Continued Accessibility Issues with Safari on Mac

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
macOS & Mac Apps

It's been months since the release of Safari v14, yet the many accessibility issues it introduced continue to go unaddressed in update after update.

VO+A doesn't reliably read a website. It fails if it encounters a paragraph with a link in the middle. It reads the first chunk of normal text, then the link, then it jumps back to re-read the first chunk of normal text, followed by the link again. If I'm lucky, it finishes with the concluding section of normal text, but more often it skips that entirely and proceeds to the following paragraph.

A recent update to the website rendered some links inaccessible with Safari and VoiceOver. The same links worked visually with VoiceOver disabled, and also worked with VoiceOver enabled and Google Chrome. I reported this to Apple's accessibility team, but they directed me to file all WebKit issues with the complicated WebKit bug tracker. Apparently, even Apple's own accessibility team has thrown up their hands regarding these innumerable issues.

I don't see a lot of discussion on AppleVis about this. Have we all moved off Safari? Am I the last holdout? Wait up, folks, I'm switching to Google Chrome soon.



Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, June 19, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I like Safari. Reader View is an awesome feature, and I love how Autofill works. I'd hate to move off Safari and lose these great capabilities.

I'm using Safari Version 14.1.1 (16611.

Submitted by Daniel Angus MacDonald on Saturday, June 19, 2021

I notice these bugs too. I use Safari all the time, especially for downloading developer profiles since they don't work with other browsers. you'd think apple's Accessibility Team would be responsive with these issues. Since Safari is based on Webkit, that makes sense. webkit is open source and not made by Apple, so in true Apple fashion, they pass the buck off to someone else. that's sad to say, but look at iCloud Control Panel for Windows. it's totally inaccessible. but anyway, I'll keep testing Monterey and hope that Apple will attend to bugs in developer beta 1, and I'll report these Safari bugs and see what happens.

Submitted by Bill on Sunday, June 20, 2021

I encountered the following issue:
When I sign in to Gmail
I press the use another account link and it is no response at all.
Now I cannot use gmail in Safari.
Any solution to this problem?

Submitted by Chris on Sunday, June 20, 2021

I'm not at all surprised, and it's reasons such as this that have driven me away from the Mac platform. You can try using Chrome or you can simply stop putting up with being ignored and switch away from the Mac. Maybe the accessibility team cares, maybe they don't. The problem is they can't or most likely won't talk to us directly because of Apple's ridiculous business policies. I long ago got tired of banging my head against the wall when trying to contact Apple via their only public accessibility email address only to receive canned responses time after time. Canned responses are unacceptable, but Apple does whatever they want and if you don't like it, you can go f off as far as they're concerned. As I've said many times before, it's truly sad, but it is what it is. You either play by the rules in Apple land or you walk away.

Submitted by Daniel Angus MacDonald on Monday, June 21, 2021

for me, when I have a VoiceOver I beta test, reporting it through the tool beta testers have. I am currently in the Apple Developer Program spasificly to beta test. it's no garnet the bugs I report get fix, but at least I have hope. Apple engineers have a good track record of foxing bugs in there betas. the Apple Developer Program membership is expensive, and I am fortunate to be able to afford it. if you can't join the Apple Beta Software Program. that's the public betas. not everyone wants to be a beta tester for Apple for any number of reasons. to them I say if you find bugs and are not in either program, you have a small likelihood of those bugs getting fix. at least being a beta tester, I have contact with engineers through the regular beta bug reporting channels.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I've been playing around with both Firefox and Chrome. Naturally, they work different from Safari, and re-learning how to do things is painful. But Safari is unusable for some websites, such as, even with VoiceOver disabled, so it has to go.

Firefox seems to have a real problem with any phpBB-based bulletin boards. For example: VO+F is unable to find text on the web page. VO+I takes forever to load the item chooser. VO+U doesn't show many links.

Google Chrome has issues too. Using up and down arrow to move a line at a time seems to miss the first character of each line.

With Safari going downhill, there seem to be no accessible web browsing options for Mac.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, June 26, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Wow. I discovered that VO+F, the VoiceOver find utility, is case-sensitive in Firefox. That's why I thought it wasn't working.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, June 26, 2021

The times I use Edge in the iPhone. I assume that Edge could work within the Mac.