MBraille VS. braille screen input

Braille on Apple Products

Hi folks,

I'd like to hear from people who use both the M Braille app and the built-in Braille screen input. I'm currently playing around with the built-in braille input as well as the free version of M Braille on the latest Ios 8.4 on an Ipod Touch 5G.

I don't know if it's my imagination, but I seem to type braille just a bit faster with the M Braille app. But, again, this could be my imagination.

In everyone's varied opinions, is it worth spending the $9.99 or the $39.99 for M Braille? Can it do anything we cannot do with the built-in input system, aside from all the editing commands that M Braille has, that is?

Thanks in advance for all the advice.



Submitted by Maria Reyes on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I like to use the built in braille keyboard better than MBraille app because I find it harder for me to type with the MBraille keyboard. But that's just me.

Submitted by Kevan on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I have the MBraille app, but so far haven't tried it.
The built-in on-screen Braille keyboard from Apple is just brilliant, though. I tried it out last night and am already liking it.

Submitted by Maria Reyes on Friday, August 28, 2015

I agree with Kevan. When I started using the built in braille keyboard I found it to be more efficient

Submitted by Ann on Friday, August 28, 2015

The only thing i like much better about M Braille is that it gives far more accurate character feedback while typing in contracted braille. I'd like to use the contracted mode as much as possible. If Ios can introduce a feature that says, for example, "TH' when I type the dots 1 4 5 6, I will be totally in love with the built in input method.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, August 28, 2015

my only problems with Apple's braille screen input are that I can't force it into screen away mode, there is no quick clear text mode, shortcots aren't supported, and the keys sometimes accidenffally get recalibrated. An undo feature would be great too, but other than that, I love it. Using mBraille is great too, but I get a lot of lag and crashes from it. Oh yes, and worst of all, its position in the rotor changes constantly. Yikes!

Submitted by Clare Page on Friday, August 28, 2015

Hi! Before Braille Screen Input arrived in IOS 8, I tried the free version of MBraille. I never bought the full version of MBraille for the simple reason that I found it inconvenient that text gets copied from that app into others. I personally find Apple's Braille Screen Input far more convenient, as it can be used to put text in an edit field anywhere without the need of any copying to another app. I agree with others that Braille Screen Input still needs improvement, but that should hopefully happen in future IOS versions, and I'm so happy with it anyway that I no longer have the free version of MBraille but keep Braille Screen Input in my rotor instead and use it regularly. That's just my personal choice, though, and I would never say MBraille is bad, I'd simply say that it doesn't suit me as much as Braille Screen Input does.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, August 28, 2015

MBraille to me is far more responsive than the braille keyboard on Apple. While I appreciate that they have a built-in stock braille keyboard, I really love the shortcuts that MBraille has built in. For example, with the iOS braille keyboard, there is no way to go back and review what you have typed that I know of. There is also no easy way to go back and edit your text or completely clear the text and start again. I do agree that MBraille at times has quite a bit of lag, but overall I feel it gives a better user experience than the iOS keyboard. Oh, one more thing that MBraille does as was mentioned above. You can lock the orientation of the keyboard. I can't stand the desktop-mode braille keyboards because I have never had any success with them at all. Give me away-mode keyboards anytime! Just my thoughts.

Submitted by Kevin Huber on Friday, August 28, 2015

I am fairly new to the Iphone and I have a few questions about the onscreen braille keyboard and the Mbraille app.
First, how do you activate the onscreen braille keyboard.
second, do either the onscreen braille keyboard or the Mbraille app have commands to navigate the screen?
Kevin Huber

Submitted by Maria Reyes on Friday, August 28, 2015

To enable the braille screen input go to Settings, general, accessibility, voiceOver then rotor. And no the built in Braille screen input can't navigate the screen. But you can navigate the screen with a braille display

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, August 28, 2015

MBraille has commands that allow you to navigate the screen if you use the MBraille app. That is a cool thing about it. You can use the MBraille app directly for things, but you can also use it as a third-party keyboard.

Is anyone just using this app's keyboard feature? How well does it work if used as a third party keyboard? I may not buy the full app, but to be able to use it as an actual IOS keyboard is very enticing. That purchase I may very well make soon.

Submitted by gallagher123123 on Friday, August 28, 2015

I decided to get mbraille a few months back, and I am so glad I did. I've always had trouble with the braille screen input built in to VO, but mbraille is a joy to use. I also think it's great that it pops up automaticly when you enter a text box.

