The purpose of this post is to try and answer some of the questions that VoiceOver users may have before or after they update to iOS 7.
We want to ensure that all information is as accurate as possible, so we need your help. If you have any updated or additional information that you think others should know, please add it as a comment to this post.
While everyone has been waiting for this new release, some of the AppleVis Editorial Team have already had the chance to see what has been fixed and what has not. We have compiled a list of the issues which had been reported in iOS 6 - these are shown below, along with our observations on whether they have been fixed in iOS 7. We can only hope that our conclusions are mostly right and that they are helpful to you.
Our testing was done on several devices. However, it should be noted that not all types of devices were used when we did this review, so please correct us if you don't agree with our findings. This will only help everyone in the community to understand what they can expect from iOS 7.
iOS 7 Frequently Asked Questions
If I upgrade to iOS 7 and do not like it, can I downgrade back to iOS 6?
Unfortunately, once you upgrade to iOS 7, you cannot downgrade back to iOS 6 or any other previous version of iOS.
Are there any new text-to-speech voices in VoiceOver?
Unfortunately, no. The new Siri voices are exclusive to Siri and will initially only be available in U.S. English, French and German. We suspect that the limited multilingual support for the Siri voices was a major factor in Apple's decision not to include them in VoiceOver. With that said, Nuance Vocalizer has been updated. Some of the voice inflections have changed, with one of the more noticeable changes being that the compact U.S. English Samantha voice is now higher-pitched - as it was in iOS 5.
Can I have more than one premium voice on my device at a time?
Yes. While Apple still provides only one voice per language, you can now have premium voices from multiple languages on your device at the same time.
What devices is iOS 7 compatible with?
iOS 7 is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 2, iPad (Third Generation), iPad (Fourth Generation), and the iPad Mini.
Are there any iOS 7 features that are only available for certain devices?
Yes. Here are a few features to note:
- Panorama format is available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPod Touch (5th Generation).
- Square and some new video modes, as well as swipe to capture, are only available on iPhone 4 or later, iPad (Third Generation or later), iPad Mini and iPod Touch (Fifth Generation).
- Filters in Camera are available on iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPod Touch (5th Generation).
- Filters in Photos are available on iPhone 4 or later, iPad (Third Generation or later), iPad Mini and iPod Touch (Fifth Generation).
- AirDrop is available on iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad (Fourth Generation), iPad Mini and iPod Touch (Fifth Generation) and requires an iCloud account.
Are there any new iOS 7 Accessibility features?
Yes. Scott Davert has put together an excellent blog post detailing all that we know to be new with accessibility for people who are blind, who have low vision, or who are deaf-blind. You can read it here: http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple/what’s-new-ios-7-accessibility-individuals-who-are-blind-deaf-blind-or-who-have-low
What can I do to ensure that my update process is as easy as possible?
Michael Hansen has put together a list of tips for a smooth iOS 7 upgrade, which you can read here: http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple/tips-smooth-ios-7-upgrade
Where can I find general information about new features in iOS 7?
Apple has a great page where you can read about all of the new features in iOS 7:
Are there any issues in iOS 7 that I should know about before updating?
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues users may wish to consider before updating. Please read this post for details: http://www.applevis.com/blog/apple/possible-accessibility-bugs-voiceover-users-ios-7
iOS 6 Bugs - Are They Still Biting?
After doing the three finger double tap on the screen to disable the speech, do sounds still persist when flicking around on the screen?
Yes, but you can now toggle sound effects on/off under settings>general>accessibility>VoiceOver>Sound Effects.
Can the Newsstand app be moved in to a folder?
Yes, Newsstand can now be moved in to any folder you want.
Have the Safari problems on AppleVis and some other websites - where navigating by headings and editing text in text fields was difficult - been resolved?
Sadly, the Headings are still problematic - both on AppleVis and other websites. The good news is that these issues with edit fields seem to have been fixed.
While surfing using Safari, does the focus still jump around quite a bit?
This issue also appears to be resolved.
When you are in an app, VoiceOver goes to a random spot rather than the intended element. For example, VoiceOver focuses on the back or cancel button rather than going to the desired text field. Does this still persist?
Based on our testing, this seems to be resolved.
Under the Music app, some of the buttons were unlabeled. Have they been fixed?
Yes and no. They have labeled the infamous button in the music playback screen. However, there is now an unlabeled button in the audiobook playback screen.
When you are in the Contacts app and you want to navigate from one letter of the alphabet to another by heading, does VoiceOver still not speak elements properly? For example, if I'm at the E letter heading, I may be still seeing contacts starting with the letter B.
To the best of our knowledge, this has been fixed.
Does VoiceOver still speak notifications while you are on the phone?
No. We are pleased to report that VoiceOver no longer speaks notifications while on a phone call.
While on the phone, at times it is necessary to enter keys when in menus of call centers and other automated systems. Is the volume of the phone call lowered so that VoiceOver can be heard when trying to find the correct number to press?
No, it has not changed.
The bug regarding changing the rotor setting while speech was muted and it then unmuting in iOS 5 was fixed, turning the rotor on screen still turns speech back on. Has this been fixed?
When VoiceOver is turned off and back on, the Screen curtain setting is not retained. Has this been fixed?
As far as we can tell, this is no longer an issue.
Some changes in iOS 7 which may initially appear to be bugs
In addition to the bugs which you will find mentioned in our iOS 7 bug list, there are a few changes in iOS 7 which may initially seem like bugs, but in fact are layout or function changes which have a negative impact on the user experience for VoiceOver users.
- When using the keypad in the phone app, the Delete button may no longer work in the way that you are used to. If you are using Touch Typing mode for keyboard input, the Delete button now requires that you use that method to locate and use it rather than swiping and double-tapping as was previously the case.
- The Flashlight app under the Control Center will not show up within the App Switcher, unlike other apps found in the Control Center (Clock, Camera and Calculator) which will show up in the App Switcher. The only way to turn the torch off is to go back in to the Control Center and double-tap on the Flashlight again. So, if you have no vision, it is important to be careful not to inadvertently turn the torch on. Also worth noting, is that it will remain lit even if the Screen Curtain is on.
- The layout of the Today tab within the Notification Center requires a lot more swiping by VoiceOver users, as you will need to swipe through every hour of the day - regardless of whether there is an event scheduled. There appears to be no way to have this only display scheduled events.
We hope that the information provided above has been helpful. If there are more questions that you want to ask before updating to iOS 7, please feel free to leave your comments below.
Thanks, and happy updating!