How to stop VoiceOver speaking over videos

App Development & Programming

Hi everyone,

I’m working on an app called Heartbeat (an app for communicating and sharing with your friends privately) and I’m finding it difficult to control VoiceOver’s behaviour when there is video playback.

Specifically, the setup flow has a video that plays automatically at the start of one of the steps. I use an AVPlayerView component and Voiceover focusses on the Pause/Play button and continues talk over the entire video.

I’ve tried making the first responder nil (to set back to the only text field that’s on the step afterwards, of course) but that appears to have no effect.

I’ve also noticed that VoiceOver does this even in the QuickTime Player. You activate the checkbox that is the pause/play button and it continues to read that you have selected it, thereby talking over the start of the video (it should remain silent as the start of the video is feedback enough) and then, even worse, it starts reading the hint text a little while later as you’re listening to the video.

I was wondering if there’s something I’m missing. How do you folks handle this issue? Any tips?




Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Once you get the video ready to start, mute Voiceover. On the trackpad, double tap with three fingers. When you're done with the video, do the same to unmute Voiceover.

Submitted by Macky on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Or you could simply press two fingers on the trackpad. This will stop voice-over at any point. repeat this again to resume voice-over talking. HTh

Submitted by Aral Balkan on Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thank you sockhopsinger, Macky. I tried both but they did not do anything on my setup. I’m probably missing a preference setting. (My trackpad has been acting weird lately, refusing to register taps, so maybe that has something to do with it also.)

Regardless, given that there doesn’t appear to be a way to ensure that the start of an auto-play video will be heard and given the potential for confusion, I’m probably going to remove the videos from the app. It was going to be a nice, personal introduction to the app and I’m quite gutted to be losing them but c’est la vie — priorities.

If I can get a ticket to WWDC this year, I plan on discussing this with Apple engineers. I feel that the Interaction of VoiceOver with video playback can be improved.

Thank you again for your help, I appreciate it.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Saturday, February 14, 2015

I have no programming or technical ability but it seems to me that if you can't prevent VO from talking over the start of your Video can you not work around it?
If you are really attached to the video, have you considered inserting afew beats of silence (does silence have a beat?) or some music at the start of the video. Presumably it need only be long enough to span VO reading the button label?
If timed correctly, by the time VO has made it's announcement the relevant part of your video is queued up and playing...