Submitted by Froglet on Friday, August 28, 2015

I personally find the built-in braille input unbelievably unwieldy. It's painfully slow if you're a fast typist (I run the latest iOS on an iPhone 6 so doubt it's just me), it has no means of reviewing text while you're in the keyboard that I know of, when you delete characters it tells you dot combinations instead of the appropriate contraction, and you can't force it to lock screen orientation. On the other hand, MBraille is very snappy and responsive for me. The developer actively works on the app to improve it, which is really great. The text review features are very convenient, and I can and do write very lengthy documents using MBraille, whereas with the built-in braille input I want to throw my phone across the room after the first laggy letter. I understand everyone has different experiences and requirements, and I applaud Apple's attempt with braille input. However, at this time, I rely exclusively upon MBraille.

I bought the full version of MBraille before the release of the third party keyboard. If I could do it over again, I would have bought the keyboard only, but some of the shortcuts you can use from the app are sorta cool. Sometimes it's easier to go to MBraille to initiate a quick google search.

It took me about two weeks to become very proficient with MBraille. During that time, I had to force myself not to use my SpeedDots bluetooth keyboard which I previously used for typing. It did take time, but now I am faster with MBraille than I ever was even with a bluetooth keyboard. I think a lot of people give up on MBraille because they aren't willing to take the time to become proficient. But once you do, I would be very surprised if you ever have a desire to return to the built-in input, until such a time when more improvements are made.

Submitted by Sam N on Friday, August 28, 2015

The only thing I don't like about the mbraille keyboard is that you cannot calibrate

the dot locations like you can with the stock app. Other than that, mbraille is superior in almost every way.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, August 28, 2015

My only problem mBraille is that, when used as a third party keyboard, it crashes a lot. Other than that mbraille all the way! , .

Submitted by Maria Reyes on Friday, August 28, 2015

Yes, a keyboard that crashes a lot is not good.

Submitted by Pavel Ondra on Friday, August 28, 2015

I tried mbraille keyboard and i liked it, but after some two or three days i returned to apples solution, because mbraille was quite buggy as a 3rd party keyboard. In apples braille typing i hate automatic switching of braille layout i am used to one and when i move the device slightly and it switches to another layout it is horrible.

Submitted by Froglet on Saturday, August 29, 2015

I've used MBraille for about eight months, initially as the full app, and then the third party keyboard when it was released, and have never once had it crash on me. I know of others who use it a great deal and also haven't experienced crashes. If you're having a problem, you should write to the dev and elaborate.

But in the end, it's really up to you. The third party keyboard isn't very expensive, so it's not much of a loss if you decide you don't like it. There's such a disparity in opinion here, you're just going to have to try out your different options and decide for yourself what works best for you. All I can do is tell you my experiences, and that MBraille is the most-used app on my iPhone.

Submitted by Ann on Saturday, August 29, 2015

In reply to by Froglet

I love hearing all the different thoughts and opinions I'm getting on this topic.

I probably will at least buy the third party keyboard option. If I decide later to upgrade from the third party keyboard to the full app, will I be able to just pay the difference in price or still have to pay the entire $39?

Submitted by Maria Reyes on Saturday, August 29, 2015

The not so good thing about MBRaille is that like one of the previous posters said, you can't calibrate the dot position like you can with the built in iOS braille keyboard.

Submitted by Brother J. on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

For me, native braille screen input works much more efficiently and frustrates me much less than MBraille. I could never seem to output the intended symbols when MBraille was used but seldom have problems with native braille input. Furthermore, I can use native input in screen away mode with contractions. However, the contractions are of the Literary code rather than the UEB code. I know this because some I attempted to use just to test worked when I did not think they should have [I use UEB not Literary]. This is okay considering the input device. If I had a refreshable braille display [e.g. Focus 40 from Hims] I would be more strict about what preferred braille code I use. Table-top mode I could never seem to master but screen away mode works well built into iOS.

Submitted by Bobbi on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I actually just installed the app and haven't had any crashes from it. Granted, I've only had it for an hour or two. I personally could never get Apple's Braille screen input to work for me. The calibration wouldn't take for some reason. Once I knew where the dots are for MBraille and set my settings to the layout I prefer, it has worked much better for me. The ability to just clear text with a 3-finger swipe is nice. I may end up making the upgrade at one point, if I find that I am needing more features than the ones the free version offers. for the present, though, I've found MBraille much easier to work with compared to the built-in Braille input.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The only time I ever got crashes with mBraille is when I used it as a third party keyboared. I don't use it for that any more, but I still use it exclusively when writing or surfing the net. Braille screen input has come a very long way since Its beginning, that's for sure. I don't know why you're having trouble calibrating dots though, that's weird.

Submitted by Rafal on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Recently, I’ve bought MBraille for 9.99 to use as a third party keyboard. It is good and sometimes better than the Braille Screen Input as I don’t have to search for BSI on the rotor. Also typing seems to be much faster and, above all, one can preview and edit the text without selecting options on the rotor. I’ll not get rid of BSI as it is sometimes useful e.g. when typing passwords. I do advice to use BSI but I’m also happy that something else has been released.

