VoiceOver reverting to compact voice

iOS & iPadOS

I was just browsing a news app when suddenly the VoiceOver voice changed and it sounded like the compact one. I went to settings and looked to see whether it had changed itself to the default setting in the VoiceOver settings, but it was still selected as English UK Enhanced as the default setting. I've tried turning my phone off and back on again, tried hard resetting, tried deleting the enhanced voice and downloading it again. None of these have worked.

When I say compact voice, I mean it sounds very robotic and mechanical. The pitch seems slightly raised, and I tried turning pitch change on and off as well but no luck.

I am running the latest iOS software.

Any ideas? Its really beginning to frustrate.



Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Alexl1,

Surprisingly, you're not the only one whose seen this in the last 24 hours.

From what I've heard, it appears as though the Enhanced Quality voice is somehow being deleted from the device and needing to be re-downloaded.

What seems to work for people is to change VoiceOver back to the default voice, then attempt to re-enable the Enhanced Quality voice. For this to work, you'll need to be connected to WiFi--otherwise the Enhanced Quality voice will not download.

If you're still having issues getting the voice to download, try switching back to the default voice, turning off VoiceOver and restarting it, then attempting to re-enable (and re-download) the Enhanced Quality voice.

Submitted by Alexl1 on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thanks for your reply. Its good to know I'm not the only one. I tried your suggestions but to no avail. I'm using VoiceOver on my iPhone and then on my iPad and seeing how much smoother it is on the iPad is jarring. Is it a VoiceOver update or can it actually be fixed?

Submitted by Callum on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm also having this problem. VO suddenly went back to the compact voice and when I looked in the settings, the enhanced quality had deleted. When I got home I plugged it in and downloaded the enhanced quality voice again, but now it is a lot worse than the other. It is so much more robotic than before and there isn't much difference between the two voices now.
I also use the English UK voice. Is it an update to the voice or is there a way to get the old enhanced quality one back because this new one is doing my head in!

Submitted by elliot2012 on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm also having this issue on my iPhone and my iPad, the english uk enhanced guy sounds like he's p****d to me! I've had to switch to the US lady

Submitted by Rafaela Freundt on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This is happening to me with the mexican spanish voice. I am not getting the compact voice again, but my enhanced voice sounds not the same, pronouncing words differently and like someone said, much more robotic and with a different pich aswell. This seems very strange and I would really like to know how to fix it. Thanks for any help.

Submitted by ericwhittencool on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I have noticed the same thing also. It is just the UK voice. It sounds a little different.I am wondering if they updated the UK english voice? I am just thinking out loud.

Submitted by Alexl1 on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I really hope it hasn't changed to this robotic weird pitch voice forever. Cannot stand it

Submitted by Saqib on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hi. Yes it's happened to me as well. I went to make a cupper and returned to find that it switched to compact voice. I think Apple is pushing this.

Submitted by Chris on Wednesday, April 1, 2015


This is interesting. I myself do not use the Nuance voices, so I'm not sure why this is happening. It could be that Apple or Nuance has updated the Vocalizer voices. I would suggest that if you guys don't like the Nuance voices, use Alex if your device supports it. This is very odd as I said, since Apple only updates Nuance voices with major versions of iOS from what I can tell.

Submitted by Alana on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This has happened to me too. Actually, my phone went flat overnight then I plugged it into my computer, only to find the compact voice on instead of the enhanced Australian one. I wonder if this is an update as well.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I use Alex but this did temporarily happen to me last night too. My battery ran out and when I was able to switch the phone on again the voice had changed to the compact US voice. However I just turned VoiceOver off and on again, and all was well again.

Submitted by Steve on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This has happened to me as well and the new voice on the English enhanced is worse than the compact one IMO. Hoping this is just a glitch that will be sorted out. I've tried the suggestions from an earlier post of uninstalling then re-downloading the enhanced voice with no success. If this is a permanent thing, then its a step back.

Submitted by Callum on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Joseph, what voice do you use? And how did you manage to get the enhanced to redownload?

I'm using Alex for now and it's ok but I want my normal one back lol.


Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I guess my iPhone is really super special, because I haven't seen this happen. I did do a bit of an experiment before I wrote this post, so this may give a bit of insight. I do think the Daniel voice has had a bit of an update, because it says the word, button with a slightly higher pitch than before, and it pronounces some words a bit differently. I found this out because I had the compact Daniel voice, I mainly use Alex and wanted to see what would happen. So, I downloaded the DanielHQ voice and it does sound a bit different but to my ear it's not awful or anything. I haven't seen this happen at all, my Alex voice is still acting normally, and all seems to be well. Sorry guys, can't explain it but it's not as bad as all that at least for me.

Submitted by ericwhittencool on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I think the update was only to Daniel. He sounds a little different then before. To my ear he does not sound all that bad. I use Alex as my regular voice though.

Submitted by MarkSARCH on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another possible solution who for the last couple days has been presented issues with voiceOver compact voice,
for those who tried everything and even reverting and redownload the compact voice and it doesn't sound as before the possible solution could restoring using iTunes backup
Remember if you use iTunes backup on Mac or windows restoring taking a backup previous at the notable voiceover issue all your data, settings and information will be saved I I think the only voiceOver that you need to redownload is
Personally nothing been changed at my iPhone but saw when went to settings/ General/ accessibility/ voiceOver/ speech this morning when was reading this tread for some unknown reason the Enhance quality voice start download automatically by itself.

Submitted by Alexl1 on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I think we are all just annoyed because this seems to have been pushed to all our devices without warning. It might not sound too bad to people who don't use the Daniel voice, but for those who do, it sounds like he's speaking under water. There are pronunciation, emphasis and inflection problems that are just so difficult to get used to when you've been hearing it the correct way since getting an iPhone. Here's hoping it's just a bug and not something that's been pushed as an update.o

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I don't typically use the Daniel voice, so I can sort of see how this would throw someone off. It might be worth writing to Apple's accessibility address, and asking them about what happened. It really does sound like the voice has changed at least slightly. Not the sound of the actual voice, but pronunciations and inflections are definitely a bit different.

Submitted by Ali Kazi on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I got this yesterday and tend to agree with the majority on here. Daniel sounds like he's got a bad flu and sore throat. I agree that we should all write to accessibility@apple.com and describe the issue. The quicker and more often they hear about it, the quicker they will fix it if it is indeed a bug.

Submitted by Troy on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I also made a post about this issue this morning but no one responded so I just assumed it was a glitch in my phone, I'm glad to come back in here seeing that I'm not the only one. I use Samantha and once I redownloaded her enhanced voice all is well. This is weird indeed. One would think if they were updating the voice they would of just waited to put it in the next ios update.

Submitted by Joseph on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I use samantha. Once I was back on wifi, I went to settings/general/accessibility/Voiceover/speech and checked the voice. It said it was preparing to download, so I wait until it downloaded, then closed the app and went to my home screen.

I had to turn voiceover off while I was in church, and when I got back home it reverted back to compact Karen. When I downloaded the high quality voice again, it was fine. that's the first time it's ever happened to me, since I've been using my iPhone back in march of last year.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, April 2, 2015


I think that Nuance has updated the voices and Apple has changed the voices accordingly. The only voice I notice a difference in is Daniel. He sounds really weird. I havn't tried Irish or SOuth African English yet.

Also, has anyone noticed that it says that Daniel uses 156 MB now instead of 117? Also, the sizes for South African English and Irish have also changed slightly. Like I said, I think Nuance is updating voices again. It's OK, I'll just stick to the superior Alex experience.

Unfortunately, alex can only be downloaded on an iPhone 5s or higher, so I don't have the luxury of using alex, so I use the Austrailian English voice, because I cannot stand the tinny sound of the US voice. But that probably explains our phones reverting back to compact voices and having to redownload the enhanced voices we love so much.

Submitted by treky fan on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I was browsing a website and suddenly, voiceover switched from Alex to the high quality Samantha voice. I went in to the voicover settings and found that Alex was still selected. I turned voicover off, waited a few seconds and turned it back on. Alex was my voice once again.

