iTunes in windows, accessibility issues big time

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AS iTunes for Windows has progressed, I noticed that keeping things screenreader friendly has been less and less of a concern.
I've tried utilizing iTunes just to attempt to sync selected music from my library to my phone. I can't seem to be able to do this anymore, since neither NVDA nor Jaws is allowing me to read my artists, albums or even songs. This seems to have been the case now over the last two or maybe more updates of iTunes.
Maybe I'm not doing something right, since I don't see much of an uproar about this from others. So, that possibly being the case, what do I do so I can sync selected music, or can this be done anymore with speech?
I usually use NVDA, but for the heck of it, I did bring up JAWS and got the same result. I just get the artist, album, or playlist treviews, and despite how I arrow around, it says nothing but the treeview that I'm in.



Submitted by LBM on Thursday, September 15, 2016

Normally I'd refrain from ;me too " messages, but I thought you should know that I have experienced this exact problem with the latest versions of iTunes for Windows. But as you suggest, given the lack of uproar here, it seems that not everyone is having this problem. I would be very keen to hear from other iTunes users on Windows if they are having problems or not. And if not, what Config settings they have made to iTunes, and what version of screen reader they're using. Thanks.

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, September 15, 2016

I completely agree. Not a big fan of iToons right now.

Submitted by Darren12 on Thursday, September 15, 2016

It is currently not pleasant on Windows. Honestly it just crashes a great deal of the time for me, so much so, that I've virtually given up on it, apart from occasional usage. Using NVDA primarily, but also Jaws sometimes.

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, September 15, 2016

Itunes on mac works perfectly fine for what I need. I've heard for a few years about the lack of usability of iTunes on windows. Try to contact your screen reader manufacturer about iTunes on windows usability and see where you go from there. apple probably doesn't have much to do with accessibility on iTunes with the windows side.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, September 16, 2016

JAWS is up-to-date. Before iTunes 12, I would turn off iCloud Music Library, found under the General Settings. Then I would see simple check boxes for each playlist that I wanted to sync to the iPhone. After iTunes 12 update, when I tab to the playlist or artist areas I see zero playlists and no check boxes. Unfortunately, I have not been able to add playlists for a while. Since I use the Apple Music subscription feature, most of my playlists are already in the cloud so this has solved some of my problems. However, since I have many movies and TV shows that are mp3 files, of course Apple Music doesn't recognize these, for the most part, and so they don't get synced to the iPhone unless it is done manually through iTunes as described above.

Here's hoping that iTunes gets back to the way it was soon.

Submitted by Kerri on Friday, September 16, 2016

I'm not sure what version I am using but I just haven't updated ITunes for the last several months since I've heard it's inaccessible with Windows. I don't need to sinc anything but does anyone know with the latest version can you at least access your music library to play songs and such? I like listening to my music on my PC so with the version I have I just go to music and it gives me a list of artists and albums and songs which I can tab to get to each list and use the arrow keys to navigate through the songs or albums. Is this still possible? Like I said I just haven't been updating..hope all these issues get solved soon!! I am using JAWS 16.

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Saturday, September 17, 2016

I admit I rarely, if ever, use the playing features when on iTunes, since I use winmp for all of that. I've got betteer control that way IMHO.

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Saturday, September 17, 2016

I did contact the accessibility department, and they say that this issue is being investigated, however they ccan not report on their findings and so on and so forth, your typical form letter. But, if others are having similar issues, definitely write them about it. The more they hear from us, the better.

Submitted by Troy on Saturday, September 17, 2016

Well according to freedomscientific it's not their problem. I haven't used windoweyes with iTunes to see if it works any better but will try it sometimes as apple has claimed windoweyes is more accessible with iTunes.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, September 17, 2016

Was able to cync my music, tones but not my apps. It works OK. Using NVDA with new iTunes.

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Saturday, September 17, 2016

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Okay, but were you able to sync selected music, not the whole library, but just selected artists, albums or what-not/. That's what I'm trying to do. Oh, Not that I think it should make a difference, but I'm using Windows 7.

