URGENT! MAJOR bluetooth bug with iOS 15.2

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Braille on Apple Products

I am having a problem where bluetooth devices disconnect at random. When it happens to bluetooth speakers and such, I don't mind as much, but with my Braille displays, this is a major problem that I hope is fixed soon! Someone suggested resetting my network settings on my iPhone. I did that and am still getting the same thing. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Submitted by Scott Davert on Friday, December 17, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

When you are experiencing this with your braille display, are other Bluetooth devices connected? If so, if they are not active, like if you turn speech off on your phone and use only braille, is the connection stable then?

Submitted by Shass on Friday, December 17, 2021

Personally I have had the feeling that the bluetooth-braille functionality with iOS has been deteriorating more and more since iOS13. Or perhaps it's just the Focus Blue 5 + iOS combination? Unclear, but I can barely type at all these days without my braille display freezing. I have the latest version of both iOS and for the Focus, and it keeps getting worse. Often I can't finish even one single message without having to restart my display or VoiceOver once or twice at least, sometimes more. It's very frustrating. I've contacted the company delivering and doing support on my display several times about this, but they've always reacted as if I'm stupid or making things up, so I've thought all this time that it was just I who had problems with braille displays in combination with an iPhone.

Sad that it works so badly. Glad that I wasn't imagining things. Hope these problems will be resolved asap.

Submitted by Lynn I on Friday, December 17, 2021

Like kjw810, I am experiencing random disconnects of my Orbit Writer and Brailliant BI 14. This began, immediately after updating to iOS 15.2, using my iPod 7.

I have not experienced this problem previously. I reset my iOS network settings because I was also experiencing a lag in timeline refreshing in both Twitterrific and the native Twitter iOS apps. This reset did help with the latter problems, but did little to resolve the random Bluetooth disconnection.

Sometimes, turning off VoiceOver, waiting several seconds, and turning it back on again reestablishes the connection. However, quite often, it is necessary to restart my device. This random disconnect is a serious issue for me as I am DeafBlind.

I have noticed that time duration seems to have something to do with the frequency of the disconnection. The longer I have my Orbit Writer turned on, the more likely the chance for random disconnectivity, but that could just be because there is more opportunity for this to occur. Any ideas or suggestions here would be most appreciated. I would like to submit a bug report about this, but have no idea about how or where to do this.

Submitted by the grumpy apple on Friday, December 17, 2021

Like the subject says, I’m disgusted with the state of afairs when it comes to braille support on ios. I agree it is deteriorating. I get that apple is a main stream company. I get that they don’t specialize in braille. However, if they are going to implement braille support into their products, they need to get their act together and get it right! I’m seriously contemplating starting a petition to have apple clean up their mess when it comes to braille. In general, I’m a very impatient girl as it is, and I’ve lost my patience with apple a long time ago. If they can't get it right, I’d rather apple drop braille support completely than deal with an extremely unsatisfactory experience! I’ve tried being polite. I’ve tryed sending bug reports. I keep getting ignored and I’m sick and tired of it! Like some have said, £WePayTo. I don’t expect perfection, but I expect decent quality. So, who’s with me. Anybody else think I should petition apple to fix braille? Like my dad says, the squeaky wheel gets the greece.
Now, I’ll climb off my soap box for a while.

Submitted by Andy Lane on Friday, December 17, 2021

In reply to by the grumpy apple

Hi, as above, I don’t understand why its okay for Apple to deliver such a sub-optimal standard to VO users. Whenever I voice this opinion someone within this community will jump on me pretty much instantly to essentially say “apple are doing their best” or “we don’t have the right to expect perfection” or “everyone has to suffer bugs in software not just VO users” While I understand everyone deals with bugs, thats what dot releases are about, they don’t have to deal with so many complete show stoppers. They don’t have to deal with their devices randomly shutting down, they don’t have to deal with the web being an exercise in frustration sometimes taking an hour to complete a simple task. They don’t have to find work arounds for a good percentage of their every day tasks, they don’t have random elements in random apps be unusable. And on and on. If non VO users had to deal with even a fraction of the problems VO users do, Apple would be a laughing stock. Simple examples, Imagine every time a person hung up their screen turned off for 30 seconds or more as VO goes silent. Laughing stock, imagine if every time they clicked a link in Safari they had to wait up to a minute for the page to load… Busy, Busy, Busy. Or what if a good deal of the time an ad came on the screen in kicked them out of what they were doing and they had to start again. Focus being lost with ads. Imagine they couldn’t even scroll a simple timeline in twitter without it repeating over and over. Nobody would put up with this but we do because we appreciate having access to these devices but as you remembered from another post I’d made, #WePayToo and we do. We don’t get a discount but do get a lesser experience. Sometimes frustrating, often impossible and certainly uncertain. What I don’t know is how to address our issues with Apple in a sensible productive way, they don’t seem to put priority on a subset of users which essentially means issues can remain for months to years. There has to be a middle ground between demanding everything is fixed now which isn’t realistic and bugs remaining for years on end.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, December 17, 2021

Sad. Glad that I do not use it. Apple is not addressing bugs ASAP. For the money we pay for the Apple devices, is sad.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Friday, December 17, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The speculation I've come up with on this is that there is some issue between Bluetooth devices and iOS that is specifically messing with braille displays. I think it may be tied to MFi supported 3rd party stuff, not including airpods and Apple technology, but since no one specifying if they have other things connected, I'm not sure if this theory is correct. I am not able to replicate this myself, and if I can't replicate it, I can't file it as a bug.
Not that this excuses the issue, because it most certainly doesn't, but if you think there are issues on iOS, you should have some time to experience the Android side. Although, at this point, at least braille devices stay connected under BrailleBack and just about every other OS that supports braille through a screen reader.

