Accessibility Fixes And Improvements in iOS 8.1
Apple Releases iOS 8.1 With a Number Of Fixes And Improvements For Blind And Low Vision Users
Following a short beta testing period, Apple today released iOS 8.1 to the public - the first major update to iOS 8 since its release last month. Along with the introduction of a number of new features, iOS 8.1 appears to include a number of accessibility-specific fixes and improvements.
Based upon what we have typically come to expect from a full point release of iOS, it is likely that some will be disappointed to see that this update does not include more fixes for the accessibility-related bugs that were introduced in iOS 8.0. However, it is worth noting that iOS 8.1 comes just a month after iOS 8.0, and that Apple appears to be working on a very different version schedule to what we have typically seen in the past. To illustrate, iOS 5.1 was released nearly five months after iOS 5.0; iOS 6.1 was released a little over four months after iOS 6.0; and iOS 7.1 was released nearly six months after iOS 7.0.
So, all that to say this: it's important to keep in mind that we are only a month into iOS 8, and isolating and fixing bugs takes time.
With Apple still needing to fit integration with the forthcoming Apple Watch into the life cycle of iOS 8, it is likely that we will see an iOS 8.2 (and possibly even an 8.3) release in the coming months. We can only hope that these - or any interim updates - will fix the outstanding bugs which are still affecting blind and low vision users.
Here are the fixes and improvements that we have found in our initial testing of iOS 8.1. Please do let us know in the comments any other changes that you find.
Accessibility-Related Fixes and Improvements in iOS 8.1
Toggling the Braille Status Cell setting should no longer disable VoiceOver.
Using the Handwriting Mode should no longer cause VoiceOver to crash.
Typing Feedback now correctly reflects your setting (in earlier releases of iOS 8, there would be "echo" feedback, regardless of whether you had this enabled).
A number of problems appear to have been resolved when using a bluetooth keyboard - for example, apps and VoiceOver should no longer crash, and VoiceOver key commands should work as expected.
The Send button should now work when using the Share option to send a message from outside of the stock Messages app.
The dialpad no longer appears to occasionally "stick" after entering a number.
The bug which caused direct touch typing mode to prevent some third-party keyboards from working properly appears to be resolved. (Most notably, this bug prevented Fleksy from working, although there are still issues with this app. For now, we do not know if this is due to other VoiceOver issues or bugs in Fleksy itself.).
The Purchase buttons in the iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store now appear to behave more reliably.
When VoiceOver automatically switches languages, it should now use the Enhanced Quality voice if it is installed.
Web form labels should now read correctly.
There appear to be improvements which make it less likely that your device will auto-lock whilst VoiceOver is speaking.
When using the Zoomed Display mode on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, the touch and visual location of elements should now match.
Accessibility-Related Bugs Introduced in iOS 8.1
As is the nature of these things, a major update can introduce new bugs. If you encounter any which you believe to be new in this release, please let us know in the comments section.
For now, this is the only bug that we believe to be new:
- If your iPhone is muted via the side switch, VoiceOver doesn’t always provide feedback if you touch or swipe the screen when there is an incoming call. For obvious reasons, this makes handling of incoming calls somewhat of a challenge. In our early testing, this behaviour appears to be inconsistent and unpredictable. Unmuting your device does immediately bring VoiceOver back.
For a list of bugs introduced in iOS 8.0, please see our existing post: The Accessibility Bugs in iOS 8: From Serious To Minor
As a reply to my earlier comment, iOS 8.1 is handled far better on my 4S, at least in these first hours of using it. VoiceOver hasn't really crashed once, at least. It used to crash constantly while looking at Facebook and now I just looked at a few notifications there and all is well. :)
Hi Kevin. I'm glad your fourS works well, but on my five, I've noticed if you swipe fast,t he notifications statuses can freze more often then not on videos. Anyway glad you with an older model then I is enjoying the update.
I've heard a few folks on here say that the scrolling/focus issue does still exist to some degree.
