The New Features, Changes, Improvements, and Bugs in macOS 12 Monterey for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released macOS 12 Monterey to the public. As usual, we won’t cover the mainstream features here, concentrating instead on what's new and changed for blind and low vision users. For an overview of the mainstream changes, we recommend that you read this in-depth review by MacStories.

Please remember to check the section about bugs to see if now is the right time to upgrade. There’s no harm in holding off a few weeks or months to let Apple address a problem you may find too disruptive to deal with.

A note to braille users: the AppleVis team members doing testing with macOS Monterey are not heavy braille users. We have no information as to how well braille works in this release, so please keep this in mind when upgrading. If you are a braille user and have any experience with macOS Monterey and braille, please do post your findings in the comments.

Changes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Last year Apple brought improved image recognition to macOS Big Sur, along with greater prominence of the VoiceOver Actions menu. This year, macOS Monterey brings some more changes and a handful of bug fixes.

  • VoiceOver image descriptions in Markup: Markup lets you add image descriptions that can be read by VoiceOver. Image descriptions persist even when shared and can be read in a range of supported apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
  • VoiceOver descriptions for PDF signatures: Add custom descriptions to new and existing PDF signatures so you can use the right signature with VoiceOver.
  • Accessibility Memoji: Memoji represent more of your look and style with new customizations, including oxygen tubes, cochlear implants and a soft helmet for headgear.
  • Voice Control adds new language options including Mandarin Chinese (China mainland), Cantonese (Hong Kong), French, and German.

Improvements for Low Vision Users

macOS Monterey introduces custom mouse pointers, which customize the outline and fill color of the mouse pointer so it’s easier to recognize when it moves or changes to an insertion point, crosshair, hand or other shape. As we do not have any low vision Mac users on our team, however, we are unable to comment on the precise utility of this feature.

If you are a low vision Mac user, we would love to hear in the comments your experience and thoughts on this and any additional enhancements you encounter in macOS Monterey.

Other Changes

  • When searching for text on a webpage using VO-F, VoiceOver now only speaks the text in the immediate string, not the surrounding text in that paragraph. To provide context to your search, you must use the arrow keys or stop interacting with the text to have the paragraph spoken. At this time, there is no way to customize this behavior.
  • Similar to iOS and iPadOS, VoiceOver on macOS now retains the state of screen curtain so if you, for example, have screen curtain on and then turn VoiceOver off and on again, screen curtain will remain on. Previously, screen curtain on macOS was disabled whenever VoiceOver was toggled off and on again or if the Mac was restarted.
  • In some situations, VoiceOver may announce that an app is “Not responding.” In testing, this announcement tends to occur in instances where VoiceOver would have been silent in prior versions of macOS, and is thus a replacement of the familiar "Busy" message. While your results may vary, we do not currently expect this change to affect overall VoiceOver performance.

Change List

In its support documentation, Apple lists the following changes for VoiceOver users in macOS Monterey:

  • VoiceOver indicates when more information about the item in the VoiceOver cursor is available (you can change this setting in the Hints pane of the Verbosity category in VoiceOver Utility). When more content is available, press VO-Command-/ to hear it.
  • Graphs and charts displayed on websites may include audio graphs to make the data they present more accessible. An audio graph uses tones and pitch to create an audible representation of the data and trends shown in a graph or chart. VoiceOver can indicate when an audio graph is available to play and read a summary (if available) of the graph or chart and its axes. To access available audio graphs, press VO-U to open the VoiceOver rotor, then navigate the rotor until you hear “Audio Graphs”.
  • You can download additional languages for VoiceOver Recognition.
  • If you download different languages in the Voices pane in VoiceOver Utility, VoiceOver automatically switches between the languages, as needed, when reading. For example, if you open a document or visit a web page that contains French and Spanish text, and those languages are available to VoiceOver on your Mac, VoiceOver automatically switches between them when reading the document or web page.
  • You can add a description of an image using Markup — for example, in Preview or in Quick Look. To hear the image description you added, press VO-Shift-L.
  • When you create a signature using Markup — for example, in Preview or in Quick Look — you can add a description of your signature to help you distinguish between available signatures when you sign PDF documents. In Markup, before you click or tap Done to finish creating your signature, click the Description pop-up menu, choose a description, such as Initials, or choose Custom to create your own description.
  • When you’re ready to sign a PDF document, navigate the list of signatures, then when you hear the description of the signature you want to use, press VO-Space bar.
  • The default items available in the rotor when you navigate web pages have changed: Web Spots and Images are no longer included by default, and Frames are included. To customise which items are included in the rotor, use the Web Rotor pane of the Web category in VoiceOver Utility.
  • VoiceOver automatically creates window spots for additional items in app windows, such as toolbars.
  • You can use the Trackpad, NumPad, Keyboard and Quick Nav Commanders in VoiceOver Utility to assign the VoiceOver commands Move to Next Section and Move to Previous Section to keyboard or keypad keys, or gestures, so you can easily navigate window spots and landmarks.
  • When you use a braille display with VoiceOver, you can select text by pressing and holding the Shift key on the keyboard at the same time you press router keys above the text you want to select. You can also assign a VoiceOver command to use the Shift key on a braille display.