I couldn't have said it better myself. I am not asking for special treatment. we want equality. Is that too much to ask these days? If I delivered the message in a respectful but ascertive manner, do you think a petition would be helpful? It's comforting to find somebody that agrees with me on this.
Thanks for your input.

Submitted by Andy Lane on Friday, December 17, 2021

In reply to by the grumpy apple

Hi again, So I agree something needs to be done, in a calm respectful and assertive way. It would be helpful if the majority on this site and others wouldn’t shy away from requesting the equality you spoke of. I am guilty myself of accepting the unacceptable and justifying when things have gone way beyond what should be justified. I think its a mixture of shame, determination and a feeling that I have to make it work myself when we all know how loudly the general population shout and scream if they even feel the slightest inkling things aren’t going exactly the way they want them too. The simple truth apple are going to have to confront here is that we do pay an equal amount and very often get a lesser product. That just isn’t right. The frustration, upset, despair, feelings of inadequacy and emotions I have to face whenever a simple task is impossible when it should be easy or infuriating when it should be a pleasure are unacceptable and in a reasonable relationship these issues would be fixed so Apple has to understand they need to step it up a level. How to make that happen I don’t know though. Whatever you have in mind or want to work on, I’m 100% with you. Anyone who isn’t can make their usual noises and hopefully if and when things start to improve they can reap the benefits along with the rest of us who have had enough. Again though, any action we approach apple with must be calm, considered, respectful, factual and positive. They were the first to make their products accessible and my sense is that if they truly understood the frustration that simple bugs can cause that they’d be receptive as long as the right people were in on the conversation.

Submitted by kjw810 on Friday, December 17, 2021

In reply to by Scott Davert

This is in reply to Scott's question. THe first time it happened, I only had my Focus Blue 5th generation Braille display plugged in. It disconnected several times. This morning, I had my display as well as a bluetooth headset plugged in. I always have speech off when I use a Braille display.

Submitted by Marc on Friday, December 17, 2021

I'm not a braille device user so I can't comment but if you look at the history of Applvis, petitions, and Apple the company, I am not sure a petition is the right way to go. Apple is not a company that responds to public shaming. Continue to send email to accessibility@apple.com . Try to be as specific as possible. Include videos or screen shots if you are able to. iOS devices have a built-in screen recorder that is accessible.

Submitted by peter on Friday, December 17, 2021

Q: Is the Focus braille display able to connect to other bluetooth devices without any problems?
q2: for people using other braille displays connected to iOS via bluetooth, are they experiencing problems?

Before filing a bug one needs to know whether the problem lies within iOS or the Focus firmware.

--Pete

Submitted by Maldalain on Friday, December 17, 2021

I am not sure if this is correct or not, but when I switched off alert messages the issue seems to be gone. I have had this issue with two different braille devices and two different iPads. So it is not variant or braille display specific.
To answer Scot's question, no I have no BT devices connected except the braille display. Also it seems to be more bad with my Focus 40 than with my smaller RB18.

Submitted by CuriousNetEntity on Saturday, December 18, 2021

I 2nd the idea of sending plenty of messages with lots of info to accessibility@apple.com instead of a petition. I have to say that I am not experiencing the problem of braille display disconnection with my Humanware BrailleNote Apex. I read a lot with it but do not do much writing. Still, braille deserves attention. I'm only aggravated by my reading position being lost every time my phone locks. This wasn't the case in the past in Safari. I won't even begin to try to explain the problems with Braille on a Mac.

People who don't think better should be expected should remember that some of us use braille by choice but others use it out of absolute necessity.

I am using either a Focus Blue 14 5th generation or a BI20X and the bluetooth is awful. It has frozen my phone a lot. This is very frustrating since I have to ask my sighted wife if the phone is restarting.
This also happens with my Oticon On hearing aids.
I also called Apple Accessibility. All they could do was to send the issues to their engineers. What to do in the meantime? I'm using an iPhone xs Max with latest version of IOS.

Submitted by Wayne Scott Jr on Saturday, December 18, 2021

How do you turn off alert messages? I have my hearing aids and braille displays connected to my phone. And it isn't consistent. I never know when it's going to happen.

Settings>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Braille> Braille Alert Messages and switch it to off. I am not having any issues now! However I can not confirm if his is the proper solution to the problem as I have done other things like deleting some other bluetooth paired devices from the list of paired devices.

Your notifications will not show on your braille display. This is the only thing worked for me. Now I am using my braille display again. Of course this is not a perminent solution and Apple has to to do something to address this issue.

