Opinion: Apple Is Still As Committed As Ever to Accessibility

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In her latest song, "Shake it Off," the country/pop artist Taylor Swift wrote, "...the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." While I am sure that Ms. Swift was not referring to some peoples’ recent comments about Apple's commitment to accessibility when she wrote the song, the basic idea behind that particular phrase still applies.

When Apple’s iOS 8 operating system was released in September, it included a number of accessibility bugs for blind and low vision users. These bugs ranged from very minor (VoiceOver did not remember one’s typing preference when upgrading from iOS 7) to very annoying (the screen did not always auto-scroll to follow VoiceOver focus). To date, some of these bugs have been fixed—and some of them have not. And while I do not know when the bugs I would like to see fixed (mainly, the issues with Braille Screen Input) will be addressed, I have full confidence that they will be addressed—and that Apple is as committed as ever to making its products accessible to everyone.

Upon the release of iOS 8, I read a lot of comments from people who were, naturally, upset by the number (and severity) of the bugs in the new operating system. Generally, these comments took one of two forms: "iOS 8 is really buggy. All new software has bugs, and I really hope Apple addresses these bugs as soon as possible. That said, I really like the new features of iOS 8 and will put up with the bugs until they’re fixed."; or "iOS 8 has too many accessibility bugs; I’m staying on (or downgrading to) iOS 7.1.2 until some of these issues are worked out."

And then there was a third type of comment: "Apple does not care about accessibility! They must stop treating their blind customers like second-class citizens!"

While I can understand being frustrated with the number of accessibility bugs in iOS 8—I myself was quite discouraged—the logic behind the "Apple does not care about the blind community!" reasoning is totally beyond me, mainly because the available evidence just does not support any conclusion of the sort.

When iOS 7 was released, it contained several accessibility bugs for blind and low vision users—some of them rather serious. While Apple did include a VoiceOver sensitivity fix in iOS 7.0.3, a majority of the issues introduced in iOS 7 were not addressed until the release of iOS 7.1—nearly six months after the public release of iOS 7.

In contrast, Apple has already made significant progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs in iOS 8. In iOS 8.1, which was released just over a month after iOS 8, Apple fixed a number of accessibility bugs for blind and low vision users; iOS 8.1.1, which came out a couple days ago, brought with it even more fixes. Two months into the life-cycle of iOS 7, the hope of iOS 7.1 (and all the bug fixes it would bring) was just a faraway dream.

Though the argument could certainly be made that iOS 8 got out the door with too many serious accessibility bugs—and that the iOS 8 release supersedes any of Apple’s more recent efforts—it’s worth remembering that all users, not just those who are blind or who have low vision, experienced a higher number of bugs with iOS 8. If iOS 8 does in fact contain more bugs (I’m still not sure how such a thing would be objectively quantified, anyway), and if sighted users alike are also experiencing serious issues, should we expect that our needs would be prioritized over those of other groups of users? I don’t know about you, but I would be more than a little uncomfortable with the idea.

To those who say Apple is not committed to the accessibility of their software, my question is this: what would one call Apple’s recent efforts to correct the issues in iOS 8? Would a company who is uninterested in accessibility push major VoiceOver bug fixes in seemingly insignificant iOS point updates? For that matter, would an uninterested company even care to fix accessibility bugs at all?

The unfortunate reality is that people who are bound and determined to vilify Apple will do so, regardless of whether the company makes great efforts or does nothing at all. Apple could push a pair of updates out tomorrow that fixed 99.9% of the accessibility issues users are experiencing with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and still there would be some who would complain that not enough was being done. And while I think an open, constructive discussion about accessibility issues is a very good thing, I am really getting tired of the constant negativity directed towards Apple.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that blind and low vision users should take the "We should just be grateful Apple includes VoiceOver at all" attitude. On the contrary, I feel that such an attitude leads to complacency and ultimately benefits nobody—least of all the person using the access technology. I think all users who are affected by accessibility bugs need to report them through the proper channels, and that honest, constructive discussions need to be had whenever software is released that has accessibility issues.

With that said, however, all of the vitriol (vs. constructive feedback) some have directed towards Apple’s Accessibility Team—especially in the last two months, when their efforts to improve the experience for blind and low vision users have shown in tangible ways—is neither helpful nor productive.

So, is your glass half empty, or is it half full? When it comes to Apple’s accessibility efforts, my glass is definitely half full.