What I am wondering is, to *what* degree does it still exist? How much a nuisance is it now compared to earlier iOS 8? How many people are having it compared to how many people are not having the issue?
This one is the only deal-breaker for me if it is still pretty bad, so, please let me know.
Hi. I know you think it's a dal breaker, but keep this in mind: if it's a simple swipe up or down, andyou get whre you need to, why is that so difficult? I am not being a jrk, I'm asking. because to be honest on yosemite, the new line selected bug whenever I hit shift,drives me insane. Am I willin to create a dictionary entry, no because it's not htat bad. If you're a heavy safari user it might annoy you, but i'd say try it maybe on someone's device before your own.
I have never heard such stupid and childish thinking on this subject from mario. you sir, sound exactly like the national federation of the blind leadership who can't be happy with anything apple does. if you truly think that way, go join them, and stop going after apple, just because you, and a few leaders like the president of NFB can't be bothered to do there homework about apple and how much they have done for us.
For those who still fondly remember Fleksy VO and have it in their purchase list, have any of you tried Fleksy VO with iOS 8.1? What were the results?
Hello, although I have officially switched to android upon my bad experience with my iPhone 5C Apple has improved a bit on iOS 8.1. I have had the opportunity to test it on my mom's iPhone 5C and it's a little better. I will honestly say that I applaud Apple for attempting to get rid of the bugs to the best of their abilities and it will only get better. I do agree that as a company, too much is on their minds that we as a blind community are often times placed on the back burner. apple has other projects that they are working on including the famous iWatch, therefore we as a community can only write as one suggested politely and can hope for the best. Needless to say, whether or not one chooses to stay with apple or go with competition, it makes no difference who you go with, what operating system you choose to use, there will always be bugs and no company and/or developer is perfect. for instance, android has gotten better in accessibility but not as good as Apple. Does that stop me from using it an Android device such as my Samsung Galaxy s5? No! It allows me to contribute as a productive citizen and voice my concerns in a professional and well-constructive manner and encourage developers to better their apps. Flaming others on a respected forum such as Applevis will only close the doors on you. So as productive citizens who use apple products, both in the U.s. and other countries, find Apple's e-mail address, write to them politely and if you get a response, follow up in a professional and polite manner. I've always had a belief that the more platforms you learn the more choices you will have later down the road. I still have my iPad 4th Gen, along with my Mac Mini Mid 2012 and my MacBook Pro Mid 2012 so I have not quite left Apple yet. I am a supporter of both Android and Apple and will continue to write to Apple and Android developers to encourage better accessibility for each platform and report bugs when necessary. To end this, I encourage to just cool off, think before you write and flame others and let's not give the applevis team a headache due to ungratefulness. Learn to appreciate now what you have before you are forced to appreciate.
On a different note, does anyone know if iOS 8.1 work on an iPad 4th gen? I'm still at iOS 7.1.2 but was hesitant to upgrade upon my bad experience with my iPhone 5C. Any suggestions would very much be appreciated and sorry for the long-winded e-mail.
I'd be the first to say Ive had issues with iOS accessibility at times, but lawsuit threat is childish.
Go to Android or Windows. Good luck with that. Their accessibility stinks. You could scream about their accessibility until your 6 feet under, and they won't reply.
I just don't know how some survive. There are travesties going on in the world, and I'm sorry your blindness isn't one of them. We all thrive and take day at a time. I'm sorry if I offend anyone.
You don't like Apple, don't buy the products.
I have been having major problems on my ipad4 and iphone5 since ios8
None of the bugs I reported to Apple are fixed in 8.1
The main problem is safari Locking up for several minutes or. Permanently freezing requiring a shut down. Happens every few minutes making web access almost unusable.
Same on my iPad and iPhone.
Tried reset and set as new device with same results.
Other issues but this one is the killer for me.