Submitted by Jason on Saturday, September 17, 2016

Even mac users still having problem with iTunes not just window users. Sorry to say that, but it is true.

Submitted by jazzyjennifer on Saturday, September 17, 2016

yeah i havent up dated, iTunes these last few versions. cause it seams, they are breaking excessability, and it use to work real wonderful with my screan reader NVDA.

Submitted by Bobcat on Sunday, September 18, 2016

In reply to by Troy

I complained to Apple about windows iTunes and they said it was the screen readers responsibility to make it work for us. But that's silly because they don't make voiceover work with apps that other people supply.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Sunday, September 18, 2016

I am glad I have a Mac. I also have a Windows 10 computer. I don't use the Windows 10 computer that much any more. It is up-to-date with the latest version of JAWS. there are just to many access issues with it to trust the damned thing. I hold Microsoft certifications so I'm not a beginner user here. The last two years have been a drastic decline in windows access the whole way arround.

Submitted by Jen on Sunday, September 18, 2016

If any of you have the Leasey software from Hartgen Consultancy that works with Jaws, it will make ITunes in Windows at least partially accessible.
I didn't update ITunes for several months because I had heard so much about it, but I thought I needed to do so for iOS10 to work.
So I did the update, and like all of you, I immediately began to experience problems, so much so that I thought I wouldn't even be able to listen to my music.
Fortunately, I have Leasey, and it at least lets me get into my music and my playlists, so that I can navigate and hear what I want.
Not the most simple solution, but I thought I would mention it.

Submitted by thunderhorse82 on Sunday, September 18, 2016

Apple is indeed correct, this is the screen reader manufactures job, not apples. iTunes works perfectly on mac because apple has direct control over voiceover obviously and so it works seamlessly.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hello Everyone,

I hope I am able to provide some clarification here.

Apple is partially right and partially wrong.

Apple is wrong in as far as they are not complying with Microsoft's guidelines for creating accessible apps. Facilities like UI Automation are available to expose the app's user interface objects so that screen readers may access them effectively.

In as far as Apple does the right thing by exposing the user interface through UI Automation, then they will become right, in that it is then up to screen readers to make sure everything works optimally.

Right now, as far as I see it, Apple is currently wrong, at least where it comes to developing on Windows.

Apple used to work with GW Micro to insure the accessibility of iTunes to Windows screen readers. I wonder what happened there?

It is key we continue to advocate on this issue, because most blind people actually use their iPhones with Windows computers, so it is critical our iTunes experience not be crippled by inaccessibility.



Submitted by Eric Davis on Sunday, September 18, 2016

It is hard for a company to follow the example of Microsoft when they don't follow the guide lines them selves. With Windows 10, the screen reader that is built in can't work with the new web browser. This is one of the reasons that I am a bit taken a back by the lack of access in the newest versions of windows. I figure that if Apple followed all the requirements to the letter, there is no garenteee that iTunes would work properly for accessibility.

Sorry, I find it difficult to understand why a person with visual impairment would be prepared to excuse a company from providing access to its software simply because another company introduces a new application that is not accessible. That excuse would apparently allow all software producers to ignore screen reader users.
The point about the accessibility of iTunes on Windows is that it *was * accessible and then Apple made design changes that obviously ignored accessibility, and now seems reluctant to acknowledge that they made these changes which caused the screen reader problems.
It may be a case that they just need to be made aware just how serious these problems are and how many people they affect.
Put simply, it appears that screen reader users on Windows are unable to select what music and Playlists are synced to their iPhones.
If this problem sounds like a problem you are having them please write to to make them aware. Hopefully if enough people do this they will recognize and address this problem.

