Screen Recognition broken?

iOS and iPadOS


Lately I am noticing on my Se 2020 with IOS 14.6 that screen recognition is not working in any app. I turn it on via rotor and then it reads nothing on the screen. Initially I thought this is app-specific, but now I find this reoccurring in all apps and scenarios. I have turned off screen recognition from VO Settings, restarted the device and again turned it on, but for no good. Worst case scenario is that often after turning this on via rotor the focus jumps on notification bar, and then even screen recognition rotor disappears and does not come back even when I explore back the screen.

Any thoughts?



Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, June 14, 2021

I also notice that is is not consistent. When I open apple news, it does not describe anything. Also in google news but it works on Microsoft news. This started about several months ago.

Submitted by Daniella on Monday, June 14, 2021

It used to work on Facebook for describing text in photos, and on TikTok but now it doesn't do anything. I thought it was me!

Submitted by René Jaun on Monday, June 14, 2021

Yes, Screen Recognition has been broken on my device for a few days now.
However, I know that it did not break immediately after I upgraded to IOS 14.6. After upgrading, it worked just fine, and I only just noticed it had stopped last Friday. Like the original poste, I use an iPhone SE 2020.

Submitted by Laura on Monday, June 14, 2021

The same thing happened to my iPhone XR last week.

Submitted by Bruce Maguire on Monday, June 14, 2021

Yes, I noticed this last Wednesday and reported it to Apple Accessibility. The Screen recognition and Describe Images features both use information that is downloaded from
Apple, and I'm guessing that there was a change to this downloaded information that has broken the feature for all apps. If you turn SR off, and then back on again, and then flick right, you'll hear the Downloading message, and eventually Voiceover will say 41.5 Megabytes in use. Let's hope this gets fixed quickly. I have a couple of apps that are only really usable because of Screen Recongition, so at the moment I can't use them. Before this I didn't realise that accessibility features could become broken between updates.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Well, obviously not glad to hear it isn't working for you but nice to know its not one of those bugs that no one else can recreate. Fingers crossed it can get fixed quickly. Maybe it's even a good thing, maybe there has been an upgrade back end.

think an update should be out over the next couple of weeks according to the current beta release cycle so fingers crossed.

Submitted by carine on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I have the same issue here, the screen recognition doesn't work anymore and the only work around I found to fix it is to desable it in the voiceover settings, screen recognition, and apps recognition
Bgrds carine

Submitted by sechaba on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Screen recognition is indeed no longer working for all apps, and I suspect this bug may have been brought by the introduction of IOS 14.6.

Submitted by Ann Marie B on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hi. I also noticed this behavior on my iPhone 12 and thought it was a problem with the latest Facebook update. I wrote to Facebook Accessibility on the matter. I just tested screen recognition in the native photos app and experienced the same issue. I restarted the phone and then deselected photos in screen recognition settings. I will write to apple accessibilithy and hopefully this issue will be resolved in 14.7.

Submitted by Raqi on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

This bug is nasty! I made the inadvertent discovery, however, that once an app becomes unresponsive after toggling screen recognition, go into the AppSwitcher and highlight the app in question, the way you would if you planned to force-quit it. Once the app name has focus, turn the rotor; you will find settings for screen recognition, describe images, and direct touch. You can flick up or down on these controls to toggle their status, the way you should be able to within the app itself. This will restore the app to its working state. Simply exit the AppSwitcher and return to the app in question to resume using it.

Yes I agree that this bug is an inconvenience. I emailed apple accessibility regarding this matter. Thank you for the workaround. :) Let's hope apple fixes this soon.
Ann Marie

Submitted by Squirrel on Monday, June 21, 2021

You *should* be able to resolve this issue by going to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > VoiceOver Recognition, disabling Screen Recognition, and then re-enabling it.

This will cause iOS to delete the locally stored downloaded dataset that's used to power this feature, and then download a new and working version.

If this doesn't work first time, leave a longer delay between disabling and re-enabling Screen Recognition or restarting your device before re-re-enabling.

This has worked for me on two different iPhones, and would appear to suggest that the issue was introduced in an update of the downloadable dataset, and that Apple has now resolved the issue with the dataset.

Of course, your own experience may be different, but I hope that this also works for you. Let us know if it does ☺️

Submitted by Laura on Monday, June 21, 2021

How long does screen recognition need to be off for in order for this to work?

Submitted by tripolice on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Had done disabling and reenabling the feature severl times earlier and had also ensured that the files were redownloaded. But that hadn't worked then, but now worked. Thank you.

Submitted by Ann Marie B on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

In reply to by Squirrel

When I emailed apple accessibility this is exactly what I was advised. I tested this on my iPhone 12 and it does in fact work. :)