Hi, yes I can confirm this bug but you do not have to close the app store in the switcher. Just double tap on the search field and perform a double tap and hold on the delete key to erase all characters there. You will know when deleting is complete when you have heard the typing click sound stop. Now, enter your search.
Hope that helps
The radio buttons don't break off the text now so you will get, "I walk away, radio button checked" instead of "radio button checked, I walk away". You're right though, the games themselves have to be done the hard way by actually scrolling and selecting the radio button, i've managed to play through a few this way but it's not ideal.
To the best of our knowledge, the scrolling bug still behaves the same in iOS 8.1 as it did in iOS 8.0.
Is anyone experiencing a bug where you cannot type your passcode and unlock your phone with a braille display? The passcode does not appear on the screen, because when I try to tap the done button, it is still being called the cancel button.
But I will stick with 7.1 I believe, as I have a 4S and an iPad mini. I am glad things are moving in the right direction, but all this talk of sluggishness makes me want to hold back. With absolutely no disrespect meant to the individual who posted the comment I am about to mention, in 2011 I doubt if anyone on here would have thought someone would someday say: I can now at least open a few pages in Safari without VO turning off and on. Superb. I see Apple as having slipped a considerable distance where accessibility is concerned, but I know they're working hard, I am still a customer (albeit no longer interested in upgrading) and I look forward to superstar VoiceOver releases that undoubtedly will arrive in the future.
What I think is pathetic is the people telling the people complaining about Apple or the low number of their favorite bugs being fixed or whatever,to shut up and go away. Everyone has a right to their opinions and the right to speak their mind, a.k.a. free speach or freedom of speach.
If you don't like what someone have to say, there isn't anyone holding a gun to your head forcing you to read or listen to them.
For everyone's sakes though, to keep this from becoming a flame war, I think we need to think about what we want to say, and if it doesn't contribute positively to the conversation or discussion, that maybe it would be better for everyone if we kept those thoughts to ourselves.
In other words, if you don't have anything nice or constructive to say, try saying nothing at all. I think that will go a long way towards making this a pleasant community to be a part of.
In my opinion, the 8.1 version runs faster than did 7.1.2 (I skipped 8.0 entirely). Also, I noticed a strange bug in which some of the audiobooks in the music app have disappeared. They no longer appear under the audiobooks section. You can find them in other sections, but when you click their names, other music starts up. An iTunes sync will probably fix this problem, but I have yet to try. I was planning on moving the audiobooks out of music anyway, but if you rely on this, look out for mutations in your library.
Have noticed that when replying to a message from the lock screen, when trying to dictate your response it boots you out and doesnt dictate the message.If you want to dictate the message you have to double tap the message and dictate it from the app.
my only complain so far is the impossibility of downgrade from IOS 8 to 7 or maybe even 6.
I would rather excuse Apple for accessibility issues if the downgrade were possible.
Does anyone no if the issues with whatsapp is fixed where you open the app and it closes again and you have to reopen it? Or is it maybe a whatsapp problem? I'm not sure if they came out with an update yet to support ios8. I will update later this week. Sounds like most of the things wich could be a problem for me is squashed. I'm glad. I don't think however, that we should always be sadisfyed with the boring argument that we a small group. That is no longer an excuse for any company, but that being said, I'm very happy with what they did and how far they come. Its defnitly true that they listen. They might not always respond the way we all want them to, but it can only get better from here. Apple and Olympus gave us really the best so far.
The VO issue with it turning on and off was happening around the board for folks, not just within Safari, I just had lots of issues with it in the early IOS 8 release, seems much better now. I take your point though.
Finally, someone who has pointed out what I've been trying to say to everyone for ages. There are always going to be people who will never be satisfied with the work Apple does. Bottom line: THEY'RE HUMANS. Just like we are. We should be grateful they even thought about accessibility in the first place, and the fact that they added VO to the Mac shows that they really do care, that it's not simply a thing to avoid ADA lawsuits. The blind community is a very tiny population, you guys, compared to the sighted world. What some of you have to realize is that this world, like it or not, is primarily built for people who have vision. Is that fair? No. But instead of griping and complaining about the unfairness of the situation, find the positives of it. For example, while there are still bugs in iOS 8.1, they've squashed several already, and it shows that they really are committed to providing the best user experience possible. We as the blind community just need to continue to report (and politely, by the way) the issues we are continuing to have.
