Questions about Braille Screen Input

Braille on Apple Products

Hi. I feel stupid posing this question but there's no way around it. I just bought an iphone 5s and think thei braille screen input option is a fantastic idea. However i've just tried it and failed miserably. I grew up using a perkins two-hand typewriter so that's my point of orientation. I find that in screen-away mode the dots have some logic to them, but the rows are inverted so that 1-2-3 is to the right of 4-5-6 when 1 and 4 are on the top left. Can i invert the position of the rows? It seems the phone locks when you are typing, but can you lock it in a default keyboard setting when you have set up a sensible keyboard? I'll be grateful for other tips as well if anyone has found a way of setting up a useful keyboard. i find the tablet-up mode to be even more illogical. Or do you just get used to sort of make up your own inverting of the letters to adjust to the keyboard? Thanks!



Submitted by Justin on Thursday, February 4, 2016

I am also having this issue. I tried braille screen input for a little while and could never get it down, so I removed it from the rotor as I am having the same issues that the poster is having.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Okay, so when you use braille screen input in away mode, home button should say it's on the left. Really, though, you want it on the right. The reason is that the phone is facing away from you, and that's why it's opposite. To lock orientation of braille screen input, simply do a three finger swipe up. That should do everything you need. Now I have a question. Why can't I type in passwords with braille screen input? Arrg!

Submitted by Earle on Thursday, February 4, 2016

I'm not sure why you would be having problems entering passwords with braille input mode. I do it all the time with no problems at all. I am using grade 1 braille US English. I use the away mode when I'm brailling. So my screen is away from me and the home button is on the left. I think you said that you have it on the right when it is facing away from you. I have it on the left when it is facing away from me. That way, dots 1, 2, and 3 are on my left and dots 4, 5, and 6 are on my right.

Submitted by mehgcap on Friday, February 5, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

First, not to toot my own horn, but I wrote a guide to braille screen input, and made a podcast as well.

When in Away mode, the phone is meant to be held flat against your body, with the screen facing away from you (that is, the same way you're looking). As another poster said, the announcement of where your Home button is will bee inverted, because the phone itself is facing the inverse direction of normal. Now, your left index finger is dot 1, your right index finger is dot 4, and so on. Just let your fingers hit the dots they've always hit, and it makes perfect sense. Flipping the dots would have your pinkies on dots 1 and 4, and your index fingers on 3 and 6, which is opposite of any normal braille keyboard.

Tabletop Mode is laid out just like a Perkins brailler, but with no spacebar or dots 7 or 8. On smaller devices (iPhone 6 and below), the dots are in a flattened V shape, with the apex of the V between 1 and 4. On larger screens, they are laid out in a straight row, exactly like a Perkins keyboard. The main problem with this mode, to me anyway, is that trying to swipe right or left is awkward; I prefer Away Mode, but both are just fine.

Yes, you can lock the mode you prefer, by doing a three-finger swipe up once you're in the mode you want. You can also change input grades with a three-finger swipe left or right. I usually use contracted, but will switch to uncontracted when typing passwords. I use BSI for password entry on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis and never have any trouble, so it's definitely doable.

Submitted by kool_turk on Friday, February 5, 2016

I can never seem to understand how to do the calabrating, no matter how many times I read the guide and listen to the podcast.

Submitted by Justin on Friday, February 5, 2016

Even with the other suggestions, thanks by the way, the dots are still reversed, no matter if it is in tabletop/screen away mode. Even if I hold it with home on left/right, the dots are still reversed/flopped. I just deleted braille input from the rotor.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Friday, February 5, 2016

Firstly, it is not possible to enter passwords with contracted braille, so don't try and do it; Apple just does not want it to happen.

Secondly, some people have been sayign that they have been having trouble getting the dots the right way around. This is how to do it:

1. Switch to Braille Screen Input and unlock the orientation of the screen.
2. Switch your device so that the volume buttons are facing upwards, and the side of the phone where the headphone jack is pointing left. Although the phone says that the home button is on the left, it should in reality be on the right. Now, make sure that the device is locked in "away" mode. If it is not, adjust it so that it is, lock the keys and return to this position.
3. Now that your device is in this position, lock the keyboard.

