VoiceOver bugs in iOS 5

Hi all, I have been using iOs 5 for 3 days now. I have notticed some issues specially the voiceover response. The first issue that I would like to talk about is typing. When I touch a letter, voiceover annunces immediately the letter under my finger. I remove the finger from the screen and the letter is written. A few time later, I touch another letter, and voiceover has some lag to say which letter I am touching. In general, voiceover has become more slow to answer commands and give the voice output as fast as it did in other ios versions. Also, sometime voiceover loses focus and you have to touch anywhere on the screen to find some element to keep navigating. Maybe it could be because of the high quality voice, which I have turned off in setting / general / accessibility / voiceover, but I still have the same problem. I have an iPhone 4, running ios 5.0. Is anybody having the same problem?


Yes, I'm having these issues

Remember, iOS 5 is built for a faster processer. If you had a 3gs for example, when iOS 4 came out, the same issues came up. I do hope it can be improved however.

iOS 5

Hi, I had this problem too. I upgraded to iPhone 4S, and I'm happy to report that it works beautifully. However, you will have this problem on iPhone 4. Turning off the high-quality voice will help Thanks

VoiceOver sluggishness

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've found that VoiceOver can get a little unresponsive when I'm selecting a large number of emails to delete (100+). There's also been a couple of times when VoiceOver focus has behaved quite erratically when flicking through the list.

One other thing that I have noticed is that sometimes it can take a couple of attemtps for VoiceOVer to respond to a gesture (genrally a double-tap).

I'm using high quality voices on an iPhone 4, so will perhaps drop back to compact voices and see if the trade-off is worth it.

The only bug that you've

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The only bug that you've listed that I've found on my iPhone 4 is the losing focus issue. The other issue which was never addressed in the upgrade is when using a braille display, if you invoke either the command to go to the previous or next rotor option, speech becomes unmuted.

yes, however, it does the

yes, however, it does the same for me wether it's the compact voice or the high quality voice. Typing is horrible for me! I'm using the iphone 4!


Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Well, I am going to go out and put a positive spin on this issue. I remember when I went to 4.00 when it rolled out with my 3gs at that time. I remember how slow and draining of the battery it had when I upgraded to 4.00. So I can happyily say eventually as more releases came out the faster and less of a battery hog it got. They are going to keep around the 3gs and the 4 until the next iPhone. So looking at that and if people complain anough it will get fix. Yes, I am also having the lagging problem as well but I am pretty sure this will be fixed. Be sure to send your e-mail to the accessibility team at Apple of the complaint. The more of us that sumbit the problem the more they will listen and perhaps will fix this issue faster.

that's what I am going to do

Interesting, I am going to send them an e-mail. I prefered to creat a topic here first to see if it was a general problem, not just mine. I suggest the others that are having this problem send an e-mail too.

Volume threw headphones?

Hi all, Well, while we're on the subject of voiceOver issues in iOS 5, has anyone noticed that VoiceOver sounds are significantly decreased when using headphones? I noticed this today when I first setup iOS 5, as I had my iPod tuch plugged in to my computer so it would come threw my mixer. Thanks, Kieran.


Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

You know several people I've heard have had the same problem. Now, I must have to admit I do not have this problem at hall. I've been using my Bose QC Serioes headphones and have no problem. I have also use the bluetooth headphones and have had no problems. Now, when I was listening to Mary's podcast going over the IOS 5 she too was having serious volume problem over her headphones. Not sure if it is the way the patches or mixer is reacting with the iPhone or not? but I do know you are not the first nor only person I've heard this problem in having this particular issue.

VO Sluggish

Hey all, long time reader, and thanks so much to all the people who maintain this site, as I follow it religiously through the RSS feed. I am using a 3GS and have noticed a ton of sluggishness and have had to turn the phone off to get it working at a normal rate again. Sad to hear others are having the same problems, but glad I am not alone. For those of you debating about upgrading, I would suggest waiting if you are on a 3GS, but some of the other features are pretty good. I actually like the new typing of the letter being selected after you lift your finger compared to having to double type every letter. The notification center is pretty cool, hopefully once I explore it a little more you can add whatever you want to it. Would love to hear from a reader who has purchased the new 4s and hear how VO works. Thanks all

so I was not drunk at all

Oh, so I was not drunk at all. I was in a pub using my iPhone and notticed the alert sounds from voiceover were lower than normal. I plugged my headset today, and checked it again. And it is lower. Also, in the last two days I killed the voiceover voice twice when navigating an app, in case: first time = phone and second time = tweetlist while I waited for new tweets arrive. I turned voiceover off, went to homescreen, and didn't work. The only thing that made voiceover speak back was close the app in the app selector, turn voiceover off, and then on again. Another bug that I am going to send to Apple, and again, I suggest you all do the same.


