[Update: Now Available] Apple to Release iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 on March 24; With Several New Features, but Mixed News for Blind and Low Vision Users

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has this week released the Gold Master versions of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 to developers, and announced that these updates will be available to the public on March 24. In addition to bringing some new features and enhancements, these releases will bring fixes for a few VoiceOver, braille, and Smart Invert bugs. Unfortunately, there are also new issues in these releases for blind and low vision users.

It is extremely disappointing that at this advanced stage of the iOS and iPadOS 13.x development cycle, not only has Apple failed to address several longstanding bugs for blind and low vision users, but new issues are also being introduced. With development time and priority now most likely switching to the next major OS releases, it is becoming increasingly likely that blind and low vision users will have to wait until Fall for further accessibility fixes. To say that this prospect is incredibly disheartening is a vast understatement, and Apple can and should do much better by its blind and low vision customers.

Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users in iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4

Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4:

There is also a change of behavior in these releases: when you have Do Not Disturb enabled, its Lock Screen message is no longer included in the count of Lock Screen notifications that is spoken by VoiceOver when waking your device. When you wake your device and VoiceOver speaks something in the form of “6:34 AM, 5 notifications”, you actually have 5 notifications and not the 4 notifications plus the Do Not Disturb message as would have been the case with the previous behavior.

Additionally, we are aware that some people are finding that the Misspelled Word tool in the VoiceOver rotor doesn't always find misspelled words. If this is your experience, make sure that VoiceOver focus is in the text field and not on the onscreen keyboard. Our own experience is that this makes the behavior of this feature consistent and reliable.

If you encounter any additional fixes or changes during your own use of iOS 13.4 or iPadOS 13.4 once available, please let us know by posting a comment below.

New Bugs for Blind or Low Vision Users in iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4

  • According to Apple's release notes(see below), these releases Address “an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both Dark Mode and Smart Invert are active.” However, this has not been our experience. Whereas in iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 Smart Invert of web pages did appear to work as expected for us in these conditions, it does not on iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4. Accordingly, if you rely heavily on this functionality, you may wish to avoid updating until we hear if others are also experiencing issues with Smart Invert with web pages in Safari.
  • VoiceOver will on occasions wrongly indicate that some blocks of text are editable text fields, resulting in VoiceOver speaking feedback such as “text field, editing“, “double tap to edit” or “character mode” before speaking the text. Typically, this behavior only occurs on the first paragraph when navigating by swiping, but may occur more frequently if navigating by touch. This is most prevalent in Safari, but has also been encountered in several other apps. Our experience suggests that apps pulling the text from the web are most likely to exhibit this behaviour - such as RSS readers and news apps. This behavior is particularly intrusive if you have VoiceOver hints enabled, so you may want to disable this option until this issue has been resolved.

As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases. Accordingly, to help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 13.4 or iPadOS 13.4.

General Changes in iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4

  • iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 introduce support for iCloud Folder Sharing, allowing folders within the Files app to be shared with other people.
  • Introduces support for mouse and trackpad with iPad‌.
  • Developers can now bundle Mac and iOS apps in to a single (“universal”) purchase.
  • The Mail app has an updated toolbar layout when viewing an email.
  • There are nine new Memoji and Animoji sticker poses to choose from, including shocked face, face with hearts, and eyes rolling.
  • Siri now has an “Always On” option under the Accessibility Settings that enables support for “Hey Siri” when your device is face down (or the screen otherwise blocked, such as when in a pocket or bag).
  • On iPad, you are now able to remap modifier keys in Settings when using an external keyboard (for instance, setting the CapsLock key to perform the escape function).
  • On iPad, there are new keyboard shortcuts in the Photos app for navigating between tabs, search, and creating albums. In full screen mode, there are also keyboard shortcuts for deleting photos, duplicating photos, and entering Edit mode.
  • There's a new Shortcuts action to “Shazam It” in the Shortcuts app.
  • There are new Settings in the TV app that allow you to control streaming and downloading over WiFi and cellular.

