Bug in Safari 7.1

Club AppleVis Member
macOS & Mac Apps

I found what appears to be a new bug in Safari 7.1 and VoiceOver, running under the latest version of Mavericks.

When I press Command-Left Bracket to go back one page, one of two things will happen. Either I end up with an empty scroll area, or VoiceOver will continue to announce elements from the webpage I just left. The correct page is displayed on screen, but VoiceOver is not aware of it. I have to press Command-R to reload the page before VoiceOver operates correctly.

Has anyone else noticed this annoying behavior?



Submitted by Bryan Jones on Thursday, September 25, 2014

2013 MBA, OS 10.9.5, Safari 7.1.

Steps to replicate:

1. Launch Safari.

2. Go to a website, applevis.com for example.

3. Navigate to a post and activate it.

4. After the new page loads, use the standard key combo to go back to the previous page, Command + left bracket.

5. Attempt to navigate through the page. I encounter either an empty scroll area or, if I activate the web rotor and arrow through the various elements, I find the lists refer to items on the previous page.

The issue does not seem to happen when performing the same steps on the same computer in Chrome stable 37.

Submitted by dvdmth on Friday, September 26, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

After some testing, I have found that the bug does not happen on all sites. For example, I have the bug on AppleVis, but not DBSTalk, another site I visit regularly.

Also, the sites that have problems going back in Safari 7.1 on the Mac also have problems going back in iOS 8 on my iPad Air. The symptoms are different, but in both cases I need to reload the webpage before VoiceOver behaves normally. I know that Safari on the Mac uses the same rendering engine that iOS uses, so the bug may be with the renderer, not necessarily VoiceOver itself. It does not affect non-VoiceOver usage, though, since the page loads visually just fine when going back to a previous page.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Friday, September 26, 2014

Thanks for posting. I was about to install this update but may just wait...
Can someone confirm whether this has been reported to Apple?


Sea No Evil

Submitted by MelodicFate on Friday, September 26, 2014

I, too, have this issue. I haven't kept track of what sites it happens on, but more often than not, when I go back from a site and onto Google search results, I get "empty scroll area". True, just pressing command-R fixes it, but it's still annoying. And I'm on a 2011 MacBook Pro, running the latest version of Mavericks

Submitted by splyt on Friday, September 26, 2014

if it's in the render .... we have a big issue ..... cinse every app using it embeded may have the same kind of problem ..... and for some of these the reload option might not be available.
This should be reported to Apple right now -m i won't do it because I do not have the update.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Friday, September 26, 2014

I have also had this problem as well.

Submitted by Bryan Jones on Monday, September 29, 2014

If you are experiencing this issue but haven't yet reported it to accessibility@apple.com, please send them a quick email. You can reference ticket #474443.

I've pasted my original email and their initial response here. Creating a new User account on the same Mac yielded the same failure.

On Sep 29, 2014, at 12:13 PM, Apple Accessibility <accessibility@apple.com> wrote:

Thank you for your email. I am unable to reproduce this issue. I’ve tested this on the page you described
and on a couple of other pages. After hitting the back command (command + left bracket) or using the
bcak button on Safari VO navigation seems to work as expected. If possible please test with a newly created
user account. There maybe an issue with your VoiceOver preferences.

Apple Accessibility

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bryan Jones
Subject: Issues navigating back to previous page in Safari 7.1
Date: September 26, 2014 at 9:11:46 AM EDT
To: accessibility@apple.com

Dear Apple Accessibility,

I’d like to report a problem I am experiencing when attempting to navigate Back to the previous web page when using Safari 7.1.

THe previous page loads visually, but VoiceOver does not appear to recognize that the previous page has loaded.

Steps to reproduce:

1. GO to store.apple.com
2. Click the link to open the Refurbished and Clearance Store.
3. After the Refurbished and Clearance Store page has loaded, press Command+{ to go back a page.
4. The previous page does load (visually); however, attemtping to navigate using standard VO web navigation commands or attempting to bring up the web rotor fail.

Macbook Air 6,1
OS 10.9.5
Safari Version 7.1 (9537.

Bryan Jones

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, September 29, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

I got a similar response from Apple Accessibility. I sent a reply with slightly different instructions, after discovering that if you don't do any navigation on a page before going back, the bug does not happen. Even with the modified steps, which I could reproduce virtually every time on my Mac, they still could not reproduce the bug.

I tried out various VoiceOver preference combinations to see if there was a setting that triggered or prevented the bug, but I couldn't find one. I did find that turning cursor tracking off, VO-Shift-F3, seemed to change VoiceOver's behavior when the bug is triggered, but did not solve the problem.

I also tried various Safari settings and couldn't find anything that helped. For a moment I thought putting Safari in full screen mode would solve the issue, since the first time I tried to reproduce the issue in that mode it didn't happen, but subsequent testing revealed that the bug was still there. That experience did tell me, however, that the bug does not happen 100% of the time, even when doing the same steps, so that is a sign that something else might be influencing the problem.