I'm glad I'm not the only one having this issue. It's a strange one...I shall contact accesibility@apple.com

iOS 5 VoiceOver Bugs

Hi All, I am running iOS 5.0 on an 9-GB iOpd Touch 4th Gen. Recently, I noticed the following problems in VoiceOver.
  1. The first issue I would like to address is that the volume does not get saved. From time to time, I feel the need to restart VoceOver, and every time, the volume gets reset to 80%. This ought to be kept the same to where the user last left it.
  2. Sounds are much fainter when using headphones. Unlike the preceeding versions, this causes VoiceOver to speak normally, but the sounds can be rarely heard. I think this must be returned to its normal state, as in previous versions of iOS.
  3. VoiceOver does not seem to remember the elements I labeled after rebooting my device.
  4. It has also come to my attention that only one non-compact voice was downloaded. If I am aright, each voice is about 3000000 bytes.
If anyone has had experience with any of the bugs listed above, please come forward. I am curious to see what is being done to overcome or fix those problems. Many thanks, Alfredo C.

VoiceOver Issues!

I've been having the same issue but with the mail app! VoiceOver Looses focus on a message that I am trying to delete! For example I was trying to select multiple message to be deleted but VoiceOver would loose focus!

Two finger squiggle

I'm finding that it is far fussier about the two finger squiggle to go back. I get it to work about 1 in 5 attempts and used to use it consistently before iOS 5.

Not experiencing these issues

I've been using iOS 5 since it was released and so far I've not experienced these issues. I guess I should count myself fortunate. I'm running iOS 5 on an iPOD Touch 4th gen, 64gb.

Item Chooser with Bluetooth keyboard

The Item Chooser works fine for me when using gestures but when I plug in a Bluetooth keyboard, the Item Chooser search field is inaccessible. Anyone else had this problem? Is there any work around?


All, if we all email apple accessibility about all these bugs, they'll see that their is demand for them to be fixed, so they'll do it faster. This is my therie anyway. accessibility@apple.com

update to the keyboard

Well, i tried something today, if you put the phone on silent (flip the vibrate switch) there isn't a lag when typing, I don't know if this is just a coincidence!


I have also some bugs mentioned before, but Yesterday I also noticed it while sending a text during the night that it was faster while on silent.

faster typing

I can't find a logical explanation for that, but I turned vo off, selected compact voice, and anything happenned. Then I rebooted the device, and typing returned to be as fast as it was on ios 4. Later on It came back to be slow, then fast again. Sometimes I experienced voice lags, sometimes not. Of course its a bug, I have already submited them to Apple, and you should do the same!

no issues here

I guess I'm also one of the lucky ones. I also have a 64 gig iPod Touch and so far I haven't had any of the issues that a lot of you seem to be having. I wonder what makes the 64 gig any different?

Bluetooth keyboard

did you guys try to monitor the bluetooth connectivity at the >setting>General>bluetooth? I have noticed that the connection is going in and out, which i Think that may have a co-relation with the unresponsiveness of the iPhone. I was wondring if you guys have this issue as well because I also did some test between my iMac and iPhone wireless connectivity, and it seemed that iPhone bluetooth connectivity only has the problem, so I dont think the problem was with my bluetooth keyboard. I absolutely agree to all of the posts in here that basically our's iPhones have become unresponsive, and Samatha's voice is better on the iOS 4! Apple just bring the voices setting back to the iOS 4! If ain't broken, ain't fix it!

Premium voices sound raspy on iPhone 4S?

Club AppleVis Member

Hello. Has anyone noticed that the premium voices sound raspy. I have to use the compact voice, because the high quality voices sounds hurrible. I've tried restarting voiceover, switching to other languages, turning on and off the premium voice etc. Any ideas? Thanks

voiceover bugs in iOS 5

hi there, I am also having the same issues running iOS five on the iphone four, and I just wrote to accessibility about it, let's see what they say.

same issues

Yes, I have indeed noticed this behavior. in fact, I even went so far as to reset my entire IPhone back to its factory defaults and not restore from a backup, to see if it'd fix this problem on my IPhone 3gs, and it was still as sluggish as it ever was even with the compact voice turned on.

Same bugs, and some others that i found.

I have had all the same bugs with the typing and V-O not responding at some elements. I am running IOS5 with a 32GB iPhone4. I have also noticed that after you update an app, the buttons that you have labeled will become unlabeled. Another bug that i have found with V-O is that sometimes, the speach will go silent and all that i will hear is the clicks when moving to an item on the screen. The only thing that i have found to fix this is to mute the phone, turn voiceOver, leave it on sleep for a minute or so, and then turn VoiceOvwer back on, and unmute the phone. Another weard bug i found is; sometimes, when i unlock the phone, the screen will go to landscape mode, and sliding to unlock would be hard to do. I tried to flip the phone to it's portrid mode. This doesn't work. I would have to turn the phone off, and turn it back on. I too, will be emailing apple about these bugs, so that they can be resolved as soon as possible.

