The Performance of VoiceOver's Recognition Features is Inconsistent and Unreliable

Category
Miscellaneous
Severity
Moderate

Description

The performance of the VoiceOver Recognition features (Image Descriptions, Screen Recognition, and Text Recognition) introduced in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 is inconsistent and unreliable. As it stands right now, our experience suggests that these features are very much a work-in-progress, particularly Screen Recognition. For those just getting started with iOS 14, we recommend turning off all VoiceOver Recognition features to start, and only enabling individual features as necessary. Below are more details on our findings with each of the VoiceOver Recognition features:

  • Image Description: In our testing, Image Descriptions can be quite detailed and accurate; however, the level of detail provided is not uniform, and VoiceOver does not always speak the descriptions consistently.
  • Screen Recognition: Our experience is that Screen Recognition works for some apps but not others, and having this feature enabled may actually make the user experience worse. We do not recommend using Screen Recognition unless an app is not otherwise accessible, and then only with the understanding that your experience may be either better or worse.
  • Text Recognition: Our experience is that this feature works as well as it has in iOS 13, likely because it is the most developed. If you are using a braille display, the information provided through text recognition is not currently accessible.

Steps to reproduce

N/A

Bug First Encountered

iOS/iPadOS 14.0

Device(s) bug has been encountered on

iPhone

How often the bug occurs

Sometimes

Workaround

We recommend turning off all VoiceOver Recognition features to start, and only enabling individual features as necessary. We also recommend not using Screen Recognition unless an app is not otherwise useable.

Status

Active

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