Voiceover speech on Mac keeps inexplicably dying - any suggestions?

macOS & Mac Apps

Hello, I don't know if it's a computer issue or a Voiceover one, but I keep losing speech on Voiceover on my Mac, which is up to date. In any given hour of use, it'll die randomly three of four times. sometimes doing command f5 toggle will get it back, sometimes doing that plus closing and opening the lid will, and more rarely I have to restart. Voiceover isn't turning itself off entirely, only the speech. Restarting doesn't seem to help the problem go away. Ideas, please? Do I need a new computer or is there anything I can try? Cheers



Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hi. I'm no expert,. but I've had the same problem, except my problem occurred while using external speakers out of my DAW (digital audio workstation). If you are using internal speakers, then I suggest you take a look at your system preferences>sound settings. Apple's technical support accessibility people might help you find a solution, too.

Good luck!

Submitted by Seanoevil on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hi Aime,
Just some random thoughts about your problem...
When you notice VO Voice Output stopping, do all other processes stop as well? For example, if you have music playing, will that stop too? This may indicate that the problem is not VO specific, and allow you to broaden your search for answers.

Secondly, could you accidentally be muting VO? For instance, a three finger double tap on the trackpad will Mute VO and a second 3 finger double tap will unmute it.

Final random thought, is your Mac Lid always open when you are using it? I sometimes forget to raise the lid of my Mac which will cause me to experience symptoms not dissimilar to those you describe above.



Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Friday, April 5, 2019

I'm experiencing this same issue on a 2018 MBP running the latest version of Mac OS. Voiceover sounds are still heard, such as when moving between applications or closing windows, but speech shuts off. To get around this, I've been logging out (Command-Shift-Q) cycling VO off and on and logging back in. Annoying as this interrupts iTunes playback.

I notice this issue occurs most often when the Mac is waking from sleep, either after opening the lid or leaving the MacBook open and returning to it after a while of inactivity.

Because VO is still running, I've tried to activate Trackpad Commander and unmute speech, but no luck.

I am going to try muting VO sound effects to see if there is an issue when VO speech and sound are played simultaneously, but I suspect it may be a deeper issue.

Submitted by Kyle on Thursday, April 11, 2019

This happens to me too. It only did it very rarely on the previous 10.14.3 Mojave. With the 10.14.4 update, it happens much more. It seems to happen if speech seems to stop. Like if i'm scrolling threw twitter, and stop, if I continue again, my speech will have died. It only seems to do it with bluetooth headphones. This never happens with wired headphones. if I disconnect my airPods and reconnect them, speech will come back. But it will die again in a few more minutes. I use Tooth Fairy to connect and disconnect BT devices quickly, but I shouldn't have to do this.

Submitted by Tyler on Friday, April 12, 2019

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I too am experiencing this bug with bluetooth audio, which seems to have gotten worse on 10.14.4. I'm not sure how wide spread it is, but I sent a bug report to Apple with system and Bluetooth diagnostic logs.

If more reports of this issue surface, we can get a better sense of its prevalence and document it in the macOS bug tracker.

Submitted by Justin on Friday, April 12, 2019

It seems like it only happens when reading articles in safari on BT audio devices. I've not had it happen yet on chrome which I mainly use for watching videos on Youtube, don't ask why I just seem to like chrome for it more than safari.

Submitted by Kyle on Friday, April 12, 2019

Its not just in safari. It also happens for me in TextEdit, Terminal, and Twitterific. All when speech stops. usually it wont speak again until I reconnect my airPods.