Apple has today released macOS 13 Ventura to the public. As usual, we won’t cover the mainstream features here, concentrating instead on what's new and changed for blind and low vision users. For an overview of the mainstream changes, we recommend this in-depth review by MacStories.
Please remember to check the section about bugs to see if now is the right time to upgrade. There’s no harm in holding off a few weeks or months to let Apple address a problem you may find too disruptive to deal with.
A note to braille users: the AppleVis team members doing testing with macOS Ventura are not heavy braille users. We have no information as to how well braille works in this release, so please keep this in mind when upgrading. If you are a braille user and have any experience with macOS Ventura and braille, please do post your findings in the comments.
Changes for Blind and Low Vision Users
Last year Apple brought a few new features and some bug fixes to macOS Monterey. This year, macOS Ventura brings some more changes and a handful of bug fixes.
New languages and voices
Like iOS 16, VoiceOver and Spoken Content in macOS Ventura adds support for over 20 additional languages and locales, including Bengali (India), Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. In addition, the same new voices and voice variants that were introduced in iOS 16 are available in macOS Ventura, including Eloquence.
New information commands
VoiceOver now includes default commands for speaking the time and date, speaking the battery level, and speaking the Wi-Fi status. Press VO-F7 (or VO-Globe-7 if you're using a Mac with a Touch Bar) to speak the time and date, press it again to speak the battery level, and press it a third time to speak the Wi-Fi status. Like other VoiceOver functions, these can be mapped to separate commands via Keyboard Commander if you wish.
Word processing improvements
VoiceOver in macOS Ventura includes several improvements for word processing:
- Text Checker helps to identify common errors in typed text, such as misspellings, repeated spaces, and misplaced capital letters. By default, this feature is assigned to the letter D in Keyboard Commander, as there is no default VoiceOver command assigned to it. This command can be changed or removed in VoiceOver Utility > Commanders > Keyboard.
- VoiceOver now includes settings for reporting when text is indented and when there are repeated spaces between words. These can be found in VoiceOver Utility > Verbosity > Text.
Improvements for Low Vision Users
While it is not something we have been able to test, the Books app in macOS Ventura includes the same reading enhancements as its iOS 16 counterpart, such as new themes and customizations for text and line spacing. If you are a low vision Apple Books user, we would love to hear in the comments your experience and thoughts on these and any additional enhancements you encounter in macOS Ventura.
- Live Captions attempt to transcribe system audio into onscreen text, which should appear on a braille display if one is connected. Additionally, if you're on an audio or video call, you can type what you want to say and the other participants on the call will hear the typed text spoken aloud. This feature is limited to Macs with Apple Silicon, including the MacBook Air, (late 2020 and later) MacBook Pro, (late 2020 and later) Mac mini (2020) iMac (2021) and Mac Studio (2022.)
- Apple has brought Background Sounds, originally introduced with iOS and iPadOS 15, to macOS. Like on iOS and iPadOS, you can choose to play balanced noise, bright noise, dark noise, ocean, rain, and stream. They can be accessed in System Settings > Accessibility > Audio, and can also be added to the Menu Bar and Control Center for quick access.
- Just as they do on iOS, Private Access tokens on macOS aim to replace or reduce the number of captchas you encounter on the web and in apps by privately authenticating your identity using your Apple ID. This feature is enabled by default if you have two-factor authentication enabled for your Apple ID, and you can verify by going to System Settings > [your name] > Password & Security, and making sure the "Automatic verification" checkbox is selected. More information about this feature can be found in this TechCrunch article.
- As it is in iOS and iPadOS, the default system voice in macOS for those in the United States is now Samantha instead of Alex. This voice is used when starting VoiceOver for the first time, as well as in the VoiceOver Quick Start, installer progress window, and macOS Recovery environment.
- System Preferences has been replaced by a new app called System Settings, which features a new design and changed locations of many settings. For tips on how best to use this app with VoiceOver and get oriented to the new layout, check out this guide.
In its support documentation, Apple lists the following changes for VoiceOver and braille users in macOS Ventura:
- Text Checker for VoiceOver helps you discover common formatting issues such as duplicate spaces or mistakenly capitalised letters, which makes it easier to proofread what you write. VoiceOver can indicate repeated spaces, as well as speak the amount of leading indentation, which can be especially useful when writing programming code.
