance of old VO bug, and New bug with TextEdit
I sent the following message to Apple accessibility to report two bugs that I am experiencing. The first bug involves Voiceover randomly stopping speaking. The second involves incorrect reporting of text alignment in TextEdit. My email to Apple was as follows:
Since upgrading to Big Sir 11.3, I have noticed the re-appearance of an old bug, and the introduction of anew one.
First, Voiceover sometimes stops speaking but remains active. Only the voice stops but the sound effects remain. This happens randomly, and the only way to fix it is to turn VoiceOver off and on again with command F5. I used to have this problem on my 2013 MacBook Air, but it had not appeared on my new M1 MacBook Air, until I updated to 11.3. I am using the Alex full voice.
Secondly, I noticed a strange bug with TextEdit. When I try to centre align text using the Format menu or shortcut key (command vertical line), VoiceOver announces centred, but when I check the text with VoiceOver T, it is announced as right aligned. The opposite occurs with right alignment, where the text seems to be centred. Left alignment seems to work OK.
I hope I have explained these bugs sufficiently.
Please let me know if this is a known bug.
I wonder if anyone else is experiencing this.
The bug you talk about with VO not reporting formatting correctly definitely is there, and it's not just Text Edit. Almost everywhere I now try querying with VO+T, you may as well forget it! It just says left aligned, and doesn't even get the font size nor font family correct.
Does alignment issue go away on 11.3.1?
I could not reproduce the alignment issue after upgrading to 11.3.1. I tried both Textedit and Scrivener, and both apps report the correct font, size, and alignment with VO+T.
Funny you'd mention Scribiner
As that's exactly what I tried my testing with. Even in 11.3.1, it's still happening for me. Macbook Air Cilicon 13 inch 2020 model. By the way on another note, Siri voices still are speaking over the top of one another, and it's gotten even worse than in 11.3. I didn't think that was humanly possible, but I stand corrected. It is so.
Okay, I'm seeing it too
It's hard to reproduce. I can't seem to reproduce it if my paragraph is at the top of a document or preceded by a blank line. But if I'm in the middle of a document with text immediately above the current paragraph, then I'm able to reproduce it fairly regularly.
Wow, good point.
You know, you're right. That is when I'm mainly seeing it. That's really weird.
Text Alignment and VO Bug with 3.1
I still have this bug with 11.3.1. I only notice the problem with TextEdit. I tried entering and right aligning text in Pages, and it appears that VO reports the correct alignment. However, in TextEdit, VO still mixes up centre and right alignment.
Haven't noticed the bug where VO stops speaking since upgrading to 11.3.1 but this only happened sporadically. Therefore, not really sure if it is fixed yet.
VO Stops Speaking Bug
I thought that the upgrade to 11.3.1 fixed the VO bug where it randomly stops speaking. However, I was mistaken and it is happening regularly now. I contacted Apple Accessibility and sent them a system log. I am using a M1 MacBook Air with the Alex voice. Hopefully, Apple can diagnose this annoying problem.
It's a shame that apple…
It's a shame that apple doesn't do something about the decline in accessibility for the apple tv. Oh well that's why I don't use apple tv anymore. I don't have time for these complicated gestures that you have to do to make it accessible. quad tap this, turn that, tripple tap this, etc. who has time for that? it use to be simple like the IPhone and IPad, not sure what happened
SIRI voice feedback defaults to off?
Did anyone else discover that the 11.3 upgrade disabled SIRI voice feedback? Ask SIRI "Can you hear me?", and the SIRI notification windows opens in the upper right corner of the screen, but SIRI does not speak by default.
To enable it, go to System Preferences, SIRI, and press the Voice Feedback On radio button.
Most things you've reported, I've been able to reproduce, but this isn't one of them. I'm not seeing that here at all.
It's very strange. I can't imagine it's a setting I would have changed manually. I didn't even know this setting existed until I searched for it. Thanks for checking though.
Invert Colors issue for low vision VoiceOver users
The original release of Big Sur included a change to Invert Colors. A window now briefly appears, and VoiceOver announces the window, resulting in audible feedback whether screen colors are black on white or vice versa.
The presence of this window has several side effects for VoiceOver users. Though I immediately reported these issues to Apple accessibility, now that we're on 11.3.1 and nothing has changed, I thought I should summarize the issues here for posterity.
First, after the invert colors window goes away, VoiceOver announces the current app window. It is doing this only because the window stack has changed. Prior to Big Sur, invert colors did not change the window stack, so there was no need for VoiceOver to redundantly announce the current app after changing colors.
Second, while the invert colors window is present, it is impossible to interact with the current app. Granted, the window is present for a brief period of time. But consider if Safari is active, and you invert colors, and immediately want to jump to next heading. VoiceOver will announce "heading not found" until the invert colors window goes away. Remember, the current app hasn't changed. It's still Safari, and there are still headings to navigate to. You simply can't get to them until the invert colors window goes away.
The third situation is more complicated to explain, but is really the bigger issue. If you go to a web page and manually scroll down so that the VO focus element is no longer visible, then change the invert colors setting, the web page automatically scrolls back so that the VO focus element is visible, causing you to lose your place. This is a problem for low vision users who require color inversion for visual cues while searching for content, but then switch back to normal colors to view that content.
When I say invert colors, I mean classic invert. Smart invert is not a viable option because it will not invert images or videos of black text on a white background. Note that dark mode isn't an option either, as Safari and many other apps don't support dark mode.
As a fix, a simple checkbox in Settings that would allow me to disable this problematic window and restore pre-Big Sur behavior would be ideal.
Safari failure to load new page content
I've seen this enough now that I think I can finally describe what's happening and how to reproduce it.
In Safari, go to any page containing an article and switch to reader view using Command+Shift+R. Next, go to the address and search bar using Command+L, enter a question or search keyword, and press enter.
I expect the reader view article to go away and be replaced with the results of the search (I use google as my search engine, if this makes a difference). And, in fact, sometimes this does work.
However, occasionally, the search results to not appear. The reader view article is still displayed. In order to see the search results, do a refresh (Command+R).
This is not a simple matter of the search results taking abnormally long to load. Rather, it seems to be a bug or issue caused directly by the use of reader view.
Search bug in Preview
I am having an issue when I search PDFs in Preview. They all include text and this worked in previous OS versions. I can still read the PDFs using VoiceOver if I don't search, but here's what happens when I try entering a search term:
1. Enter search term. This usually causes a massive slowdown
2. Move VO cursor over to sidebar. Results are displayed correcctly and I can move from one to the next using up and down arrow keyes.
3. Navigate to document. Use VO+Shift+Down to enter PDF and then the selected page.
4. After a long period of "Preview busy," it says "content empty." It also stops responding and I have to force quit.
I've sent it in to Apple, but can anyone else chekc if this happens to them too? I am on Big Sur 11.3.1, by the way.
Finding in PDF
I didn't get the "preview busy" you describe in step 4.
However, I did get the "content is empty" message. When that happened, I pressed VO+F to see if VoiceOver could find the text I was searching for. Yes, it could - and after doing that, VoiceOver could navigate and read the document normally. Maybe this will serve as a workaround for you.