Why I'm moving back to windows

Other Apple Chat

Hi everyone. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a little of my experiences after dipping my tentative toe back into the windows world and what I discovered.

So, a hotly contested subject on AppleVis is accessibility of mainstream games, whether they can be made accessible and even if they should be made accessible. After watching the firefight I thought I'd take a little delve and bought myself an xbox. My experiences with the xbox fall outside the subject of this post and the remit of the AppleVis website so I'll not talk about them here however, as part of this experience, I used bootcamp to create a windows partition.
When first getting onto windows, an OS I've not used for almost 15 years, a feeling of dread came over me. Yet another new system to battle my way into with no real understanding of what success looks like. We get this a lot when trying to learn new skills that aren't mainstream.
After a couple of days and installing NVDA I realised something... Windows accessibility with NVDA is far easier, far more intuitive than Mac OS. There is no real need for a modifier like the VO combination of option and control to be held down all the time, or to switch modes. It's simply move through items with the cursor keys or tab and that's it... It was so easy to use that I felt I was missing a trick.
Returning to Mac OS, I realised just how convoluted, bloated and flawed VoiceOver is as a screen reader and I thought about why this might be. We have to recall that screenreader existed on windows a long time before VoiceOver ever came to Mac. It was always going to be at a disadvantage. The trouble is now, for me at least, is I've not made the distinction between voiceover on Mac (a useable but clunky solution) and that of VoiceOver on iOS (absolute genius and the gold standard of portable accessibility).
Anyway, these were my thoughts. Of course it's more than the accessibility that makes a system work and so far, I like windows, I can get tasks done quicker using the search in Cortana which is a key press away. There is just one piece of software I can't yet get for windows which is the latest scrivener, but as soon as that comes along, I think I'm jumping ship to a far more responsive and more pleasurable setup that doesn't give me the 'busy' feedback on java websites, doesn't need us to drill up and down through levels and is basically better, in my view.
But this is personal opinion. I'd really like to know your opinion. Windows users, how do you find it? Those of you with experience on both platforms, how do they stack up in terms of accessibility against one another and I'm not just talking screenreader, but ease of use of each system?
I'm not looking to start a whole Mac windows war thing, I'm just asking for your views. In mine, windows works better for me than Mac, I only wish I'd discovered this sooner.



Submitted by AppleForAll on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A few weeks ago I bought myself a Surface Pro 7 and moved back into the Windows world. What should I say? I never regretted that decision. Still, I love my iPhone and aside from all these quality issues with iOS 13 it's the most efficient phone on the marked when it comes to accessibility.
But as you said, acc on Windows 10 is great. NVDA is very responsive and I'm just a lot faster than on the Mac. IMO, VO has not really improved since years. In Safari navigation with arrow keys often fails and on sites that lack accessibility I'm running far better with NVDA.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Yes, I completely agree, there is nothing better than IOS for accessibility. I think this is because apple actually pioneered the means of blind people using a solid piece of glass which I still find amazing despite using it every day.

That's good to know that you find it easier on windows. I'm still in the shallows of what I can and can't do on it and, as I say, I've not taken the full plunge just yet. It's interesting you're using the surface.

I'm just a bit bored of paying a thousand pounds upwards for a beautifully built laptop that is somewhat still broken inside. VO for Mac, in my opinion hasn't only not improved, but it's become worse with introductions of other bugs that have not been quashed such as the inability to call apple scripts with keyboard commander. A very specific task I know, but it's been broken for months and the lack of improvement only adds to my suspicion that very little work is done on VoiceOver for the Mac. Thinking my ideal might be a surface pro, sell the iPad, sell the Mac, keep the phone and the watch... Dare I say it, even ditch the HomePod. I think I'm on the exit from the apple ecosystem... Someone hold my hand.

Submitted by Gabriel on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

In reply to by Oliver Kennett

Hi. I consider myself a pretty advanced user with Windows. I started back on 1999 with Windows 98 and Jaws. Than I tested almost each Windows Version, Jaws and NVDA only within the last 6 years.
In 2009, here in Italy the Mac fiver blew up and I wished to be in, just because I love learning new thing. For the same reasons, 2 mounths ago I bought a Xiaomi Mi9T Pro Even I am very saddisfacted with my iPhone XS Max: I love going out from my confort zone and learn new O.S.
To me, MacOS is a better O.S., if you were sighted. Its core, UnixBSD is more stable and reliable than Windows 10. The power of the terminal App is huge.
But, being blind, the picture is upside down.
To me, Apple left, forget... somehow, to develop MacOS VoiceOver in the right direction, since 2013 or 14.
The VO screenreader needs to be deeply rethinked. We need a Braille cursor, more reactive SR, less interactions, a different set of key commands.
In my idea, too much effort has been spent on give beautiful sounding voices, or activities. But when we really need is a VO core deeply rewriting.
Less appearancy and more substance.

