Braille Issues on Mac

Braille on Apple Products


I am having a few issues with braille on the latest version of the Mac operating system. I want to see if others are experiencing these issues before I send them to Apple Accessibility.

The first issue concerns navigating websites and reading chunks of plain text. When I move between elements from headings, I find that braille support doesn't follow speech. For example, moving to the heading for a message in a forum topic and moving to the text works up until I reach the first chunk of plain text where the message starts. When I move to the text, the braille display either shows a random chunk of the text or displays random parts of the site. Usually, this seems to be the top of the page with the skip navigation link and content under that. Meanwhile, the speech and focus remain within the text. The focus seems to be synced if I move to the second chunk of text or something else like links or controls that are located next to the text in the navigation order. Can anyone confirm this? It is extremely annoying! I have to resort to either pan the display all the way down or just use speech. I wonder if these are linked to the deeper accessibility issues with Safari and text fields?

The second issue concerns Skype. When I move between chat messages in the scroll area with the left and right commands, the braille display doesn't follow the command. I am forced to manually pan the display and go through all the messages. I suspect this is either a bug with Skype, or a bug with content areas that contain text. I'm thinking it's a Skype issue, since Messages works just fine when I use VO navigation commands to move around. If someone can confirm this, that would be great as well. If it's an issue with Skype, we should report this to the Skype team.

I have been experiencing these bugs for a few years now, so I think they are actually part of the OS. I have done clean installs when new versions come out and these persist. Any feedback is appreciated.



Submitted by Maldalain on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The same issues here. VO does not synchronise speech with braille. Also the structure of the page is not shown in braille. It is all shown as one bulky text.

Submitted by Ben Swiggett on Wednesday, January 4, 2017


I am having the same problems with Safari. I don't know about skype. I don't really use it. I really wish Apple would fix this problem.

Submitted by Brian Tew on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I am using an ipad with ios 9.3.5, but I never had the impression that braille and speech were intended to output the same info at the same time.
I would guess somebody first works on audio, then somebody does braille.
I wonder if apple accessibility even has anybody who uses mainly braille.

Submitted by Francisco crespo on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I found out the same issues with El Capitan. Apple will have to work hard on their Braille support for all platforms

Submitted by Francisco crespo on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What I could never figure out and apple did not have answers for it is how to navigate items using the rotor with a Braille display. I can Switch between rotor items with spacebar + dots 2-5 or 5-6 but can't flic up and down. In iOs it is done with spacebar + dots 3 and 6

Submitted by Ben Swiggett on Wednesday, January 4, 2017


What I did to get around this was to map x + space and y+space on the braille keyboard to act as up and down arrows. When I have quick-nav on, I can use those keys to flick up and down in the rotor.

Submitted by Chris on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Thanks for confirming these. I suppose it's no surprise that braille is just as buggy as the rest of VoiceOver on macOS. These workarounds shouldn't need to be used if Apple just did the right thing and fixed software instead of rushing out new shiny features. That was the main reason I switched to Mac. There was a time when Apple had awesome software and an awesome screen reader that was showing promise. Instead, they focus on iOS and silly crap like the Touch Bar. I'll report these issues, but I doubt it will do any good. Those of you experiencing these same issues should report them as well, although it may fall on deaf ears. The future of Apple is clearly iOS. I'm glad Microsoft is finally doing the right thing with Narrator. That may be my only option if this decay continues.

Submitted by Thomas Byskov … on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hi Chris!

Yes, I can confirm the Safari issue. Haven't used Skype with braille on Mac for a long time so didn't test that before posting here.

The issue we have as braille users might be that we are a very small group of people. I have sent bugs regarding this since 10.12 public betas and I see that something has changed over the last months, but there are still work to do. Braille and speech doesn't follow each other in many situations. In Mail this became a huge problem for me, and I could not get it to work in Google Chrome either...

I believe though that the braille support on iOS is very very good in most cases. Sure there are times where it could be better but I use braille with my iOS-device every day, and couldn't live without it today. :)