Submitted by Saqib on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hi. I don't like Alex. It's the worst of the lot. It just sounds muffled to me. I did get the update to Daniel and it does sound a bit different but it's ok. With Apple taking up an extra gig with the latest IOS update! I only had 3gb of space left and couldn't download Alex because I wouldn't have much left to play with as it almost takes up 1gb of space.

Submitted by Steve on Thursday, April 2, 2015

well, sounds like its an update. I can see that people who don't use Daniel much wouldn't notice a difference, and I am already getting used to it again, but the miss-pronunciation of simple words is just ridiculous. In my text app, he sounds like he saying 'record audo' instead of 'record audio' and the inflection is all over the place. This is a classic case of if it aint broke, don't fix it! I've got an Iphone 5 so I think that means I can't have Alex. I might try the aussie or Irish enhanced voice.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, April 2, 2015


First of all, sorry if my previous comment was too snobish/arrogant. I didn't mean for it to sound like that. I've just been waiting since 2012 for them to finally put Alex into iOS. I think there should be a compromise for those running 32 bit devices in the form of more Vocalizer voices or something.

As for Vocalizer, I recommend using Karen. I used to use this voice on my iPhone 4 and in iOS 7 on my 5s. In my opinion, it is the clearest and most friendly sounding voice out of all the english voices.

Submitted by Logan9Fingers on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I completely agree with Alexi1 and Ali Kazi. Their interpretation of the changes are spot on, and they show the right degree of frustration given that they are regular users of this voice. I would like to ditto all that they said and add some extra nuggets of info.

Firstly, just because one person doesn't have much of a problem, doesn't mean that it's not a huge problem for someone else. Voices, for some, are not just a fashion accessory that you think sounds okay, For a lot of people it's far more crucial and has a real practical effect on their entire use of an idevice.

I am hearing impaired, and rely heavily on a clear and concise voice. Consonants are hugely important. Hearing the ends of words can be the difference between one word or a totally different one. Inflection is important too, as it helps the brain to more quickly, and with less effort, recognise a word...leaving you more spare brainpower to understand what's being said. For exactly the same reason, the pronunciation of words is equally important. When you're straining to hear what's being said, you need as much brain processing power as possible, available to understand a sentence, without being distracted by wrongly inflected or pronounced words. For all of the aforementioned reasons, dialect is also a major issue. I am English, and as such, am used to an English dialect. I can't just swap to American, Aussie, or even Irish, because I'd spend way too much time trying to work out the cultural differences between different dialects.

Okay, so that's the practical argument, and, for those with a hearing impairment, that's all that should be needed here. These voices are primarily there for accessibility reasons, and Nuance, or Apple, or whoever's responsible for this meddling, are bang out of order for messing with this. If a product is being sold as one that has accessibility features, and I spend £650 pounds buying that product because it has a voice that I get on with, they absolutely shouldn't be able to change that product on me, once I've handed over my cash. Sure, offer an alterhave voice, but don't take away what I've already paid for...especially when it comes to such a sensitive and personal area as accessibility. It doesn't cost them anything to simply keep the old voice available.

Finally, for those suggesting alternative dialects, such as Alex...why should we have to change? I want to hear English as it is spoken in my country. I want to hear words like 'advertisement', 'tomato', and 'oregano', spoken the way I'm used to. I don't want my 'rrrs' drawled. By the same token, if I liked the 'Alex' voice more than the voice for 'Daniel', and they suddenly messed with the 'Alex' voice, I wouldn't want to be forced onto the 'Daniel' voice.

As a little extra reason why I wouldn't want to change to 'Alex'. He does weird stuff like putting 'dot operator' after the time on every post on Facebook, which is very irritating. He may have some lifelike attributes that clearly take up a lot of gb space, but that doesn't outweigh the negatives such as the strange muffled way he speaks. Each to their own though, as these last couple of issues are, to some degree, subjective, and not practical ones

This change, if it is an update, needs to be sorted soon, very soon. I have indeed written to accessibility@apple.com, and I hope as many others do too, even if it's just to object to the principle of pulling the rug out from under the feet of people with hearing impairments.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I have to agree with the previous poster.