- VoiceOver now supports over 20 additional languages and locales, including Arabic (World), Bangla (India), Basque, Bhojpuri (India), Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, French (Belgium), Galician, Kannada, Malay, Mandarin (Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan), Marathi, Persian, Shanghainese (China mainland), Spanish (Chile), Slovenian, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Valencian and Vietnamese.
- You can use VoiceOver commands to quickly check the date and time, and the battery and network status of your Mac:
- VO-F7: Read the current date and time.
- VO-F7-F7: Read the battery status of your Mac.
- VO-F7-F7-F7: Read the network status of your Mac.
- When you use VoiceOver in the Books app:
- The VoiceOver cursor automatically moves to the next page when it reaches the end of the current page.
- VoiceOver remembers your place if you navigate out of Books and come back.
- You can use the VoiceOver rotor to navigate book-specific content, such as highlights and pages.
- If you use a braille display with VoiceOver, you can now do the following in VoiceOver Utility:
- Wrap the insertion point to a new braille line when you type past the end of your braille display, or have the insertion point stay at the end of the line so you can easily check what you just typed without needing to pan back.
- Automatically turn the page when you pan to the top or bottom of a page in the Books app.
Bug Fixes and New Bugs for VoiceOver Users
Below are lists of the bugs we believe to have been resolved in macOS Ventura, as well as new bugs introduced in this release. Of note, at the time of posting, we are unaware of any new bugs which we would rate as serious. However, such ratings are subjective, and thus we strongly recommend that you read through the list of new bugs and any replies before updating; as this will allow you to make an informed decision on whether to install macOS Ventura or wait for a future release.
As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We have only a small team of testers, and it is simply impossible for us to test all Mac models, configurations, applications, and use cases.
To help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, we would appreciate feedback from those who have installed macOS Ventura; both to confirm whether they are encountering the same problems (or have found workarounds), as well as to let us know of any additional issues that are not on this list. Of course, it’s even more important that you let Apple know of any additional bugs that you find (they already know about the ones currently listed below). This post explains why you should report bugs directly to Apple, as well as the best ways to do so.
Accessibility Bugs Resolved in macOS Ventura
Our testing indicates that Apple has resolved the following bugs in macOS Ventura:
- VoiceOver now correctly speaks text when using the "Say all" command.
- The Security & Privacy preference pane no-longer crashes when attempting to view "Analytics & improvements" settings.
- VoiceOver is no-longer slow when navigating the speech menu when Nuance voices are in use.
- VoiceOver speech no-longer pauses for an unnatural length of time when viewing menus or switching apps.
- When changing the VoiceOver voice using the speech menus, voice names are once again spoken by their respective voices.
- There is no-longer a non-purposeful "Spacer" dimmed button in Passwords preferences.
- It is once again possible to navigate the Music sidebar table with the arrow keys.
- It is once again possible to navigate the Safari sidebar table with the arrow keys.
New Bugs for VoiceOver Users in macOS Ventura
Our testing suggests that the following bugs have been introduced in macOS Ventura:
- After starting or restarting macOS, attempting to navigate the desktop or any Finder window using VoiceOver results in the message that “Finder has no windows.” Restarting VoiceOver should restore normal function.
- When visiting Youtube.com in Safari, performing a search, and pressing VO-Command-H to navigate by heading, VoiceOver locates headings as expected, but may not speak the headings’ contents. While this issue can be difficult to reproduce, it seems to occur most consistently after closing and reopening the window or performing a new search. If this issue occurs, interacting with the heading should cause VoiceOver to speak its contents.
- In the TV app, some of the sections in the “Watch now” and “store” views lack accessibility labels, or are simply labeled “Section containing.”
- Text Checker identifies misspellings and repeated spaces in documents, but may not identify formatting errors like misplaced capital letters as expected.
- After selecting an error in Text Checker, the left and right arrow keys may move by word, instead of moving by character as expected. Pressing a modifier key like Control or Option should resolve the problem.