Submitted by Doctor D on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I totally agree with Michael. I am so very tired of all the negative comments concerning the so called lack of concern for accessibility. I for one have had nothing but great success with Apple, their products, and the tech support. If more people would channel the force behind all these negative comments, and just tell apple what the problem is, if they truly have a problem, and then, it will be fixed, instead of just griping and complaining all the time, the world would be a lot better place.

Submitted by Nickus on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Michael all I can say is I totally agree with you, glass half full on this side as well.
To all the moaners, go try Android Talkback for a week and then come back crying for your iOS device with its buggy VO.
BTW I think since iOS 6 I never got a update with a show stopper VO bug, I never whent ooooh no I have to make a plan to get back the previous version because this makes my device unusable, oh and I am a early adopter, I usually keep hitting refresh untill the update aperes on my screen as soon as it's launched.

Submitted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I agree with this blog post. I've used android before, and it was a nightmare. When I got my iPhone, I thought to myself, 'finally! I can actualy, you kow, be productive with my phone!' So yes, my glass is half-full on this one.

Submitted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I agree with this blog post. I've used android before, and it was a nightmare. When I got my iPhone, I thought to myself, 'finally! I can actualy, you kow, be productive with my phone!' So yes, my glass is half-full on this one.

Submitted by Dennis Westphal on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

About one month ago I became a iOS-user when I bought a used iPhone 5s. Before that I have used the Nexus 4 and I really have to say Apple did an awsome job with voiceover. It seems like parts of the blind community aren't aware how much better accessibility is on the apple-side of things.

I totally agree that things could be a lot wors. Just imagine not having your iPhone with you when you are in a new area. I for once am thankful for what Apple did and will do in the future for accessibility.

Submitted by Mike Freeman on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I basically agree with the original post and, to some extent, with the plethora of "amen" posts that follow. Where I get off the bus is when the comments metamorphose from pointing out the truth of the assertion that blind and sighted alike are subject to the growing pains of a new operating system version to the "Apple has done more than anyone else toward accessibility so we should go easy on them" set of posts. I don't buy it. Sloppy programming is sloppy programming and, perhaps more importantly, negligent testing for bugs is negligent testing for bugs. Why should all of us expect that somehow we should be less prone to what Apple apologists call "hate mail" than are members of the sighted public? Shouldn't we expect the same range of comments as we would see in other forums? To expect otherwise tacitly assumes that we are not human.

I know of one person who went from an iPhone to an Android phone. I haven't asked her why but it is enough to note that the phenomenon exists. I suspect she resented the iron control Apple has over app updating which, while a protection, is viewed by some as an unwarranted "Big Brother" exercise.

My view is this: Michael Hanson is correct that it is en exercise in unintelligent speculation to conclude that Apple doesn't care about accessibility. I would go further, however: I don't think we can truly evaluate whether Apple cares (morally-speaking) about accessibility or whether such mindfulness is driven by the need to keep and garner contracts that involve Federal government aid and regulation. Indeed, as long as we achieve accessibility, the exact why Apple fulfills our wishes is none of our business and shouldn't be part of our evaluation IMO. We are not Apple's CEO or Board of Directors or other governing bodies so we can't legitimately evaluate the current thinking within the company.

I think Apple was absolutely asinine to bring out iOS 8 as buggy as it was. However, Apple is doing a good job at correcting accessibility bugs. I think that's about all we can legitimately say.

When accessibility was first introduced into I-devices, it had some bugs but generally worked well since Apple tailored it to a specific fixed OS, i.e., that for the 3GS. Is it any wonder that as the OS has evolved, there haven't been some rough edges? that said, though, I get an impression that accessibility isn't integrated into iOS development as tightly as we might wish. but it's an impression.

Perhaps we should simply let people post, figuring that some anger is inevitable but not letting said anger cloud our judgment. This IMO is how Apple Accessibility is going to have to approach this also. I do not see how we can do anything else as those who are bitter will not be persuaded by counterarguments and those who are greatful no matter what are also not persuadable.

Enjoy the ride!

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yep ... Apple is commited and is doing a great job.
But manyy of these bugs nmight be detected by tests, and not by hard tests but instead by simple tests.

So ... something has changed. They are aparently less careful with bugs. I suspect this probably has something to do with time to marketing and I am pretty suure this did not affect only the blind / visually impared comunity, as many other people had issues with the whole OS, regardless of voiceover or anyy other assistive technology usage!

So while we have to respect Apple for its commitment (moral or not) ... we have to keep an eye on the issues.

