macOS with VoiceOver Versus Windows with JAWS Screen Reader

macOS & Mac Apps

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Macos versus window when using JAWS screen reader.
I want to try Macos and Siri what is different. Thank you to everyone who replied to this forum.ts



Submitted by the dutch dragon on Saturday, November 10, 2018


I have been a mac user for 5 years, but have switched to a Dell XPS with windows 10 and nvda. Mainly because i feel the accessibility on windows is better than the accessibility on the mac. A lot of apps, such as ms office, are harder to use on a mac with VoiceOver. A mac can definitely work, but i think nvda makes more progress compaired to voiceover.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Using Window since 3.3 and use jaws forever. I had listen to podcast about using mac from blindcool and using voiceover appears difficult compare to jaws. However to each their own. It will be for you to know because everybody has so many views. find 2 people one with a mac and windows and play with both to see what is best for you.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Its up to you. For me, both mac and windows with nvda are great. Both have there ups and downs. I'm mainly a mac user, but i do use windows on a daily basis as well. Its up to you which is better. For me voiceover and nvda are fine, i cant say which is more accessible, both have ups and downs

Submitted by peter on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Although I have never used a Mac, I do really enjoy my iPhone and do a lot with it, especially when I don't have a laptop when traveling.

From my long experience using Windows PC's AND TALKING TO lots of others who use Mac's my overall impression is that, depending on what your needs and usage are, either system can work for you.

If you are using common programs like e-mail, browsers, etc. A Mac will probably work great. If you are using specialized software like audio production programs, tracking software, or something out of the ordinary, a Windows PC might be the better choice.

One of the major advantages of a PC is the ability to write custom scripts to make some programs work better and more efficiently with a screen reader. Just because a program might be "accessible" (meaning that you can navigate to and read all elements on the screen) it doesn't necessarily mean that a program is "useable" or efficient to use as a productive tool. People who use screen readers don't work in the same way that sighted people do. Yes, they might be able to tab a thousand times to get to an element that they can read on the screen and this could be called "accessible", but if there wasn't a hotkey built into the program to quickly get to the desired element with a single keystroke, it wouldn't be very productive. Scripts are written for Windows screen readers to make these programs both accesible and useable. If a program isn't quite meeting your needs it is often possible to write or have a custom script written to meet your work flow requirements on a PC. I don't believe this is the case on a Mac (or if it is, the solutions aren't as readily available).

Thus you should look at how you will be using your computer and what programs will be important for you in order to make the decision.

Good luck.


Submitted by Ekaj on Sunday, November 11, 2018

I agree completely. None of us are gonna tell you which to use, that's up to you. But I have 2 comments about the Mac. First off, VoiceOver and all other access features come standard on Macs and all other products to date manufactured by Apple. So that in my view is a big plus. The other thing I like about the Mac and will mention here, is Keyboard Commander. I use this all the time and it simplifies things. I got my first iPhone earlier this year, and VoiceOver and Siri are working great on there too. Hth and good luck to you.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Sunday, November 11, 2018

They each have their ups and downs. I personally like Mac OS myself, but there are reasons why you may need to use Windows.
I've been a Mac user for almost 8 years.
Prior to that I used Windows with Window eyes, but now when I need to use my Windows machine. I use either JAWS, or NVDA. Then again I'm either playing a game, or working on something that seemed to handle better with JAWS if I'm on Windows. Otherwise. I stick with my Mac Mac book.

Submitted by DJX on Monday, November 12, 2018

I think one thing to also consider is that by nature both operating systems work differently, are designed differently, and have different workflows. This is something you'll want to be sure you are ok with and also aware of. It's one thing to have to learn a new screen reader, commands and all, but it is another entirely different matter to have to learn a new OS and a new screen reader at once. When frustration kicks in, you have to know who is to blame, the screen reader and its workflow, or the OS itself and its way of doing things.

I agree that nobody can tell you which is best, because that answer would be based on so many varying factors, such as your intended use, requirements, pacients etc.
Whenever I come across this debate/question, I always tell people, try them both, and by "try" I don't just mean go to a mac, open the desktop, poke around a bit and make your decision on that. Sit there and do things that you would actually be doing, surf the web, open familiar pages, try macOS's versions of apps that you would use such as text edit, terminal (command prompt), calculator, dictionary, iTunes, Disk Utility etc. No doubt it will probably take you a few hours, and maybe more than one sitdown at the mac, but better to make an informed decision that you had first hand experience with, than going by what any of us tells you. You will find everybody has different levels of tolerance, skill and ability, so what someone finds acceptabel may not be acceptable to you, and what someone finds inaccessible may be completely fine and accessible to you.