Update: Apple has also released iOS 12.4.6 for owners of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3.

Release Notes

Apple's full release notes, are as follows:

iOS 13.4 Release Notes

iOS 13.4 introduces new Memoji stickers and ‌iCloud Drive‌ folder sharing from the Files app. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.

Memoji

  • Nine new Memoji stickers, including Smiling Face with Hearts, Hands Pressed Together, and Party Face

Files

  • ‌iCloud Drive‌ folder sharing from the Files app
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Mail

  • Always-visible controls to delete, move, reply to, or compose a message in conversation view
  • Responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME

App Store with Apple Arcade

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across ‌iPhone‌, iPod touch, ‌iPad‌, Mac, and Apple TV
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPod touch‌, ‌iPad‌, Mac, and ‌Apple TV‌
  • List view for See All Games

‌CarPlay‌

  • Third-party navigation app support for the ‌CarPlay‌ Dashboard
  • In-call information appears on the ‌CarPlay‌ Dashboard

Augmented Reality

  • AR Quick Look supports audio playback in USDZ files

Keyboard

  • Predictive typing support for Arabic

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Adds status bar indicator to display when VPN has disconnected on ‌iPhone‌ models with all-screen displays
  • Fixes an issue in Camera where the viewfinder may appear as a black screen after launch
  • Addresses an issue where ‌Photos‌ may appear to use excess storage
  • Resolves an issue in ‌Photos‌ that may prevent sharing an image to Messages if iMessage is disabled
  • Fixes an issue in Mail where messages may appear out of order
  • Addresses an issue in Mail where the conversation list may display empty rows
  • Resolves an issue where Mail may crash when tapping the Share button in Quick Look
  • Fixes an issue in Settings where cellular data may incorrectly display as off
  • Addresses an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both Dark Mode and Smart Invert are active
  • Resolves an issue where text copied from web content may appear invisible when pasted when ‌Dark Mode‌ is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Addresses an issue where Reminders may not issue new notifications for an overdue recurring reminder until it is marked as completed
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue where ‌iCloud Drive‌ appears to be available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote even when not signed in
  • Addresses an issue in Apple Music where music videos may not stream in high quality
  • Resolves an issue where ‌CarPlay‌ may lose its connection in certain vehicles
  • Fixes an issue in ‌CarPlay‌ where the view in Maps may move away briefly from the current area
  • Addresses an issue in the Home app where tapping an activity notification from a security camera may open a different recording
  • Resolves an issue where Shortcuts may not appear when tapping on the Share menu from a screenshot
  • Improves the Burmese keyboard so punctuation symbols are now accessible from numbers and symbols

iPadOS 13.4 Release Notes

‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 introduces support for mouse and trackpad with iPad‌ for greater precision and navigating the system with Multi-Touch gestures, and adds ‌iCloud Drive‌ folder sharing from the Files app and new Memoji stickers. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.

Mouse and Trackpad Support

  • All-new cursor design highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps
  • Magic Keyboard for ‌iPad‌ support on ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later) and ‌iPad Pro‌ 11-inch (1st generation or later)
  • Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, and third-party Bluetooth and USB mouse support
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Keyboard for ‌iPad‌ and Magic Trackpad 2 enable you to scroll, swipe between app spaces, go Home, access App Switcher, zoom in or out, tap to click, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Mouse 2 enable you to scroll, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages

Files

  • ‌iCloud Drive‌ folder sharing from the Files app
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Memoji

  • Nine new Memoji stickers, including Smiling Face with Hearts, Hands Pressed Together, and Party Face

Mail

  • Always-visible controls to delete, move, reply to, or compose a message in conversation view
  • Responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME

‌App Store‌ with ‌Apple Arcade‌

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPod touch‌, ‌iPad‌, Mac, and ‌Apple TV‌
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPod touch‌, ‌iPad‌, Mac, and ‌Apple TV‌
  • List view for See All Games

