Apple Releases iOS 10.2.1; Bringing Fixes for Braille Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 10.2.1 to the public.

At the time of posting, release notes are not yet available; however, it’s likely that this release will mostly bring under-the-hood improvements with no major changes in regard to features and operation. We will update this post if this proves not to be the case and there are outward-facing changes of note.

For blind and low vision users, our testing indicates that Apple has made some progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs present in iOS 10. Specifically, based on our limited testing, we believe the following serious bugs to be resolved in iOS 10.2.1:

  • Freedom Scientific Focus Blue, Handy Tech Easy Braille, Papenmeier, and Esys braille displays now correctly pair to devices running iOS 10.2.1.
  • When typing in any text field with a braille display, text input is no longer sluggish as it was for many under iOS 10.2.

These are currently the only accessibility-related changes that we are aware of in iOS 10.2.1. However, as we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices, apps, and use cases. With this and the fact that iOS 10 introduced a number of bugs which were not common to all users and use cases, it is possible that there are changes, regressions or improvements that we are not aware of at the time of posting. With this in mind, we would greatly appreciate your help in ensuring that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible. If you spot any accessibility-related changes in iOS 10.2.1, please do let us know in the comments below.

iOS 10.2.1 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings>General>Software Update) or via iTunes on your Mac or PC. As always, we recommend making a backup of your device before installing any software update.

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Submitted by Darren12 on Monday, January 23, 2017

One negative, a small one, is that I've not noticed any change in the read or unread status of news articles. I wrote to them about this specifically, and they told me that this was definitely addressed in 10.2.1. Go figure.

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Monday, January 23, 2017

It sounds like Apple won't add the new emergency sOS feature because they already knew that there is an emergency button on the lock screen. I haven't experienced any new accessibility features or changes. One accessibility feature I think Apple should add in the next software update is similar to the taptic time in watchOS 3. This would allow all iPhones to vibrate the time just like the Apple watch.

Submitted by peter on Monday, January 23, 2017

I wrote to Apple just now to say that two problems still exist in iOS 10.2.1 when using VoiceOver in the News app:

1. The app refreshes while in the middle of reading an article causing VoieOVoiceOver to stop reading and the user to lose their place.

2. Articles that have been read still appear as "unread" with VoiceOver.

Maybe if more of us write to Apple Accessibility to complain this would get fixed.


Submitted by Darren12 on Monday, January 23, 2017

Pete, that's a useful contribution. I'd also noticed the second issue you mentioned, but for me, it only happens in one publication, the telegraph in the UK, I presumed it was a problem not of Apple's doing. Here's the response I received from accessibility on the 13th of December.
 Thank you for your email. We can reproduce this in iOS 10.2 but not in 10.2.1
In 10.2.1 if an article has already been opened once it will not be labeled as unread if you go back and flick through the articles again.

Apple Accessibility.
Clearly, they've understood the nature of the issue, and I'll write again explaining that contrary to their belief, this is in fact not fixed, in the politest possible way.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I have a question about a bug that I've been experiencing in 10.2. When I start dictation, voiceover comes on & says the instructions while I'm still dictating. Then when I'm done, some/all of the instructions get inserted along with what I was saying. It doesn't matter where I'm at. I've been grinning & bearing it, but its been annoying not to mention time-consumming. I've been able to stop it or at least midigate it when it starts talking with the 3-finger single tap gesture to stop speech, but I have to do at at the VERY second it starts talking. Resetting worked a few times, but afterword it stopped working. I even reset voiceover & turned it off then on again, & that was to no avail.

Can anyone please tell me if this bug was fixed or not? Thanks in advance. I guess VO. wants to get its 2 cents in? :)

Submitted by Mattie SV on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hello all!

I have noticed that when reading an article in news after I go back to the main screen with the list of articles it does indeed still say unread but if I close the app and reopen the app it no longer says unread I am not sure if this was Apple's attempt at fixing the problem or not just wanted to share my observations thanks!

Submitted by Darren12 on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Closing and reopening news isn't a work around, at least not an intentional one. This worked also in 10.2, and I explained as much in my email before Christmas.

Submitted by Mattie SV on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In reply to by Darren12

Thank you for the clarification! And iOS 10.2 closing the app and reopening it never worked as far as taking away the unread tag for me thanks again!

Submitted by Anna Beige on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't get me wrong, I love Apple. But, with the combination of bugs that affected my braille display since the initial release of iOS 10 back in September, I've had to wait four months for them all to be fixed. The lag introduced in 10.2 made it difficult to type using my braille display, so I had to use both my bluetooth keyboard and braille display, or speech.
I'm definitely happy that everything seems fixed in iOS 10.2.1, making my braille display usage as good as it was in iOS 9.3.5.