Don't know anyone with a mac? Apple stores have them available to check out, and yes you can press command f5 to launch voice over, or even ask for assistance in launching it from one of the workers. Take a pair of headphones so you can really consentrate on what you're doing without too much distractions.

Submitted by Afrim on Monday, November 12, 2018

The choice of the operating system is highly dependent on the tasks you want to complete with your computer. For us, the additional factor of screen readers makes the choice a little bit more difficult.
In general, I have found out that the combination Windows-JAWS is better for a work environment. JAWS has a premium support for the Office package which is what is largely used by companies, organisations, and businesses. JAWS is highly customisable in regard to the use with these programs.
This is the seventh year I've been using JAWS in a school environment. From a simple note, to reading large books with complex structures, I've used JAWS. It has never disappointed me. JAWS gives the user the possibility to get the required information in a few steps, without putting too much effort, or without finding workarounds to get what you need. For instance, if you write a project and you want to proofread it, you can use skim reading. you can check the font where you will obtain the necessary information on formatting, indentation, position or effects applied on the text. A command I particularly like from JAWS is insert+shift+N: this command, when used in Microsoft word, gives data about the current document such as word count, language, misspelling, number of pages, and so on.
So, to conclude it, I will get back to the first sentence I said: The choice of the operating system is highly dependent on the tasks you want to complete with your computer. If you need to work with documents, projects, data, consider using Windows and JAWS. Buy a computer with a solid-state drive and you will have a solid device for daily use. If you need your computer for more general tasks, you may consider using a Mac.

Submitted by roman on Monday, November 12, 2018

hello everyone! this is roman, and my thoughts about this subject is both OSes has there own nature, and they're ups and downs. personally, I would love to use both windos, and mac OS.

Submitted by Daniel Angus M… on Friday, April 5, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

their are advantages and disadvantages to mac and windows. I use both, having bootcamp with Windows 10 on the mac.

Submitted by Ahmed on Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hi! I’m Ahmed First I grew up using Windows with Jaws than switched to NVDA and now I use a Mac with Voiceover here are the reasons for my switch to VO on the Mac first the cost of Jaws is unreasonable $400 for a Pc $1000 +200$ worth of source code updates far exceed the price of a Mac which comes with a SCREENREADER built-in as well as a host of other accessibility features. It’s important to be fluent with both OSX and Windows SCREENREADER'S. However one advantage the Mac gives you is the ability to install windows on the Mac say you need to complete an assignment for school and that assignment can only be completed using windows this is one of the compelling reasons why it's good to go with a Mac. yeah some folks could argue the reverse and say Ahmed the Mac is a Lott more expensive compared to it's windows counterpart I could than say well the inbuilt SCREENREADER on windows systems can't be used as a full on SCREENREADER you would need a SCREENREADER that has a lot more features

The Screen recognition features gives VO some advantage but windows and jaws still better. If jaws is able to ad screen recognition be great. Do love my iPhone 11 pro max and I always had an iPhone will continue unless VO starts to not working well.

Submitted by Firefly on Sunday, October 4, 2020

I have been a PC user since 2002. However, last week, I decided to take the plunge and get a Mac. I do a lot on my iPhone as of now, including producing my podcast, so I am extremely excited to bring a Mac into the mix. I still have a Windows PC, but I’m looking forward to teaching myself how to use the Mac. I have the time and the patients what the getting started tutorials on this website for Mac users be a good place to start? Also can you answer phone calls on a Mac send text messages etc.

Hello if your asking about weather if your able to send and recieve text messages, answer phoe calls, recieve text messages,
answer and recieve phone calls on your mac you can.
With regards to your second question their are a tun of getting started withthe Mac and VoiceOver articles tthteir are also geting started articles that dive into the use of speciffic applications and how to use them with VoiceOVER this includes productivity to OCR I hope this answers your questions n

Submitted by Ishkabibble on Saturday, October 10, 2020

In reply to by Firefly

As previous posters have said, yes, you can use iMessage and FaceTime on your Mac, as well as SMS if your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network. In terms of learning MacOS, looking up a list of common system-wide keyboard shortcuts will be helpful, as they are very different from those on Windows. Also, when using your Mac with VoiceOver on, there is a useful help menu you can access at any time by pressing VO (the VoiceOver modifier keys) and h. There are also many articles on AppleVis that will be very helpful.