I'll have to do more investigating. I don't think they aren't trying to replicate the bug, but there clearly is something different between our computers and theirs.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hi everyone. I just updated to Safari version 7.1 last night, or I guess that should be my Mac was automatically updated. I have indeed noticed this bug with going back a page. In addition, just a few minutes ago as I was posting something to the Twitter timeline for my volunteer job I noticed another possible bug. I will have to try posting other things to Twitter and try with other voices, to see if this is actually a bug in this version of Safari or if it's just on that particular site. But what I did was go to http://www.globalaccessibilitynews.com . This is a site containing accessibility articles from around the globe. Anyway, the other bug I noticed was that when navigating to the social networking links which appear immediately after each article, those links are no longer announced by VoiceOver. I should mention that because I've used the website for awhile now to post to our Twitter timeline, I have become pretty well-acquainted with the order of links. So I think something might've been broken in this version of Safari. Something else I just noticed here on AppleVis is that when navigating to the names of commentors, VO no longer announces "View User profile."

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Okay, the issue with going back a page hasn't happened to me for a few tries. I'm wondering if this is just sheer luck, or if the accessibility team at Apple already heard us, lol! But I did have to delete both the subject line and my actual comment when posting this one, as those fields were filled in with my previous comment. Hmmm, interesting!

Submitted by Bryan Jones on Monday, October 13, 2014

I also tested with the latest Webkit nightly and found the same results.
Webkit Version 7.1 (9537., r174632)

Apple Accessibility wrote back to say they still could not replicate but would bump the ticket.

Submitted by dvdmth on Saturday, October 18, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

This bug also exists in Yosemite. I noticed, however, that the new arrow key navigation feature is not affected by the bug, only navigation via VoiceOver commands.

I will submit another report to Apple Accessibility, but I'm afraid they will say again that they cannot reproduce it. I've tried everything short of a fresh install of the OS to try to cure the problem, but to no avail.

Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm revisiting this thread because I think I've made a rather interesting discovery. That is, this bug doesn't seem to be present when navigating the BARD website on my mid-2013 Mac Book Air with the latest build of Os X Mavericks. I don't know if it's the site layout or just sheer luck, but I have not encountered this bug on BARD as of yet. I'm including today, because I was just on there and it did not happen. Interesting eh? Far as I know, theirs is the only site where I've not experienced this. But the work-around of refreshing the page with Command-R has worked great for me each time.

I have this bug as well, so thanks for the refresh workaround. However I only have it on a few websites. I have a macbook pro 2012 with osx 10.10.

Submitted by Chelsea on Sunday, October 19, 2014

Has anyone noticed that you can no longer summon the downloads window to check downloads in progress via command option l? I heard about the bugs and didn't appreciate my mac automatically installing the latest version of Safari. Also, when I review an edit field such as this comment, there are only two or three words per line. Weird.

Submitted by Bryan Jones on Monday, October 20, 2014

Following up on Dvdmth's findings in Yosemite, I found the same results using a fresh install, and will be continuing to follow-up with Apple Accessibility using ticket number 474443. Steps to replicate:
1. Clean install of the released version of OS 10.10 on a 2011 Macbook Air 11 inch, i7, 4gb, 128gb SSD.
2. No Filevault, No iCloud sync, Local User account only.
3. Did not install any software or change any settings aside from turning on VO and increasing speech rate to 65 percent.
4. Launch Safari and go to store.apple.com > Refurbished and Clearance Store > Shop Now, refurbished Mac.
5. Open web rotor and review lists of headings, links etc to confirm correct content.
6. Press Command+[ to go Back to previous page.
7. Results: Visually the page goes back successfully, and if I arrow up and down, VO seems to be announcing the correct and currently displayed content; however, the sound that normally indicates completion of page load does not happen, and when I attempt to navigate through the content on the page using standard VO techniques to navigate by headings, links, forms, etc, I encounter a mix of items from the last page displayed and unspecified items such as "text, text, text, text, link, link, link." This occurs using the web rotor, quick nav, and VO+Command+Letter.

Toggling VO off/on or reloading the page clears up the issue on the currently displayed page, but the issue recurs the next time I attempt to go back a page on most sites.

Submitted by dvdmth on Monday, October 20, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

Regarding the download popover, the option appears to be unchanged from prior versions. At least I see the item in the View menu, with the same Command-Option-L key assignment. I cannot test it right now, since I don't have anything downloading or downloaded.

Regarding only have a few words on a line, that's probably because the size of the Safari window changed. That was the first thing I noticed visually after upgrading to Yosemite. The window moved to the center of the screen, taking a smaller portion of it than it used to. This will cause the amount of text on a line to be shorter, especially on some sites with additional content along the left or right side of the page. The easiest way to fix this is to enter full screen mode, by pressing Control-Command-F, which makes the Safari window take up the entire screen, giving you the maximum amount of real estate. If you don't want to use full screen mode, you can also select Zoom from the Window menu, which will make the window larger, but not as much as entering full screen mode makes it. You can also resize the window manually by pressing VO-Shift-Accent, though that method is tricky if you can't see what you're doing.