Submitted by Daveed Mandell on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I have recently read some very disturbing comments on another website concerning Apple's commitment to accessibility. One blogger has castigated Apple for allowing its accessibility to ddteriorate.

While many blind people have been leaving Windows behind and moving to the Mac, this blogger has decided to go back to Windows. This blogger also called Apple's accessibility sloppy. Such negative comments seriously discourage people from even finding out about and exploring Apple products. Such comments are are detrimental, injurious and certainly not constructive.

Nothing is perfect. I'd like Apple to strengthen its commitment to accessibility. The company needs to adopt stricter accessibility standards and tighten its testing procedures. However, we should always remember that because accessibility is built into Apple's operating systems, bugs are always present throughout these systems. Accessibility is only one factor. Within accessibility, VoiceOver and Zoom aren't the only issues of concern.

Apple needs to clean up long-standing accessibility bugs. The company needs to work with its disabled customers to significantly improve accessibility.

Finally, after thinking about this for some time now, I agree with the U.S. National Fgheration of the Blind that all apps must be fully accessible in order for Apple to accept them. True, that's a hard-line position, but it needs to be taken. While all apps are not practical for blind people to use, such as those that depend entirely on vision, they need to be accessible for other disabled people.

Submitted by Siobhan on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hi Michael. First off, wel done blog post, i agree 100% I'm using 10.10.1 a new release of Yosemite, and they haven't fixed one of the in my mind, silly bugs they let slip through, the "New Line selected." When pushing the shift key down for any typing whatsoever. I find it completely annoying, but I still will use it happily. I'm pretty sure Apple has their plates full, they had an Os an iOs and the new apple watch to think about. And to be frank, if that doesn'thave accessibility beyond the high contrast and maybe zoom features for low vision, I won't complain about it. I'm sure they were pushed to the breaking point making evrything set, oh they had Apple pay, forgot that, so isn't it a bit naieve to think ti will be perfect? The typing prefference not set kind of drove me nuts, I still used it. When it got fixed I may or maynot have done a cartwheel. :) If we don't keep politely reporting bugs, and we don't shell out the hundred bucks to be beta testers, realistically, how are the company execs going to know? The simple answer is they won't. With all that in mind, I'll keep updating, and when my phone is able to be upgraded, wait. I like seeing what stores keep launching apple pay. Oh side note, the first beta of 8.2 was released yesterday. Please don't killme for that, I only mention it so you get the idea that i'm sure this is coming up soon.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is the kind of comment that left behind so many things.

I aknowledge the fact that not everyone is into software development or computing engineering and that for those people it might appear as if bugs were not reported they could not be known by anyother form or maner. This is wrong.

I know the blogger who has been a hard guy with Apple and, for the most part, he has his reazons. One of the points statted by him is that what were called st*pid bugs could be easily caught by authomated tests. I supose this is a rightt statement.
A well made authomation test process, and bilieve me the most important and prominent IT corporation in the world as of now a days has full conditions of implementing such process, would catch a lot of the reported bugs.
The more complex ones also could be caught by authomated tests I supose. Some nasty stuff such as misspronuntiation of words by many sinthetic voices could be easily discovered by asking a single person of each language to try listening to simple texts, or by requesting the voices supliers to do it and once it was not done to request the supliers to correct imediately their voices.
So many things might be done with almost no efort. And, when such simple and easy ttests are not perfornmed (I supose they are either not done or that their results were not taken in consideration given the bugs we have) it does generally mean that things are changing and this let's me with some flags set.


Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Daveed,

With all due respect, how is making factual statements about wanting to switch back to Windows injurious? If we're thinking of the same blog post...I found his commentary to be both very informative and very refreshing. In particular, his attention to detail and provision of very specific ways in which the accessibility experience could be improved really helped the articles to go beyond the typical "There are accessibility bugs" type of piece.

As I said in my original post, I think honest and productive discussions need to be had about serious accessibility issues, be it on iOS, OS X, or any other platform. If the experience of using VoiceOver on a Mac has deteriorated (I wouldn't know firsthand, as I'm exclusively a Windows user), that sort of thing needs to be addressed.

Submitted by Daveed Mandell on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What I said is that alleging that Apple's accessibility is deteriorating and sloppy is injurious. Saying that one is giving up the Mac for Windows indicates to prospective customers that using a Mac doesn't cut it for blind people.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team


In your previous post, you said:
"Saying that one is giving up the Mac for Windows indicates to prospective customers that using a Mac doesn't cut it for blind people."