Otherwise, even if they aren't absolutely bug free, Windows 10 and NVDA are really amazing to use, they are enjoyable and nice. The terminal support, which I use most of the time have no comparison with that on my iMac, which is redicolous.
In windows I can edit without a single lag a 80MB txt file. On the Mac, a 12MB txt file always causes dozines of busy time from TextEdit, CotEditor, TextMate.
The same incredible lag of time I have while browsing a folder with thousands of file, Windows, on the other hand is absolutely fine with it.

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

For over a decade I was a Mac user. While keeping a toe in the Windows pool. Depending on task, some things just work better, either on Mac, or Windows.
Anyways, I started losing my dedication to Mac a couple years ago. For many of the reasons you stated. VO is clunky, bloated, and constantly experiencing bugs.
Microsoft has really shown a dedication to accessibility. Really ramping up about 4 years ago. I sold my Mac a couple months ago, keeping my MacBook Air 11. Purchased a new Dell and loving it.
Windows is easier, more intuitive. Just makes more sense. I also use NVDA. For me, it was the right choice, with less aggravation. I think it’s important to be proficient on both platforms though.
It has made me see Apple really needs a new approach to accessibility. The current approach isn’t addressing concerns, or consistent issues. Not a bash, just my real life experience and observations.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I love my iPhone and my first was the iPhone 4, from them I got iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 7 and XS. However also I like my Windows 10 PC. I use jaws and like it. Also Microsoft is very responsive and provide great support.

Submitted by Jeff on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I've never even come close to being tempted to buy a mac. They're seriously overpriced and inefficient. My Windows 10 laptop with an SSD cost less than half what a mac would cost me. I simply cannot see myself ever buying a mac or giving up my Windows computer.

On the other hand, I love my iPhone! My laptop has a touch screen, but I never use it. Voiceover on iOS with its touch screen gestures claims the gold standard for touch screen accessibility. I'm just as unlikely to give up my iPhone as I am to give up my Windows computer.

Submitted by honest nan on Thursday, December 19, 2019

A combo of 3 years of experience with a Mac and things I've read on this site have convinced me to go back to Windows. But, one reason I got a Mac was because Fire Fox stopped behaving and Internet Explorer was supposed to go away. Which browsers work with NVDA these days?
Also, I thought of keeping the Mac and partitioning the hard drive for Windows. Does that make sense, or, should I buy a PC?

Submitted by Jesse Tregarthen on Thursday, December 19, 2019

I recently had to switch back to Windows due to a need to sell my Mac. There are certainly things I prefer about Windows like the ease of the file structure. I do find that while VO was always crashing on my Mac, NVDA on my windows seems to get hung up a lot. I am running an older computer though but even my new Windows laptop I switched to Mac from had this issue. I've found the same issue with JAWS as well. I do agree that the navigation is more intuitive and my 2 fingers are finally getting a rest from holding down the VO keys. I also find that my audio editing program, Reaper works better on Windows but miss the ease of GarageBand or Logic for laying down music tracks. The other thing I have to say I miss about Mac is the tight integration with my phone. Being able to answer calls and messages on the Mac was nice.

I did use fusion to install Windows on my Mac though because I missed all the games I'd paid for and TeamTalk for Mac is a joke. I think there are benefits to both operating systems and that everybody here has a point. I think the thing I enjoyed about the Mac is I could have the best of both worlds. Oh, I almost forgot, my Windows laptop is loaded with ethernet, USB and HDMI ports which is far nicer than my Mac's 2 USB type C ports.

Microsoft has new edge. It similar to google and works well with jaws and I am sure does a great job with NVDA. In my view it is more secure than google. It has all the feature of chrome but secure and no ads.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, December 19, 2019

I really hope that apple does read this forum. They do make great products, especially the ones that they have pioneered, but it would seem that Mac falls behind with their usual attention to detail.

Of course, the worry is to move to a windows machine and then not have that essential app that is only available on Mac. As I say, mine is scrivener. Version 3 is supposed to be coming in the new year and I hope that it is something that is accessible with NVDA. Not quite knowing how this all works, is NVDA's accessibility with applications usually pretty good? Naturally, it's not baked in to the OS so are there any big compatibility issues I might run across?

Submitted by Gar on Thursday, December 19, 2019

To whoever was asking about NVDA and different browsers, the experience I have personally using NVDA with Firefox is basically flawless. There are some things I wish NVDA would do, like announcing that reader view is available, but otherwise it's great if you want a functional browser.
One note, however. The browser is perfectly accessible however different addons for Firefox may not necessarily play well with a screenreader. Still, you shouldn't let that detract from your experience.

