A recipe for iOS 7: revolution with an access flavor

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

As we're approaching Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference which is to be held on June 10th, I thought I'd put together a list of the features I want to see included in iOS 7. After all, iOS 7 is to be unveiled there and everything points to an overhaul. Honestly, it's not really easy to suggest new access-oriented features for a well-polished operating system like the iOS as it already has advanced accessibility offerings. So, with that in mind, let's get started.

1. Please make sure accessibility isn't broken

Even the very mention of this might make some readers cringe. After all, Apple's iOS and its in-house apps have always been nicely accessible without any functionality compromises. Apple has proven that it's possible to integrate accessibility into the core of the operating system and get third-party developers on board without running the risk of lagging behind schedules or taxing developers with extra responsibilities. This is more important if we consider that Apple's competitor, Google, doesn't follow the same guidelines as far as accessibility is concerned -- take a look at this to see what I mean.

But as I mentioned earlier, iOS 7 most probably will undergo major changes and maintaining accessibility here and there will be more of a challenge this time around. Not that it's not doable; rather, it just requires more diligence.

2. The new capacitive Home Button

If we're to believe that the next iPhone is to use a capacitive Home button along with a fingerprint reader instead of the familiar physical Home button, it would be interesting to see how it's to be properly linked with VoiceOver. Essentially the visually impaired depend on this button to enable/disable VoiceOver, go to the App Switcher, move to the Home screen, etc. Not that these functions have been exclusively designed for VoiceOver users; rather, as the button has always been physical, Apple should take extra care not to break its ancillary functions.

3. A TTS upgrade on the horizon?

Let's face it: Apple is now providing Nuance's multilingual Vocalizer with the iOS free of charge -- including all of its important features such as automatic and manual language switching, on-the-fly rate modification, etc. However, to say that the TTS department doesn't need an upgrade is sort of an understatement.

First, I've never been able to get along with Vocalizer's US English voice, Samantha. It has a wide range of extra speech artifacts and strange intonation patterns which make listening to longer passages (such as books or articles) unbearable. Since no TTS engine can match the true multilingual status of Vocalizer, switching to something like, say, Ivona for its superior American English voices might not be feasible. However, Apple can now switch to the updated Vocalizer, Vocalizer Expressive. Nuance describes the engine this way:

Nuance's Vocalizer Expressive is a new generation of text-to-speech solutions that enriches the user experience with enhanced expressivity. Improved multilingual support and optimized readout of long text enable high quality speech output for a variety of applications ranging from automotive and consumer electronics to assistive technologies and industrial applications.

It now has more American English voices such as Ava which, to my ears at least, sounds better than Samantha. This updated engine is also available for NVDA as a commercial add-on.

Second, even if Compact voices are supposed to survive the iOS update, a better mechanism should be provided to manually download Premium voices. The current background downloading of these voices is murky at best. Also, one should be allowed to download two or three Premium voices; in other words, the "one Premium voice" limitation should be abolished to make reading in foreign languages easier.

Third, it's about time Apple introduced a pronunciation dictionary for its TTS engine. Now that we can access ebooks from a wide range of sources under the iOS umbrella, having to put up with commonly mispronounced words has become more than an annoyance.

4. A more efficient text input mechanism

Apple has purchased Syntellia, the company behind Fleksy for an undisclosed price! Wait, this is wishful thinking on my part. Also, in order for VoiceOver to be equipped with Fleksy as its global keyboard, there's no need for Apple to acquire Syntellia -- Fleksy can be licensed easily according to what its makers say. In short, as fantastic as Fleksy is, nothing like integration with VoiceOver can truly propel its overall usefulness.

5. Better text selection and highlighting

This is an area with which I stumble from time to time. Simply put, I can't easily select text in many apps like iBooks to use the built-in iOS dictionary. That is, it works but in many instances something else gets selected. I've seen it happen to other iOS users in iBooks, so its accuracy can be enhanced in iOS 7. BTW, many developers are of the belief that if they want to add VoiceOver-based text selection and highlighting in their apps for look-up purposes, they'd rather devise their own approach as taking advantage of VoiceOver's current approach is rather unreliable.

6. Offline voice typing

OK, this is not directly related to accessibility; but since I've seen its usefulness on Android I want it. With Android 4.1 and up, one can download the required files for offline voice typing and then perform voice dictation without being connected to internet. As trifling as it might sound, it can be a boon to one's typing capabilities -- it also makes voice typing faster.

7. Bug fixes would be equally helpful

To just name a few pestering ones:

  • Navigation by "heading" doesn't work consistently in many apps.
  • Focus no longer automatically moves to the main editable text box when using the Messages or the Email app.
  • Focus gets lost from time to time upon flicking left and right in many apps.
  • Navigation around the Results text box of Siri via word or line is cumbersome especially when Wolfram|Alpha is used to fetch results -- focus jumps to the beginning of the text box after a couple of tries.

Of course, the best place to see a comprehensive list of bugs on AppleVis is here.

In conclusion

So do you think I've omitted important or highly desired features in my list? If so, what access features do you want to see incorporated into iOS 7? If not, any thoughts on my own not-so-comprehensive feature list?

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27 Comments

#1 My two cents worth

Hi! Having read this blog post, I would like to post my comments on the suggestions above. I also hope that no accessibility will be lost with a complete revamp of IOS, including keeping the home button usable by the visually impaired, even if it changes to a non-physical button. Talking of which, would that mean having a non-functioning button on i-devices released before IOS 7? I admit I'm a bit confused about this home button thing, but maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily and we'll still have the good old physical button for a long time to come. I am definitely in agreement that the TTS for IOS could do with an upgrade, and Vocalizer Expressive would be a good choice for that. Ideally, it would be nice to have two voices to choose from for each language, but I imagine that's not possible due to space limits on i-devices: if it was, though, people wouldn't have to change to another version of English to avoid a voice they don't like so American users wouldn't be stuck with Samantha, British users wouldn't be stuck with Daniel, and so on, not to mention the fact that it would be nice for users of other languages, such as French or German, to have more than one voice to choose from for their language. Vocalizer Expressive still has some interesting pronunciation quirks, though, so I'm also in favour of there being a speech dictionary for VoiceOver, if that's doable: given the difficulties of selecting text with VoiceOver, though, selecting a word to change it in the speech dictionary might be a problem, unless it's programmed like speech dictionaries in screenreaders on the computer, where you type in the word you want to change the pronunciation of and how you'd like it to be pronounced. Finally, if it's true that the company which produces Fleksy has been purchased by Apple, I know there are plenty of blind IOS users who would love to see Fleksy becoming part of that operating system. However, Fleksy is not fully multilingual yet, so IOS users who don't use the languages Fleksy supports would be at a disadvantage. Sorry this comment is a bit long, but I wanted to post all the thoughts which sprang to my mind after reading this blog post, and there were plenty of them, as you have seen: I hope they make sense!