I hope this helps.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Saturday, February 6, 2016

One issue I have when trying to use BSI is that dot 3 and dot 6 seem to be way out from the other dots. I really have to stretch out my ring fingers to get those dots. I did notice that I have never been asked to calibrate the dots. Is there a way to force BSI to let me calibrate the dots again? This method of text entry, the few times I used it, is really much faster for me to use because I don't have to find the letters on the keyboard.

Greg WOcher

Submitted by mehgcap on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

To calibrate, just hit dots 4 5 6, followed immediately by 1 2 3. You can do this at any point, and as often as you like. You can also hold one finger (or any number of fingers, up to five) on the screen for a few seconds. You'll enter "explore mode", and will hear the dots your fingers are on without typing anything. Simply lift all your fingers to end this. In this way, you can feel where you think dots or characters are versus where iOS thinks they are. Try calibrating, then explore again.

To those who have given up on BSI, I can't encourage you enough not to! It's indescribably great once you get it working, it really is. If you want, though, there's always MBraille as well. That can't do quite as much (like let you type passwords) but it is mostly equal to BSI. It even offers features BSI lacks. Speaking of passwords, BSI in password fields is no different from BSI anywhere else. Translation is what makes it not work as well; without contractions, there's never ambiguity over what symbol means what.

Submitted by Keith Bundy on Monday, March 7, 2016

In reply to by mehgcap

I understand about going to six-dot Braille to enter passwords. But some of my passwords contain upper case letters. How does one make upper case letters in six-dot Braille?Thanks.

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, March 7, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

6-dot braille is simply uncontracted, at least in the U.S. English codes I know. Punctuation works the same as in contracted, as do the number and capital signs. If your password has a capital T in it, you'd simply type dot 6, T.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Monday, March 7, 2016

When typing in passwords with BSI is it in computer braille? If not how do you enter in a number than a letter, for example an a than a one? It has been a while since I learned my uncontracted or grade 1 braille as it used to be called. As a matter of fact its been about 13 years or so and I have not kept up with it like I should have.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, March 7, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

You use letter signs (5 6) and number signs (3 4 5 6) for this. If you type number sign b, you get a 2, as you know. If you type number sign b f, you get 26. If you tyse number sign b, letter sign f, you get 2f. In fact, I'm writing this in BSI, and I got that 2f there to come out by doing exactly what I said. Capitals work the same way: 3H is simply number sign, c, dot 6, h.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Monday, March 7, 2016

Thanks for the quick response. Now if we could get Apple to let us make this the default keyboard it would be great. I think I will practice with the notes app to get more use to BSI. I have a hard time remembering all my puncuation marks and some of them have changed in UEB. LOL.

Greg WOcher

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I would like to tell you about my experience in work with braille input on iOs.
I am experience 2 things that was very annoying: 1 whin i am lockt my screen input I was able to write in english. my iPhone in hebrew language and there is problem in writeing on a braille display and i gass that this is a problem.
I don't know if that rite or no, but I thing that in english the status on braille bater from hebrew. it very disappointing. I think that apples deeds to do more in older to improve my experience as a casstemar. I thik that they not dooing it.
I had typed passwords in braille screen input that included numbars only it wolked well.

Submitted by Clare Page on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hi! I have used Braille Screen Input regularly on my iphone 6, first with six-dot braille, then with UK grade 2 braille: I also occasionally use BSI in French or German but I always do that using the uncontracted braille for these languages. Throughout my time using BSI, one thing I have never mastered is brailling all six dots at once, for exaple to braille the word "for" in grade 2 English braille and to braille an e with an acute accent in French: whenever I try to braille six dots together at least one dot is missing. Can anyone suggest a good way of brailling all six dots at once with IOS Braille Screen Input?

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I believe that the iPhone can onlyrecognize five fingers at a time. Even so, you can type all six dots. Put down five fingers, such as with the letter Q, lift up one finger and put down your dot 6 finger. Then lift both hands and you should hear the word "for"

Even though it works, I generally just spell out F O R as it is quicker than having to think about what I am doing.

Good luck,