What, exactly, is wrong with a user stating that a piece of software does not work for them? If a piece of software doesn't cut the mustard, then it doesn't cut the mustard. There's nothing injurious ("Causing harm to one's reputation; slanderous, libelous, invidious" (Wiktionary)) about a factual statement that software does not work for their particular use case.

Would I be slanderous for stating that I don't use OS X because I find the concept of interaction (and how VoiceOver presents onscreen information in general) to be too confusing?

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I agree with Michael. I have been frustrated and even angry. I hate playing the (blind) card. For the fact, I don't want to exclude myself. For me, I've always prided myself on adapting.
With release, I really feel it wasn't ready for release. Which had nothing to do with accessibility. My sighted friends have been just as frustrated.
There were some very severe accessibility bugs. Many still exist in Safari. But, it was my choice to update. Can't fault Apple for that. I'm well aware of consequences with release of future releases.
I also have found progress. When emailing accessibility team, you get general response. If you call and report, they will tell if it's been reported. If you're nice, they will tell you if its on the critical escalation list.

Submitted by rdfreak on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Couldn't agree more with everything said in this blog post.
I've stopped reading a lot of comments these days because they're so negative towards Apple. :(
Glass is definitley half full here too. :)

Submitted by DPinWI on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Perhaps it's my age, and lets just say I'm getting up there, but I am still amazed at how far technology has advanced. I have access to devices that would have seemed preposterous, let alone impossible, when i first started working with technology. Back then, I didn't mind getting down and dirty to make something work. From setting SCSI device numbers, to flipping DIP switches, and entering hard drive geometry, it came with the territory. These days, I'm not nearly as patient, and I just want technology that lets me do the stuff I need to do. I don't want to jump through hoops to make stuff work. I don't want to mess with the tech. I have other things to do.

My Apple stuff works. Sure, there are little things that give me a bit of frustration, but I'd rather just use something, than have deep access to settings and options. I'm not saying Apple knows best, but I am saying I like being in the sandbox.I appreciate what Apple has done to put a device in my pocket that does things I could have only dreamed of only a few short years ago. I'll take the comparatively minor issues not to have to deal with all the other things that the device has helped with.

So I'm in the glass is almost full, and I'm not even thirsty camp.

Submitted by vallim on Thursday, November 20, 2014

for anyone even to ask this question undermines their knolage on the reality of accessibility on main stream products.
Yes, I am first to admit that iOS 8 has had more bugs than previous releases, but this is not specific to Accessibility and anyone to even suggest that Apple doesn't care about accessibility simply needs a serious reality check.
Can anyone name me one company or product which is developed by a large mainstream company which has accessibility out-of-the-box and which works as well as iOS? I'm not talking about companies making dedicated products at silly high prices.
Does any other large company has a dedicated channel for reporting accessibility bugs which responds with a ticket for each and every bug reported? I also know from experience that its not just an automated robot because where they can't replicate the bug, they do ask more questions.
Has any other mainstream company removed a product from their portfolio just because it wasn't accessible? Apple just recently did just that.
Does any other company provide products design such that the user experience gap between disabled and none disabled persons is minuscule?
If people cannot be helpful and constructive then they should think twice before writing such twaddle.
Since purchasing my iPhone couple of years ago I truly feel liberated, since it has simply enabled me to do things that I would have not even dreamt about before iPhone.
Anyone who would even consider moving back from a Mac to Windows has simply not given themselves an opportunity to experience and enjoy the worlds finest.
In fact, I am actually running windows from my Mac and guess what, it actually runs a lot better and smoother than any other laptop I have tried in the past and it also gives me more battery life than any other laptop I have tried before.
If anyone is being put off upgrading to iOS 8.11 because of comments regarding bugs, then please allow me to put your mind at rest. Yes, there are bugs, but the overall experience is a lot richer.

thank you.

Submitted by chad on Thursday, November 20, 2014

hi agree apple is doing there best for accessibility
with every os and IOS release there will be bugs
on the os side for me i was having trouble with yosemite not being able to play audio messages
i called the apple accessibility hot line and they were very helpful and they came to the conclusion it was a voiceover problem
they are forwarding the issue to the engineers

