I've had it with airpods, and the Mac

macOS and Mac Apps

Hi all. Just now, I was in the middle of my last post, when voice over stopped speaking. The sounds were there, no speech. so I turned off and on Voice Over about five times. Nothing. I took the Airpods out of my ears and there was speech. This is absolutely unacceptable. I'll put them in and they will work again until they just stop. does anyone who have the pro version have this problem too? I can't return them, not least because of the virus but I've had them for maybe six months now. Frustrating to say the least.



Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, April 3, 2020

Have you contacted apple about this? Perhaps ther is a firmware update you need to grab? I don't own any bt devices for my mac, but just somethingn to look at. Also call the apple accessibility hotline and report it.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Friday, April 3, 2020

I use a set of bows headphones and have the same issue. It has something to do with the blue tooth stack in the latest versions of the Mac O.S.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, April 3, 2020

It is time for you to be part of the force. Come and use windows. Windows is better and jaws is easy to use and they fix bugs. May the force be with you.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Actually will not use anythign blue tooth on windows, headphoens anyway. I lost speach, nothing worked and yeah. It was horable, by the way this was not too long ago on windows 10, so yeah don't do that either. Just email accessibility@apple.com and see what they say.

Submitted by Brad on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bluetooth is fine for me, it's a bit choppy if I go outside of the range the headphones give me but that's to be expected.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Can confirm that this happens with apple's over priced earbuds on their overpriced computers too. I have to use wired headphones or, the messier option, use either a bluetooth usb dongle or a line out going into a little bluetooth puck I've got... Because, you know, it's cool to spend more money because of dog sh1t coding.

Tim Cook is running apple into the ground. Jobs must be click wheeling in his grave.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, April 4, 2020

I would agree that windows is a good move if I'd not, over the years, baked myself into the apple pie. It's going to take time and money to extricate, as I'm sure is the case with many others. Bootcamp is okay but not really the best solution because of certain hardware limitations.

Submitted by Siobhan on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Hi. Thanks for the comments. I'm not switching to Windows. I'll leave it there. I didn't report this, because the problem is inconsistent. What's more frustrating, I connected them to my phone to read a book. When I click connect on the mac, after disconnecting from the phone did they work? Nope. Do the exact same steps again, suddenly they work. I wonder if this is just Bluetooth 4.2 or whatever it is. I think the next version is coming or is out. I was writing this exact post and they lost speech. So pissed me the hell off.

Interesting. I had been using wireless logictech headsetfor many years along with a wireless keyboard and no issues. I am using them now to type from my couch.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Hi all. Interesting thread. I’ve had a couple of issues with my AirPods pro and Bluetooth devices of late. A couple of weeks ago, when I was at a friends house, VoiceOver on my iPhone just stopped and nothing I did would make it work again. Turns out, I had my AirPods out of their case, but in my back pocket and, even though they weren’t in my ears, they just connected. Had this happened twice today with my Apple Watch as well. same situation. I had taken them out of my ears, put one in each of my back pockets as they have occasion to make a terrible screeching noise if you put them together. What’s that all about?

Submitted by Diogo Melo on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Hi. Although I have AirPods, I don't use them on the Mac since the lag is more noticeable than in iOS, probably because I am faster with a keyboard than with touch. But they thinking pockets are ears is frequent, I just put them on the case when not using them.

I sometimes have that problem of no speech in my wired EarPods. The solution is to go to terminal and type the following:

killall -9 com.apple.speech.speechsynthesisd

It restarts the speech process (or something like that) and restores speech in 95 of 100 times. I have a VO keyboard shortcut to open Terminal and an alias configured to type a shorter command to execute that.

I have a .bash_profile file and I wrote the following there:

alias insertname='killall -9 com.apple.speech.speechsynthesisd'

replace insertname with the command you want.

Yes, it would be better if it didn't happen, but it is a workaround.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Just to say, the issue also occurs with treks air. Interesting that another poster finds it okay with a logictech headset. I wonder if it is using a different bluetooth protocol, possibly an older one.

Just so strange that it's not the whole audio dropping out but just the voice. I'm sure there are multiple work arounds, but there shouldn't have to be. I have reported it before but, as OP says, it's hard to describe when it is infrequent.