Bug Fixes and New Bugs for VoiceOver Users

macOS Monterey has its share of fixes, but it also has some new problems, as do all software releases. Below are our findings:

Accessibility Bugs Resolved in macOS Monterey

Our testing indicates that Apple has resolved the following bugs in macOS Monterey. Let us know if we missed any; we always love adding more fixes to these articles.

New Bugs for VoiceOver Users in macOS Monterey

Our testing suggests that macOS Monterey has relatively few new accessibility bugs to speak of; of note, at the time of posting, we are unaware of any new bugs which we would rate as serious.

Below are the Monterey-specific bugs we identified; if you encounter any not on this list, and which haven't been present since before macOS Monterey, please let us know in the comments. Please also let us know if you find one of our bugs to not be a problem on your Monterey system. Even if it’s still a bug, we can at least note that it doesn’t happen to everyone.

macOS Monterey Release Notes

macOS Monterey lets you connect, share, and create like never before. Enjoy new FaceTime audio and video enhancements, including spatial audio and Portrait mode. Get more done with powerful productivity tools like Focus, Quick Note, and Tab Groups in Safari. Work fluidly across your devices with AirPlay to Mac.

FaceTime

  • Spatial audio makes voices sound like they come from the direction of a speaker on the screen in a Group FaceTime call
  • Voice Isolation blocks background noises so your voice is crystal clear
  • Wide Spectrum brings every sound in your space into the call
  • Portrait mode puts the focus on you by blurring your background on Mac computers with the M1 chip
  • Grid view displays people in same-size tiles and highlights the active speaker
  • FaceTime links for inviting friends to calls on Apple, Android, or Windows devices

Messages

  • Shared with You displays content shared over Messages in your Mac apps
  • New Shared with You section in Photos, Safari, News, Podcasts, and the TV app
  • Multiple photos display as collages or stacks in Messages

Safari

  • Tab Groups help you save and organize your tabs and sync across devices
  • Intelligent Tracking Prevention prevents trackers from viewing your IP address
  • Compact tab bar option lets you see more of the webpage on your screen

Focus

  • Focus lets you automatically filter out notifications based on what you're doing
  • Options to customize a Focus for activities like work, gaming, reading, and more
  • Focus sets across all Apple devices
  • Status lets your contacts know that your notifications are silenced

Quick Note & Notes

  • Quick Note lets you take notes on any app or website, and easily revisit them later
  • Tags help you quickly categorize your notes by topic and make them easy to find
  • Mentions enable you to notify others of important updates in shared notes
  • Activity view displays who made recent changes in a shared note

AirPlay to Mac

  • AirPlay to Mac lets you share content from iPhone or iPad straight to your Mac
  • AirPlay speaker support for playing music through your Mac sound system

Live Text

  • Live Text makes text interactive in photos across the system
  • Support for copying, translating, and looking up text that appears in photos
  • Visual Look Up helps you learn about art, landmarks, and other objects in photos

Shortcuts

  • New app helps you automate everyday tasks, helping you accomplish them faster
  • Gallery with pre-built shortcuts that you can add and run throughout the system
  • Shortcuts editor helps you design custom shortcuts for your specific workflows
  • Support for automatically converting Automator workflows into shortcuts

Maps

  • Interactive 3D globe with enhanced details for mountains, oceans, and more on Mac computers with the M1 chip
  • Detailed city maps display elevation, trees, buildings, landmarks, and more on Mac computers with the M1 chip

