If you’re new to the Mac, learning and mastering the VoiceOver screenreader can seem daunting at first. In an attempt to streamline the search for essential getting started information across the AppleVis website, I will provide a series of tips, along with links to more comprehensive guides and podcasts, organized by heading and subheading.
From personal experience, I have found that one of the most effective ways to learn a new screenreader is to read documentation with another more familiar one. For example, you could start reading this guide on iOS, Android or Windows, gradually try various things on macOS, and finally, see how you do relying on VoiceOver in macOS in addition to or in place of your other screenreader.
In this episode, Tyler gives a demonstration and walkthrough of macOS Recovery, a suite of utilities that can help resolve issues with your Mac and manage startup parameters. From within macOS Recovery, you can:
If you’re coming to the Mac from Windows, you’re probably used to either downloading apps from the Microsoft Store, or downloading an app package from a website and running its included installer. On macOS, there are several ways apps can be installed and uninstalled, which I will give an overview of in this guide.
The good news is that whatever methods the developer has employed, the installation and uninstallation processes should seem very straightforward to you, the user. Toward the end of this guide, I will attempt to explain some of the security warnings that you may come across in your use of apps, as well as best practices to keep your Mac and the information on it secure.
If you own a computer or mobile device, there’s one thing you’ve probably heard time and time again, back up your data. When your critical information is stored in only one medium, it is inherently vulnerable. The device’s internal storage medium could fail, complications could occur during an update or other system event, the device could get lost or stolen, or a flood or fire could break out at the device’s location. For this reason, it is advisable to always back up your data.
If you have an iOS or iPadOS device, you probably back up the data on it in iCloud. However, iCloud backup is not available on macOS. Thus in this guide, I will be discussing how to back up your Mac with Time Machine, the Mac’s built in backup utility.
If you’re a Mac Voiceover user, there’s one thing you absolutely hate hearing, that an app is “Not responding.” This may happen occasionally and only last for a few seconds, causing only minor annoyance, or it can happen frequently and significantly disrupt your workflow.
If it happens frequently or for more than a few seconds at a time when performing basic tasks, there is likely an underlying problem with your Mac, either software or hardware related. In this guide, I will give an overview of some of the most common problems and solutions, but keep in mind that slower than expected performance is a nonspecific symptom, so there might be other explanations for the issues you’re experiencing.
In macOS Ventura, Apple replaced the familiar System Preferences app with a new app called System Settings. This app is fully accessible with VoiceOver, however the interface is quite different and many settings have been relocated, which may at first be disorienting to longtime Mac users. However, the new layout may feel familiar if you’ve used iOS or iPadOS, and you may eventually find that the increased parody between the two platforms makes the experience of locating and changing settings easier and more predictable on both of them.
In my last 3 guides, I described how easy it is to create a document in Pages that looks aesthetically pleasing to a sighted user. If you have been following the series, you have learned pages is an extremely powerful word processor for the Mac. You can produce everything from letters, to flyers to fully laid out books that are ready for electronic or print publishing.
The last 3 guides focused on the basics of formatting, using styles, adding keyboard shortcuts and using the formatter to make changes to text. This guide will get into more specific areas of the app as well as describe how you can add the final polish to get your documents looking ready for print.
In this podcast, Steve Murgaski walks us through how to assign braille keyboard commands to VoiceOver actions. He also demonstrates how to change the way a braille display behaves through the Activity feature found in the VoiceOver Utility.
iWork 13 was a big update. One that excited blind people, and at the same time annoyed power users. Because the iWork apps were rewritten from scratch, not every feature was included at first. One of these features is assigning hotkeys to styles, which later was brought back in an update. A couple times I’ve seen people asking how it works, so I sat down to figure it out.
Macs have been fully accessible since 2005, but those who have never used one may still believe the myths about VoiceOver that have been around almost as long as VoiceOver itself. Even long-time users may be doing extra work, not even realizing that there are shortcuts or steps they can skip. I would like to take this opportunity to dispel these long-standing myths, and maybe make you more comfortable with the idea of switching to, or at least trying out, a Mac.
Before I lost my sight, the usable low vision I had allowed me to fall in love with typography, design and the Apple aesthetic which I'd describe as clean and simple. I’ve kept this design philosophy throughout my life and have continued to edit and design my documents so they match this aesthetic.
These skills may take some time to master, but are worth the investment especially if you work in an organization that values design. Your documents will not only look better, but you will communicate that you are a student or businessperson who knows how to use your assistive technology well.
If you use a Mac, at some point or another, you will need to drag an item from one place to another. You could be, among other things, trying to move a file, reorder a list, or attach photos and other files to a document.
While there is no, “Magic solution,” to drag and drop with VoiceOver, there are several methods you can employ that just might work to accomplish the task at hand. These tips come predominantly from my own personal use, as literature on how to do this is rather scarce. Therefore, if you know of additional tips and tricks, sound off in the comments.
In my first Pages guide, I described what certain typographic elements looked like such as bold text and underlining. In my second guide, I provided a crash course in how you can quickly apply styles in your Pages documents. In this guide, let’s tackle some more complex concepts. You can apply these to the test document available in my second guide, or use one of yours as a playground.
In this episode, Jonathan Simeone discusses and demonstrates the autosave and versioning features of macOS. These provide the peace of mind of knowing that your work is being automatically saved as you type, and that it’s quick and easy to revert to a previous version of a document. While TextEdit is demonstrated in this tutorial, these features work in a variety of macOS apps.