Submitted by David Dobler on Saturday, April 4, 2020

I have AirPod Pro and I love them they work great for me I have no Bluetooth issues I use a MacBook Air 2018 with Mojave and I have a MacBook Pro from 2010 with Sierra and I have no trouble and I have an iPhone XR and have no trouble with Bluetooth at all I’m not quite sure what else to suggest to you but call Apple Accessibility and tell him even if it is an intermittent problem tell him what happens maybe they will be able to help you with it have a great day hope this helps

Submitted by Siobhan on Saturday, April 4, 2020

Thanks guys. Some of your I don't have this problem comments, boil my water. I understand we are all different. Except when you write I don't have it, and keep going, I equate that to the old school email lists wherein you'd get a Re: Apple airpods, Me too. and that was it, followed by the person hitting send. In other words, I won't call unless I can give a helpful example of what's going on. Other person with the pro version, interesting you hear a screech noise when they are together, but I never thought of something like that. Possibly it could be the oversensitive microphones, just a thought. For the terminal person, I'd attempt writing all of that but Irish temper is a thing and yeah I'd need to do it when I was calm. :) Thanks everyone.

Submitted by Lukas on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Can't you just copy paste it into the terminal then? I believe it should be possible, at least recent builds of Windows 10 can certainly do that. Mac's terminal has been way more advanced than Windows's command line for ages, they're catching up these days but yeah, so I'd be really surprised if macOS couldn't do this.
I wouldn't use Jaws even if I was actually paid the full price of that software to use it, but up-to-date Windows 10 with up-to-date NVDA and basically up-to-date builds of any apps you like to use rocks. I've been playing around with macOS ever since I got this macBook Pro in September of 2017, yet keep coming back to the bootcamped Windows all the time and I don't regret it. No matter what I do, and no matter how many software updates, VoiceOver is just way too slow, sluggish and unreliable for me, especially in many recently released apps and websites. I tried all the various commanders and completely remapping its weird keyboard layout to better suit my needs, so that I could get used to it better, but still no good. So, even though I love my iPhone and iOS, even the 13 versions haven't plagued me with as many or as terrible bugs as many people seem to describe here, I've declared trying to learn to like macOS a lost cause for me. I mean, maybe I could like the system itself if they came around and rebuilt VoiceOver completely from scratch to be suitable for 2020. I mean, I was so frustrated with it at one point when I was still trying that I set the word busy as the greeting text that's spoken when VO starts. That should explain my feelings about it pretty clearly. :-)
Yeah, Windows 10, even the current builds, has to be configured pretty heavily at the beginning to make it look and perform decently, and it's true that it shouldn't be like that if you are just an ordinary user who just wants to unbox the computer and have it work, but it's just the way it is. AFter this initial configuration, it still works a hundred times better than macOS for me. Apple managed to prove that philosophy works with iPhone and iOS, but certainly not macOS. No significant VoiceOver overhauls even in Catalina, so that claim still holds true even in their current release of the system.
Fortunately, I managed to find a pretty cool Powershell script that helps with the initial configuration immensely, as you just run it once and it automatically clears out most of the initial Microsoft crap you would never actually want to use. The only limititation of Bootcamp I can think of is that I can't use FileVault or the Windows built-in encryption, forgot what it's called, but I think it's BitLocker. That kinda sucks, but it's the only real issue I'm having with this setup.
As a friend of mine once said: Yeah, Macs are good hardware to run Windows on. :-D

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I'd guess that it's a use case scenario issue then. There will be something that differentiates how I and the original poster use our systems or how they are configured.
OP is correct, people saying that they have no problems is not helpful. Problem solving is always preferred over, what could be construed by a less charitable person than myself, as gloating. The last thing one wants to hear when an expensive piece of hardware isn't functioning as advertised is the implication that it's not our hardware, it's us. In some cases this can be true, in this one, it's not. it's a big fat fail from Apple, even more so because it's not even consistent.