Privacy

  • Mail Privacy Protection helps prevent senders from tracking your Mail activity
  • Recording indicator in Control Center for apps that are accessing your mic

iCloud+

  • iCloud Private Relay (beta) helps prevent companies from creating a detailed profile of your browsing activity in Safari
  • Hide My Email creates unique, random email addresses that forward to your inbox

In Conclusion

macOS Monterey is a solid update that adds a few new features and enhancements for blind and low vision users. We encountered no show-stopping bugs in this version of macOS. Our recommendation is to update when you're ready. You may want to give developers time to update their apps and others opportunity to find the bugs or other problems we missed, but we believe most users should be okay to update now.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this update. What do you like? What do you not like? Let us know by adding a comment below.

To install macOS Monterey, 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.

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Comments

Submitted by elliot2012 on Monday, October 25, 2021

Does anyone know if updating fixes the current safari, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. problems?

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Monday, October 25, 2021

One very welcome change that this version brings is improving VoiceOver's language detection capabilities, which not only brings them on par with but in some respects surpassing what iOS offers.

If your Voice is set to the "automatically select based on language" option, then VoiceOver now looks at the text to determine the language that should be used - previously this would only happen on the web if the author tagged it correctly. So for example, if you have a word written out in a different alphabet, like こんにちは this should now get read out in the Japanese voice instead of having Alex or whatever voice you're using just spelling out hiragana characters. This is also what iOS has done for years. Where the Mac goes a step further is if you added other languages in VoiceOver's voice settings, even if they use a Latin alphabet, they will also be taken into consideration for detection. This does occasionally cause false positives, but is correct 90% of the time which makes reading multilingual content great.

This is probably also what's causing the increased delay between some speech, because it's being split up somewhere. If you only work in one language and know you don't want the language detection and would rather have fewer pauses, then setting the voice with the VO+Command+arrow keys will make Alex or other voices work like they did before.

Another voice related change is that, at least on M1, VoiceOver now uses the neural version of the Siri voice rather than the older, more synthetic one that you got before or still get on iOS. It's slightly less responsive than the older generation of Siri voice, but still surprisingly usable and far more pleasant to listen to for things like reading longer articles.

Lastly, one minor change I noticed is that on the web, VoiceOver now tells you what kind of data an edit field is expecting - E-mails, phone numbers, etc.

Regarding Safari, it's definitely much better than it was in Safari 15.0. I think I still occasionally get a not responding message once in a while but if I do it happens on larger websites and doesn't last nearly as long.

Submitted by HEXAGON on Monday, October 25, 2021

Hi,
Unfortunately, the apple podcasts app is broken again. This means that you are no longer able to start specific podcast episodes, only the button "Latest episode" works reliably.

Submitted by HEXAGON on Monday, October 25, 2021

With macOS Monterey, Apple has fixed an issue that has been present for a very long time. In Safari, the braille display will now sync reliably with the speech output in most cases when using single item mode. Sadly, the braille panning is still broken and does not work at all in most places. For example, when you try to read through a wikipedia article only by using the braille display, and then move the braille output (i.e. by pressing Dot 5 CHORD), the speech output will not sync with the braille output.

Furthermore, Monterey introduces a bunch of new braille bugs.

TextEdit & Notes app: When you write something into the text field and then try to move the braille output by either pressing Dot 2 Chord (to move back) or Dot 5 CHORD (to move forward), this won't work in most cases. You have to press one of the arrow keys a few times to re-arrange the cursor in order to make braille panning work again.
Another frustrating issue occurs in TextEdit but other RTF-based applications too: When you write one line of text, for example, and then press enter and then type one letter, the line you've written above is shown on the braille display instead of the typed letter. In general, the braille display will always show the line above when you only type one letter - that's really frustrating!

The last issue I want to point out here is the fact that Live Text content is not displayed on the braille display at all. When you navigate over a canvas object within a photo in the photos app, the braille display will show, guess what, simply nothing.

In conclusion, I'd say that Apple has still a lot of work to do for braille users - and I can just hope that they will do so, because in the current state, macOS Monterey is not very well suited for heavy braille users.