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hi! I can understand the frustration of people who are not happy with all the bugs in IOS 8, or in previous versions of IOS come to that, but, as far as I'm concerned, such frustration doesn't justify the statement by some people that Apple have given up on accessibility. That's why I agree with what has been said in the blog post above. Speaking for myself, I chose to get an iPhone in 2011 because the Nokia phone with Mobile Speak installed on it which I had before that no longer worked and I wanted something I knew would also be accessible: as it turned out, I feel that the iPhone is the best mobile phone I've ever had, being accessible out of the box, unlike Symbian phones where we had to install screenreaders such as Talks or Mobile Speak. I have never had the chance to try using an accessible Android phone, nor a Mac come to that, so I can't compare the iPhone with Android or the Mac with my Windows computer. I admit I agree with the opinion that Apple may have rushed the release of IOS 8 for commercial reasons before it should have done, so that there were bugs in IOS 8 which shouldn't have been there, but I'm pleased that Apple has released updates to at least try and correct some of the bugs, and the fact that there is a beta of IOS 8.2 already available to testers probably means that Apple is planning another bug-fixing update at some point. I personally believe there is no such thing as a perfect operating system, either for computers or for mobile phones, and it's definitely true that bugs in any OS can cause frustration to its users, but I definitely don't think Apple has given up on accessibility, definitely not on the IOS side anyway, and probably not on the Mac side either, even though I have no personal experience of the latter.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, November 21, 2014

I totally agree with this blog post, and with those of you commenting that Apple does a good job. I had been hearing and reading only negative things about VoiceOver and Apple's products in general, so I was therefore less than optimistic about switching from Windows to Mac. That is, until I walked into an Apple store in my area with my parents and a sister just after Christmas last year. I'm not going to detail my whole purchasing experience because I've already done that elsewhere on here. What I will say though, is that I'm glad I listened to my instincts and my family and friends. This is my first Mac computer, and I have to commend Apple for doing a great job. For one thing, they have included VoiceOver and their other accessibility features in their core operating system. Just that fact alone in my opinion is a great selling point. But in addition, I've found VO to work really well. Yes there are some bugs, but none of them are show-stoppers for me. I think it's just a really bad idea to say that Apple doesn't care about accessibility because they certainly do and it shows. Look at what Tim Cook said about Apple's ROI. That alone should speak volumes about Apple's commitment to accessibility. If some people don't want to use their products, that's fine but don't ruin it for those of us who do want to use them. Enough said. So I guess my glass is half full, and I'm thirsty for more.

Submitted by Bhavesh Patel on Friday, November 21, 2014

I feel really glad to have an apple device. I fully agree with Michael. I think If apple was not committed to accessibility, would they bring more features to improve accessibility like they did in IOS8? I recall the recent example of an apple TV update in which they have made some features accessible which were previously not accessible. Good job apple! keep it up!

Submitted by mehgcap on Friday, November 21, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I just wanted to make one point regarding accessibility at Apple: it isn't just VoiceOver. Accessibility is Zoom, contrast settings, switch control, hearing aid compatibility, guided access, color inversion, and all the other parts of iOS and OS X that aren't VoiceOver but are still the responsibility of the accessibility department at Apple.

In the latest OS X release, not much was done with VoiceOver or Zoom, though the much-wanted arrow key navigation for VoiceOver was added. However, according to what I've read, switch control got a huge update and is now far easier to use than it was. My thought, therefore, is that the people working in accessibility have a finite amount of time to implement new features, and sometimes one aspect of their area of work will have to take a back seat to a different area. Another example of this is in iOS: it might be that some bugs in VoiceOver got through because engineers were spending a lot of time making the massive update to Zoom.

I'm not saying Apple is perfect, or that the large number of iOS8 and OS X 10.10 bugs are not a problem. If bugs aren't being caught, perhaps Apple could hire one or two more people to work in accessibility. What I *am* saying is that we all, myself most definitely included, need to keep in mind that although we rely on VoiceOver, others rely on Zoom, others on Switch control, others on display settings, and on down the list. Apple has to keep all these assistive items updated and moving forward, and there are only so many hours in the day.

Unfortunately, Nuance owns all of the voices except for Alex. Therefore, there is nothing Apple can do about programming or output problems in most, if not all of the voices VO uses. Saying that, any other screen reader manufacturer that depends on expressive voices has the same problem. If VO has problems with a voice pronouncing a word or phrase, all other screen readers will have the same problem.
Using automated tests could probably find a large part of the bugs in existence. However, making the claim that Apple never used automated tests or unit testing is as ridiculous as saying that Apple could care less about disabled users. How do we know that Apple did or didn't? Anyone making this claim: have you worked on the IOS 8 development cycle or OSX 10.10 development cycle ? Can you produce factual reports available for public comment that proves that Apple did or didn't use certain stages of the app development lifecycle? Remember, we are not taking Apple to court. We are not the judges sitting on the bench ready to hand Apple a life sentence in prison because they "miserably failed" at making VO and accessibility 150% perfect from beta 1. Lets use our critical thinking and logical thought processes to give Apple what is rightfully theirs.
The blogger that made bad comments at Apple has a right to his opinion. Of course, it makes an initial bad impression of Apple and what it stands for. Unfortunately, I don't believe people check things out for themselves. All most of us do, especially the disabled communities do is depend on someone else to do the homework, then if it sounds good, go for it. Go to an Apple store and check it out, call tech support, call the cell phone provider...