A few issues

Except being very sluggish and having "raspy" premium voices. There are a lot of small bugs creeping around iOS 5. For example you can't scroll through all photos in camera or might launch wrong notification on lock screen, since VO opens the previously focused item here. I've started compiling a list of issues at http://axslab.com/articles/ios-voiceover-issues.php and hope you can help reporting them to Apple as well.

no issues with voiceover

I have just updated my iphone 4 to ios5. I am pleased to say that I have encountered none of the issues with voiceover that have been discussed here. In fact, I noticed that the voice seems to be clearer and somewhat improved with no sluggishness. I am using the australian English voice but have tried the other English language voices. I do make extensive use of the app switcher and try to ensure that I don't have too many apps open at once. could this be the reason, or have they updated or fixed the voiceover problems already"? I have not been able to find a compact voice option though and wonder where that can be found.

battery life

Also, for my phone, Ive noticed the battery life have became shorter while using voice ovedr. If listening music or doing something other what don't require voice over, everything is normal. But if i'm going to use voice over, the battery will decrease in about 5 % in 15 minutes. Its bit fast, isn't it? Has anyone else noticed that?

Same trouble

I'm having the same trouble. Turning off the compact voice does help, but the lag is there more than it was in iOS 4. Remember, turning off apps in the app switcher does help speed your device up. Some people I know forget to do that.

vo bugs?

HI. I'm not having a lot of these issues. Sometimes the phone becomes non responsive but this is only very seldom and if i press the home button it all comes back to normal. I have noticed the volume isnt as loud with headphones. I don't think the premium voice is as loud as it used to be in general either. I think the volume of the voice is my only real issue. I've also noticed i had to change the balance so my headphones are somewhat the same volume in both ears, but i suspect this is a problem with my headphones perhaps.

VO making Dings noise

Club AppleVis Member

Occasionally when in Messages in a conversation the iPhone will start making dinging noises like the ones heard when trying to cursor at the end of an edit field. The dinging goes on and on, though VoiceOver seems to work otherwise albeit somewhat sluggishly. This only happens some and I have not been able to identify what, if anything, triggers this behavior. Anyone else had this happen and found a sequence that causes it to start? Also it seems typing with my BrailleConnect gets a lot of wrong characters or missed transcriptions. I cannot find exact repro steps for this either, as sometimes it works, and the next word it does not.

Voiceover doing same as last poster.

Hi, Yeppers, my voiceover does the same thing. Speech quits and also phone goes to landscape mode sometimes. Also sometimes music will get choppy. Glad I am not the only one having those problems. I thought I got a corrupt IOS5 or something and was about to restore my phone, which I didn't want to do. Also, yeah, me and Marrie have both had probs with item chooser not working w/bluetooth keyboards.

Same here

I am having the same issues with my iPhone 4. I have heard that it is due to the slower processors and chips. Anyone with a 4s having these issues? Maybe the A5 chip helps the phone keep up with IOS 5.

Holding phone vertical like reading a print book helps

I'm not sure why but holding my IPhone 32gb vertically with a slight tilt back, like reading a print book, seems to help the phone stay in focus. I also am careful to close apps in the app switcher after using them. If I keep too many apps open I start getting many of the issues mentioned and have to close the apps and restart my phone. Loosing focus also seems to happen a lot more when I try to use the phone lying flat or if I am in a car. I have been wondering if the loosing focus issue has to do with extra sensitivity to the accelerometer processing. Holding the phone mostly vertical seems to make the issue go away accept when the traffic is stop and go then nothing seems to help.

iPhone 4S Running iOS 5.0.1

Hi all. This is Jessica. I have an iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0.1. VO works fine for me, however, I have the focus issue, and also the one where occasionally all I'll hear is the "click" sound when trying to read, say, a list. I've noticed, too, that sometimes when I'm trying to edit/type, VO will randomly announce, "VoiceOver on..." and then start yapping as if I'd just turned it on! Thank you for giving out that email address by the way, I reported a bug on the Apple website, but I couldn't find an actual address to send any feedback to anybody. So, I'm glad that was posted. Now I will actually send them an email and see if they respond to me! Thanks again :-)

Voiceover On Bug

Hi, I have also gotten the "voiceover on" message a few times while in the middle of working with my 4S. This almost seems as if Voiceover is crashing, and is automatically restarted by the OS. I have also seen the loss of focus problem, especially when trying to select messages in the email app, but not nearly as often as happened on my 3GS before upgrading. I have contacted Apple accessibility about these. If apple gets enough complaints, they will hopefully be more motivated to fix the problems!

Item Chooser

I have an iPad 3, latest version of IOS and am still noticing this issue where the search field is inaccessible to a bluetooth keyboard. Has anyone found a solution to this? Has this problem been reported to apple accessibility? Thanks, Doug