Voices are a very personal thing. For some on here, Samantha is fine. For me, the voice gives me a headache. I also agree with the different dialects comment. I don't want to have to listen to an Australian voice, but I used to have to do this because it was the only other English voice that was offered that sounded better than Samantha. This is where I would say that we should have all the voices for a specific dialect, not just one. However, I don't think this is going to change. We were lucky enough to get Alex, but that is restricted to certain devices which is an issue for some. I think the solution to this is to either open the tts API to allow developers to create TTS engines, or for Apple to do what should have been done long ago and include the whole Nuance range of voices.

As for keeping the older version of a voice, that would work, but Apple is Apple, and they do what ever they please, no matter what the users think. I don't know how to put it any other way.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I like the way this is being handled. Definitely, write to the accessibility address and let them know your feelings. This may be out of their control, though, as they have a contract with Nuance for the voices, and if there's an update, they probably have to update everyone to that new voice, or at least, give them the opportunity to do so. I can really see why this would mess people up. Yes, I also noticed the slightly larger size for the Daniel voice, so there's definitely been an update. I think the very best advice I can give is if you absolutely must use Daniel, try turning the speech rate down just a little bit, and that might make him a bit more understandable. I know it's not the ideal solution, but it's the best suggestion I can offer at this point. Trust me, I understand how frustrated some of you guys are about this. These voices are our life lines as it were, we use them every day to get things done, and when something upsets that, it makes life a little more difficult. Hopefully, Apple will have something to say. I'd be interested to see if anyone gets any responses from Apple accessibility about this.

Submitted by Alexl1 on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Couldn't agree more with what's been said above. It is a ridiculously rash decision of Nuance to update the Daniel voice and increase its size, when it is blatant that it sounds a lot more like a downgrade.

There are just an abundance of mispronounced words that are just confusing to listen to. The word 'that' sounds like the word 'bat', Daniel now says the word photo as foloto.

If anyone does get a reply from Apple Accessibility, please do update the rest of us. How often and likely is it that they reply?

I don't think it it's right that we are forced to just sit back and accept the change. It continues to throw me off balance. Another one I just found: it pronounced he instead of she.

Submitted by Ali Kazi on Thursday, April 2, 2015

This change has only happened on my iPhone. My Macbook and my mother's iPad are, thankfully, still using the old version of Daniel. Surely if it was an update, wouldn't all the devices get the update? Just something to think about.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I've also got the same problem with Daniel but also am I right in thinking that changing the speech rate using the rotor seems to have no affect? As for the strange speech, a good and his pitch changes when he says Notes on the icons. example is how he says Messages.

Submitted by thebigt on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hi i usually use Karen, but whilst reading through this thread, i decided to check out Daniel. Wow he seems huge now! 156 Megabites! I think i'll stick to good old Karen as my prefered voice :).

Submitted by Diego Garibay on Thursday, April 2, 2015

I was looking through an app and it was reading some text. I stopped and when I came back the voice had changed from alex to the lower cuality sounding one. I had to go in to the settings to fix it.

Submitted by Steve on Friday, April 3, 2015

100 % agree with the poster talking about how important the voice they are used to with hearing loss is. I have a hearing loss myself (wear 2 cochlear implants) and being able to listen to my phone speaking in an English accented voice has made a huge difference to me.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, April 3, 2015

Hmm. so far I don't have the issue. I wonder if this dependson the phone beeing used and such. I hope someone has been reporting this to apple accessibility?

Take care.

Submitted by Seva on Friday, April 3, 2015

Hi everyone! I think that nuance updated their voices because there are some changes in russian voice. It changed when i installed ios8.3 public beta1 that supports Russian siri. I switched my iphone to english and i installed new voice. It became better in prononciation. I isn't a problem for me at all! Thanx!

Submitted by dvdmth on Friday, April 3, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

While I was using my iPad Air, Alex suddenly stopped speaking entirely. I still got sound effects when navigating, but nothing else. I powered off the iPad and rebooted it, and I was greeted with Samantha. Turning VoiceOver off and back on brought back Alex.

I thought it was just a random fluke, which Alex tends to have on my iPad every couple of months or so, but after seeing this thread I'm not so sure.

The first of April is bad enough as it is. Let's not make it worse.