Submitted by Andy B. on Friday, November 21, 2014

In reply to by Michael Hansen

If OSX doesn't work for some, it doesn't. There is nothing wrong with OSX, but it doesn't fit the style or productivity of a particular user. Personally, I do not use a MAC because the productivity factor does not exist. Of course, there is Numbers, Pages, and Keynote, but they lack features needed for my college classes. On the other hand, if Microsoft came out with the new Office for MAC, and it was accessible, I would jump. However, I am pretty much stuck in the Windows world. Again, there is nothing wrong with Windows, and there is nothing wrong with OSX.

Submitted by Orko on Monday, November 24, 2014

Apple does care about accessability, maybe not as much as I'd wish they did, but at least they seem to care more than Google does. With IOS, Voice Over is built in, but with Android, Talk Back has to be downloaded and installed. So IOS devices are accessable out of the box while Android devices require help from a sited person to download and install Talk Back before it is accessable.

So my cup is half full and I'm hoping it will be filled up with stuff I like.

What bothers me is everyones reaction to this blogger who has a negative opinion of Apple. It shows a lack of tolllerance for opinions that differ from yours and that you'd support censoring them.

He has a right to his opinions and a right to voice them. If you disagree with his opinions, either ignore him, or leave a comment to his blog post voicing your own opinion.

Don't support suppressing what he has to say, down that path lies censorship and darkness.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm not an android user, not because I don't like it or anything like that. I've just not thought about it, I have an Iphone myself, but to the poster saying talkback has to be downloaded. I think that's not true. I'm quite sure you make a sertain shape on the device and talkback turns on. I could be wrong though but I've herd that's what you did.

Submitted by splyt on Monday, December 8, 2014

See comments below.

Unfortunately, Nuance owns all of the voices except for Alex. Therefore, there is nothing Apple can do about programming or output problems in most, if not all of the voices VO uses.

This is wrong. If you buy a piece of software and it does not work as expected you as a customer go and either ask for the version that worked back or make pressure to your suplier to get it corrected.
Apple certainly does have bargain power to do it. Thhere are other supliers and there are other voices from nuance that work as expected. If you are the seller of something, you're responsible for that thing. If you aquired supliers that do not find the right expectations, that's your problem.

Saying that, any other screen reader manufacturer that depends on expressive voices has the same problem. If VO has problems with a voice pronouncing a word or phrase, all other screen readers will have the same problem.

How nice would be a dictionary then .... inn fact this is what FS has been doing cinse ages and ages ago, using dictionaries to correct some english US eloquence pronunciation problems or using dictionaries to adjust stuf.

Using automated tests could probably find a large part of the bugs in existence. However, making the claim that Apple never used automated tests or unit testing is as ridiculous as saying that Apple could care less about disabled users.

Amd this is why I haven't done it. However I am a somewhat experienced engineer and I can tell you this:
if tests serve the purpose of catching bbugs and bugs are not being caught, tests are either on of these three possibilities:
- not being made.
- Being made incorrectly.
- Being made, reporting problems that are, in turn, not being taken in concideration at this time.

I say that these conclusions are obvious for those who have a little bit of logical thinking...

How do we know that Apple did or didn't? Anyone making this claim: have you worked on the IOS 8 development cycle or OSX 10.10 development cycle ? Can you produce factual reports available for public comment that proves that Apple did or didn't use certain stages of the app development lifecycle?

I can not,. But I can use evidence about how stuf is or is not working that ***** point out ****** to a senarious that really set me some flags on. Again, one does not need to participate in a development cicle of something to find bugs. And one does not need to be there to see that, if even simple bugs were not corrected on time, things have a greater probability of being changing somehow. This said I don't claim and never did .... that Apple is not commited to accessibility and nor that its development cicle is this or that. I am only the equivalent of an old man that, looking at the sky and seeing that it's getting darker and darker in the middle of the day decides to go home before the storm takes him outside. This is how things work. I recomend and will keep recomending Apple products, I own Apple products, I use Apple products and I am happy with things I have, but I am looking ahead and saying that evidence might show that something is changing.