Submitted by Gadget Meistress on Sunday, September 18, 2016

To me this sounds like buck passing, which is a very popular behavior amongst businesses if it is true that someone said that it should be up to the screen reader developer. Uh, there was a time, when everything, whilst maybe a little clumsy, was made completely screenreader friendly in iTunes. So, the ability to check which you want to sync, which should be accessible, is now no longer? Now why is that? What of visual importance was really needed that would cause crippled accessibility in that area, seriously? And now they want to say it's the screenreader you are using's fault, and you need to take it up with the screenreader developer?

Submitted by Bobcat on Monday, September 19, 2016

I noticed that the controls used in the app section of iTunes have very strange titles that jaws cannot work with. Jaws says list table but the table and list commands don't work.

My phone was just replaced and one of my apps apparently did not sync with iCloud so I'm trying to figure out how to get it data back. I think it's In iTunes but I can't get to that app. I can only find the first few apps and this one is further down in that List table where I can't reach with jaws or NVDA.
I wish we could do remote sessions with Apple Support but they don't do that. They could only see what's on your screen but can't actually operate your system to help with problems like this.

Hi, My name is Renita Rogers. This is my first time posting on appplevis, so I'l try to explain my issue. When I connect my iPhone or iPod Touch, I have to tab to the iPhone button with Jaws. After selecting the iPhone button using the spacebar, I tab to list of options starting with summary. Next I arrow down to music or tones. After music or tones is slected, I tab to synk music and press space to select the checkbox. Then I tab until I hear Jaws say synk selected songs. After selecting this checkbox, I tab to the list of songs tosellect a certain number of songs. Jaws should read the title of each song in the list of songs followed by a checkbox to select. Jaws only says,"to move to the next item, use the arrow keys. Jaws repeats this line for every item in the list. The same thing happens whin I want to select certaine ringtones for synking. I have to select the select all ringtones checkbox to synk them to my phone. This has ben going on cense the release of iTunes 12. I am running Windows 10 and Jaws 14. I have the demo version of Jaws 17, and iTunes dose not work well with Jaws 17 ither. Am I doing something wrong? Should I update to iTunes 12.5, and to whom do I report these issues for Jaws users?

Submitted by Troy on Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm having the same issue as the above poster. I did install blindtunes so next time I connect my phone I will see if that made any difference.

I have reported this issue to Apple Accessibility and they have replied.
"Hello, Thank you for your email. We appreciate the feedback and wanted to let you know that Apple is currently investigating this issue. We cannot comment on when it may be resolved.Apple Accessibility"
So it appears they are lookin into it, but if more people report it to them then it should help them realize just how serious it is.

I tried blindtunes when it was still in thee beta stage. As of now, blindtunes is no longer free, and I do not have access to a credit or debit card.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, September 22, 2016

Clearly, we windows users are just using the wrong operating system. Hey, Mac users, since iTunes is just so great on the Mac side of things, care to buy all us Windows users macs so the problems will be solved? That's aparrently how Apple does things when it comes to iTunes in Windows. I've written to them too and got the same canned response back. I do think they're listening when it comes to iOS but I think iTunes for Windows is probably at the very bottom of their list for stuff to fix when it comes to accessibility. I use Window-eyes, so I will speak to someone on their users list to see if they can write some kind of script or at least a set file or configuration so that iTunes will at least behave...a little bit. As it is now there's no way to transfer ringtones to my phone unless I transfer them all, and maybe there are times when I only want to sync one or two, but not all of them. Everyone, please please please write to Flood them with nicely-worded emails so this issue will gain a little traction, and they'll see that it's actually happening to a lot of people and not just one or two. Investigating the issue? Somehow I kinda doubt that very much at this point. Like I say, I know they're committed to iOS, I have no issues with that. But to be quite blunt, at this moment iTunes for Windows massively sucks.

Submitted by Jeff on Friday, September 23, 2016

Toonhead wrote: "at this moment iTunes for Windows massively sucks."

