Apple has today released macOS Ventura 13.1, watchOS 9.2, tvOS 16.2, and HomePod software version 16.2 to the public.
The macOS Ventura 13.1 release notes say that it “introduces Freeform, a new app that offers a great place to brainstorm and bring your ideas to life. This release also includes Advanced Data Protection for iCloud and other features and bug fixes for your Mac.”
- Freeform is a new app for working creatively with friends or colleagues on Mac, iPad and iPhone
- A flexible canvas lets you add files, images, stickies, and more
Advanced Data Protection for iCloud
- New option expands the total number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 — including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos — protecting your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud
This update also includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
- Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text
- Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
- Play sound in Find My app can now help you pinpoint the location of nearby AirTags, AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case, and Find My network accessories
- Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made
- Fixes an issue where you may lose keyboard and mouse input in some apps and games
Some features may not be available for all regions, or on all Apple devices. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
Our experience is that the following accessibility bugs have been resolved or significantly addressed in macOS Ventura 13.1:
- It is no longer necessary to restart VoiceOver after starting macOS.
- Email addresses and URLs no longer appear in the "Misspelled" menu in Text Checker.
- The undo send button in Mail is now properly labeled.
At the time of writing, we are aware of the following new bugs:
- When placing VoiceOver focus on a file on a Freeform canvas, pressing VO-Space does not work to open the file.
- The arrow keys do not work to edit sticky notes in Freeform, even when VoiceOver focus is placed on the text field for that note.
The release notes for watchOS 9.2 state that it includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:
- Outdoor Run workout now automatically detects when you arrive at a running track and provides track specific metrics
- Race Route lets you compete against your previous performance in Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, and Outdoor Wheelchair Workouts
- New custom Kickboxing algorithm in the Workout app for more accurate metrics
- Noise app displays when environmental sound levels are reduced while wearing AirPods Pro (1st generation) and AirPods Max with active noise cancellation
- Apple Card users with a Savings account can now check their balance in Wallet
- Family Setup users can be invited to the Home app to control HomePod speakers and smart home accessories, and unlock doors with home keys in Wallet
- Accessibility support to visualize when Siren is in use on Apple Watch Ultra
- Improved response time and accuracy of hand gesture controls for AssistiveTouch and Quick Actions
- Crash Detection optimizations on Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
- Fix for bug that causes display of incorrect watch time immediately after dismissing an alarm in Sleep Focus
- Fix for bug causing interruptions to mindfulness sessions
Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas, for more information visit: https://www.apple.com/watchos/feature-availability/
The tvOS 16.2 release notes say that it “introduces a more personalized Siri experience and makes singing along with Apple Music even more fun.”
- Get personalized recommendations, play your favorite music, and more at any time with Recognize My Voice support for up to six different family members. Try "What should I watch?" "Play my music," or "Switch to my profile."
- Set your Siri language to be different from the one your Apple TV displays. Go to Settings > General > Siri Language.
- Now includes language support for Danish in Denmark, French and German in Luxembourg, and English in Singapore to help you find shows, music, and more using just your voice.
- Sing along to your favorites with beat-by-beat, real-time lyrics.
- Control the vocal volume on millions of songs with Apple TV 4K (3rd generation).
Siri availability and functionality vary by country or region.
According to Apple's release notes, HomePod software version 16.2 adds performance and stability improvements, with no additional information.
At the time of posting we are unaware of any additional changes, improvements or regressions for blind and low vision users in today's updates.
If you discover any fixes, enhancements, or regressions during your use of these software releases, please let us know by posting a comment below.
How to Update
To install macOS Ventura 13.1, choose System Settings from the Apple menu, select General in the table, click Software Update in the scroll area, and click the Update Now button to begin the update process. If other updates are available, you can click "More info" to see details about them and select specific updates to install.
watchOS 9.2 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.
To install tvOS 16.2 on Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to the Settings channel, then look for the System section near the bottom. From here, look for Software Updates under Maintenance, then select Update Software and Download and Install. Wait for your Apple TV to download the update. Don't disconnect or unplug your Apple TV until the update completes.
By default, HomePod and HomePod mini automatically install new software updates, but you can manually check for updates in the Home app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.
Alex wants some serious modulation
I don't know if this is happening with any of the other Voiceover voices, but I've noticed since updating to Ventura 13.1 that the changes in pitch you get when typing capital letters is all over the place. Capitalized vowels, for example, are now announced in a ridiculously high voice while B, C, and G all still sound the way you would expect them to. Also (and maybe this bit could be considered a small bug) there is now practically no difference between the way Alex reads a capital D and a capital T.
Still no fixes
The auto language switching bug is still there. Voices still not stable with pitch, quality of Siri voices are still worse than what they used to be in other releases of MacOS
New App Freeform
I just updated yesterday, and briefly checked out Freeform earlier this morning. It seems pretty good with VoiceOver, and I can see lots of use cases for this app. One right off the top of my head would be if a psychotherapist wants to collaborate with his/her client(s) on journaling. But anyway, I've also noticed a rather interesting voice thing but it seemed to only be temporary. I'm currently using Nathan and he's sounding great.
I'm not sure if this was discussed in any of the previous Ventura posts, but I've also been noticing that first letter keyboard navigation will randomly stop working on occasion. Restarting Voiceover appears to fix this temporarily.
the inflection rotor setting has completely disappear
as I mention in the subject, I am not able to use the setting when I open the rotor.
Voiceover on Login
Since updating to Ventura 13.1, I have encountered a new bug where I have to turn VO on and off the have it activate during login. I have VO set to "On" under the Lock Screen category in System Settings. When I toggle VO on and off to activate VO at login, it turns off VO on login in system settings. . I have tried turning it back on in Settings, but the problem still persists. I have my Lock Screen set to show a list of users at login. Prior to updating to 13.1, VO used to come on at login.
Has anyone else encountered this bug?
Amount of Memory Now Being Spoken Automatically
Hi. I have been noticing that on my M1 at least, the amount of free and used memory is now automatically spoken by VO when in Finder. This seems to be a new thing, but I for one am glad that this information is now spoken. Anybody else noticed this?