Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.1, watchOS 7.2, and tvOS 14.3

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released macOS Big Sur 11.1, watchOS 7.2, and tvOS 14.3; bringing support for Apple Fitness+ and AirPods Max, new features, security enhancements, and bug fixes.

macOS Big Sur 11.1

Our testing suggests that the following issue has been addressed in macOS Big Sur 11.1:

We have also identified the following new bugs:

  • When selecting a conversation in Messages with VO-Space, VoiceOver focus no-longer jumps to the message textfield as expected. However, keyboard focus still appears to jump to the field, meaning you should be able to select a conversation and start typing. In order to edit or interact with the text, however, you must route the VoiceOver cursor to the keyboard focus by pressing VO-Shift-F4, or VO-Function-4 if you're using a Mac with a Touch Bar.
  • Context menus on Dock items can typically not be activated with the VO+Shift+m keyboard shortcut. For now, you may need to route the mouse pointer to the desired Dock item and then click the mouse button whilst holding down the Control key.

watchOS 7.2

  • In watchOS 7.2, Apple has added the previously-announced braille display support; users can access braille by opening the Watch app on iPhone and going to Accessibility> VoiceOver> Braille.
  • Our testing suggests that the Siri voice should now work correctly when used with VoiceOver on the Apple Watch Series 6.

Unfortunately, there also appear to be some new bugs in this release:

  • After installing the update you may find it difficult to dismiss the release notes that are displayed on the Apple Watch's screen. A possible workaround is to perform a two finger swipe up on the screen one or more times until an “OK” button is available to locate by touch. Double tapping with one finger on this button should dismiss the release notes.
  • You may find that on occasions when using Siri on Apple Watch that both Siri and VoiceOver either speak at the same time when the results are being spoken, or that Siri will speak the response and then VoiceOver will repeat some or all of the same.

tvOS 14.3

At the time of posting, we are unaware of any changes, fixes or regressions for blind and low vision users in tvOS 14.3. We will update this post if this changes.

Release Notes

macOS Big Sur 11.1

macOS Big Sur 11.1 introduces support for AirPods Max, TV app enhancements, Apple News widgets, and privacy information on the App Store. This release also includes bug fixes for your Mac.

AirPods Max

  • Support for AirPods Max, new over-ear headphones
  • High fidelity audio for rich sound
  • Adaptive EQ adapts sound in real time to the personal fit of ear cushions
  • Active Noise Cancellation to block out environmental noise
  • Transparency mode to hear the environment around you
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for a theater-like listening experience

Apple TV

  • An all-new Apple TV+ tab makes it easy to discover and watch Apple Original shows and movies
  • Enhanced search so you can browse by category such as genre and see recent searches and suggestions as you type
  • Top search results shown with the most relevant matches across movies, TV shows, cast, channels, and sports

Apple News

  • Apple News widgets are now available in Notification Center

App Store

  • New privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices
  • In-game dashboard within Arcade games recommends new Arcade games to play

iPhone and iPad apps on Macs with M1

  • New window options for iPhone and iPad apps let you switch between landscape and portrait orientations or expand a window to fill the entire screen

Photos

  • Apple ProRAW photos can be edited in the Photos app

Safari

  • Ecosia search engine option in Safari

Air Quality

  • Available in Maps and Siri for locations in China mainland
  • Health recommendations are provided in Siri for the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Mexico at certain air quality levels

This release also addresses the following issues:

  • QuickTime Player might quit when opening a movie with a timecode track after upgrading from macOS Catalina
  • Bluetooth connection status was not displayed in Control Center
  • Reliability of unlocking your Mac automatically with your Apple Watch
  • Trackpad scrolling speed may be faster than expected on MacBook Pro models
  • LG UltraFine 5K Display may incorrectly display at 4K resolution on Macs with M1

watchOS 7.2

watchOS 7.2 includes new features and improvements, including Apple Fitness+, a personalized fitness experience powered by Apple Watch. Additional features include low cardio fitness notifications and support for braille displays. This update also contains performance improvements.