Remember, we are not taking Apple to court. We are not the judges sitting on the bench ready to hand Apple a life sentence in prison because they "miserably failed" at making VO and accessibility 150% perfect from beta 1.

I am not a judger, only an engineer ..... and I would happily work for Apple in the accessibility department, making people's lifes each time better through technology for sure. I like Apple ... however ......

Lets use our critical thinking and logical thought processes to give Apple what is rightfully theirs.

The critical thinking and logical thoughts I have force me to just stat that I have some flags on.

The blogger that made bad comments at Apple has a right to his opinion. Of course, it makes an initial bad impression of Apple and what it stands for. Unfortunately, I don't believe people check things out for themselves. All most of us do, especially the disabled communities do is depend on someone else to do the homework, then if it sounds good, go for it. Go to an Apple store and check it out, call tech support, call the cell phone provider...

What other people do is their problem. I do myy homework and that's why I can say based on my own experience what I think.

My glass is half full ..... but this doesn't prevent me from thinking and calmly observing the weather in order not to be caught with no protection latter on.....


Submitted by Imani on Monday, December 8, 2014

I have had the opportunity to use Android as well as IOS and it is truly a personal preference whether you pick one over the other. I do prefer IOS for a few personal reasons. I say this due to the comment above about downloading TalkBack.

TalkBack is in the settings similar to VO. No downloading required. Depending on which android device you get the shortcut will be different or someone will have to turn it on for you. Once it’s on you have many options to what type of shortcut you prefer to use.

I have a 4S and haven’t updated it to IOS 8 so I don’t know about all the bugs that are present but, using a Galaxy S5 with TalkBack personally made me miss my IPhone. It is truly a personal experience.

I know individuals who are blind and bash Apple and others who bash Android but, I feel having options is what’s most important. Coming from the sighted world to the blind, options make all the difference and I see no need to bash one or the other. Just use and love what you have. I remember when neither one was an option.

Everything needs to be updated and VO and TalkBack are no exception. It’s how you voice your opinion or suggestions that make all the difference.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Monday, December 8, 2014

To be honest, I wonder if Apple has individuals who are actually using voiceover 24/7. I ask this because some of the bugs are pretty hard to miss unless you are a sighted person who only turns voiceover on sometimes.

Calling Apple Accessibility results in getting a sighted rep who knows about voiceover, but is mainly unfamiliar with the majority of the bugs mentioned.

If Apple hired, say, blind individuals who use voiceover 24 hours a day (have to), I am sure that some of these bugs would be noticed. However, getting a few people calling here and there complaining about something lends to the idea that either they think the bugs are isolated issues, do not know how to fix them, or are unaware they exist.

Submitted by splyt on Monday, December 8, 2014

I also think that some blinds should be in charge of the tests and in the development and specification teams...

Specially when it comes to mac OS it's clear that someone sighted is trying to do their best to arrange things the best possible way but without really using the reader.

Simple things like the icon sound being played always before the reading happens * before not at the same time * points that they need perhaps understand better how stuf works for blind people.

I mean .... if they are incredbly awesome this way I imagine where they would be if they have a little more guidance on some topics. It probably was gonna be hundreds of light years from the competitors.

Submitted by Imani on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I do agree that Apple needs to have a nice size team of blind and VI individuals testing VO before it comes out to make sure there are less bugs. People with vision just don't use VO like a blind person would. They can also have more blind people have access to the beta versions and give back feedback before the public release.

Submitted by Forereel on Saturday, December 20, 2014

Your opinion is beautiful, and well stated.
I also was surprised by such anger directed at a company that has from an accessibility point, done much for us.
It seems people have a need to bite the hand that feeds, while eating the provided.
My glass is about 2 thirds full, and I understand that although I'd like improvements for this or that, that same change has to accommodate everyone, not just the visually impaired. This development takes time.
It is a feat when a company is able to do this with such grace.
Again, beautiful opinion.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, December 20, 2014

It helps apple to fix problems with accessibility by reporting to them instead of just vent. With this in mind, I need to tell apple that safari has issues with playing web pages that have Flashplayer. I am able to see a TV program in my PC by using IE but not safari. Keep reporting issues to apple and remember that any program develop by humans will have bugs. It happens and it will happen when iOS 9 next year comes.

Submitted by Mike Freeman on Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lack of support for Flash is not a bug; it's a choice Apple has made.