#2 Re: My two cents

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Very insightful comments, Clare. I very much like your TTS-related observations. As for Fleksy, it was my wishful thinking (as mentioned in the article itself) and Apple hasn't purchased the mother company. As for the Home button, I'm assuming that if the new iPhone comes with a capacitive, non-physical button, the previous functionality will be preserved for older iDevices. This is a rumor albeit an oft-quoted one.

#3 Cautiously Optimistic

I agree that foremost, I hope they don't break anything I have come to rely on. Further, having what is becoming an elderly iDevice, the iPod Touch 4, I hope that the new OS doesn't so tax its resources that it becomes unusable. For example, LookTel's Money Reader, once a flagship in my arsenal, is currently broken due to what the developer calls issues with the devices limited memory. While I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory that claims Apple purposely renders older devices' performance frustrating to promote new purchases, the reality is that software bloats to take advantage of current hardware. I will likely not jump on a new version of iOS until I know it will be an improvement for me. I think the addition of a TTS dictionary is warranted. While I have become accustomed to Samantha's quirks, I would appreciate being able to "fix" them. Alternative voices would be nice, but for me, the availability of voices within specific apps overcomes the problem of Samantha fatigue. I do little typing on my iPod, and I find the cut and paste options clunky. I would do much more if Flecksy was integrated across the operating system. This alone would likely push me to overcome my reservations and become a first day adopter.

#4 IOS7

hi. a few comments. firstly, the so called capacitive Home Button. all I can say is, I doubt its coming. this has been talked about, before almost every version of the iPhone, since about 4 years ago. lol. so I doubt its happening. it may do, but somehow I don't think so. simply because some of the special hard reset functions and so on, use this as part of the command. and its also used to enter DFU mode. however, even if it does come, I see no reason why it should effect voiceover in any way. now, as for voices, I agree, something to make reading long documents or books would be good. and having multiple high quality versions of voices should not be a problem. somebody talked of the lack of space being a problem. this simply isn't a reason. these voices aren't that big, and these devices have more then enough space these days. a dictionary for correcting pronunciation would be good. gets annoying having it say something wrong over and over. lol. As for the general point here, the overall accessibility, I don't think this will be changing. I mean, the hole point for apple, ever since they came in to being, was that they want everybody to have access to the computers. so I don't think they will throw us out. and besides, from what we know, most of the accessible side of things won't be changing. yes, IOS 7 will be changing, but a good part of that, is the graphics, and animation, not the base functions. yes, they will likely add new stuff, but generally speaking, even when they introduced new features before, they always made sure that an accessible version of the commands and functions was made available.

#5 Re: IOS7

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Thanks, Dallas O'Brien, for your comments. With the buzz Vocalizer Expressive has generated, I hope it can be integrated into iOS 7. Nuance has always provided the latest speech-related enhancements to Apple, so we shouldn't see an exception this time either. As for the capacitive Home button, the rumor mill is working much more rigorously this time. Also, as Google and some Android manufacturers have demonstrated ( the Nexus 4 is a good example), a capacitive Home button can take over the functions of its physical counterpart; so that shouldn't be much of an issue for Apple.

#6 Vocalizer Expressive voice sample

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In case you're interested in checking how US English Vocalizer Ava sounds, download this short audio file. Samantha apparently has a worthwhile competitor, eventually!

#7 Voice

wow, that really is a good voice. their getting good now. most of them i still don't like cause they have odd little sounds in the speech, but that one is very good. i want voices like that for my iphone now. ahahah

#8 if they use vocalizer expressive, I won't upgrade

I am trilingual, and must say that the Spanish and Chinese in the new vocalizer expressive are truly terrible. The spanish isn't all that bad, although their Colombian voice Carlos sounds way too excited about everything, but Chinese, at least in the mandarin department is pretty bad. For mainland China, the voice seems to jump on simple characters (check the numbers 2 and 5). For mandarin Taiwan, my preferred dialect, the voice sounds like it would if someone pulled back their lips a bit and the person was talking with a formal/unnatural tone. These voices are so important to me that I would not upgrade if my choice was changed to them. By the way, I consider the voice Ava to sound unnaturally happy, while Samantha(with annoying artifacts) at least maintains a neutral tone.

#9 Expressive Voices

I am pretty sure that Apple will include the new expressive voices in iOS 7. Remember that these voices are not only used for VoiceOver, IOS's most publicized feature, Siri, uses them too. In fact, I would go as far as saying that the recent announcement of these new voices, so close to WWDC, is no coincidence. Many people think that Siri Sounds too robotic, and Google Now has been sounding quite good lately, Apple is surely trying to do something about that!

#10 Premium Vocalizer Voices

Hello, I don't think Apple will allow us to download more than one premium Vocalizer voice, and I can understand the reason why they wouldn't. Vocalizer uses a lot of space on the iPhone, Mac, and pretty much, any other system you're using it with. Giving the user the ability to download more Vocalizer on their iPhones will only make them run low on storage. They allow this on Macs, because they contain more storage than the mobile devices. Technically, Apple could allow this on devices which have 64 GB of storage and or the 128 GB iPad. Knowing how Apple does things, they will probably not do that for those devices, because then, they'll have an advantage over the 16 and 32 GB devices.