- After pressing Return to select a spelling error in Text Checker and pressing VO-Shift-M to reveal the context menu, spelling suggestions and related options are not always present. If this issue occurs, select the word with Option-Right-Arrow and press VO-Shift-M to reveal a context menu with the expected suggestions and options.
- Email addresses and URLs appear in the "Misspelled" menu in Text Checker, even though they are not spelling errors.
- When pressing VO-Command-J to navigate by form control on some webpages in Safari, VoiceOver may identify several dimmed buttons that don’t have a clear purpose. This issue occurs most reliably when navigating webforms with autofill contact suggestions available.
- In Mail, the undo send button is labeled “Refresh circle,” instead of “undo send.” It is worth noting that like other undo actions in macOS, you can retract a message by choosing Edit > Undo Send (or pressing Command-Z) while the countdown is in progress.
macOS Ventura Release Notes
macOS Ventura makes the things you do most on Mac even better, with big updates to the apps you use everyday including Mail, Messages, and Safari. You can use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac with Continuity Camera. There's also an entirely new way to automatically organize your windows with Stage Manager. And when you upgrade, you get the latest security and privacy protections for your Mac.
- Undo send, scheduled send, remind me, and follow up make staying on top of email even easier
- Improved search delivers more accurate, complete results and provide suggestions as soon as you begin to type
- Quick Look support makes it easy to preview files by pressing Space bar on a result
- Image search helps you find images on the web and in Photos, Messages, Notes, and Finder
- Rich results for musicians, movies, businesses, sports, and more
Safari and Passkeys
- Shared Tab Groups let you share a set of tabs with others and see the Tab Group update instantly as you work together
- Passkeys offer an easier and safer sign‑in method, designed to replace passwords
- Edit a message, undo send, and mark as unread make everyday messaging easier
- SharePlay in Messages lets you enjoy activities like watching movies, listening to music, and more with friends while messaging
- Collaboration provides a simple way to invite others to collaborate on a file via Messages and get activity updates in the thread
- iCloud Shared Photo Library makes it easy to share photos and videos with up to five family members in a separate library that’s seamlessly integrated in the Photos app
- Stage Manager automatically organizes apps and windows, putting your active app in the center and other open apps on the left side of your screen
- Easy app switching by clicking on any open app on the left side of your screen
- Group apps together to create sets of apps within Stage Manager
- Quick Desktop access for easily dragging and dropping files into apps in Stage Manager
- Handoff in FaceTime allows you to move FaceTime calls seamlessly from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad, and vice versa
- Continuity Camera allows you to use iPhone as a Mac webcam when you bring iPhone close to Mac and place it in a stand (iPhone XR and later)
- Video and lighting effects include Portrait mode (iPhone XR and later), Center Stage (iPhone 11 and later), and Studio Light (iPhone 11 and later)
- Desk View uses the Ultra Wide camera on iPhone to show what’s on your desk during a video conference (iPhone 11 and later)
This release also includes other features and improvements:
- Clock app for Mac features world clocks, timers, and alarms, delivering a more consistent experience across your Apple devices
- Weather app comes to Mac, optimized for the larger display and featuring immersive animations, hourly forecasts, and detailed weather maps
- Lift subject from background isolates the subject of an image so you can copy and paste it into apps like Mail and Messages
- Focus filters hide distracting content in apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, Safari and third party apps
- System Settings includes a refreshed design that’s easier to navigate and has a new name
- Rapid Security Response delivers security improvements to macOS even faster
- Live Captions (beta) automatically converts audio into text for users who are Deaf or hard of hearing to follow along more easily with calls and media content (Mac with Apple Silicon)
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Mac models.
macOS Ventura is a solid update that adds a few new features and enhancements for blind and low vision users. We encountered no show-stopping bugs in this version of macOS. Our recommendation is to update when you're ready. You may want to give developers time to update their apps and others opportunity to find the bugs or other problems we missed, but we believe most users should be okay to update now.
As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this update. What do you like? What do you not like? Let us know by adding a comment below.
To install macOS Ventura, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, click the Software Update preference pane, and click the Update Now button to begin the update process. If other updates are available, you can click "More info" to see details about them and select specific updates to install.
More information on how to update the software on your Mac is available on this Apple Support page.