In this post I explain the importance of reporting accessibility-related bugs to Apple; and make a few suggestions for the best way to do so.
AppleVis is a great platform for talking about VoiceOver, braille, and low vision bugs - to confirm with others that what you are experiencing is actually a bug; to seek and share workarounds; or to simply vent the occasional frustration - but we also need to make sure that the Accessibility Team at Apple is aware of each and every bug so that they can fix them in a future software update.
It’s tempting to assume that somebody else will have reported the bug that you are encountering, or that Apple must surely already know about it. However, this may not always be the case. There is also the possibility that you can provide a specific piece of information that will help Apple's engineers to isolate and fix the cause of the problem. Lastly, the reality is that numbers do matter; the more people who report a specific problem, the more likely it is that Apple will allocate development time into finding a fix.
Accordingly, please do make a point of letting Apple know of any bugs that you find in any of its software. If it’s an accessibility-specific bug, the best way to do this is by sending an email to Apple’s Accessibility Team at email@example.com.
It is important that you provide enough information in your email for the Accessibility Team to be able to replicate the problem, so be sure to include the following:
- A brief description of the problem.
- State the frequency of the problem - for example, does it always happen, only sometimes, or very infrequently.
- Give details of the steps necessary to reproduce the problem.
- State what you would expect to happen after taking the steps above.
- Explain what actually happens after taking the steps above.
- Give details of the software and hardware that you are using.
This should be all that the Accessibility Team needs to know, but they will contact you if they need additional information.
As a general rule, it's good practice to send a separate email for each bug if you have more than one to report. Doing so makes it easier for Apple to log and track specific bugs and also reduces the possibility of any confusion.
Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you don’t get a response to your email. I can understand why people would want to at least receive an acknowledgement that the report had been received and that the problem is being investigated, but this doesn’t appear to be Apple’s normal practice. So, sit back, and accept that you would be happier that their time was spent working to find fixes and add new features rather than writing emails.
Apple does have a dedicated telephone number in the US for sight and hearing impaired users of their products, but email is their preferred option for getting information about accessibility bugs to the right people. However, if you are in the US and looking for help with using an Apple product, this is an option if you don’t have an Apple Store nearby. The telephone number is 877-204-3930.
If you want to provide feedback to Apple which isn’t specifically related to accessibility, you will need to use one of the feedback forms available on their website at www.apple.com/feedback.