#11 Re: Expressive Voices

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

That's also my guess, Robert. It remains to be seen which US English Expressive voice finds its way into iOS 7 -- the new Ava or the old Samantha.

#12 voices

hi, ... um, ... take a lot of space? after downloading the premium voice for australia, it didn't really use up a huge amount of storage. certainly not enough that your going to notice, if you had 2 or three voices installed. most of these voices these days, are only about a few hundred megs. not really huge, when even the smallest of the devices has 16 gb. but shouldn't it be down to the user choice, if they want to fill their device with voices, and use up their space? why should apple decide that we shouldn't be able to. as per usual with apple, taking away options, for no apparent reason.

#13 Home button

Hi, I certainly hope they don't remove the home button on the iPhone. We would have no physical reminder of where to touch if there was no button. Using a touchscreen is one thing, but to have no button at all is another. At least we know which ones are the sleep/wake button, volume buttons, silence switch and home button. I think we need to have some tactile feedback with these buttons. What if voiceOver was not working for some reason? You wouldn't be sure if you pressed the button or something was wrong with voiceOver. Just my opinion. What does everyone else think?

#14 Re: Home button

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Nice points, Alana. What you say definitely makes sense from the access point of view. Of course, removing the physical Home button means one major source of iPhone repairs will go away. That'll increase the life of iDevices but. Yet again, having a physical Home button is both reassuring and comforting.

#15 Accessibility improvements

Thanks for your comment regarding the home button. I think there could be more improvements example the implementation of a pronunciation dictionary. Also, I would like an option of customising the 2-finger double-tap, sometimes my iPhone plays music when I don't want it to.

#16 My thoughts after reading

Firstly the removal of the physical home button would't be a problem, at least it shouldn't be. Yeah it would definitly feel weird and will take some getting used to but so did the iPhone in the first place. Secondly i have never used the dictionary and have now idea how accissable it is, i don't even know where it is. As for voices i would like another british voice because its to robotic and i can't use it. Those are some of my thoughts i can't put them all because i hate typing long texts on the iPhone and i don't have a keyboard.

#17 iPhone touchscreen

I agree the iPhone took time in getting used to. I was sceptical at first, but when I heard both the actual use in practice and the success my blind friends were having, I decided it was worth the effort in learning how to use one, plus I would save money in not bbuying software for accessibility like I did with my previous phone. I still prefer a keyboard, especially for texts, but with my BrailleNote I have a choice between the touchscreen and the keyboard of the BrailleNote. Some things such as web browsing are easier on a laptop, but I think Apple have done an excellent job for a mainstream device.

#18 bug fix with heading navigation is most important fix for me

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I'm a big user of Safari, and I really hope that Apple will fix the navigation by headings bug. It's also an issue in the contacts app and several others. As for the discussion of different TTS functionality, it would be nice to have options, and as one poster has already pointed out, the voices aren't big enough to really cause an issue with newer devices. Why should we be limited to one premium TTS option? Finally, regarding the Home button being no longer a physical button, I do agree that this is just a rumor, one that has been around since the iPhone 4 has been in development back in 2010. We'll just have to wait until June 10th to see what happens before we can really comment with any sort of educated speculation.

#19 agreed, the bug needs to be fixed

I agree, the headings bug needs to be fixed. I've personally emailed accessibility@apple.com about it numerous times as well as calling the customer service phone number. Hopefully it will be fixed. I actually would prefer a much smaller home button or none at all. We could maybe use something like a swipe across the edges of the screen like android or press and hold two fingers down until voiceover comes on. That way, Apple could have a bigger screen without making the phone bigger. I would also prefer wireless headphones in some way. Its 2013, and we still have to be tethered to the phone with a cord? Even if it uses battery, its worth it just to have an official apple headset or earbuds without wires.

#20 Good point about the headphones, but ...

The previous poster made a good point when saying it would be good to have wireless headphones to go with our i-devices rather than the wired earbuds which are provided when we get the device. However, I wish to remind you all that i-devices can be used with bluetooth headphones: I often use my bluetooth headset with my iPhone 4S, but I keep the wired earbuds around for those times when, for whatever reason, a bluetooth headset isn't suitable.

#21 My thoughts

Club AppleVis Member

Well, since it seems like everyone else is including their thoughts on the potentials for iOS7, here goes. Good idea on the pronunciation dictionary. Love the idea of the new Vocalizer Expressive voices in the iPhone, although Ava would not be my first choice. She sounds like I imagine Samantha would after a Pink Floyd album and a few puffs of a certain leafy substance. I am personally in favor of the Allison voice. If I find a sample of her voice again, I will post a link to it. As for headphones, you are right that there are Bluetooth headphones; however, I find that Bluetooth tends to chew through battery life pretty fast. Other than that, agree with all points made in the original blog. Actually, here's a link to a page of voice samples in English. You can find other language links on this page as well. Some of the samples are a little over the top, but the general voice quality gets through. Since Loquendo is now, I believe, part of Nuance, these voices should be available. http://www.loquendo.com/en/demo-center/tts-demo/english/ Thoughts?

#22 Re: My thoughts

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Good observations, Sockhopsinger. Though I do prefer Ava to Samantha, it also seems to me that Allison sounds more neutrally-toned compared with Ava -- Ava is a bit jubilant. Of course, in terms of tone-neutrality nothing beats Ivona female US English voices. At any rate, whatever voice replaces Samantha (with its odd speech quirks and intonation problems), I'd be a happy camper!

On a different topic, it's worth mentioning that FleksyBeta has been released for Android and, a couple of issues aside, blind Android users are celebrating. As Fleksy can be used as a global keyboard with Android, they do have a right to enjoy the experience. IMO, this is an excellent opportunity for Apple to make Fleksy part of VoiceOver in order for it to become available in each and every app -- if desired.

#23 Contacts navigation

One thing I believe needs fixing is the navigation in contacts. Sometimes when I navigate by letter in contacts such as going to a contact starting with b, sometimes the iPhone will say h. Any way to fix that or is that another bug in iOS? If it is, I hope Apple fixes it.

#24 Will we all get IOS 7 anyway?

