Problem with VoiceOver and new safari 14 on Mac

macOS & Mac Apps

Hello all,
I am running into an issue with VoiceOver and the new safari 14. It seems to be some kind of focus issue. Here is a list of steps to what I am seeing.
1. Navigate to any webpage.
2. Move to a heading either using quick nav or rotor.
3. Next try to navigate using just the up and down arrows.
As soon as I start using the arrow keys focus jumps back to the top rather than navigating the page by line like it should. This happens on any webpage I go to. Is anyone else seeing this?



Submitted by Tyler on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've also experienced this bug and have reported it to Apple.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Sorry, I started another forum topic before I found this one from you. It's a very frustrating development.

I tried adding lines to the web rotor so I could use quick nav to read a line at a time, but VoiceOver misses the first character on each line and therefore mispronounces the first word of each line. So there's really no workaround that I can think of.

Another issue, for low vision users, is that the web page often scrolls back up to the top of the page regardless of where VoiceOver is. In other words, if you read through a long article using VO+Right to read each paragraph, and you are quite far down into the article, Safari sometimes displays the start of the web page rather than the paragraph with focus.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

With VoiceOver focus on a paragraph of text, Alt+Right used to read through the text one word at a time. With the new Safari, Alt+Right moves focus to the beginning of the web page.

This all leaves me wondering if there is any way to select text in a web page? I used to use Alt+Shift+Right arrow to select a word at a time, but that is now broken. I don't know of any other way to do it.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I'm a member of NaNoWriMo, which uses a Discourse-based discussion forum. For long threads, Discourse only loads the most recent posts, but will load older posts if you scroll to the top.

When I attempt to read the newest (bottom-most) post on a thread, Safari 14 now randomly jumps up to the top of the page, which causes Discourse to load a bunch of older posts, which loads new HTML and therefore resets VoiceOver focus. This makes it utterly impossible to read any Discourse-based forum threads of significant length.

Submitted by Pa. Joe on Thursday, September 24, 2020

This is terrible. I can't figure out how to move to the next word to see how it is spelled. Does anybody know how? This is a terrible bug.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hello all,
I have found a work around for some of the issues we are having with Safari 14. If you download and use the safari technology preview version you can once again use the arrow keys as normal. I think you have to have a free developer account to download it but it does work much better than the normal version right now. The safari technology preview version is the beta version of safari where they test new web kit stuff.

Submitted by Eileen😷 on Monday, September 28, 2020

In reply to by Greg Wocher

Thanks for the pointer to the Technology Preview... this does indeed appear to resolve the issues that have been driving me crazy for the past few weeks.

Submitted by John Gurd on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

I'm amazed there aren't more Mac users gnashing teeth over this one. Are there very few Mac users left or do they just have low expectations? I moved from Windows for a Mac Book Pro that is no longer able to browse the web! Incredible. I couldn't even navigate this site except I kept my windows laptop. Can anyone give me a pointer as to how to get at the developers' Safari. Thanks for any assistance.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

First I believe you need to sign up for a free developer account. Once you do just google safari technology preview download and it should be easy to find.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

It is getting almost impossible to browse the web anymore on my Mac. I find that I get a better experience on my phone or iPad when trying to do any web browsing. The technology preview helps and its what I am writing this post on right now. It is also very difficult to select text or try and fill out any forms using the regular version of safari.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Safari v14, with or without the technology preview, fails to work properly with Google Docs. With a doc open, if I run my AppleScript to go to next comment and read the comment text, and that next comment happens to be on a new page, VoiceOver reads the page number change but doesn't read the comment text. This worked fine before v14.

Also, it seems like Safari v14 announces "web content" way too much. If Google Drive is open, for example, much of the VoiceOver audio feedback that enabled me to use Google Drive now appears to be replaced with the phrase "web content", making Google Drive practically unusable. I've been working around this by constantly refreshing the Google Drive web page, but it's a real PITA.

I already know that Google Chrome has problems with Google Docs, but Firefox might be worth a try. The ideal solution, in my opinion, would be to make v13 available again.

I'm just frustrated at this regression with Safari. To write my blog on Google Docs, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to use Safari and Docs together. If apple thinks their Technology Preview is a fix for everything that broke in v14, they need to reconsider and continue working.