You honestly want to take Apple to court because of this? Because you're unsatisfied with the bugs they haven't yet squashed? I don't know you, so I won't judge, but that's not going to go through. Apple is doing their best to provide a good user experience. I'm having a few issues with my Braille display, but it doesn't mean I'm using my iPhone unsatisfactorily, and I'm sure many others will agree with this. If it wasn't for Apple, we wouldn't even have the capability of using their line of Smartphones at all, and I'm sure most of us would still be stuck with basic flip phones.
And the user that commented about Android accessibility is right: Android still has a long way to go before it's on par with VO. I haven't picked up a Windows phone myself, but I don't think they're accessible, either. Google has a screen reader for their devices, but again, it's really behind VO in its intuitiveness.
So, instead of griping about how you're unsatisfied with Apple, do something about it. Email them (POLITELY!). And if you still aren't satisfied, switch to whichever device you please. But sitting on these forums and utterly bashing the company will get you nowhere, because the issues you're having will remain unsolved.
Hi. That's what I was trying to say, you both said it better. Irish temper can be a help and a hinderance sometimes. Seriously, i'm happy they fixed the key echo bug, and when this new line selected thing is squashed in Yosemite, I'll be happier still. Someone said create a dictionary entry, first Apple broke it, they will fix it, second of all, though it makes me a little nuts, it's not THAT MUCH of a problem. It won't stop me fromusing either platform. I still stand by my prediction apple have to much to do. All the new devices, as well as the OS and ios updates, we're lucky to even get this much so soon. Mario, be happy wherever you are, it's obviously not with apple. The adult thing to do for anyone else dissatisfied, say it's not yourthing, go somewhere else and ejoy your experience, but blashing and stomping your feet will only get you comments like you've seen. Maybe it's just me but i'd rather think with my head, then my eyes or lack their of, if it doesn't work either wait, or choose not to update.
They had the ability to downgrade back to 7.1.2 available for a week or so after the release of iOS 8.0. I don't know when you upgraded, but the ability was there for a longer window than usual for Apple. Sorry you are experiencing lots of bugs.
With respect, it makes no more sense to bash Mario and to say or imply that we should be grateful for any crumbs of accessibility Apple deigns to throw us than it does to bash Apple because it doesn't make access for the blind/visually impaired a priority.
There really is a middle way. I think accessibility is slipping somewhat in Apple and I consider the number of bugs in iOS 8 -- those involving VoiceOver and those not -- to be inexcusable. But it is also just as bogus to expect that accessibility bugs will be squashed as quickly as are other bugs.
I plead with all of us to get off the polemics and merely report bugs. Pretend you are Kirk or Picard or Mr. Data. If nothing else, it might cut down on the spleen-venting or the Apple-is-OK-is-not-is-too-is-not nonsense that I might expect of Honey Booboo.
In response to Mario, I have an Android phone and a Nexus 7 as well, and neither of them have accessibility this good! Be my guest with the competition. You may like it, but you won't have near the forum to whine about it, but you can bash Apple on the Android forums as much as you want. If you want, I'll even give you my Android phone! Lol
Just updated to IOS 8.1 and noticed that in the BARD Mobile app, it's still necessary to land on the search field when browsing BARD through this app by swiping three fingers quickly up and then double tapping for a second time the search field. Using the picker items to select an author's last name or any of those pickers is still practically useless. NLS indicates to me that this is Apple's problem to fix: still and all, I wonder if perhaps there isn't something NLS can do since other app developers seem able to modify their apps.
