Apple has today released iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 to the public. In addition to bringing some new features - including some originally slated for the initial iOS 13 release - these releases bring fixes for a large number of the bugs that iOS 13.0 and iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 introduced for blind and low vision users.
One Change of Note
In iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2, Apple has made one change that may initially have you believe that something is broken.
The Context menu item has been removed from the VoiceOver rotor's Actions menu and replaced with a new gesture: a one-finger triple- tap. Our assumption is that this change has been made to address the problem where this item would be present in the Actions menu when on UI elements which didn't actually have a Context Menu. Regrettably, this change does make it harder to discover which UI elements do have Context menus - one must use a mix of experience, educated guesswork, and trial and error.
If you would prefer to have a different gesture to access the Context menu, you can change it by going to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Commands > Touch Gestures.
Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users
Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2:
- VoiceOver no longer on occasions becomes unresponsive after ending a phone call or a voice chat in some messaging apps.
- It is now possible to use the Indian Siri voices as the VoiceOver voice.
- If you have a Shortcut that prompts you to select from a menu, VoiceOver now consistently speaks all menu options.
- It is now possible to access the Status Bar with the VoiceOver keyboard shortcut.
- The Status Bar is now easier to locate by touch.
- VoiceOver focus is no longer erratic in the Find My app.
- It is now possible to edit the start or end position of a video in the native Photos app.
- Show Context menu is no longer the initial position of the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu in text fields.
- When viewing a message in the Mail app, VoiceOver now speaks the badge on the Back button which indicates the number of unread messages in the same folder.
- When navigating to an existing conversation in the Messages app, the VoiceOver focus is correctly placed on to the last message.
- The “Clear All” option in the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu on the Notifications Centre now works as expected.
- After pairing an MFi hearing device, the controls for bass and treble are now labeled for VoiceOver users.
- The “Show All Windows” button on iPadOS now has a VoiceOver label.
- The selection status of the Dark/Light Mode toggle in the Control Centre is now accurately indicated to VoiceOver users.
- VoiceOver now speaks text pasted in to the message field in the Messages app.
- VoiceOver users can now access websites listed under “Siri Suggestions” in Safari.
- VoiceOver no longer says “Paused” on the playback progress control while a video is playing in the Photos app.
If you encounter any additional fixes during your own use of iOS or iPadOS 13.2, please let us know by posting a comment below.
New Bugs for VoiceOver and Braille Users in iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2
Disappointingly, our testing suggests that iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 also introduce some new bugs for VoiceOver and braille users:
- There are numerous places system-wide where the Misspelled Words item will be in the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu where this functionality is not available (examples include when viewing a web page in Safari and when reading an email in Mail). In some of these it is the default position of the VoiceOver rotor, which is a frustrating hit on the user experience - for example when opening a webpage in Safari and expecting to be able to immediately flick down to navigate by heading.
- When editing text that contains line breaks using a braille display, the cursor which is represented by dots 7 and 8 will often disappear after a cursor routing button is pressed.
- After one app has opened another (for example when double-tapping on a link in an email opens Safari), you may find that it is not possible to locate the Status Bar by touch. Our experience suggests that this is a device-specific issue, and most devices are not affected.
- Previously, the Misspelled Words item was not available from the VoiceOver rotor's Action menu in Safari text fields. It is now present, but does not work. It also does not appear to work consistently when composing emails in the Mail app.
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 13.2 and iPadOS.
General Changes in iOS 13.2
iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 introduce 59 new emoji characters. According to MacRumors, these include:
Orangutan, sloth, otter, skunk, and flamingo are the new animals included in the update, while new food items include garlic, onion, waffle, falafel, butter, oyster, beverage box, maté, and ice cube.
New faces, gestures, and poses include yawning face, pinching hand, person kneeling, person standing, and new people holding hands options that are both gender and skin tone inclusive.
Also new are the 13 disability-themed emoji proposed by Apple last year. These include a guide dog, woman with white cane, man with white cane, and ear with hearing aid.
When using a multi-person emoji, there's a new skin tone picker that lets you select a different skin tone for each person. Our experience is that this works well with VoiceOver.
Announce Messages with Siri
You can now have Siri read out messages without having to unlock your iPhone when second-generation AirPods and H1-equipped Beats headphones are connected. Siri will avoid interrupting you and will listen after reading messages so you can reply without saying “Hey Siri”.
This can be turned on by going to Settings > Siri & Search and toggling on Announce Messages.
- After upgrading to iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 there will be a splash screen that allows you to opt out of sharing Siri and Dictation audio recordings with Apple. This can also be set in the iOS privacy settings.
- There is a new option in the Siri & Search settings that allows iPhone and iPad users to delete their Siri and Dictation history from Apple's servers.
- iOS 13.2 adds Deep Fusion support to the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
- When using Haptic Touch or 3D Touch on a Home screen icon, the resulting menu now includes an option to delete the app.
How to update
iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 are available 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.