Submitted by Siobhan on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I appreciate the support. Telling me you don't have the issue I experience, is like writing the one line email. I agree. send. I'll never understand why on this forum especially either I get the I don't have this, or no answers whatsoever. Yet people find something wrong and all the trolls come out. I've learned to swear and keep turning on and off voice over until speech comes back. If this were able to be reproduced, you can bet I'd be asking apple why this happens. If Apple ever fixes it I'll be happy.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I've had the same issue, I think twice, no rhyme or reason to why or when it happens, or how to fix it. Interesting that this is being treated as such a rage-worthy issue on this thread, when to me it seems like a simple bug. Particularly given the fact that some on the list haven't even reported the issue, do we really have much ground to complain? And as for those saying this is the reason that Windows with JAWS is better...unless that platform's gotten a whole lot more stable in the past few years, I'm sure someone out there has had equally annoying glitchy issues with some Windows hardware/software interfacing issue at some point in their lives...

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Well last week something interesting happen. Using 11 pro max and airpod first gen, and series 5. When I connected my AP to my phone, it went well. I touch my watch and I was happy to hear my watch coming from the AP. I was able to move from phone to watch with 2 second delay. This happen even when I remove my AP from my ear. I was able to go from watch to phone all day. However yesterday when I connected my phone to my AP and press crown to watch no luck. VO just came from watch and not AP. It was nice while it lasted.

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I've seen this issue you're talking about Siobhan. I don't have Airpods, however can confirm this is a bluetooth issue. SOmetimes you'll loose speech, and the only way to get it back is to turn the BT device off, then back on again again. You'll get speech thru your mac's speakers, and once the BT device connects, then it works fine again. It's just how the cookie crumbles. If you've had it with the mac, that's fine... It's not a one size fits all OS, and doesn't work for everyone. I understand the frustrations people have, but I've learned to live with apple's quirks and really love it. Sure you can't play all games like you could on windows, however I really don't care anymore.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I think the frustration is that it's an absolutely essential aspect for us to use the Mac. Its equivalent to the screen going blank for sighted users. I accept that it is a bluetooth issue, but I don't accept there is not the same stability between AirPods on Mac as there is on iPhone. We pay a premium for things to just work. If they don't, well, we shouldn't be paying that premium.
I no longer use AirPods with the Mac because of this issue which is ridiculous. VoiceOver on Mac is a car crash though and continues to devolve with every evolution of OS X.
I say this in the hope that apple employees read this. There has been a turning away from accessibility issues of late, or at least a thinning, possibly because of apple spreading itself too thin with too many projects. We expect better.

I agree. I paid close to $1000 for my 11 pro max and I expect it to work well. When people become upset when those of us complaine about it they start talking about how great apple is doing and makes you wander how much apple pays them.

Submitted by Cowboy on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I'm sure it won't make you feel any better but I have the same problem using headphones with a cord on a SurfaceBook which is supposed to be on par with the Mac. I'll lose voice, I unplug the headphones and have voice, when I plug headphones back in windows acts like they aren't there and continues to speak through the speakers. Only happens while a screen reader is running because I let my wife use my computer for a couple of days and Microsoft support had no ideas.

Submitted by Siobhan on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

It's not about Apple working well. It's about the frustration of we can't even help them, by showing them how it happens, so they can say oh, it's because your bluetooth is an earlier version. I'm ok with it being bluetooth, nothing's perfect. i'm not ok tha there seems to be no fix other than just get pissed, wait and hope it comes back. Or restart and take eons to start up.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I'm in the UK... 'get pissed' has a completely different meaning, though I whole heartedly agree on both counts.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

And, surely there must be logs buried somewhere of VoiceOver activity or bluetooth. I'd imagine this would be something that we could point to as an example of it failing and giving background details. Unfortunately I don't know how to access them.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Thursday, April 23, 2020

I would send a report if I could reproduce the damned issue consistently. There is no rime or reason to this. It just happens at any time and it is if your computer is just giving you the middle finger. I don't know how this passed testing.

Submitted by Bobcat on Thursday, April 23, 2020

I understand that if you call the Accessibility department they can check your logs for the last hour. I don't know just how true this is. but, the last time I did some troubleshooting with them that's what The agent said.