It would be great to have all the improvements that have been mentioned here when IOS 7 comes along, but, after what I heard the other day, I wonder if everyone will get IOS 7: a friend told me she'd heard that only people with the iPhone 5 or the newest generation of iPod or iPad will get IOS 7, and that those of us with an iPhone 4S or any other older i-device will remain on IOS 6. I am aware that there have recently been some updates for the newer devices which the older ones didn't get, but has anyone else heard that older i-devices won't get IOS 7? I'm rather sceptical about what my friend told me, given that older i-devices could be updated to both IOS 5 and IOS 6, but I'd still be interested to know if anyone else reading the comments on this blog post has heard anything similar to what my friend told me. Speaking for myself, I think it's pretty unlikely that this is anything but a rumour my friend heard somewhere, and this rumour seems unlikely to be true judging from my own knowledge and experience of IOS upgrades: I sincerely hope I'm right, as I want to make my own choice about when to upgrade my iPhone, rather than being forced to do so to get an IOS upgrade.

#25 not quite

Hi, your friend is partly correct. the iPhone 3GS for example, will not be getting it. here is the info of what IOS devices will be supported as far as we know at this point. iPhone 4 and later, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini so basically, no iPhone 3gs, no iPad 1, and no iPod touch 4th Gen. other then that, it will work on iPhone 4, 4s, 5, and what ever the next Gen one will be. how ever, there will be limits as to how many of the new features will be available to you in anything less then an iPhone 5. for example, air drop, will only be on iPhone 5's. not on 4s's or 4's. hope this helps clarify things a little. Dallas