Submitted by HEXAGON on Monday, October 25, 2021

Hi,
Another big issue I found in the release of Monterey is the problem that when you turn the VO Sound off (i.e. by double-tapping on the trackpad with three fingers) and then want to turn the sound on again with the same trackpad gesture, nothing happens. You have to restart VO each time when this issue occurs, instead. Especially for braille users, this can become really frustrating. When you now simply want to turn on the speech output (for example becuase the braille display shows nothing, like described above with Live Text) and then turn it off and after a short time turn it on again, this won't work.

Submitted by HEXAGON on Monday, October 25, 2021

In reply to by elliot2012

Hi,
With Safari 15.1, it's much better. As I am a beta tester and have tested Monterey since the first beta version, I don't know whether Safari 15.1 is installed by default with the final release of Monterey. But sometimes Safari is still not responding for a while, however. This occurs for example when opening a PDF document directly from Safari or when a web page needs a few seconds to load.

Submitted by curnal coconut on Monday, October 25, 2021

I amcurrently downloading monterey right now but if I find that bug is still present then I've waisted my time and will need to redownload catalina or search for the older big sur installer that came prior 2 11.5. however, I will update with another comment once I have done some tests, I have let apple know about this beforehand

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, October 25, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

After upgrading I got a dialog from Setup Assistant about whether I wanted to share diagnostics with Apple or not. I've seen this on several occasions in the past, and it normally isn't an issue, but today I was unable to navigate the dialog with VoiceOver at all. I instead had to use the mouse to locate and click on the Continue button. Thankfully VoiceOver was able to announce what was under the mouse cursor normally, so I didn't need sighted assistance, but I very nearly had to get help.

It's a good thing also that I got rid of the mouse announcement delay in VoiceOver Utility some years ago, so announcements happen immediately as I move the mouse, which isn't the default. If the delay was still active, I would've really had trouble here.

And yes, I did try every trick I know of to get VoiceOver focused on the window, including VO-F1, VO-F2, VO-Shift-F5 with the mouse inside the window, Command-Tab, turning VO off and back on, moving in various directions with the arrow keys, both with and without the VO keys, hitting the Return key, and even hitting the Power button (which did not put the computer to sleep, by the way). None of these tricks worked. Only using the mouse.

Submitted by clbastian on Monday, October 25, 2021

In reply to by elliot2012

Very good question, and is exactly why I jumped on the update. I can report that safari is much better now. Not for sure what happened but that last major safari update on Big Sir busted it bad. A little glitchy here and there, but exceptionally better to say the least.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, October 25, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

During installation, it is now possible to read the progress bar with VoiceOver. Also, when the Apple ID dialog appears, VoiceOver now prompts for a password. These have been long-standing installer issues that I'm glad to see finally resolved.

The install still breaks my shell script to read the time, triggered with Option+T. Every install breaks this, and I need to go into VO Utility and fix it. Crazy.

After upgrading, I'm no longer able to launch TDSR in the Terminal. This is probably because it's been eons since I upgraded TDSR, or possibly a Python issue. I'll grab the latest TDSR from GitHub and see if I can get it running again.

Submitted by Trenton Matthews on Monday, October 25, 2021

I can't for sure say if this is a bug or not...
Switching between Tab Groups with Command-Shift+Up/Down-Arrows,, seems to only do it's thing if you are among either the location/address bar (command+L) or among the Toolbars.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Submitted by Jason White on Monday, October 25, 2021

Those comments about the installer are encouraging. I have a new machine on order, so I'll be completing the initial setup process from scratch when it arrives.

My current late 2013 MacBook Pro won't upgrade to Monterey, but the new hardware will obviously have it pre-installed. I'm also in the "heavy braille user" category, and I'm glad there have been at least some bug fixes in that department.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, October 25, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Put VoiceOver focus in the menu bar with VO+M. Then use Alt+Tab to switch between apps. I would expect to hear the name of the app with each Alt+Tab keypress. Instead, I hear "Apple" for every app. Sometimes it announces the name of the first or second app correctly, but once it says "Apple", then every Alt+Tab keypress announces "Apple".

This issue has been around since Mac OS 11. I reported it to Apple long ago. As it is still present in Mac OS 12, I thought I should finally mention it here.