Submitted by Serena on Thursday, December 19, 2019

hi guys. i too have messed around in the mac world. i do have a macbook pro that was given to me, that i have upgraded rather nicely. and there are one or two things i like about it. such as that integration with calls and messages. but that simply wasn't enough to pull me into the mac world. i have never found voiceover on the mac to be a good screen reader for the modern world, where in browser based, online apps are the thing. and browsing with voiceover generally on it, was just not good. at least i didn't find it so. windows and NVDA on the other hand, is so, so much faster for me. i have a very nice machine now, and i love it. it is as good as, if not better than, a mac in many ways, though it sure wasn't any cheaper. but it does come with a lot of abilities a mac don't yet, and likely never will.
i'll admit that i have an iPad pro 10.5 inch, and i use that quite a lot now. more and more i'm finding i can do a lot of my stuff on iOS, and the iPad is awesome for that. i tend to find that every time i pull out the mac to play with it a little, i keep thinking to myself, "my iPad is just so, so much better than this!" i've found that i'm using a windows computer less and less these days, but not to be replaced by a mac. but to be replaced by iOS or iPad OS. i still use windows for some things though, and that will likely not change any time soon. but i don't find myself needing it as much any more. NVDA has been just amazing, and they are on top of things. they tend to fix things as quickly as they can if / when things go wrong, and it's support for modern web based apps and the like is quite good too. i do use narrator here and there if i need to, and even that isn't doing too bad. i think, given a year or two more of work on that, it's going to be at a point where in if you buy a cheap windows computer, and don't do a huge amount with it, you may be able to just use narrator and nothing else. hell, in some ways, that's true already! and yes, microsoft is pushing quite a lot on the accessibility front now. which is awesome to see. my machine does have a touch screen, though i've not used it a lot. i have tended to find that touch screen accessibility, is best done by apple. how ever, i'll admit that narrator is actually getting quite good now with a touch screen. NVDA is good too, but narrator just seems to have an edge on NVDA at the moment. and a touch screen on windows is not really as hard to use as it might seem, if you use full screen apps and don't have a lot of junk on your screen getting in your way. so the windows 10 aps for example, actually can work quite well sometimes. i really need to play with them a bit more and give them a good testing. but never the less. i still use my windows quite traditionally, via keyboard / mouse here and there. i do find the ability for mac to be able to let voiceOver take over the touch pad and use it in a similar way to iOS, rather cool. and it is one of the things i loved about it. i do wish narrator and NVDA would do something similar. that would actually be really nice. but i guess with touch screens having been put into just about every modern machine now, there isn't a lot of point to that really. the reason mac has done so, is that they refuse to put a touch screen in the mac. so yes, all in all, i'm a windows person, in terms of a pc. but i am an apple person, when it comes to my phone or tablet.

Submitted by Marconius on Thursday, December 19, 2019

I started off on the Mac when I was 2 and still had vision, was a power user of both platforms until I went blind, but every job I had used Macs and I always had my Mac Pro dual-booted with Windows for gaming but had all my professional software on the Mac side. I learned both VoiceOver and Jaws at the same time, and largely found VoiceOver to be better designed and a much less buggy and much more integrated experience overall. In my professional life now, I use both, but still primarily am a Mac user and have had no trouble with VoiceOver for my programming and work tasks.

a lot of you here mentioned that you had to constantly hold the VO keys down when using VoiceOver. Did you not know about QuickNav? Tapping the left and right arrow keys together to toggle it on and off? I can do all manner of web and Finder navigation with just the arrow keys alone. Quickly switching the rotor options with up and left or up and right at the same time, clicking with up and down at the same time, super easy and fast interaction. The grouping interaction model can be turned off and adjusted if you aren't feeling that it works for you. I can find anything on my Mac with Spotlight with the same key strokes as Cortana.

I only really use Jaws in my Windows environment and found NVDA to be a little frustrating, especially as voice synthesis is super important to my productivity and comprehension, and I strongly prefer the VoiceOver speech which costs a bit to install for NVDA. To each their own when it comes to what you use and why you use it, but for some of the things called out in this thread, it sounds like key concepts were missed with overall desktop VoiceOver usage.

Submitted by Devin Prater on Thursday, December 19, 2019

Okay, you all probably know that I'm a pretty big Apple fan. I try to be objective about all this, so here are my thoughts.

VoiceOver is rather bad on the web. I think we can all agree on that. But about navigation, why are y'all holding down Control and Option, when you could either use the Caps Lock key, the arrow keys with Quick Nav, the Number Pad if you have one of those, or even the Track Pad. There should be no complaints about navigation when there are so many ways to do it. Yeah, Voiceover is actually customizable. Also, use Tab to navigate. I think you'll be surprised what you can do. Also, in Keyboard preferences in System Preferences, you can even change what Tab navigates to. What? The Mac is actually more customizable than Windows? Say it ain't so! Never mind system-wide autocorrect, autocomplete, and spell checking. And, oh yeah, a dictionary and thesaurus. No, Microsoft couldn't do that. They're just a startup that doesn't need to care about those things... right?