#26 Everyone please read

Hi. Here is a list of bug reports and feature requests I got from other blind people and put together into one email. IOS 7 is coming out in a few days, so I think it is too late for new suggestions, but we can always still send ideas to apple, because there is always iOS 8. Or maybe if not in iOS 7.0, then maybe a later version of 7.x. I have already sent this email to apple, but I do not think they will listen to just one person. So everyone please read the below email and if anyone likes it then please copy paste it and send it to apple. The more people send it, the more likely apple are to act on these requests. If you want you can copy paste just parts of the email and send them or just copy paste the whole email and send it. You can also send it as it is worded now or if you want you can reword it or take out ideas you don't like or put in something you want, but is not in here yet. Please only send the below email to apple, do not send the part you are reading now. In other words, do not send what you have read so far. You can send what you are about to start reading now. The email starts now. Hello Apple. I have talked to other blind and visually impaired people and we have come up with a list of things we would like to see in iOS 7 and I am sending you this email on their behalf. Please note that there are pieces of different emails that were sent by a bunch of people and then I joined all the emails into one big email and took out the message headers and footers so that nobody's email addresses or names are shown, so if when you are reading this email the conversation seems to switch from one topic to another to another then that is why. This is just a big list of things that people have said they want to see in iOS 7 including new feature requests as well as bugs that need to be fixed. I have tried not to change the way they worded there suggestions because I did not want to misinterpret what they were saying and end up giving you the wrong message. Also, some of the people who contributed to this list do not know english that good, so if something is worded strangely, that is why. Some of the things we are asking for are specific to accessibility of iOS to blind and visually impaired people. However, most of it would also benefit people who can see as well. Some of the things we are asking for will not work on all devices because of hardware limitations, but please try to implement them on the devices that will support them. For example, the features we are asking for that have to do with vibrating will only work on the iPhones, not the iPods or iPads because iPods and iPads do not have vibrate motors. Please read our suggestions and try to include some or if possible all of them in iOS 7. This email will be kind of long, but we would appreciate if you would take the time to read it. If I have sent this email too late and you do not have enough time to implement these things in iOS 7.0 then please try to implement them in later versions of iOS 7 or iOS 8. The list of everyone's ideas starts now. Hi everyone. A second slider in timer so we can set times like 1 minute and 30 seconds. More options for auto lock and passcode lock times. There should be a wider range of times for auto screen lock as well as a wider range of times for how long the screen can be locked before you have to enter your passcode to unlock it. The range of time options in the settings should grow both shorter and longer then they are now. Alarms sync across devices with iCloud so if you set, change or delete an alarm on one device, then what you did on one device happens on your other devices. Also on the iPhone when the alarm rings it both vibrates and rings regardless of what the mute switch is set to. There should be options to just ring, just vibrate or both. Apps sync across devices with iCloud so one example would be if you tag a song with Shazam on one device the tag shows up on your other iCloud devices and if you delete a tag on one of your iCloud devices the tag is deleted from your other iCloud devices. Those are my ideas. Thank you. Hi. That clicking noise VoiceOver makes when you are trying to type a password is not helpful because if you find the letter or number you want to enter and then accidentally move your finger without knowing it and lift it up on a different letter or number, then all you get is a click and you have no way to tell you typed the letter wrong until you try to log on and it fails. So it would be good if there was an option to have VoiceOver click for password fields like it does now or to speak what you type like it does when you are in normal text fields like in an email or text message. Thanks. Ability to sync folder and page structure across devices with iCloud so if you move an app or folder on one device the change is mirrored on your other devices. A setting you can turn on or off where if you delete an app on one device it is deleted from your other devices. All the sounds the iOS devices make should be able to be changed. Sounds like the lock and unlock sounds you would be able to here with or without voiceover as well as the sounds you only here when voiceover is running like the sound you here when you double tap something or the sound you here when you turn the rotor should all be able to be changed and replaced with any sound file a user finds and wants to use instead of the default sounds. You could click on a file in an email attachment and one of the options would be open in sound changer menu or something. Then you could pick which sound the attachment should be used for. Then the sound changer menu would also have a setting to return the settings to defaults incase someone wanted to go back to default sounds. Also when you flip the mute switch on an iPhone or iPad you get all the sounds off or all the sounds on. There should be a setting to turn off normal sounds and turn on voiceover sounds or turn off voiceover sounds and turn on normal sounds or turn them all on or turn them all off. This is because sometimes we want to use voiceover and we want to be able to here the device ring when we get a call, message or email, but we do not want to here all the clicking when we swipe and double tap and all the stuff you have to do with voiceover. There are other times where we are in a quiet place and we do not want our devices making any noise. There also should be longer text and reminder tones and shorter ring tones. for example, all the text tones are short and all the ring tones are long. I always here my phone ring, because it rings longer and there is more time for me to notice it. However, when I get a text or email, I most times do not here it because the tone does not ring for long enough for me to notice someone is trying to get a hold of me. So if the text tones, mail tones and ringtones could be used interchangeably with each other then that would be very good! The volume for voiceover speech, voiceover sounds, normal sounds, text tones, mail tones, ringtones, reminder tones, alarms and calendar alert tones should all be able to be set at different volumes from each other independent from each other. Setting the volume for a specific sound to 0 would turn that sound off and turning it to 10 or 100 or whatever the highest number was would turn the sound up as much as it would go up. We can already pick different mail, text and ringtones for each contact. We should also be able to set different volumes for each sound on each contact. Ability to pick a portion of a song to play as a voiceover sound, normal sound, text tone, mail tone, ringtone, reminder tone, alarm or calendar alert tone. pick a different sound for each alarm. Ability to use the open in feature to open a sound from a mail attachment, dropbox or other app and set it to be used for a sound in other apps. That way, we could change the ringtone for incoming skype calls and the beep for outgoing skype calls, change the sound we hear when we hit the talk button in Zellow, and change game sound effects and lots of other neat stuff. Ability to open a ringtone sent as an attachment in an email and import it to the ringtones folder so it can be used as a ringtone or alert tone without having to use iTunes. Ability to click on a song sent as an email attachment and import it into the music app without using iTunes. Ability in Safari to download songs and import them to the music app without using iTunes. Ability to use dates, days and times to set do not disturb. For example, iOS already has an option where you can pick what time of day do not disturb is active, but you can only set one time frame and you can not specify what days of the week it is on for. Right now, when you set a time frame for do not disturb to be active, it is active during that time frame all 7 days of the week. It would be good if we could set it to be active for example on week days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on weekends to be active from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm or active on weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and not active at all on weekends. Ability to change the sound you here after you press the send button on an iMessage or text message. Ability to put ringtones on without using iTunes. Ability to turn vibration off for alarms. Option in lost mode to have the phone turn off and on so that the battery will last longer and the device can still be tracked. Pick how long the device stays on for and how long it stays off for. In reminders, the option to have a reminder repeat more then once a day and be able to pick when it repeats. For example, repeat the reminder every 15 minutes until it is marked completed, repeat the reminder every 3 hours until it is marked completed or repeat the reminder every 1 hour and 30 minutes until it is marked completed. There