Apple Fitness+

  • A new fitness experience powered by Apple Watch with studio-style workouts available on your ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and ‌Apple TV‌
  • Video workouts added each week in ten popular workout types: High Intensity Interval Training, Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Core, Strength, Dance, Rowing, Treadmill Walking, Treadmill Running, and Mindful Cooldown
  • Fitness+ subscription available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States

This update also includes the following features and improvements:

  • Option to be notified when your cardio fitness is at a low level
  • Ability to review your cardio fitness level based on your age and sex in the Health app on ‌iPhone‌
  • Atrial fibrillation classification at heart rates above 100 BPM now offered in the ECG app in most regions where the app is available
  • Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Taiwan
  • Support for braille displays with VoiceOver
  • Support for Family Setup in Bahrain, Canada, Norway, and Spain (Cellular models of Apple Watch Series 4 or later and Apple Watch SE)

How to Update

To install macOS Big Sur 11.1, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, click the Software Update preference pane, and click the Update Now button to begin the update process. If other updates are available, you can click "More info" to see details about them and select specific updates to install.

More information on how to update the software on your Mac is available on this Apple Support page.

watchOS 7.2 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.

More information on how to update the software on your Apple Watch is available on this Apple Support page.

To install tvOS 14.3 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install.

More information on how to update the software on your Apple TV is available on this Apple Support page.

If you discover any additional fixes, regressions or changes of note during your own use of these releases, please let us know by posting a comment below.

Options

Comments

Submitted by Skippy on Monday, December 14, 2020

Hi,
Do we know yet, if the bug where battery drains very rapidly, has been fixed?

What about the bug, where braille screen input crashes, when a new line is entered, or you delete the word you just typed?

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, December 14, 2020

Club AppleVis Member

I'm personally interested in knowing if the VoiceOver crashing issue has been addressed in Big Sur, and if recovery mode is usable. If I can be sure I can use recovery mode and Disk Utility without issues, then I may consider upgrading to Big Sur, but as long as issues persist, I'm wary.

Submitted by Malthe on Monday, December 14, 2020

In reply to by dvdmth

I don't want to upgrade until I know I can roll back independantly from the recovery partition. Does anyone know if the issues with Disk Utility have been fixed?

Best
Malthe

Submitted by blindgary1 on Monday, December 14, 2020

After updating to watch OS 7.2 two bugs of note 1st i had for the first time since series 0 now my 3rd Apple Watch the SE have had to ask for sighted help and turn off VoiceOver to click a done button on the watch before continuing the done button was not accessible with VO 2 to my horror and frustration a new Siri and VoiceOver bug after pressing the crown to talk to Siri VoiceOver speaks out the question as Siri gives the answer both speaking together frustrating wish i had not gone for the update and to make matters worse speaking to Siri on wrist raise is even worse getting the answer first from Siri and then VO

Submitted by Eileen😷 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

For those asking, navigating Disk Utility when in Recovery Mode still causes VoiceOver to constantly crash for me.

Submitted by mendi on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

I also thought the done button was inaccessible, but in trying anything I could think of, come to find out the solution was to scroll to the next page, and that is where the button was hiding. Not exactly intuitive, but I did get my update completed without sighted assistance.

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The done button on the first frickin screen you see. Why do you have to scroll down for Voiceover to see it? Such an asinine problem. Anyway, beyond that, Voiceover no longer does that thing where it thinks you’re still on the watch face after an app opens. Pull up control center, and you can now just swipe. Open the breathe app, and you’re no longer stuck on the heading. Put your watch on, and the infuriating thing where the clock dismisses itself without telling you, making you inadvertently insert an incorrect character into the passcode field, is no longer a problem. I can’t speak to the raise-to-wake bugs since I don’t use it, but this bug fix has made a night-and-day difference in usability.