VoiceOver, and macOS in general, does need some audio latency fixes. Just about all sound from the Mac is shortly delayed, and once Apple Arcade becomes a thing among the sighted community, not blind people because oh no blind people read books not play games hyuck hyuck, I'm sure Apple will suddenly make audio latency a thing to be fixed.

While I think that VoiceOver could use some cleaning up, and some adding of features from iOS, like, oh I don't know, automatically speaking Messages when they come in, in the Messages app? But oh no we have an Apple script that'll do that just don't mind the two voices speaking your message at once, oh that's definitely not happening, we can't reproduce that bug but thanks for contacting Apple Accessibility… Also, Apple should build a speech queue into the TTS service themselves, like there is on iOS. Also, some of this is sarcasm, just in case you are an even more serious person than I am, and do not understand this "humor" thing.

But, there are some great things about the Mac. One thing, which I use for my job, is the Emacs text editor along with Emacspeak, to make it speak. Windows has Emacs, and an older version of emacspeak without Voice-lock support. No, I'd rather not use older software, when newer, more complete versions are available. And if anyone can find a text editor on Windows that does Org-mode completely, with export options, or shoot, even Markdown very well and completely, with good, sensible keyboard commands that don't require using F8 and other function keys for basic usage, let me know. Another thing is voices. I know it's not much, but having a speech synthesizer that is pleasant to use actually makes doing work more enjoyable. I know, there are plenty of blind people whom are just happy to have a Windows machine with Microsoft David, Zira, and Mark, because we have to praise everything a company does or they'll magically delete it from our computers and shame them for giving constructive feedback, but the low quality of the voices, large pauses between clauses and sentences, and the noticeable lack of updates on this front shows that while Microsoft may care a bit about Narrator, they do not care about the quality, and thus effect on the user, of Narrator's voice. So believe me, I'm so glad to have Alex on the Mac. And before you go on about "oh well NVDA has all these add-ons for speech synthesizers and hold on I'll give you Eloquence wink wink nod nod," I don't care about that. Eloquence is old and dying, eSpeak should have been called eScreech, eSqueak, or anything besides speak, because no matter how American it is made to sound, it will always sound awfully robotic, even more so than Eloquence or Dectalk; at least those projects tried to sound more human in the constraints of formant-based speech synthesis. Also, no sample-based speech synthesizer can even match Alex in natural speaking of paragraphs. If a clause repeats in a paragraph, it'll change the intonation of that clause each time, depending on where it is in the paragraph, and Apple's Siri voices are also just getting started. No Accapella, or Ivona, or even Vocalizer can hold a candle to Apple's general excellence in this space. I say general because we have had the problems of voices spelling things like gun and other words, but I challenge all of you to find a Windows voice that can hold up to Apple's in their speech quality and exactness to the language and every day speech. What? You mean I shouldn't want actual concrete examples of Windows' excellence besides "Mac bad, Windows good"? Ah well.

I don't mean to brag, but at the time of this writing, I have only 10 messages in my inbox, and frequently reach inbox 0, or at least 0 unread, a good 15 minutes after even having hundreds of emails! How do I accomplish such feats of sighted-level wizardry? The same "drilling down" into items that everyone loves to hate. You see, unlike just about all Windows mail clients and screen readers, mail for Mac and VoiceOver both agree the the messages list is, in fact, a table. As such, I can simply move to a column in that table, and only that column is read. So, where Windows screen readers would have to sit through"unread, Devin Prater. Why the grass isn't greener on the other side. 3:30 PM," I can simply hear the subject, which is normally what I do, or the sender, when I'm in junk mail and don't want to even hear the junk they send; seriously, it can be awful sometimes.

Another thing is that Mail, unlike Thunderbird, does not use up all your resources attempting to manage an archive folder that has up to 15000 emails in it. Wow, who would have thunk that the Mac is optimized, all the way up to its apps.

Battery life is very important to me. I go to work with simply my phone, Focus 14, AirPods Pro, MacBook Pro, and no charging cables. My Mac has almost always lasted the 8 hours that I work. Can anyone say the same about their Windows laptops?

Also, my Mac has Airdrop, allowing me to send and receive files. It has Messages and FaceTime, allowing me to text and call. It has many of the apps that come with an iPhone, like Notes and Reminders, allowing me to keep track of things, wherever I am.

there are, however, a few things that the Mac could do much better with. The ability to easily use Google Docs, Sheets, and Drive, which work a lot more easily on Windows. In fact, no Web App works very smoothly with VoiceOver, so yeah, I'll have to find a good Matrix client for Mac, and no, the one for Emacs messes with frame settings, upsetting Emacspeak. It, for now, doesn't have great Braille support. Using it with anything besides the original MacinTalk voices makes it finicky.

There is one good thing coming, hopefully. Apple is trying to hire, or has hired, a person specifically to work on VoiceOver. Now, with me being cynical, they'll probably only work on iOS and WatchOS VoiceOver, but we can hope.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, December 19, 2019

In reply to by Marconius

Ths issue for most of us who uses windows and jaws or NvDA is that fixes come ASAP and does not take forever to fix bugs or ignore. Regarding issues with windows, microsoft is very, very responsive and NVDA does a great job of addressing issues. JAWS also has a good support system and you can reach to those in charge of development like Eric from JAWS. Can you do so with apple?