would be second, minute, and hour sliders the user could use to set how often each reminder was repeated. Let app developers incorporate there keyboards into iOS. For example, the Fleksy keyboard, the Braille Touch keyboard and any other apps that have keyboards. It would be nice if you could switch to and from them anywhere in iOS, just like what you can do with the keyboard in the Emoji keyboard app from Awesomest Inc that we can get on the app store. For reminders: being able to change sounds on a per item basis. Fix the repeat text message not working bug. A setting where you can pick which apps require a passcode and which ones do not so that if you have a few private apps on your device that you do not want people to see, but you are ok with other people seeing your other apps, then you can just passcode protect the apps you want to passcode protect and not have to lock up your whole device. That way you do not need to enter your passcode as often. You only need to enter it to open apps that you locked with a passcode. Ability to set different passcodes for different apps so that if you want person a to be able to access some apps on your device and you want person b to be able to access some other apps that are different then the apps you want person a to access, then you can give person a and person b different passwords. Use location services or the home wifi network to remove the device passcodes when you are at home and to require passcodes when you leave home. Have an option in settings where all your apps are listed with an on off button beside them so you can switch on and off cellular data on a per app basis. That way if you do not have enough cellular data on your plan for all the apps you have on your device, then you can just let your important apps use cellular data and have the other ones work on wi/fi only. For example, you could have Zellow working on cellular data or Wi Fi but switch cellular data for Skype and Face Book off so they only worked on Wi Fi. Also, there is a bug where when you turn your iPhone off and back on then the emails are fetched and pushed to the phone even if fetch and push are both off. This can also be a waste of cellular data if the iPhone has no wifi connection to connect to when it starts up so this bug needs to be fixed so that if fetch and push are both off then no email is downloaded when the phone starts up. It would be super good if we were able to open email attachments like .doc or ..docx or .txt or .pdf or any other kinds of files that contain text with the mail app and then copy the text in the email attachment to the system clipboard so it can be pasted into other apps. Ability to open apps in the doc when you have a folder open. Ability to put folders inside folders so that there can be subfolders. unlimited number of apps in a folder. Get rid of the page limit so people can have as many pages of apps as they want. IOS already has a setting where you can pick which email folders are pushed to your device. There should also be that option for fetch mail. A wi fi data counter to go with the cellular data counter that iOS already has. A data alert that you can set to tell you when you have used or are about to go over a user specified amount of Wi Fi or cellular data. Let the user pick how often there devices fetch for mail with minute, hour, day, week, month and year sliders instead of just the 15 minute, 30 minute or 1 hour options. For some users, 15 minutes may be too long or 1 hour not long enough. Use data for just hotspot, just apps, both or none. custom vibrations to be shared with other people who use iPhones. Right now I need to make a different vibration for each of the people in my contacts, but if we could share vibrations, everyone who needs a large number of custom vibrations but does not want to spend hrs and hrs making them can just go find some that they like that someone else already made. So, once we make a vibration pattern and give it a title, a pop up comes up and asks us if it is ok if we share the pattern we just made with other iPhone users. If we say no then the pattern is not sent out to other people, and if we say yes then it is uploaded to an Apple server and other iPhone users can search for it by its title and download it for use on there own iPhone. Change order of emails setting so they can be viewed from newest to oldest or oldest to newest. On/ off setting for if the iPhone should broadcast the name of the hotspot and allow other devices to connect to it when the screen is locked or not. On/ off setting for if Bluetooth devices should be able to auto connect when the screen is locked or not. Option for what to do when alarm times and do not disturb times conflict. For example, the options could be override do not disturb and ring the alarm or reminder, ring the alarm or reminder when it was scheduled to ring or ignore the alarm or reminder all together or ring the alarm or reminder when the do not disturb time ends. Also, the user could set a different option for each alarm and reminder so they are only bugged by the most important things and left alone by the more minor things when do not disturb is active. iOS devices should be able to automatically take actions on emails based on user specified rules. For example, move an email from the inbox folder to the spam folder or from the spam folder to the inbox folder based on who it is from or how often the person sends emails. There should also be an option to automatically move all emails to the user specified folder regardless of who they are from or how often the person sends emails or any other rules. It would also be nice if there were options for automatic deleting emails. There could be delete all read emails after a user specified amount of time, delete all unread emails after a user specified amount of time or delete all emails regardless of if they have been read or not after a user specified amount of time. The user would specify the time using minute, hour, day, week, month and year sliders. Then they could be moved to the trash folder or just skip trash and be deleted all together. All changes the device makes to emails would be mirrored on the email server when possible, for example when an iMap email account is being used. Hi. I like the option that iOS has where you can look at the inboxes for all your email accounts at the same time. It would be nice if there was also an option to look at your other email folders in the same way. For example, look at all your trash folders across all your accounts at once or look at all your spam folders across all your accounts at once just like you can do with the inboxes. However, the option to look at folders on a per account basis should not be taken out. The user should be able to pick if they look at a certain folder for just one account or look at that folder in all accounts. When you update an app on one device, have it automatically update on all your other devices on the same Apple ID. When you download an app on one of your devices, have an option to send that app to your other devices or not to send it. Ability to use one iOS device to turn off and on and set up accessability features on another iOS device when they are both connected by bluetooth or on the same wi fi network. That way, if a person has 2 iDevices and there accessibility features on one of there iDevices is accidentally turned off or reset to factory defaults, then they can turn them back on with there other iDevice without having to ask someone else for help. Another thing to add to the list is that it would be good if we could download an app for a day or week or something to try it to decide if we wanted to buy it or not. At the end of the time, a message would come up and ask if you wanted to buy the app or not and if you say no then it will be deleted from your device and you can not trial download it again. you have to buy it if you want to download it for a second time. That way, we do not end up stuck with apps that do not work with VoiceOver or that we thought we would like, but do not. Hello, I'm jumping in here a little late. I think the mail app should have the ability to attach any type of file to an outgoing message. Filters would also be great. The option to tell Seri which app in a specific category to use. For example, I have the native Reminders app and the Alarmd app. I currently cannot tell Seri to use Alarmd as opposed to Reminders. Maybe i don't know about some setting that I need since no one mentioned the major improvement I would like to see. Every time I use a back button the focus of Voice Over returns to the top of the list instead of returning to the previous link, or email, or item in a list or whatever I had opened. Then it takes numerous swipes to get back down the list of whatever to check out the next item. Is there a setting in voice over to make it return to the current list item that you are backing out of? I am spoiled with Jaws being good about focusing on the correct item when returning to a page or list. I find this focus problem when backing out to be the hardest and most time consuming problem I have dealing with Voice Over. Am I doing something wrong or is this the way it is set up? Realted to this in iPad mailer for example, the scrub gesture for backing out doesn't seem to work; I have to go look for the button to back up a level; though to be fair, the sidebar still has the righti tem highlighted as the last one you look4ed at, though like you say, focus isn't on it and you have to go feel all over the screen for it. No better using keyboard either. So yes, more navigational consistency over all native apps at the very least. Thanks. Are you referring to any particular applications? For example, in Feedler RSS and TiVo, my place always gets saved. Well, I believe this is application dependent. I use some apps