Language switching on the Mac is something I have been waiting and praying for for a long time now.
It is so much better when you come across a German word and get the correct pronunciation. It's best also with Japanese because as you stated, listening to the English VoiceOver read every character was so time-consuming.
Safari isn't too bad, I agree about the not responding message, I don't seem to get it as frequently but the one thing they really need to fix is the table reading bug when not interacting with the table, it misses the first column. That actually is quite annoying.
On the whole, I find the system far more responsive and snappy and I would like to say at this point but I would commit any crime or do anything to get my hands on an M1

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, October 25, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

If my Mac has been asleep a while, when I wake it, it prompts for my password. I expect to hear keyclicks as I type my password, but under Mac OS 12, I hear only silence.

In the Mail app, when I send a message, I expect to hear the whoosh sound of the email being sent. Under Mac OS 12, sending a message makes no sound. The only way I know my message was sent is to go to the Sent folder and see it there, or check to make sure that the Drafts folder is empty.

Are these bugs?

Submitted by curnal coconut on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

ok so the reading bug is still present, however up to now it hasn't been missing anything. heres what triggers this. when you are reading a webpage in chrome or edge and you come across a link that is in the sentense, after that voiceover will go ahead and read it again but because it found the link from before, it completely misses the fact there is a link there and keeps on reading, very odd, not as bad as it was in the latest version of big sur and currently is. however for anyone using the daniel compact voice like I am you will notice pronounciations have changed, for instance, when it says open, collection, or if you are going to install vlc media player

Submitted by VivekP on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hello all!
So, I am about to take a dive and go for MacOs update.
What I was wondering was whether the Siri voices have improved? Remember the pesky bug where Siri voices would speak in echo or speak two of them simultaneously.
I love using the British male Siri voice as my default VO voice and if the bug still persists then I may take a raincheck for now!
Please let me know if this issue is resolved.
Thank you and have a smashing day all!

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by PaulMartz

This seems to be a sporadic issue. When waking my computer this morning, I heard keyclicks when i entered the password. I sent a mail message and heard a whoosh. Hm.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I think it's important to note that when VoiceOver announces "Safari is not responding", the website has in fact loaded and is responsive to sighted users who can scroll through it and follow links. As a result, this core problem introduced in Safari v15 still persists.

Submitted by Cankut Değerli on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

I have just installed Monterey but the FaceTime app is not usable with VoiceOver. VO doesn't read any user interface elements, when I pres the arrow keys I only hear the ding sound.
Also Books app is not responsive, I can read the books but when turning a page the app freezes.

Submitted by mr grieves on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

I'd not really read about the new mouse pointer feature, but I was under the impressino you could actually change the pointer shape. But you can just change the 2 colours. Actually, I struggled to use the colour control. It took me ages to find it (it was on the bottom left of the screen but quite hard to make out), and then I wasn't really sure how to use the slider to do more than black ad white. But my enthusiasm had gone by that point.

Windows has had a pointer which inverts depending on the colours behind it. I was hoping for a similar option but sadly not.

Submitted by curnal coconut on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

for those who are not aware yet you can actually press control when voiceover is reading and it will go ahead and stop reading or speeking until you press control again, before you would press control and voiceover would carry on talking regardless, very anoying if you left your mac alone for a few seconds, glad apple has fixed this

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

I'm taking a pass on this one, at least for the time being. I was going to update on this Mac, but I've had it since the end of 2013 and it's starting to show its age. Purchasing a new Mac altogether would cost a lot, and I don't think my current financials can afford it. My mother encouraged me to keep up my keyboarding skills with a new Mac or just not updating this one. I think she's absolutely right, but my typing in iOS is starting to improve. In addition, there are a lot of ways to input text on an iPhone. So the jury's still out on this one. That said, the new release sounds really good as I've come to expect from Apple.

Submitted by dvdmth on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

Having a major annoyance with Monterey and how it connects to my Beats Solo Pro headphones.

Like other Apple headphones in recent years, the default behavior is to try to connect automatically to whatever device you are using. The problem is that the behavior often picks the wrong device, at least in my experience, making me have to switch devices manually, which can be a pain at times.

I was able to switch the behavior from automatic to manual in the past, but it seems as if I can no longer do that on my iMac. After upgrading to Monterey, the default automatic behavior returned, and I have had my headphones mistakenly connect to my Mac instead of my iPhone on several occasions now. I went into System Preferences to try to turn off the automatic switching mode, and though the option does appear for the headphones, the popup menu is dimmed, making it impossible for me to change the setting. Trying to authenticate with my admin password first and then making the change doesn't work either, since the popup menu remains dimmed even after putting in my credentials. So I am now stuck with the automatic switching mode, and all of its bugginess I would love to live without.