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, December 19, 2019

I've turned off the quicknav shortcut because it kept activating when I didn't want it to. Also, for some reason in documents, going up and down lines too quickly causes VoiceOver to turn to reading letter by letter rather than the line itself.

Anyway, that is a more specific issue which isn't really my point. Yes, VoiceOver can be customised but, this is just a guess, there are far more keystrokes to do the common tasks than there are on windows with NVDA. Also, there seems to be a far shallower learning curve with windows, at least to me.
Voiceover on Mac just isn't very intuitive, I find myself, despite having used it for many years, having to try several different things to interact with items, from tab to VoiceOver and the arrow keys to drilling down and up through the way VoiceOver focuses on items.
I completely agree that VoiceOver including all the premium voices for free is a boon, and Alex, my voice of preference is excellent and there is no equivalent in quality on windows.
Unfortuatenly, iPad isn't quite advanced enough for me to do all my editing for work and is still too restrictive in moving files etc. This is getting better and more integrated but it's still a couple of years off from being a complete solution also, as a writer, I need a keyboard meaning laptops always have the upper hand rather than the need for additional hardware and awkward setups.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, December 19, 2019

When I first started using the iPhone 4 I was amazed that a totally blind person could do something on a flat piece of glass. Very soon after that, I discovered the AppleVis site. From then on, I have kept close tabs on this site including all the discussions regarding the debate on Windows VS. Mac and why or why not people love or hate either of them.

I have been a Windows user since Windows 98 having switched from DOS to that platform. I have also been a JAWS user since then, as well. For me, I have never been tempted to switch to the Mac, despite the integration between the iPhone and the MAC and it's because of the discussions on this forum. There is no way that I would want to deal with the convoluted situations that have been mentioned when using the Mac. Admittedly, I have no Mac experience, and I suppose I could be wrong on the Mac and accessibility thing, , but as far as I can determine, I will remain a Windows PC and iPhone user for the foreseeable future.

In case someone is interested, people in this forumthread mentioned how Microsoft has been stepping up their accessibility efforts for the past few years. Well, just the other day, when researching how well JAWS performs with Office 365 software, I actually discovered a statement on Microsoft's own website that said they are in direct partnership with VFO, otherwise known to JAWS users as Freedom Scientific, in order to ensure that Office 365 works well with JAWS. This leads me to believe that, since Microsoft has been working with Freedom Scientific, they have, in tern, taken that knowledge and are doing great things with their own version of accessibility. Yay! I was so surprised to find that tidbit.

Anyway, thanks for reading this long post and please keep writing about all things Mac and Windows, because I find forums like this one an invaluable resource.

Submitted by fatih on Thursday, December 19, 2019

I am using windows with narrator for my daily tasks and iPhone with voiceover.
iPhone works very wel with voiceover in my opinion and narrator with windows is quite good as well.
I use the apps from Microsoft for nearly everything. I use edge for web browsing, groove music to listen to the music and word for word processing, all with narrator.
I use NVDA only for gaming.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, December 19, 2019

In reply to by fatih

what type of voice. The voices are not that great for narrator.

Submitted by Carlos Taylor on Thursday, December 19, 2019

Folks should use whatever platform works best for them. I have a Windows-based laptop for work and a Macbook Air. There are just some things I do with my Macbook Air that I don't think are possible with Windows. For example, i play music with some friends on weekends. I have a Komplete Kontrol keyboard controller with my sound libraries stored onto an external SSD. I connect my Macbook Air to the USB ports of my Yamaha mixer and to an audio interface. I rout VoiceOver speech through the audio interface so I can hear VoiceOver and komplete kontrol speech through headphones while music played from my keyboard controller and music from DJ Pro are routed through the mixer for everyone else to hear. One night, our guitar player wanted to record us playing a song so he could send it to his wife. I recorded us with my iPhone, airdropped it to my macbook air, edited the file so only i could hear through my headphones, then sent the edited audio file to our guitar player by attaching the file to a text message in messages on the mac. He was then able to text the audio file to his wife. All of this could be possible on windows, I'm not sure, but it just works so well in the Apple world for me. All screen readers have some kind of bug or another. I personally haven't come across any voiceover bugs on mac that's prevented me from doing what I need to do. JAWS gets the job done for me on my windows laptop that I use for work, but there are definitely bugs with JAWS as well. My primary work computer for my previous job was a mac. I had no choice of what platform I wanted to use for my current job. I personally feel comfortable using both windows and mac, but definitely prefer mac for music related tasks.
I've read that some people don't like using multiple keys with voiceover on mac. For me, I aproach the mac much like Windows. There are screenreader key strokes and there are application specific or operating system key strokes. For example, i never hold the vo modifier keys while navigating through menus. You certain can do this, but it isn't necessary at all. After typing my username in most instances, i press tab to get to the password field instead of using vo navigation keys. While in the finder, I use option up arrow to get to the top of a list of feales and folders and use option down arrow to get to the bottom. Those are finder commands, not voiceover commands. this is what works for me and everyone has to decide what works best for their own situations. At least we are past the days when we really had no choice and had to primarily stick to windows. Having a choice is the best senario of all.

