VoiceOver-voices behave oddly - Enhanced quality turned low quality and won't turn back

iOS & iPadOS

Hi everyone,

This morning VoiceOver suddenly started behaving oddly on my phone. I use 3 different languages on my phone: English (standard), Swedish and Dutch (Router languages). When switching from English to Dutch to read a message, I suddenly discovered that the Dutch voice had turned from enhanced quality to low quality, how is a mystery. Baffled, I switched back to English, only to discover that that one had turned down to low quality as well. Weirdly enough, the Swedish voice is still on enhanced, both voicewise and visibly in the settings.

I went into settings to check things. All voices are set on Enhanced quality. I have restarted VoiceOver (several times), restarted the phone (both normal restart and the one with lock- and home-button simulatniously), have tried switching the voices from normal to enhanced, have deleted and reinstalled the Dutch router language - no result. The English standard voice and the Dutch router stays low Q and the Swedish high, no matter what I do.

This really happened out of the blue - one moment things were normal, the next weird. Does anybody know what might have happened? Is there a fix? Or is the only way to factory reset the phone and start from scratch again? ...which would probably mean I'd have to update to iOS13. Ugh.

I'm using an iPhone SE, currently on iOS12.4.1. Super grateful for any ideas on how to fix this.

Kind regards,



Submitted by Chris Gilland on Friday, February 14, 2020

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Apple! Are, you, guys, listening! If it isn't the apple watch not downloading the siri voices, which yeah, admittedly did get fixed, but only after a few of us basically wrung Apple's knecks about the bug they were beforehand denying, if you don't believe me, just go through some of my originally created forum topics over the last few months in my profile up here by clicking on my user name. Anyhow, if it's not that, it's the problem you're having, if it's not that, it's well.. no need to continue the list or we'll be here all day. My point is, things seem to get better for maybe like a month, two months at most, then they break with an update, then it takes about 3 or 4 months, before things are declared officialy by Apple as really being a bug, then maybe on average another 3 months just to get fixed. By the time it's fixed, it's almost half a year to a year later. People can squalk at me all they want, saying I'm a complainer, stop my bitching, etc, but just look at some of my last posts up here, and how many people actually posted responses agreeing totally 100 percent with my assessments. That says a lot right there. And, my guess is, Applevis editorial team must have also discretely behind the scenes agreed with me to some degree at least, seeing that though heated in places, my posts were not taken down. That's not to challenge them. I'm greatful that they weren't. With all due respect to Apple, and to Applevis both, this is exactly why though I still have an iOS device, guilty as charged, I primarily have switched to android. I understand not everyone can do that, nor wants to do that, and I respect totally that fact. For me however, it's exactly because of issues like this that keep cropping up constantly that primarily switching was the best decision for my usage. All of this being said, I do have a question for the initial poster which, to Apple's defense, and only this one thing to their defence, I'm curious why you're still on iOS 12, and not 13? Will the S E not upgrade any further? I'm just curious, as I'm wondering if updating might fix some of those issues you're having, just to be completely fair.

The simple answer to your question about why I'm still on iOS12 is: Thus far I've read too much about the bugs of iOS13 to feel encouraged to update. Admittedly I haven't read the bug fixes for the very last update, but the ones before that kept mentioning bugs I knew would annoy me endlessly, which is why I've stayed on 12. The disasters of the first months of iOS8 has made me cautious to update to newer versions of iOS, so I tend to wait until I hear enough positive things that it feels safe to update. Furthermore: There seemed to be a lot of new things to discover and learn with the iOS13 update and I didn't have the energy to engross myself in the finer details of the new software.

There are definitely new additions to the iOS experience in iOS13 that I was very much looking forward to. One example is finally being able to switch off language detection. But it wasn't enough to lure me away from the safety of iOS12.

Anyway, I have now, hours later, just managed to coax the voices back to normality. I still have no idea what happened, how they could turn down to standard quality, and I seriously don't even know how I managed to turn them back - just a lot of switching between the voice qualities and eventually it got the hint and caught on to the enhanced ones. Weirdest thing since I updated to iOS12. Now just have to hope they'll keep behaving.