Submitted by Squirrel on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Disappointed to find that Apple hasn't resolved the bug which has VoiceOver unresponsive for several seconds after waking your Mac. This one has been driving me crazy since upgrading to Big Sur.

I also find to a lesser extent that the Application Switcher and Window Switcher (VO+F1 and VO+F2) are slower to load on Big Sur. Does anybody else find the same?

Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

the Music app still has issues with VoiceOver focus after upgrading to 11.1 Arrow keys and first letter navigation does not work in the sidebar and window focus disappears entirely if connecting to an Airplay or BlueTooth device and then disconnecting. I will report this to Apple Accessibility.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hello,
This is odd. This has been completely fixed for me. I have no lag when with VO starting after waking up my Mac now. I am running Big Sur 11.1 on a 2020 13 inch MacBook Pro with a 10th gen I5 and 16gigs of ram.

Odd and rather frustrating, as the delay before VoiceOver becomes responsive after waking my Mac is as present and bad as before, and this is on an M1 MacBook Air.

I came here to say the same thing, though noticed in the Blog post's notes it mentions this as a bug and a possible workaround to dismiss the Release Notes.

This worked for me, which was:
* two-finger swipe up on the Apple Watch screen until you hear something like "Move 1 of 1".
* Single finger explore the screen until you hear "OK" button. Then double tap.

I had to do this once or twice to get it right, but it worked.

It seems the main issue is that the button to dismiss this is not accessible via swiping, which is annoying.

Submitted by ro rem on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

hi,
I'm having focus problem on FaceTime calls. I am not focusing on other windows and applications or I cannot use the rotor effectively. Has anyone encountered this problem other than me?

Submitted by Adam Samec on Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hello,

not sure if this bug started to occur after installing macOS Big Sur 11.1 update, but now I am unable to open context menu for items in Dock using VO + Shift + M . This bug started to appear after I fiddled with Dock a bit by navigating it using the arrow keys without the VO modifier, and after trying to open the context menu using the up arrow also without the VO modifier.

Could someone please confirm this bug being present on their system? Thanks.

Submitted by Adam Samec on Thursday, December 17, 2020

Thanks for the confirmation.

Also, neither opening the context menu via the simulation of the right mouse button click, nor using the VO + Command + space bar and choosing the command for showing the context menu works.

Submitted by Michael on Monday, December 21, 2020

Since updating Apple TV which it done automatically I did not wanted to do it. Apple TV first generation has become near to useless. YouTube cannot be used 100% also Netflix 100% is useless. Also Amazon Prime. Is useless. Has anybody else had issues like this. Where it just keeps on clicking on the screen and will not move only option is to go onto remote on iPhone. Paragraph

Submitted by ro rem on Sunday, December 27, 2020

Hi, can someone tell me how I can change the screen off time? Is this a mistake or I can't do it; I do not know. My process steps are as follows:
I open the Apple menu with VO + m.
I click on "System Preferences".
I'm clicking on "Battery".
Then I focus on "Battery" from the interaction chart.
I stop interacting with the interaction table and interact with the value 3.3% for "Turn Screen After" to 100%; because when I click on options like 2 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, ..., never, it doesn't activate.
After setting the value to 100%, I get a warning saying "Warning: Never put the screen to sleep may decrease its battery life". I can't see the confirm button here and hence I think my value is set by default.
When I close the System Preferences settings with cmd + Q and focus on the "Battery" settings by following the above steps, I see that the value is still 3.3%.
The same error appears when I focus on the "Power Adapter" in the interaction chart. there too I can never set the screen off time or to a value other than the default.
Previously, there was a setting to turn off the screen saver, and turning off the screen saver also prevented the screen from turning off; I guess this setting was defined with Big Sur. Screen saver is currently off in "Desktop and Screen Saver" settings.
Since I cannot see the title regarding this in the error reports, I wanted to ask here.
What am I missing?
I hope someone writes a solution. Otherwise, it is not nice for me that the screen turns off within 2 minutes as I do nothing. I can't handle this problem.
Thanks in advance for helping.