Carlos's response was spot on. I find myself using both and liking them for different reasons. I like the Mac more just because of integration with my iPhone, but at the same time even know interacting is different from Windows I do like it and find it has it's place. Programs like Audio hijack for me there's just nothing like it on Windows. The fact I can record any apps audio or even my own multiple things at once and never seeing any bleed over is something Windows just can't match. I had a Surface and the fact Realtech and Microsoft go to great lengths to disable looping of system audio really gets on my nerves. I think though you should use whatever is best for you and I think the smart thing to do is to be proficient at both systems.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, December 19, 2019

Hi everyone. I honestly have to wonder if we're just beating a dead horse with this Microsoft vs. Apple debate. Personal preference is what it boils down to. I've used products from each of the afore-mentioned companies, and like both. One thing I will say is that I'm so glad not to have to pay an arm and a leg anymore for a screen reader. Or have my parents or joke/rehab pay for a screen reader. Yes, I was a proud NVDA user at one time in the not-so-distant past. I really enjoyed my time with NVDA. But it just feels so good to know that all of Apple's products have a screen reader built right in. Regarding the iPhone, I find it simply amazing that we can use these things, even though they are shiny, flat pieces of glass. I mean...How did that even happen? I have somewhat slower manual dexterity than others, yet I have successfully been using an iPhone 7 since mid-2018. Apple's implementation of VoiceOver on the iPhone just feels very smooth and natural to me, and I love all these apps. I got my Mac as a Christmas gift and my iPhone as a belated birthday? gift so I've not been too concerned with cost of these things. But would I return to Windows? I honestly think that I'd have to re-acquaint myself with it, but possibly yes. But I'm a happy camper right now with what I've got. I've also gotta go finish the lunch dishes now, so I'll leave it at that.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, December 19, 2019

Yet you do not need to pay for screen reader but over 1000 $ for a mac. Now the pro is about 3000$?

Submitted by J.P. on Thursday, December 19, 2019

Not to be off topic, but try much more Holger. If I remember, new Pro starts around $6000, and goes up to $52,000.

Submitted by Brad on Friday, December 20, 2019

I tried a mac a couple years ago and couldn't get used to it.

I kept hearing, busy busy busy, when trying the mac and from what I hear; that's not improved.

I'll be sticking to windows.

Submitted by Devin Prater on Friday, December 20, 2019

The "Apple tax" myth has been debunked for quite a few years now. See the following article:


Also, I can't wait to use my track pad with a Windows-based computer. What? JAWS doesn't support that? Oh but I can use it like a sort of mouse cursor you say? Uh, well it's not the same as actually being able to use a track pad with my screen reader. Well open source is great so of course NVDA would support the track pad… Oh, wait.


Okay well what about Narrator? It's build by Windows, so it'll work. Definitely!


Oh, I'd have to use it with a touch screen, when I have a perfectly good touch device setting right under the keyboard, and using a touch screen requires me to hold my arms in the air and feel around a huge area. Nah, I'll stick with the company who actually knows about vertical stack integration; that is, they have control of the hardware, drivers, operating system, screen reader, and their first-party applications on their computer. That's only one thing about the Mac that literally cannot be done on a Windows computer, and can be proven with facts and logic.

Submitted by Ben Swiggett on Friday, December 20, 2019

My Macbook air is the nicest looking laptop I have ever owned, but I use braille quite offten and Voiceover just doesn't cut it. On top of that, the problems I have been having with braille haven't been fixed in over 3 years, and I think they are getting worse. I keep hoping Apple would remember some of us still would like to use our macs to get work done. I have tried working off an iPad, but it just doesn't work for me.

At this time, I am thinking of picking up a Windows desktop to do a majority of my work, and I will keep the Mac around as a laptop and use it when I need something portable.

If a mac meets your needs, then good for you. As for me, I have enough of trying to get braille working well on a mac. I will never buy a Mac again.

Submitted by Justin on Saturday, December 21, 2019

I second Carlos' comment. If windows works, fine. Frankly I don't give a dang what ya use. If it works... fine. I've been a mac user for a decade... no windows in that time, and can say that it works for my needs. It's not perfect, however, and their are bugs, but nothing is bug free. And yes, holger, you still have to pay for JFW... if not you, then your blind agency/VR/whatever. Like I said, windows works, but I've not used it since I was a junior in college in 2010. Anyway, I've said enough, have a great night y'all.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Sunday, December 22, 2019

I'm a long-time Linux and Windows user. I moved to Apple with the first gen iPhone, then MacBook and Mac Pro around 2012. So I sort of feel like I tried everything.