I can still switch the connection mode on my iPhone and iPad running the latest iOS. It's only my Mac that won't let me change the setting, and of course there's no way to change the setting globally for all devices.

Can anyone else confirm this change in behavior, either with the Beats Solo Pro, or with AirPods or any other Apple headphone that comes with this feature? I would certainly love to know if there's something I can do to fix this annoyance, if anyone has any suggestions.

For context I have a 2017 model iMac. I cannot disable Bluetooth on this device, because the keyboard I use with it only works via Bluetooth.

Submitted by mr grieves on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I noticed when I turned VoiceOver on, it asked if I wanted to give it permission to Bluetooth which I think is new.

In Big Sur, I noticed that I can never seem to get rid of these dialogs. You click OK and seemingly nothing happens. (Similarly with Don't Allow). This still seems to be the case in Monterey which is really annoying.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The FaceTime app works fine for me. However, a friend using a 2014 Mac mini after updating to Monterey also noticed that it came up with a blank window. After running VOCR and asking someone sighted to look at it it turned out the app had come up with a prompt saying that he needed to connect a camera to use FaceTime, even though it was possible to use it without for audio calls before. Stranger still, he can still answer audio calls fine, and a different person this time on a 2020 M1 Mac mini also without a camera hooked up doesn't have this error and can use the app perfectly.

Regarding iBooks, Apple ditched the old app in favor of a new one which was ported over from iOS via catalist. Not that the original books app ever worked super reliably for reading, but yeah this one is even less consistent and trying to do something like a say all doesn't work at all. IIRC the iOS accessibility API has a type of role specifically designed for long text that things like the books app or Kindle hook into and this currently doesn't seem to translate to the Mac.

Hi.
Thanks for the FaceTime tip. I'm also using an M 1 Mac mini, so I assume that the camera prompt appears on screen, so a sighted person can help me on this.
As for Books app, I hope they will fix in the next 12.1 update because I read all of my books on the Apple Books app. I reported the issue to apple accessibility. So we'll see.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Here's a new problem I'm seeing in Monterey, and it's very reproducible on my 2019 iMac.

Place VoiceOver focus on a list view control, then put the Mac to sleep. When you wake the system, the Up and Down arrow keys produce no VoiceOver feedback.

To fix, move focus away from the list control, then back again.

Submitted by mr grieves on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I was hopiong that live text would work everywhere. I'm always getting Skype messages with images of text in them, and it would be great if I could just copy/paste the text out. It seems it doesn't work in Skype or Preview. It did work nicely in Safari and it was kind of magical when it did - just being able to highlight text in an image.

But not sure how to get VoiceOver to interact with it??

Submitted by Cankut Değerli on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I'm wandering that are these bugs reported to apple? I have been written some E-mails about what I encountered. I hope they will fix them.
And Sorry for my mistakes, English is my second language.

In a previous comment, I mentioned two different issues that I now believe are related bugs.

First, in VO Utility, I have selected the checkbox "Allow VoiceOver to be controlled with AppleScript". This allows my script to read the time to operate. After upgrading, this feature is disabled (my time script will not execute), but the checkbox is still checked. I must uncheck it, then check it again, to restore the functionality. This happens after every major upgrade.

Second, I mentioned that Monterey rendered my TDSR terminal screen reader inoperable. The problem was that I had installed TDSR under my Documents folder, and Terminal was behaving as if it could not access Documents. However, in System Preferences, Security and Privacy, Privacy tab, Files and Folders, the checkbox to allow Terminal to access Documents was, in fact, checked. As with VoiceOver, I had to uncheck it, then check it again, to enable this functionality. Once I did this, I could launch TDSR (in my Documents folder) from Terminal.

I think it's a bug that upgrades reset security options. However, even if it's intentional to reset these options, it's certainly a bug that the checkboxes remain checked when the permissions have been rescinded.

I'm calling this an accessibility issue because it appears in VO Utility, but hopefully Apple can fix the issue globally as it also appears in System Preferences, Security and Privacy.