to read regional news and in one of them when i go back from article to the news list the focus stays on that article header and Voice Over says "Selected". However, it's a rare case but I believe that this problem should be solved by app developers, not VO. It isn't as clear to me that this is always a problem for the app developers to solve. In the cases where the apps have a concept of focus then I think you're probably right. In the cases where the app doesn't have a concept of focus, but a blind person using VO would like to keep their position, then this may need to be solved by VO. The only analogy I can think of off the top of my head is the keeping on one's place on a web page. I think screen readers like JAWS keep track of your place on a web page, but I don't think the browser does, since the screen reader is the only application here with a concept of where the blind person is on the page. Well, you're probably right. I'm not programer so I have limited knowledge how apps and screen reader interacts. I don't want to go off topic here so I'll just give the short description how the Jaws deals with web pages. If I use Backspace to go back it reloads the whole page from the top with auto refresh option. If I go back using Alt + left it comes back on the last item viewed but I still need to hit on CTRL to prevent auto refresh. And to go back on actual topic, perhaps the Apple should release some guidelines on accessibility standards for app developers. If they bother with certification of apps for AppStore they certainly could ask for compatibility and usability with Voice Over to get the certificate. Maybe something to stop face dialing when you are trying to talk on a call. I know why it happens, but it sure can be anoying, especially when dealing with other noises around you and trying to concentrate on your conversation. Hi, that is what the procsimity sensor is for. If you are having issues of that kind you need to make sure that sensor is covered by your ear, or if it is and you still have this issue I would suggest taking it to get checked by apple if you have apple care. A feature request that I've already made to Apple is for the Rotor to be smarter about remembering our rotor position as it pertains to the focused item. Now, the rotor often changes us from Llinks on a web control to characters on a non web control. It would be nice if the rotor would remember that for web controls our last rotor setting was links in this example. Then when we switch to a non web control, it would remember that we were navigating by words. Then if we switch back to a web control, we are still on links, not words or characters. This smart history of the rotor would save me loads of time switching through the rotor across apps and controls. A good example is when completing an online form using Safari. We may be editing some text in the form control, but accidentally end up in the web control, and need to relocate our form field. Once back in the form field, it would be nice if we were still navigating by the proper element. Other requests include: Remembering screen curtain settings across VO sessions. VO no longer remembers our screen curtain setting. This is a regression. As pointed out, hard resetting iPhone resets accessibility settings. This is a show stopper for us users of VO and accessibility features. This is also a regression and should be fixed ASAP. I agree, and as far as I know, the rotors settings are remembered in OS 10, so I don't see why they couldn't be in iOS. Sorry, but just an observation. I would love to see an option with VO to hear sounds play rather than hearing text descriptions for elements e.g. links, buttons, text fields, etc. This is much like the JAWS feature of Speech and Sounds Manager where we can assign sounds to play for certain control types. This would be a great addition to the VO toolkit. While we are making our christmas List, we may as well ask for OCR on graphic controls. This would help us, particularly with unlabeled elements. How about we ask for custom labels to be shared across the VO community. Right now I need to label every unlabeled element on every app, but if we could share labels, everyone using VO could benefit from everyone else's custom labels. So, once we label controls in an app, those labels are uploaded to an Apple server somewhere, where they are pushed out to other VO users with the same app. This could save loads of time for us when making apps more usable. I agree on almost everything but I think that last Christmas wish should be on every user convinience. For example, you and I may not label the buttons the same and we both have some sort of individual scheme for labeling buttons and perhaps I won't like your way or you won't like mine. The effort should retain on convincing the developers to follow some accessibility standards. Yes I see what you mean. So I think there should be a place in settings general accessability where all the apps are listed with an on/off button to turn receiving other peoples labels for each app off or on. And if it is on and more then one person has labels, then there should be a list so the person can pick who's labels to try and if they do not like them then they can try someone else's labels. If it is off then the person can just make there own labels. Also, when someone makes labels for an app, there should be a pop up asking if it is ok for the labels to be sent to other VoiceOver users or not. I want a lot of things as I remember I will be informing. Here they are: 1 Since reading in viber is a bit tedious, I need the option when calling a person to have choices like: call mobile, call viber, call tango etc. 2. I need apple to put the eloquence tts synthesizer included in Voice over, it is much faster. 2. Why doesn't apple put in the coming iOS the answer and decline buttons at the bottom left and right to the home key since there is nothing on the screen? it would be much faster to either answer or decline a phonecall. 3. I also need the bluetooth feature to be present for sending or receiving songs. commonality between all apps with many entries contacts, email, notes, phone and messages, etc so all have a means of tag and mass delete with only a single confirmation for the lot. A delete all button is useful too, if only in junk/trash, or the like. Even Windows has this! In email, the compose button in the iPad version only shows when there are messages showing this is counter intuative, the compose button should be omni present in a mailer. I would like them to get rid off the bug in voiceover where when you turn it off and back on again it goes to your default voice rather than the one you've chosen to use. Hi! And I'd also add a thing or two. First and the most important to me is option to disable Voice Over clicks so I don't have to mute all phone sounds. I realise that they are useful to beginners but more experienced users should have a option to disable it. 2. This is happening from IOS v6.x. If you're not using the same telephone and VO language and it's my situation because there's no Croatian TTS there are a few bugs, I'd say. When you restart the phone or just Voice Over it resets to the default values for language and volume. So, in my case, it goes back to American English Heather which is the default voice and turns the volume to 70% and I need to set it back to my preferences each time I restart VO. There's also a problem when speaking function keys or screen tips. VO speaks almost everything in Czech language I use as a substitute for Croatian but when it needs to read screen tips and some other function things it speaks with English voice and it's very frustrating when Heather tries to read Croatian words. 3. In accessibility there is a option for color inverting. It's nice and it suits my sight condition but it's useless to me because it inverts everything includin color on pictures and icons than they look ridiculous. There should be a accessibility color themes for high contrast which would affect menus and buttons but keep the graphics intact. 4. The Text Size feature in Accessibility affects only written text, it doesn't affect buttons, labels, headings and lots of other text on the screen. This one should be expanded to more screen elements. 5. The option to automatically put the conversation on speakerphone when you move the phone away from your ear has to be disabled or offered as an option. I went nuts this morning because of it, grrr. 6. And the last one considering accessibility is the answering and hanging calls. It should be implemented somehow that you can use Power and Home buttons on older devices. Ehh, wile I was writing the last one, another came up. A setting for saving the language, volume and speed for each application would be nice. Sometimes I use TTS at lower speed sometimes on higher. I read in my native language but I also read in English so a feature for memorizing my preferences for individual apps would be really great. And few things more which are general and not considering accessibility. First of all, they have to bring back contact groups and I can't believe why did they get rid of them in the first place. 2. There should be atleast period and comma on the main letter virtual keyboard. If they could add at and period to the keyboard when writing an email address, they certainly could add these two elementary punctuation symbols to the main keyboard. It's frustrating to switch keyboards everytime you need to put the comma or end the sentence you're writing. OK, above are some things and ideas which crossed my mind since I started to use iPhone. Also please suggest the following to apple for the coming iOS 7: 1 to let the iPhone vibrate when it is switched on after switching it off on battery as on electricity. 