Some users may encounter an intermittent issue that affects the operation of the VoiceOver double-tap gesture. When attempting to double-tap an actionable interface element, the resulting behaviour experienced is as if the user touched with 1 finger the area of the screen where they performed the gesture, rather than performed a double tap on the element that VoiceOver focus was on.
For instance, with VoiceOver focus on a button within Safari's toolbar, performing a double tap might result in VoiceOver speaking the text content of the webpage that was under your finger at the time you performed the gesture, instead of activating the intended button in the toolbar.
When this behaviour occurs, VoiceOver focus typically moves to the interface element that was spoken. It's necessary to relocate focus back to the intended element before attempting the double-tap again. While this movement of focus may sound similar to the longstanding issue for many users involving VoiceOver focus, the issue described here is new and noticeably different when experienced.
This issue is not limited to specific apps; it occurs across native and third-party applications. It impacts various types of actionable interface elements, including activating items on the VoiceOver rotor's action menu.
In some cases, the double tap might function correctly on the second attempt, while in others, it might require five or more tries before registering accurately.
The underlying issue can also cause problems with the operation of the 1 finger triple-tap gesture and the 1 finger double-tap and hold.
It is important to note that this behaviour is not consistent—it doesn't happen every time. Based on our testing, there is no discernible pattern to predict when it will occur or how frequently. Nevertheless, drawing from our experience, it's reasonable to assume that individuals encountering this problem should not anticipate encountering it with high frequency.
While serious, this issue does not appear to be widespread Based on our tracking of user experiences during the beta cycle. It has been encountered by five members of our Editorial Team. Additionally, A few other users across the wider community have reported experiencing this behaviour, including Jonathon Mosen and a listener to his Living Blindfully podcast. Beyond these known cases, there has been no indication that a significant portion of users are affected. Overall, current evidence suggests this is an intermittent issue impacting a small subset of users rather than something everyone should expect to encounter.
Adjusting the Double-Tap Timeout in Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver has been suggested as a partial workaround for the issue. However, based on limited testing, changing this setting does not appear to resolve the underlying problem. While you may want to experiment with adjusting the Timeout interval, keep in mind that this could disrupt your natural double-tap muscle memory which is accustomed to the default timing. Any benefits in reliability would need to outweigh the effort required to learn the new timing. At this point, the setting change seems unlikely to provide a sufficient or permanent fix.
We chose to rate this issue as serious because of the importance of the double-tap gesture and its frequency of use. Moreover, our assessment has taken into account the potential impact of this behaviour on individuals who are new to or less familiar with iOS. These users might reasonably assume that the behaviour is due to them not correctly performing the double tap gesture, possibly leading them to conclude that using an iPhone is more difficult than it actually is.