Up until recently, I used to recommend Apple hands-down to any blind user. But bugs are now out of control. See my recent blog on this topic, The blog concludes with my opinion that there's really no good accessible computing platform any longer. All have issues of some sort.

You like Windows? I wish you luck. After being burned with Windows Vista and Windows 8, I've sworn off Windows and will never upgrade to Windows 10. I still have a Windows 7 system, but it dual boots Debian Linux.

I still go back to the Windows 7 system for any serious OCR I need to do. I'm increasingly doing word processing and editing tasks using LibreOffice on the Linux machine. On the Mac, I do email, web browsing, and text content creation. As there's no one-size-fits-all accessible solution, I use each system for whatever task it's best suited for.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, December 22, 2019

This is great.

I believe that, being such a small use case scenario, blind computer use is always going to be difficult and full of contradictions. In the wider world, or the sighted world really, advantages and disadvantages are much more documented. When we include accessibility on top of these preferences or dogmas, it becomes even more convoluted.

Knowing what is possible is key when making an informed decision whether to outlay either money or time on a system. We've all been there where we have invested time and cash in something with high hopes for its capabilities only to be bitterly disappointed by the end of the experience, a feeling that I think we might experience more than most. So, to know that people can be happy on both windows and Mac is certainly a good thing to know and this is why this community is so awesome, it means that none of us have to be pioneers on our own. We can keep feeding back into this responitory of knowledge and experience.

After reading all the comments I've decided not to throw my MacBook Air off a bridge and walk away in slow motion with some dramatic music playing on my iPhone. I'll keep it as a dual boot machine, embrace my fear of the unknown when it comes to windows and revisit my VoiceOver skills though, if apple doesn't see to improvements in VoiceOver soon, I may take a hammer to half the computer... That's how it works, right?

Submitted by Mathieu on Sunday, December 22, 2019


First, I'm sorry, I'm French and I'm going to use Google Translate.

I have had a mac since 2014, and I plan to switch to Windows. But I can't do it for several reasons.
The first is the apple ecosystem. I could not imagine not writing my messages from my mac, or managing my videos or sending sound to my HomePod. Then, I love logic pro too much, and I find that Reaper on Windows is great, but it is less effective, and has no built-in instrument.
Have you encountered similar concerns, and how did you do it?

Thank you.

Submitted by Ben Swiggett on Sunday, December 22, 2019

I always have my phone with me, so not being able to send messages from my Mac isn't that important to me. I don't do any music production, so I can't comment on that.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Sunday, December 22, 2019

In reply to by Mathieu

Like you, I find some things tie me to Apple.

  1. You mentioned the ecosystem. Any Apple user who has purchased books, music, or other media from iTunes will want to access them. Non-apple options for doing this are limited.
  2. You mentioned Logic Pro. For me, the app that keeps me on Apple is Scrivener (word processor).

As long as those are true, I'll be an Apple user, to some extent.

Submitted by Mathieu on Sunday, December 22, 2019

In reply to by PaulMartz

I really agree!

Precisely, I bought a book on apple book, and I cannot read it on my windows pc which I use for my studies, and that irritates me. I love apple, but I'm very scared for accessibility. Especially when you see Catalyst ...

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, December 22, 2019

In reply to by PaulMartz

There will be a version of scrivener 3 coming out in the spring, or so tis said...
Regarding media, I think most music can be stripped of DRM now and services such as movies anywhere (USA only, sadly) mean you can access most of your movies on any platform.
As for books, yes, this is a problem for which I am not aware of a solution.

Submitted by J.P. on Sunday, December 22, 2019

Catalyst, uggh! I know it’s in its infancy, but so not impressed. Some apps work better than others. Definitely contributes to current Apple accessibility headaches.

Submitted by Mathieu on Sunday, December 22, 2019

Another application that I can never do without is Audio Hijack
I can't find an alternative on Windows

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, December 23, 2019

There is actually VAC. You can do a lot with it. Think of it as sound flower. Then you can record with any app you want and route etc.

Submitted by Mathieu on Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Yes, but Core Audio is much better than the Windows system, I find that under Windows there is a lot of latency. Am I the only one?

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, December 24, 2019

I agree wit hthe post above. Wind the mac it just works. I plug in my board and the delay is just a bit over 1ms. I'll take it.

Submitted by Cowboy on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Like many of you I have used both, windows for the vast majority of my life but I have tried both.

I’ve been a windows and Jaws user since Windows 95 and Jaws 3.something and I’ll be the first to admit that using windows just comes natural to me which makes a difference. On the other hand I am someone who likes to be a first adoptor of technology and who isn’t afraid to try new things. I am one of those people who isn’t satisfied until I read every bit of documentation and figure out exactly how things work.

