Occasional problems accessing System Preference panes, anybody else?

macOS and Mac Apps

For quite some time now, I have found that on occasions VoiceOver focus can not be moved to the main part of a system preference window.

Typically, I use the System Preferences icon on the Dock to select which preference pane I want. When that pane opens VoiceOver focus will be in the toolbar, and it's impossible to then move focus to the main part of this window. This leaves me having to close the window and try again, hopefully with a better result.

As I say, this is an occasional problem, but frequent enough to be annoying.

Does anybody else also encounter this problem?



Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Friday, May 13, 2022

Club AppleVis Member

As we all know, Voiceover seems to take delight in acting unreasonably stupid for reasons yet unknown to Humanity. Just hit tab a few times and it should work okay.

Submitted by Cobbler on Friday, May 13, 2022

Thanks, but in this case nothing using the keyboard appears capable of moving focus from the toolbar.

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Friday, May 13, 2022

Club AppleVis Member

This will probably sound patronizing. Have you press VO+shift+up arrow to stop interacting with the toolbar?

Submitted by Tyler on Saturday, May 14, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

After performing the steps described several times, I was able to reproduce the problem with the toolbar and window controls being the only elements visible to VoiceOver. For me, while pressing the Tab key appeared to move keyboard focus through the pane, the VoiceOver cursor remained stuck on the toolbar, with the only solution besides closing and reopening the window being to toggle VoiceOver off and on again.

Has this issue been reported to Apple? As I typically open System Preferences and select a pane in the "Preference panes scroll area," I was not aware of this issue before today. I think from an engineering perspective, it would be valuable for them to have a screen recording and SysDiagnose of the issue, and to know if the problem occurs with certain panes more than others.