Submitted by Mattie SV on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Do any of you have the issue where some of the notification alert sounds do not work? Some of my apps make no sound when notifications come in voiceover just starts announcing the notification and I have been noticing this since iOS 10.2 thanks! And yes everything is set up correctly in my notification settings

I've tested it on 2 of my 3 devices, and so far, yes, I too am delighted that at long last I can happily use the braille display I purchased last summer like I did when I first got it. This was a long time coming! In the meantime, it made me learn onscreen braille, which isn't a terrible thing I suppose, but I am very happy to have a reliable and reasonably working display once again!

Submitted by Curtis Chong on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

If you initiate dictation by double-tapping the "dictate" button as opposed to double tapping with two fingers, VoiceOver does not intrude into the dictation at all. At least, that has been my experience with dictation. Most of the time, I forego dictation in favor of on-screen braille, which I admit to being a very dedicated fan of.


Curtis Chong

Submitted by Taeshim on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hi, was curious if any of these bugs are fixed...
- Does the roter work properly now? Everytime I go to use the roter, functions are in different order... Also I noticed changing the order in settings does not work properly.
- Does the automatic speakerphone function work properly? When I'm calling someone and I activate the speakerphone by touching the top of the phone, it goes back to the earphone when the other person answers the call...
- Speakerphone function for voicemails... I used to be able to just lift my phone up and then bring it down to change to speaker, but this function stopped working since ios 9...
- it is not possible to swipe left and right to move between the received and sent messages while composing a message.
- In the calendar ap, cannot scroll through to the alert section without having to manually scroll down with three fingers and then flick through to the alerts section.

Submitted by Darren12 on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

In case anyone is interested, I wrote to Apple again regarding news. I've had this response.
 Thank you for your email. My apologies for my earlier email stating that this was resolved in 10.2.1. At the time I was working on a different issue and had replied to your email instead of the one I had intended.
Again my apologies for causing this confusion.

Regarding  this issue. It is still under investigation at this time. We cannot comment on when it may be resolved.

Apple Accessibility
I'm not entirely sure how you manage to do that, but, busy people, etc. Ultimately, it is a trivial issue I suppose.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hi all! For jhose of you that haven'j updated your systems yet, & can, you'll be glad to know that you don't have to go through the whole iet-up process again! I just ufdated my ipad mini last night.

Submitted by Orko on Sunday, February 5, 2017

I've noticed that recently, when I hold down the home button, ask Siri a question, then release the home button, Siri does answer, but only as text on the screen, she no longer reads her answer as she did before.

Seems like a opportune reason to just turn the silly feature off, I rarely use it anyway.

Submitted by JeffB on Sunday, February 5, 2017

Did you try turning Siri off and back on again?

Submitted by Orko on Sunday, February 5, 2017

It turns out that at some point the mute switch got turned on. I have no idea how that happened as the protective case I keep the phone in has a cover over the switch to protect it and to prevent it from being accidently turned on or off.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, February 6, 2017

It happens no worries glad you fixed it.

Submitted by Taeshim on Friday, March 3, 2017

Hi, can anyone answer whether any of the problems I listed are fixed in ios 10.2.1? Also, when I use dictation, sometimes, after I dictate, the sound of my phone can only be heard if I plug in earphones... I thought maybe the phone had turned off, but my mom told me it was on and I tried the earphones and there was VO talking! Anyone else experience this?

Submitted by Fatima.Hamoud10 on Friday, March 3, 2017

I don't have this problem on both my iPhone 5S and iPod touch (6th generation). Try restarting voice dictation. Also I can't find any other bugs in iOS 10.2.1. It sounds like all the bugs are fixed. You should report the voice dictation bug to

Ok awesome! Will try the update and see how it goes. I have reported all the bugs I listed to apple already.

Submitted by Kerby on Friday, March 3, 2017

You might look to make sure your Siri volume is turned up. Sometimes, I find that Siri inadvertently turns itself down. To do this, hold down the home key to envoke Siri then use the volume up button on your phone to turn up the Siri volume. This will make the beep you hear louder when you use dictation too.

Submitted by HCSF on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Anyone else hit this? Serious annoyance factor.
To reproduce this:

1) Choose enhanced voice, Samantha would do.
2) Make a phone call. Phone call screen pops up, it then chokes a bit, and afterwards, voiceover becomes jittery and garbled, even when phone call has ended.
3) The above happens about one out of every 3 or 4 trials. Same problem occurs when taking incoming phone calls.
4) Not reproduceable using non-enhanced, default voices.

Restart voiceover. Quick way is to setup 3-tap home button to enabled/disable voiceover.

Submitted by JeffB on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This issue happens with non inhanced voices too. Been a issue for a while now.