The first time I got a chance to try a MacBook with VoiceOver was in late 2006 or early 2007. I dated a girl for a couple of months who worked tech support for Apple and when she brought one of the new MacBooks home she let me play with it. She was a the very definition of apple fan girl and spent the whole time trying to sell me on it. At the time there was no way I could afford one and i didn’t play with it long enough for it to make an impression on me one way or the other. I got the iPhone 3S when it came out and remember thinking if accessibility on the MacBook is anything like this then I know what my next laptop will be. Well my next laptop wasn’t nor the one after that but in 2016 my wife switched to a Mac for work and soon did the same at home. The more I played with hers the more I leaned towards trying it.

In September of last year my most recent laptop’s battery finally bit the dust and since it was a 5 or 6 year-old computer and my wife needed a bigger hard drive than the 128 GB drive in her current MacBook Pro we got her a new one and I took her old one.

After using it several hours a day I sadly realized that it wasn’t for me. The VO key was just my caps lock key that was nothing new that’s also the way I set it on Jaws and NVDA so that made no difference. I didn’t like the different layers and having to drill down but that’s a personal preference. I spent more time navigating and less getting the information I needed. In a word document I couldn’t receive as much information as easily about the format, my location, etc. I didn’t like being stuck with only 1 screen reader in windows I have NVDA and Jaws which I switch between and I have narrator in in an emergency. There were many other issues but since it’s almost 04:00 AM I think i’ll Leave my explanation at that.

In the spring of this year I switched back to windows. I am running jaws which now includes what they call Screen Shade, Screen Curtain on the Mac or iPhone, which was something I missed on windows. Jaws has the multiple cursors so that I can scan the entire screen with the keyboard. Jaws now has a Software as a service program like Office 365 so instead of paying the huge upfront cost you can pay $100 per year and use the software for that year. Both NVDA and jaws are updated regularly and bugs are corrected and when there is a bug it’s not a small subset of Apple’s customers getting over looked it’s every customer of that screen reader who needs that ability complaining so you become the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Submitted by Mohaned Sayegh on Friday, December 27, 2019

At this point, I believe most blind people are better served by Windows 10 and NVDA. In my experience, Voiceover has far more productivity-disrupting bugs than NVDA or even JAWS especially on the web. When browsing pages with Safari, Voiceover often gets stuck and navigates a small section of the site over and over again as you move through elements with object navigation. Focus jumps around a lot as you navigate pages. Voiceover often just stops reading at a random point when you tell it to read from the cursor to the end of the site. These problems happen with NVDA too but I rarely encounter them.

I've seen other problems too. Voiceover often fails to shut up when you press the control key. In iMessage.app, it lags if you arrow through the table of message threads quickly. In iMessage.app, you cannot navigate to the edit text field by tabbing; you can only get to it by shift tabbing. The system randomly stops responding in certain apps like the finder or it just says "busy" whenever I press a key. Voiceover's terminal access is poor. If you open nano, type some text then press control x, Voiceover fails to read the save prompt automatically. It does not accurately track the cursor when arrowing through Nano or Vim.

Honestly at this point, Voiceover is so awful that Gnome and Orca provide a more pleasant experience. And no, I am not exaggerating. All this makes me sad because historically, I have strongly prefered Mac over anything else. I used to love Mac because I could get an efficient, posix-compliant, fully accessible operating system out of the box with great apps for web browsing, music production and office tasks. You couldn't and still can't find something that provides all that on any *nix operating system. If Microsoft truly delivers on their promises with WSL 2, then I'll no longer have a good reason to use Mac in light of all the accessibility problems, although ugh, I hate Windows.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, December 27, 2019

This is why I actually now use chrome as my default browser or I transfer all sites to chrome via launch bar. As for vo not navigating the messages app quickly I don't have this issue on this old piece of junk mac. Lol! I do use windows 10 and nvda but sound and stuff in terms of configuration sucks whereas on mac it just tworks. Plug in my board and and no drivers needed, or at least none that I'm aware of.

Submitted by Mathieu on Friday, December 27, 2019

I just configured a new pc for a friend, and there are lots of installed programs that are useless. On windows, you never know what to delete with all the drivers it needs to work ...

Submitted by J.P. on Friday, December 27, 2019

This is always going to be user/task specific. I’m glad I purchased a new Windows. The majority of my uses have become much faster to complete. I will keep my 11 MacBook for those times Windows fails. I also believe it benefits to be fluent in both operating systems.
I would only recommend Mac to those who are graphic artists, or music creators. There’s no doubt that this is where Mac shines. It is a workhorse that is capable of so much.
For others, it’s really preference. I see Mac OS as a forgotten system. It’s lost it’s identity. Bloated and scrapped together. Kind of like iTunes. iTunes became a massive junkyard of things that didn’t always play well together. Apple also kept making unnecessary changes that benefited no one. Mac OS needs attention and TLC for me to ever consider again as main computer.