Submitted by Rafal on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

BSI does not represent some characters properly e.g. ? )dots 26,) : )dots 25) etc. Instead this is represented by numbers. In this matter MBraille keyboard is better and I'm of the opinion that it is worth spending $9.99. I would doubt whether to spend $39. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Thomas Byskov … on Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Sorry that I haven't seen this before. Let me jump in with some notes:

when MBraille keyboard (MBraille kb for short) was introduced in iOS 8.3 it crashed a lot on my device, therefor I didn't use it. I tried, but it kept failing on me.

Then iOS 9 arrived, and MBraille kb worked loads better. Now I am using it for all braille tasks I can with it. I am a big fan of MBraille, but I will never bash the BSI at all, so please do not misunderstand my comments here. :)

I will comment to some users here, who haven't got any reply to their question:

MBraille and upgrading

If all possible buy the full package. If you buy the kb first, and want some of the other features just buy the full version in one shot. You will then get the keyboard and all commands in one purchase.

The cool thing MBraille can do with the kb is spellcheck as you type and you can make some aliases, that speeds up your writing a lot. That's what I have noticed.

Here are two examples:

Example 1: End a message.

Ok, this is taken directly from my daily writing. :) In many cases I end a message with the words: Best regards Thomas

But that can be a little borring to type every single time. So here aliases is a great tool. What I do is open the MBraille app and type: .alias Brt: Best regards Thomas

I then make a newline, and the alias is saved. Everytime I type the three letters it expands to Best regards Thomas regardless where I am at on my device.

Example 2: More than a few words of text

If I want to make a signature I can make it look like this:

Best regards Thomas

Send me an email example@domaine.com

If you want to make that as signature and paste that you can type it into MBraille (the native app), do a newline and type: .alias mysig

Note: there is no colon in this example.

Everywhere you type mysig it will paste the text above I wanted for a signature.

These alias-definitions can be saved in Dropbox, and you can always edit them in a texteditor on your computer if you like to do that.

Lastly I want to mention a feature that many aren't aware of.

You guys who have got issues with hitting wrong "keys" on the MBraille kb please try to play with your sensitivity setting. You do this from the native MBraille app where you type: .set sensitivity 18-50

Note: The default is 28. On my old phone I used 50, but on my new phone I use 40 instead. Take care when you go under 28 if you set the vallue to low (like 18) it can be hard to get the sensitivity settings back, so give this a try.

Antoher reason why I use MBraille more than the bsi is the fact that some characters in the Danish contracted braille has issues. I can't type :) without having to switch to uncontracted braille, because the ) will expand to a word by default, so if I forget this I have to do some edits.

Hope this helps, and that I have answerd some of your questions.

And sorry for this beeing so long. :)

Best regards Thomas

Submitted by Justinas on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Braille Screen Input on IOS 9 is very good. Yes, there is need to be improved, however now it allows to lock the Table mode or Screen away mode and delete by word, by letter, you can finally type everywhere fast and efficiently without lags or something else.

Submitted by Rafal on Thursday, July 9, 2020

Hi, I'm refreshing the topic since I'd like to know if it is reasonable to purchase MBraille full version. Previously, I've used 3rd party keyboard and then moved to BSI. Since I'd like to automatise certain things, I'm considering purchasing MBraille full version. Please tell me if this is reasonable right now. Greetings.

Submitted by tyler chambliss on Thursday, July 9, 2020

Club AppleVis Member

So this makes me really angry. Braille screen input on iPhones is limited to this stupid v shape formation and you can't calibrate it to where your fingers naturally fall on the screen. Apple's excuse for making this an iPad only thing back in iOS 9 was the size of the screens, okay, maybe on an iPhone 4 s yeah that makes sense, but not with the 6 and later, especially with the pro maxes. Those are almost iPad mini sized, and I'm kind of surprised they don't allow the pro max to run iPad exclusive apps, because of how freaking big the screen is. I've never gotten braille screen input to cooperate with me, neither m-braille, and m-braille has a rudementary finger calibration system. What we really need is something like what Humanware did with touch braille. It calibrates to anywhere your fingers fall on the screen. So if you're a little kid who's fingers are the size of pretzel sticks and only take up about as much screen space as an iPod nano, it's no problem because it can set all 10 virtual keys of the braille keyboard to where it sees each of your 10 fingers. I should probably clarify that your two thumbs take up the space of the space bar, there's only 9 keys.

I just started using Braille screen input about a month ago, and at the time I was using tabletop mode. I had absolutely no trouble putting my fingers side by side like you normally would. Maybe it's the size of your screen, I don't know, but I've read that you can do this in other discussions on this site.