2. someone told me that while reading messages he was unable to read the message word by word when routing to words. The first time he reads word by word he is taken to the links inside the message. Also if there is a a mobile number inside the message it is detected as a link. Till now here are all what I have. As I said if I know about anything else, I'll post here. I've noticed that sometimes my phone will switch between text messaging and IMessaging for the same person. I don't know what causes this so don't know if an upgrade to the OS will fix this. I agree that group messaging should be brought back. That is all I can think of right now. Hi, this will happen if that person has an iPhone as well. Some people enable iMessaging and turn it off others that is why this occurs. Right, I know that. The thing is, my friend doesn't have access to wifi and he can't receive messages on his IOS device. I managed to get the phone to redirect the messages back to his cell by manually typing in the number. Hi there, baddly neading, contact groups, group mesijjing, makeing folders for mesijs, and mark all messijs and email's and dileet them, thanks. I would like to see them allow people to change the out going text message sound to something else. When I am in a noisy environment I sometimes can not hear if the message went through. you can go to messages and it should say if it's delivered. This is true but don't really want to take that other step if you could change the sound you wouldn't have to. Why don't you change the sound yourself? there's other's that are louder in the sounds. Because he can't. Some of the sounds can be changed and some can't. That one is one of the ones that can't be changed. He could change the incoming text tone sound he hears when he gets an iMessage or text message, but that is not what he wants to do. He wants to change the outgoing message sound you here after pressing send on an iMessage or text message. I said I wish they would allow us to change that sound. As of now you can not change that sound. Hello, If I had a say, I would like to see a option that you could put in the roter to disable and turn back on text messaging. Thanks. Yes, that's what I noticed too... While you're in a call the whole message alert plays and Voice Over reads the notification. I don't know right now is it possible to mute the sound with volume buttons and is it smart to disable the text notification in notification center... Just leave the badge with numbered new items.. I think this one is on individual preference basis. Well, when I am on a call, text messages come through, and it is very annoying to have to hear that while on the call. It would be nice to be able to turn them off while on the call, and then back on when you are done. Currently, you can not turn them off at all. Oh well that happens in every phone not only iPhones. In android at least on the galaxy s3 I own there is an option that is enabled which just gives you a beep like if you had an in coming call maybe something like that could be implemented on iOS. I frequently end up muting VO while on a call to avoid hearing the incoming text message notifications. I would like to see an option like that of android: a choice for automatic updates for applications. A setting, for instance, can be made to whether or not specify if the user wants an automatic update for a certain application or all of them. Hi, This is not related to VO users only, but my concern with the current release is the issue in identifying callers or SMS senders. In other words, if one of my contacts sends me SMS, I cannot identify who the sender was, because instead of the name, it is his/her mobile number with prefix which appears. I tried to edit the contact, so that I added the persons's mobile number including the prefix, but what happened then was that SMS messages displayed sender's name, but I could not identify the person when he/she called me. Hi, I've never had this kind of issues if you are writing the persons name down it should read in both phone calls and messages unless you aren't labeling in the right fields. Hi again, I am sure I am labeling in the right field, but it reads the name or the phone number depending if I have saved the person?s name including the country code or only as dialed locally. Since the last update (I am using the latest iOS with iPhone 4s), when one of my contacts calls me, the iPhone displayhs his/her name, but if that person sends me SMS, it displays only the number, including the country code. I have tried to save some of my contacts' numbers by adding the contry code, but then their names were displayed only when they sent SMS, but when calling only the number was displayed. I've had weirder. I've had where my phone will Remove entire contacts so that people I used to know by their name when they texted, called, or faced time I don't know so I have to re add. Hmm, I don't have that problem on my 4S. Try to completely delete a contact than add it again from scratch and test it again. Actually, all my friends are facing the same issue following the last update. Could it be related to the carrier? Hi! Check if you have "Dial assistance" option enabled. It is in Settings / Phone menu. Maybe it's not called the way I wrote because I use my phone in my native language and always trying to translate in English. Also the program viber is not a bit accessible with voice over. Please inform apple about this specially in recents it doesn't read the names. There's a bug with the entering of passcode. Sometimes I'm forced to shut the phone off and turn it on again otherwise my general password is not entered. It would also be nice if there was an option in the rotor to put a no action option in the settings so it could be turned on or off like all the other items in the rotor. The no action setting would mean that one finger swiping up and down would not adjust any rotor settings. This would be useful, because sometimes we try to feel around on the screen listening to voiceover looking for a button or try to double tap on a button and end up doing a unintentional swipe up or down and changing a rotor setting without meaning to. Thank you. Hi there, I would also suggest that the feature where when you are listening to music or videos and voiceover talks then the music or videos are turned down to be an option that can be turned off or on. I know some people may like it, but for me it is annoying and I know some people who do not like it either. However I also know people who do like it so that is why it should be able to be turned off or on instead of being removed completely. There also could be an option to keep the voiceover and audio volumes the same or leave the audio volume the same and turn voiceover up instead of turning the audio down for voiceover to talk and then back up when it is done like it does now. Also, when you are listening to music or videos and your phone rings or you get a message or email the music gets turned down so there should be similar volume options implemented for that as well. Another problem relating to voiceover and sounds is that when voiceover is on email and text tones are way quieter then when voiceover is off. If you have 2 iOS devices beside each other and they both have there sound volume set to 100 percent and one has voiceover on and one has voiceover off then the one with voiceover on will have its email and text tones about 1 quarter of the volume of the text and email tones of the device with voice over off. This is with iOS 6.1.3, but I have also seen it in earlier versions of iOS. Please fix this bug and make it so email and text tones are the same volume no matter if voice over is off or on. Thank you. There is also a bug in messages where when you set it to keep repeating the text tone when you get a message until you read it it only rings once even though you set it to keep ringing until you read the message. This is with iOS 6.1.3 and I have also seen it in earlier versions. Please fix the bug and then add this repeat alert option to mail as well. Thanks. Hi there, there is also a bug where when you are using VoiceOver and you are trying to use the open in feature to open a file in one app in another app, if there is more then one page of apps to open the file in, you only get the first page of apps and with VoiceOver on you can not get to the other pages so you have to turn it off, then touch the bottom right of the screen then turn VoiceOver back on and if you touch the wrong part of the screen you have to start the whole process again because you are not in the correct place anymore. This happens in iOS 6.1.3 but has also happened before 6.1.3. Please fix this as well. Thank you very much!!! That is the end of everyone's ideas. Thank you for reading and we look forward to what you have coming in future versions of iOS.

#27 clicking noise wiht passwords

I'll quote one of the suggestions. Hi. That clicking noise VoiceOver makes when you are trying to type a password is not helpful because if you find the letter or number you want to enter and then accidentally move your finger without knowing it and lift it up on a different letter or number, then all you get is a click and you have no way to tell you typed the letter wrong until you try to log on and it fails. So it would be good if there was an option to have VoiceOver click for password fields like it does now or to speak what you type like it does when you are in normal text fields like in an email or text message. Thanks. Ok. I disagree 100 percent with that one. The clicking noise is very helpful and the solution to the problems is quite simple in fact. just enter your pw a bit slower then normal or use a bt keyboard if your password like all of mine are about 20 to 40 chars long. I like the click as it represents a secret thing like the * symbol and i am paranoid about these kinds of things so keep the click.