Augmented Reality

  • AR Quick Look supports audio playback in USDZ files

Keyboard

  • Live Conversion for Zhuyin automatically transforms Zhuyin into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Live Conversion for Japanese automatically transforms Hiragana into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Predictive typing support for Arabic
  • Swiss German keyboard layout supported on ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch
  • On-screen keyboard layout for ‌iPad Pro‌ 12.9-inch now matches Smart Keyboard

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Fixes an issue in Camera where the viewfinder may appear as a black screen after launch
  • Addresses an issue where ‌Photos‌ may appear to use excess storage
  • Resolves an issue in ‌Photos‌ that may prevent sharing an image to Messages if iMessage is disabled
  • Fixes an issue in Mail where messages may appear out of order
  • Addresses an issue in Mail where the conversation list may display empty rows
  • Resolves an issue where Mail may crash when tapping the Share button in Quick Look
  • Fixes an issue in Settings where cellular data may incorrectly display as off
  • Addresses an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both ‌Dark Mode‌ and Smart Invert are active
  • Resolves an issue where text copied from web content in a third-party app may appear invisible when pasted if ‌Dark Mode‌ is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Addresses an issue where Reminders may not issue new notifications for an overdue recurring reminder until it is marked as completed
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue where ‌iCloud Drive‌ appears to be available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote even when not signed in
  • Addresses an issue in ‌Apple Music‌ where music videos may not stream in high quality
  • Addresses an issue in the Home app where tapping an activity notification from a security camera may open a different recording
  • Resolves an issue where Shortcuts may not appear when tapping on the Share menu from a screenshot
  • Improves the Burmese keyboard so punctuation symbols are now accessible from numbers and symbols

How to update

iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 will be available from March 24 via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina, or via iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier.

Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either locally or in iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.

More information on how to update the software on your device is available on this Apple Support page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates. Do you like the new features and changes? Let us know by adding a comment below.

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69 Comments

The one that really gets me

The one that really gets me is yesterday is pronounced yester-tay. How did apple manage to screw that one up in 13.4?

Yester-tay

Yester-tay
My iPhone troubles seemed so far away
Now VO says yester-tay
Oh, how I miss my yesterday

Suddenly
VoiceOver aint what it used to be
All the bugs are ever increasing
Oh Yester-Tay came suddenly

Why did I update, I don't know, what can I say
I did something wrong, now I want my yesterday, ay, ay, ay ay!

A few things

Hi All,
Ok first the yesterday issue seems to be voice specific. Samantha has this issue but Daniel in the UK does not. Do not disturb still shows on my iPhone 8 as a notification but that isn't a deal at all. The good news is that for me at least all notification issues seems to have gone. No longer getting repeats when unlocked etc. Its great to be back how it was.

well hi. I also miss

well hi. I also miss 'yesterday' I never expected apple making yesterday 'yester-tayyyy!"
and I love @Julian's way of putting it!
:) ;

Are and our

UK Siri female will still not pronounce the word are, or the word our, except if those words appear as part of a sentence. So try typing are or our with word echo on, or try navigating by word to are or our, and you just get silence. This is not an issue with UK Siri male or Daniel, but it's been an issue ever since they "upgraded" in inverted commas UK Siri female.

I also had the annoying issue of the iPhone's defaulting to Samantha when I updated to 13.4 but thank goodness that only lasted three or four minutes. I do not see how anyone could stand using that awful voice!