I'm not sure if this is new or not, but if you are using Alex and make a call, then hang up using the lock button, you may find that the little click sound in the voiceover sounds will not function. All other sounds work as expected. As far as I can tell, this isn't the case with vocalizer (which I am going to use) and cannot be consistently generated. Also, as you probably have noticed, the two-finger double tap to answer phone call bug that starts the music going as well is still there (that's the most annoying one for me). Look out; Mario just might take you up on that offer; I would.
I just realized a bug fix. In ios 7, if I turned off screen curtain and turned back on, it raised brightness to 63%. Now it stays at 0.
I've never experienced brightness being affected by toggling of Screen Curtain under iOS 7.1.
I can now verify that the click sound disappears when using vocalizer as well. E-mails will be going to report this and other bugs.
So, here's another interesting one! If you use the Braille Screen Input, then switch back to the regular Qwerty, the auto-correct feature gets turned off, and you have to go into keyboard settings to turn it back on. Not a deal breaker, just an annoyance.
Hello. I have also experienced this autocorrect bug on iOS 8.1. Actually, its been there since 8.0.2. Even if you don't use the Braille Input at all, and if you pass it in the roter, autocorrect will be turned off.
Hello everyone. How can I activate the mode of choose of alternative symbols and letters using direct touch typing? In the touch typing mode I just holded my finger on the letter or symbol and in some time appeared alternative characters. And in this new mode i cannot do it. Thanks. And sorry for my very bad english:)
With direct touch typing, you can still run your finger across the screen to find the letter you want. When you do it like this, to select the letter, you then have to tap with another finger like you would in standard typing. Try Doing a split tap and hold on the letter you want to get the alternative characters to pop up. I haven't tried this, but it makes sense to me that it would work.
Unfortunately, it didn't help. I tryed a lot of different variants but alternative characters didn't appear. and i don't believe that Apple turned off the opportunity.
All the problems I had in iOS 8 are fixed now, really awesome :-)
On my iPhone 4s, it is much faster, and in safari VO doesn't turn of and on all the time. Good job apple!
Ok, so I assume that no one around here using whatsapp, so I updated now, and I enjoy it overall, stil have to practice the braille keyboard. I'm just really sad about whatsapp. I use it often, and it keep crashing on me. I hope whatsapp update soon, as I think they did not implemented support for ios8 yet, wich might be rather the problem than an apple bugg.
I'm sorry to hear you're having issues with WhatsApp. My friend was experiencing crashes on iOS 8.0, but they've now disappeared. This may be temporary, so who knows. Though this may not work, try clearing your conversations and see what happens. Good luck, and I hope it works for you soon.
Thanks for the feedback. Intresting that it is gone for some running 8.1, I figured I shell send whatsapp krash reports so they can figure out the problem. Hopefully its not linked to 8.1 spisificly.
Hi all. Last night i was changing the ringer on the mac, for Facetime. As I was playing different sounds, a phone call came in, both phone and computer ringing. WhenI tried to answer ont he phoneit wouldn't no matter what Idid. Has anyone had this? I realize it might've been a fluke, just asking.
Hey guys, the other day, What's app failed to work for me, the program wouldn't even launch so I deleted the app and re-installed it. Ever since then I haven't had any crashes. So if you're still experiencing crashes, try that and hopefully it'll work for you too.
If Siri is being cut off try saying "turn off voice over" then use siri, then say "turn on voice over".
Forums are filling up with complaints of slowness and freezing, so it is not just voice over users with issues.
Hi mario_hardrock. I'm a full time Android user for the last 4 years. Even though I don't own any Apple products, I can tell you for certain you have a better accessibility experience now than anything you will have with Android.
When it comes to accessibility, Apple has a company wide policy while Google and the manufactures of Android don't.
At least 1 manufacture removes accessibility support from their devices. Google is aware of this, but doesn't require accessibility support in Android to be certified.
You guys do have a worse experience with some apps than what I have on Android, but the basic accessibility seems to be much better.
I'd just like too report the bugs I've noticed if someone's still waiting. To my knowledge, all of these that I'm going to mention were present in 8.0.