Submitted by VivekP on Thursday, October 28, 2021

Hi all,
I was wondering as to how to turn on full keyboard access in accessibility option? In my case, the button appears to be dimmed.
Is it the case that the full keyboard access can be granted only to external keyboards and not to the native keyboards?
As a reference, I was trying to turn on full keyboard access on my M1 MacBook Air.
Any thoughts?
Thank you and have a smashing day!

I've encountered an issue with Scrivener that is very similar to the List View sleep issue I mentioned previously.

Open a Scrivener document with text, and place focus in the editor window. Put your Mac to sleep. After you wake the Mac, Scrivener has focus, but arrow keys have no effect. They should move the cursor through the editor window, and VoiceOver should read the characters and lines as you arrow around.

To get Scrivener working again, Control+Tab out of the editor window and back in again.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Friday, October 29, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Not sure how new this is, but I've just noticed it for the first time.

Suppose you have a URL with an internal link target tag, like so:
https://www.magnetsandladders.org/#the-day-after-christmas-fictionwzxhz…

I have not been able to find a way to get VoiceOver focus to land on the target tag. If I click such a link, Safari opens to the start of the page, seeming to ignore the target tag altogether. If I copy the URL and paste it into the address bar, I get slightly better results: Safari visually displays the correct portion of the webpage. But VoiceOver focus is still at the top, so any VoiceOver navigation immediately scrolls the page away from the target tag.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, October 30, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Here are a couple low-vision related improvements I've noticed in Monterey.

The VoiceOver highlight rectangle (enabled in VO Utility, Visuals, Show VoiceOver Cursor) now correctly follows VoiceOver focus if you scroll the focused item, such as text in a word processor. This has been broken for many years.

Big Sur introduced a graphic window that would temporarily display every time you toggled Zoom on or off. Along with this came a new problem: VoiceOver focus would jump to the temporary window, and when it closed, VoiceOver focus would frequently not be where you left it. You'd also get a lot of verbiage from VoiceOver redundantly re-announcing the current application. All of this seems to be greatly improved in Monterey, and the temporary Zoom window is much less obtrusive.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, October 30, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by PaulMartz

For the entire day yesterday, I got no whoosh sound when I sent mail from the Mail app. Today, the whoosh sound is back. I have no idea what makes it go away or come back. Has anyone else noticed this?

Submitted by PaulMartz on Sunday, October 31, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hey! I just encountered a great improvement. If someone sends me three emoji faces, VoiceOver used to read each one, like "red face with crossed eyes, red face with crossed eyes, red face with crossed eyes".

Now, VoiceOver reads the emoji once, prefixed with the number, so I get "three red face with crossed eyes".

Thank you, Apple!

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, November 1, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by PaulMartz

I reset my boot prom and the issue with the missing Mail whoosh seems to be resolved. I'm also seeing different behavior now with List View controls, but I'll have to play with it before I declare it resolved. This is a 2019 Mac Mini, by the way.

After a day, I can see that resetting the boot PROM didn't address any of these issues. I still experience no whoosh sound when sending email, and the list view control still has issues after waking from sleep. This is a 2019 Mac Mini.

Submitted by Malthe on Thursday, November 4, 2021

Hi!
Not sure if this is a Monterey or Big Sur thing, as I skipped Big Sur entirely, but VoiceOver now also loads automatically on things like FileVault or Mac OS Recovery. I presume it checks whether VoiceOver is loaded in the login window and adjusts accordingly - I love this!

Best
Malthe

Submitted by Steve Kuusisto on Monday, November 15, 2021

I've had numerous conversations with Apple. VO in Monterey can read a page or two in iBooks and then drops out, saying "no text to interact". Like thousands of other blind folks I really need this to work. They say they're working on it. But this is incredibly frustrating.

Steve Kuusisto, Syracuse, NY

Submitted by Cankut Değerli on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Hi, I sent a feedback about Apple Books and some other issues about continuous reading and they said they could produced the issues I mentioned. So I hope they will fix them soon, hopefully on 12.1 update.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I've found a new issue for low vision users. With the Mail app configured to open messages in a separate window (as many users do), the message window opens in the bottom center of the screen. If the user drags the window to a better viewing location, new message windows will open in the new location for a while. But eventually they seem to forget the new location and open at bottom center again. I have not been able to identify what triggers the windows to open at the incorrect location.