Instead of correcting

Club AppleVis Member

Instead of correcting pronunciation issues, let’s add more. Volumes repeats itself since 12. 2020 and abbreviated months have been wrong since 13.
Yesterday affects multiple American voices.
Crapple is a big ole pile of poo. Leader in accessibility no more!!
Dumped my everyday Mac for a Dell. Looking like 11 is my last iPhone. If Tim, Sarah, and Accessibility can’t bring themselves to care... Time to close my wallet to Crapple!
ETA: You can add the word township to the ever growing pronunciation list. SMH

Workaround for yesterday

Club AppleVis Member

A good work around for this issue is to go into the pronunciation accessibility settings and put in yesterday in the original word box and then in the substitute box, put in yesterdaye -- When you are putting in the original word in the first box, be sure not to put a space at the end of the word because that will mean it will not be recognized if the word yesterday has a comma after it as it does in the App store app update section where it lists updates for apps. With no space after yesterday and replacing it with yesterdaye in the substitution box, the pronunciation should be fine.

...

honestly, if people keep buying apple products no matter what, what's the hurry for fixing bugs? there are only two major mobile platforms covering nearly 100% of the consumer market, that's the nature of the problem. so when someone tries to say something like nobody forces you to buy an iphone and the like, think about the above first.

apple is currently treating fixing vo bugs as a hobby, that's plain to see. remember the notifications won't dismiss bug? it's not fixed yet, or have you get used to it already?

when you find the notification, you'd at least want to hear what it is, then you flick down and double tap to dismiss, this takes at least 2 seconds. say you get five of these a day, you'll waste one entire hour a year for absolutely nothing. one hour, not for something unproductive, but absolutely nothing, think about it.

earlier this decade, the street loved apple because its products "just work"; the street still loved apple, but nobody talks about "just work" and the halo effect anymore. these days, it's all about stock buyback and higher stock multiple for a service company. how much a company can change in just ten years, right?

No.

First any company when they find bugs they fix them fast compare to bugs for the blind. Second we purchase an apple product and the bugs need to be address the same of regular bugs for the sighted community.

Voice control and voiceover no longer work together

Please let me know if anyone else has come across this problem.
I use voice control to navigate my phone before bed and for some reason a couple nights ago it stopped saying any commands?
Like I give it a command and it makes the switching or clicking sounds but doesn’t say any of my voiceover screen words…

Is this because of an update? I’d like to be able to keep my routine every evening but with this problem there is absolutely no way to get around it.
I’ve searched Google, and I’ve went through every single command in the voice control settings to try and figure anything out… Unfortunately I’ve had no luck.
If any of you get a chance to give it a try please let me know how it goes!

Edited two add a few more details:
When voice control is on, if I touch the screen voiceover will say what it should like usual. But then if I ask voice control to swipe right it makes the swishing sound but no voice over titles.
When I switch voice control off everything still works like normal with voice over.
I still have some light vision so I noticed when I give voice control a command on the home screen like swipe right, the entire page moves! It is like voice control is active without voiceover or that it turns one off at a time?
I’m not sure if I explained it right or if it makes no sense at all ha ha.
Hope this is helpful!

I've Noticed Textfields

I've only noticed the textfield bug on my journal, and it only seems to happen when flicking right and not left. Very interesting. But then again, I am only starting to use the mobile version of Safari. Another good update though on my end.

Yes

I hear that 13.4 is affecting VPM use. Also iOS 14 will be out for beta in June. depending on this crazy virus.Some people are reporting some bugs. We will have to wait for 14 for bugs fixes. What bugs you have will not be fix in any minor release.

Voiceover seems to fade out while reading

I have found on several occasions that when dictating a text message, after I finish, and voiceover is reading back the message, it seems to just fade out and never completely finishes reading the message back to me. I have to re-engage the edit field to hear the message in its entire ready. This is after updating to iOS 13.4.

reply

I didn't even know there was an issue with notifications.

So Far So Good over here but...

I updated both my devices earlier this week, and have had no issues except for not receiving calls and text messages from some people. But I reset some things on my phone yesterday including iCloud, and the problem seems to be fixed at least for now. But this round of updates is working for me. The Mail bug regarding message order on the iPhone seems to be fixed on my end.

bugs

I am noticing if I mute phone, VO still reads notifications. This comes and goes. I am not able to trust it if will do so. Strange bug.

thats right

you are right my friend, i am also having this eishue from previous version of ios.

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