1. When you answer a call with a magic tap, the music may start to play. It plays through the speaker that your call uses, so it won't be heard by your other side, but it can be distracting and intensely irritating).
2. The scroll bug still exists, sometimes. Consider two very similar environments. One is the details for a computer or other device in the mactracker app. Another is the entry for a country in the ModelUN factbook. These are both constructed of text separated by headings. However, mactracker's content scrolls with you while ModelUN's does not (meaning that if you touch the screen you will immediately bounce to the top).
3. There is a time lag on the lock screen. If you check the time on your device, you will notice that when you open the lock screen, read the time, and don't unlock the device, the time gets stuck. When you unlock next, VoiceOver announces the previous time when you last used it. A second later, the correct time is announced.
4. Hints setting not respected. If you have hints turned off, it will skip all hints. That is, all hints except the actions rotor one. To see this, tap one of multiple mail accounts. Even if you have hints disabled, the phone continues to instruct you.
5. Compact voices triggered unnecessarily. When I am navigating my contacts list, which contains many names in Chinese characters, my enhanced quality Chinese voice is not used. It is used correctly in the rotor. It also does not work correctly when selecting keyboards from the next keyboard button, preferring compact variants for all but the default language (in this case English). I have yet to try it in other locations.
Well, that's all I've got today. I'm sure that when I get around to testing Braille, there will be more. Please remember to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to report these so they can be easily fixed.
In the middle of the list, theres the ability to select cellular data mode. Where would this be? I only see an enable lte switch as before this update in settings.
I'm not sure if the toggle bug is the proper name for this, but I'm seeing around the world of voiceover where a select few people are having issues since upgrading to 8.0 and 8.1 where in settings, ITunes and app store where you can toggle items on and off vo is not announcing the statis rather they are on or off. I too had this issue when I upgraded to 8.0, not sure if it happened to me in 8.1 as I hadn't need to go in there, but a reset all settings will fix this, at least it did for me when I had the issue.
Hope this helps someone.
Last night, I was dialing a number on the iPhone keypad and noticed that, for some reason, every so often, when I hit a number, no tone would play. The number would be entered, but there was no indication that I had successfully entered it. It wasn't any sort of pattern that could be predicted. It just happened every so often.
When i got my iPhone 6, running 8.0.2, I had an issue entering phone numbers in the contact app. When I got to the 8th number, Voice Over would read the 4th. Sighted assistance told me that the number was entered correctly, but the voice feedback was wrong. The 8.1 update fixed this before I had a chance to report it.
8.1 still has the toggle bug. If a complete settings reset will fix it, there is probably some setting to change hidden in accessibility. I'll let you know if I find it. Also, a new bug is that an app can lose it's ability to play audio outside itself. For example, when playing audio out of voice dream, it is possible to jam it so it won't play unless voice dream is in focus (if the device is locked, in another app, or on the home screen), the sound won't be present. This seems to start only with some phone calls (which also jam voiceOver's focus present sound), and is fixed by closing the affected app in the app switcher.
after upgrading to ios 8.1 on my 5th generation ipod touch I still have the
When you activate any link on any web page in Safari when running Voiceover,
the moment you activate the Back button or use two–finger scrub, complete
instability occurs, it is not possible to flick through the content of the
page, no links or headings typically are being reported in the rotor, and the
page is generally just not navigable in any way.
Another Safari issue with Ios 8.1
With Ios 7 I could start flicking from the top of a webpage to the bottom
of the webpage. With Ios 8, this no longer seems to be the case. Almost all
of the time voiceover reads the status line at the bottom of the screen instead of continuing to the bottom of the webpage.
When using the rotor to select to navigate by headings or links, In most
cases, voiceover will not read all of the headings or links on the webpage.
For the above reasons, I won't be upgrading my first generation Ipad mini to
iIos 8.1 at this point in time. When these bugs are fixed, I will update at
that point in time.