Submitted by Mister Kayne on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I agree with you. I am just too much in awe of how accessible the iPhone is and the wonderful stuff I can do on my phone. While my other blind comrades are still struggling with their android phones filling up mailing lists with their numerous questions which never crossed my mind with the iPhone.

Yes, I have complaints too. But I think it's better to report them with adequate information to apple instead of venting my frustration on some blog. Like for example 2 finger double tapping to end the call takes forever to end the call on my 5S and leaves you with uncertainty if the call actually ended. This frustrates me everyday but I know the next fix will take care of it. The predictive typing has totally swept me off my feet. It's simply the best thing to happen on the phone sighted or not. The positives of the phone negate the negatives by a huge margin.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I would like to give my opinion on Apple's commitment to accessibility again, since I just upgraded to Yosemite over the weekend. I have found some minor issues with VO in this latest release, but I still stand by what I said in my previous comment on this blog post. Yes, I think Apple is still as committed to accessibility as ever. These bugs are once again by no means show-stoppers for me, and I've no doubt Apple will fix them soon. One bug I've found is that when capitalizing a letter, VO says "new line, selected." The other is the double-speaking and/or repetition of characters when navigating with the left and right arrow keys. I've only seen this with some voices thus far, and I'm curious to see what happens with the other voices. I'm having a problem with iCloud, but it sounds like it's on my end and not the fault of Apple. I like the improved Alex voice, and I'm currently playing around with the other voices to see if there've been any additional changes. I don't speak or understand Hebrew, but it's neat that we now have a Hebrew voice.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I bought a macbook pro in 2013 and tried it for a month or so, but didn't like it. SO put windows eight on it an now have windows eight point one.

Even though I don't like the mac much, I can say that apple have tried and tried again when it comes to access for everyone.

Iphones, amazing, macs amazing for those that use them and like them. Me? I'm just so used to windows I guess.

The thing is, people will complain about anything given the chance to do so. give someone the chance to complain and they will.

We have VO for Ios and mac, NVDA and Narator for windows and orca I think it's called, for lynix. There are so many free screen readers out there these days, it's shocking, but in a great and wonderful, amazing kind of way, that makes me sit back and think of what we didn't have five or even ten years ago that we do now.

It's like narator, people say narator on windows eight point one isn't a good screen reader, or isn't that useful, I totally disagree even though I signed a petition telling microsoft to make it a fully working screen reader for windows ten, you can use narator to navigate webpages and so on, so you can do your day to day tasks no you're not going to be able to write a word document and things like that, but you are able to do basic tasks. The petition if anyone is interested is; https://www.change.org/p/microsoft-add-a-native-fully-functional-screen…

Submitted by molly on Saturday, March 19, 2016

I just want to give my opinion on Apple's commitment to accessibility. First of all, While I have had some issues with VoiceOver, I have to give the accessibility team a big shoutout. There products have really changed my life. I think they've done a phenominal job in making there products accessible to everyone. when it comes to reporting an accessibility bug to Apple, it should be done in a way that doesn't seem rude or negative. Getting angry at Apple and saying that they don't care about accessibility will not solve anything. If Apple didn't care about accessibility, they would've most likely stopped making there products accessible a long time ago. It's okay to get frustrated, but remember. No operating system will ever be perfect. There will always be bugs... I think Apple would be more open to fix accessibility bugs if people told them in a nice way what the problem is. That's just my opinion.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Saturday, March 19, 2016

If they didn't care about accessibility, why did they put in VoiceOver then? That's the point, they put in VoiceOver for a reason, and that reason is to help blind and visually impaired people be able to use the iPad and iPhone like sighted users can. And the bugs? That's normal, updates to software usually always have bugs, and those bugs get improved. Same things apply to apps. Bugs will be there, no matter what, it just takes an amount of time to fix this. I'm sorry this made you guys think I'm angry, but I'm not. I'm just explaining, that's all.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, March 19, 2016

OK. We know apple is doing the best with voiceover. Yes. they can do more about fixing problmes and hope they work on it in iOS 9.3 which may come out next week. Also they are a business who work with the US government need to meet rule regarding accessibility or lose the contract from them. So they are not doing just to be nice and kind. I like apple and will be getting iPhone 7 this year.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, March 19, 2016

This question shouldn't even be asked. If I walk into a Microsoft store and ask for help using an aspect of Windows, the average Microsoft employee will be saying "Huh? Blind people can do that?" Whereas, with Apple, every employee at least has a basic knowledge of accessibility.