Submitted by bryan mcglashan on Saturday, April 4, 2015


I have noticed a difference in the voice on my iPad. It sounds like dangle now has some kind of throat infection lol. It does take a bit of getting used to however, I can now ignore it and don't really pay attention to it anymore. I use Alex on my iPhone so not sure whether the default english voice has changed on that. Probably has though.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Sunday, April 5, 2015

Thank god for that! I thought I was going mad! So it's not just me then? Hurrah! I have to say I don't like the new daniel as much, and it is slightly tiresome that they have changed it so significantly after I have been listening to him for nine or ten years pretty much the same as he always has been, but I am getting used to it. I don't like Alex. I've never really liked Alex and don't use him on my Macbook pro. I also have to agree with and laud the poster who says that we should be entitled to listen to our Apple devices in our local dialect. I personally find this much easier and more to my liking. If only we could have dear old Brian from Ivona on IOS. He reads my stuff in Voice Dream and is superb.

Submitted by Tarbaby on Monday, April 6, 2015

For anyone having problems fixing this In settings and it won't turn on/off voice over manually (my setting was stuck on on and wouldn't allow me to toggle i) ask Siri to turn voiceover off and then back on. That worksed for me.

Submitted by ericwhittencool on Monday, April 6, 2015

If you are in the US, and Samantha is your default voice, then she has not changed. The only change that i have seen is Daniel. That is as far as the english voices go.

Submitted by Shauna on Monday, April 6, 2015

I am also having problems with VoiceOver, so I contacted the Apple Accessibility Team, I wrote:
Dear Apple Accessibility Team,

I am emailing regarding an issue with VoiceOver, which has been going on since Tuesday 31 March. I noticed that the English UK voice, Daniel, suddenly changed. At first, I believed that it had switched to the compact voice, however, when I checked my settings, I realised that the enhanced voice was still apparently in use. I even tried deleting and re-downloading the British enhanced quality voice, however this did not help. I now find it difficult to understand as the pitch and pronunciation of this voice have completely changed. For example, when reading something, I often have to read it again due to not understanding what is being said. In addition, the voice is extremely muffled and unclear.

I am blind and I chose Apple because of its excellent standard of accessibility, therefore, I depend on VoiceOver. Several months ago, I bought an iPhone 5C, and I am in a contract for 2 years. However, I am finding it difficult to use due to not being able to understand the voice. Furthermore, I use this phone to complete some of my University work.

I feel disappointed as the change in voice is making small, simple tasks difficult, whereas, the old voice did not do this as it had extremely good pitch and pronunciation and was perfectly clear to understand.

I do hope you will be able to help.

Thank you,

They responded with the following:

Thank you for your email. Please provide some examples of words being mispronounced, muffled or hard to understand.
I will pass this along to the appropriate group once I have some examples.

Apple Accessibility

So far, I have noticed that the words notes, photo, iMessage, record audio, love and other are not pronounced correctly. If anyone else has any suggestions of words being mispronounced or sounding muffled, would you be able to let me know and I will include it in my response to the Accessibility Team?

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm hearing some of this now, for example, record audio sounds like he's saying, rrecord audaio. and messages sounds like messauges. the interesting thing is he says record audaio, but if you go to the rotor, and flick around to the setting called audio ducking, he pronounces audio correctly. These are very suttle differences, and people would probably say, what's the difference? Unfortunately with someone with a hearing impairment, this really can matter a lot. I thought some of you guys were just being a bit nitpicky in the beginning, but there were so many messages on the topic that I had to go listen for myself to see, and you guys are 100 percent correct. These aren't awful changes by any means, but they can throw someone off. He does seem to say the word notes correctly, but the intonation is slightly different on some things, so I hope this helps. When writing back to the accessibility team, its important to let them know how Daniel is actually pronouncing these few words so maybe they can get a note to Nuance who can push out an update.

Submitted by Pangeran Satrya Indra Tjahyadi on Monday, April 6, 2015

Hello all. Can you give me the contact of Apple Accessibility team E-Mail? Sorry i haven't ever contact them. Because i don't no their address.. Thank you..

Submitted by Steve on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I must admit, a week in to the new Daniel voice and I am slowly starting to get used to him now. I'd still love to have old Daniel back though.