There are numerous issues for VoiceOver users when using a hardware keyboard for text composition/editing.
Specifically, using a hardware keyboard to navigate long documents by paragraph or line is typically inconsistent and unreliable, as is attempting to select a paragraph of text.
For example, according to this Apple Support page, the Option-Up/Down Arrow shortcut should move VoiceOver focus (and the cursor) to the beginning or end of the paragraph.
However, the behaviour of this keyboard shortcut can be inconsistent and unreliable. This is particularly the case with 3rd-party apps such as Drafts and IA Writer, but is also present in some native apps.
The above behaviour makes trying to be productive with text editing an extremely frustrating experience.
The following forum thread from March 2022 discusses in more detail some of the issues: Text editing on iPad with a hardware keyboard, has it improved in the past couple years?
Steps to reproduce
- Ensure that VoiceOver is enabled.
- Open the native Notes app.
- Create a new note.
- Ensure that QuickNav is disabled.
- Type or copy/paste a lot of text that includes many paragraphs.
- Move VoiceOver focus to the beginning of the text.
- Use Option-Down Arrow to move VoiceOver focus to the end of the paragraph (VoiceOver should speak the text of the paragraph).
- Repeat #7 several times.
It is likely that everything has behaved as expected so far.
- Use Option-Up Arrow to move VoiceOver focus (and the cursor) to the beginning of the paragraph.
- Repeat #9 several times.
You should find that the movement of VoiceOver focus and the cursor is not reliable.
Typically, it may skip some paragraphs, not read the text of some paragraphs, or get ‘stuck’ (in that focus and the cursor reach a certain point in the text and refuse to move up any further).
If you now switch to using Option-Down Arrow, you may find that the movement of focus and the cursor is no longer reliable moving forward through the text.
If you perform a similar test when composing a new email in the native Mail app, you should find that this keyboard shortcut behaves as expected in the message body field.