It has never NOT sucked. I simply don't use it. It's been months, maybe years, since I've connected my phone to a Windows computer. Thankfully, it's seldom necessary to do so. So, I cannot report this as a problem to Apple because it's not a problem I ever encounter.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, September 23, 2016

Hello Renita. I am a Windows 7 and JAWS 17 user. Unfortunately, the iTunes experience when using JAWS and Windows just isn't working very well at the moment. Before iTunes 12.0 was released, I was able to manage all tasks without issues. Now it's just a big mess. Thankfully, I can manage most things on the iPhone at this point. It's not your skill set that is the problem here. The accessibility took a big nose dive. If you wish to create a playlist then do it on the phone. Unfortunately, if you wish to sinc something specifically to the memory of the phone and not just the cloud, that task just doesn't work for now. I am an Apple Music subscriber and this has helped quite a bit. Here's hoping that Apple gets their act together soon.

Submitted by Jake on Friday, September 23, 2016

That's an honest question. iTunes, no matter which version, no matter which operating system, has always sucked. By the way, this opinion seems to be near universal, and I don't mean accessibility. It's just as slow and crappy for everyone else as it is for us. I think Apple would do themselves and everyone else a favor by scrapping iTunes as we now know it and rewriting the whole darned computer application. It's got over two decades of legacy cruft slowing it down (started life as SoundJam in MacOS 9), and it seems that no one at Apple really knows how to make it work properly anyway (google iTunes 12 sync issues to get an idea of just what's going on).

Submitted by Toonhead on Friday, September 23, 2016

Just to clarify, when I asked everyone to write in, I meant everyone who uses Windows, who has attempted to use the application and has been frustrated at the lack of accessibility. I wrote them once again last night, and my email will probably get that same, canned response i mean seriously i'm not expecting an instant fix. Alls I want them to do is just fix the damn thing so people who use Windows computers have the same access as those on the mac. Sorry, folks I know the tone of my last couple messages has been a bit sarcastic and maybe a bit frustrated, but this issue has been around for a while, and I feel like no one who can fix it is really paying attention. or, if they are they're sure taking their sweet time.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, September 23, 2016

I am assuming, from all of the posts above, that there are no viable alternatives to iTunes for Windows available. Am I incorrect in my assumption?

Submitted by Toonhead on Friday, September 23, 2016

I haven't found anything yet, but that's not to say it ain't out there. If anyone does know of an alternative for iTunes on the Windows side, and it's accessible, please speak up! Even if there is, I still believe Apple needs to do the right thing and make their program accessible again. The iTunes store part is certainly accessible, I can buy all the music my bank account will let me and I can download said music which is fine. But when I want to sync ringtones or anything, it's a no go.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, September 23, 2016

I remember a few years ago, iTunes was a lot less accessible than it is now. Then, a new version of JAWS came out where they worked to make iTunes much more accessible than it had been. Seems to me that it is more than just Apple not working to make its Windows version accessible. IT seems to me that those windows screenreaders that we pay bundles for ought to do more to keep up with accessibility updates for programs like iTunes as well.

Submitted by david s on Monday, September 26, 2016


Isn’t it odd how purchasing something from iTUnes is accessable yet other functions are not? Sounds like someone wants to sell you something but will not help you do anything else.

As far as blaming the screen readers for not working with iTunes, should we blame VO if an app doesn’t work with VO? Apple has consistently said as long as the apps are written with VO guidelines, it will be VO compatible. So why can’t Apple make iTUnes compatible with the most popular Window screen reader? IF for example, they make it compatible with Jaws, NVDA and Window Eyes can be scripted to make it work.

As far as iTUnes on a Mac, it’s really not that much better.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I did hear back from Apple Accessibility a couple times actually. They needed a tiny bit of clarification on something I had said, which I did. They came back with the usual comment that it was being investigated so I suppose we will just have to wait and see. I suggested that they actually try to perform the tasks using a Windows screenreader, which would then prove that what we want to do can't be done reliably. The sad part is it worked great in an earlier version of iTunes. But about 3 versions back they changed something, and it's been odd ever sense when trying to sync ringtones and other stuff to the iPhone with a Windows screenreader. This is a big regression and I hope it gets fixed.