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Saturday, December 18, 2021

Hi, I don't expierence the problems what you discribed. I expierence other problems, sometimes my Braille Display keybord doesn't responds to my command. I am using the Brailliant Bi 40 X.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Saturday, December 18, 2021

I've been beta testing for a while, and bluetooth disconnections have not been among the problems I've dealt with. I'll admit, I'm not a huge Braille user, especially post pandemic, but I do try to get my display out whenever a new version comes along.

I really don't think clearing network settings is going to do anything more than give the user a job getting everything re-entered. I'd first try reboothing the phone. The thing people have to remember is that for all we know there could be half a dozen bluetooth chipset versions being used by various iPhones. It will take many bug reports from many users with different setups to solve something like this. People need to keep sending in bug reports, they are going to need a lot of them.

Submitted by HEXAGON on Saturday, December 18, 2021

In reply to by the grumpy apple

Hi,
Besides the current crashes, what else is so bad about Braille on iOS? I'm an intensive Braille user myself on both Mac and iPhone, and one thing I can tell you is that Braille support on iOS is quite well, unlike macOS. On the Mac, it is not even possible to read texts in the preview app using Braille panning. To be honest, I don't quite understand the problem apart from the disconnections.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Saturday, December 18, 2021

When fighting a bluetooth disconnection problem, you need to think about what also might be using the frequencies Bluetooth uses. Things that use this band include: microwave ovens when they are cooking, baby monitors and even 2.4ghz wi-fi. If you are having a disconnection issue, the first thing that you might try is make sure, if your router gives you the choice, to connect to the 5ghz wi-fi band. Also, if you live in an apartment complex, a microwave oven someone else is using may be causing you a problem, especially if all your problems happen at meal time.

Submitted by the grumpy apple on Sunday, December 19, 2021

that is my main issue. Another issue i'm having is the braille cursor not staying where I put it. I'm also having freezing and orerall lag. I've emailed apple constantly about all this, but my issue has been swept under the rug.

Submitted by John Gurd on Sunday, December 19, 2021

Yes, I too am fed up of the lag, the freezing of the display and the jumping cursor making it impossible to edit. Reports of this latest update saga have stopped me updating. I really despair of Apple's attitude to Braille users

Submitted by HEXAGON on Sunday, December 19, 2021

Hello,
I use a Focus 40 fifth generation myself, but I cannot confirm the two described issues with the cursor jumps. Nevertheless, there are indeed some bugs that have been lying dormant in the depths of iOS and iPadOS for years and will probably really never be fixed. In contrast to macOS, however, these do not limit the productivity for me. In macOS, not even the Braille panning works, and many text elements are not even displayed on the Braille display. Productive working there is not possible at all. Under iOS, I would rather classify the bugs apart from the currently occurring Bluetooth bug as minor bugs, which are not so serious that Apple would rather have to give up Braille support completely. I will also send another mail to accessibility@apple.com, the more specific and factual reports they receive, the sooner the engineers at Apple will take notice and can investigate the problem more closely. So, be kind and be specific; as already said, include screen recordings. You can also include sys-diagnose logs and the exact timestamp when the issue occurred. Then, you have to do the following:
Source: https://download.developer.apple.com/iOS/iOS_Logs/sysdiagnose_Logging_Instructions.pdf (I have modified it a bit)
1. Reproduce the issue. Important: Note the date and time issue occurred and add this information to your report.
2. Trigger a sysdiagnose by simultaneously pressing and releasing both volume buttons + the Side (or Top) button for 1 to 1.5 seconds.
Notes:
- A screenshot will also be taken when the buttons are pressed and released.
- The sysdiagnose is triggered upon button release.
- On an iPhone you will feel a short vibration when a sysdiagnose is successfully triggered. (The vibration will not occur on an iPad).
3. Wait 10 minutes for the diagnostic gathering to complete.
4. Sync device with your host computer or AirDrop the file to your Mac computer.
5. Attach the file listed at the path below under Log Locations to your report.
Notes:
- It’s very important to note the date and time you reproduced the issue in your report. This information will help the engineering team pinpoint the issue in the log file.
- If applicable, please provide the name(s) of the affected app(s) in the report. - Trigger the sysdiagnose as soon as possible after the problem occurs, even if the logs can’t be synced until later.

Log Locations
iOS:
Go to: Settings > Privacy > Analytics > Analytics Data >
Locate the sysdiagnose file and AirDrop it to your Mac. Scroll down, if necessary, to the point where you see the sysdiagnose with today's date, tap on that file and then tap the box with an arrow in it at the top right (share button). Then choose the Mac device to send it to from the list of devices that appear in the AirDrop area. Once the transfer is complete (this may take several minutes), the file will be located in the /Users/[Your Username]/Downloads folder. The name will be similar to this: “sysdiagnose_YYYY.MM.DD_HH-MM-SS-XX…"

If you don't want to send the file via AirDrop, you can sync your device to the computer and locate the file at the following locations:
macOS:
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/[Your_Device_Name]/DiagnosticLogs/sysdiagnose
Tip: Open Finder and then press CMD+Shift+G and copy the given path into the text field. Then, replace the appropriate placeholders and press the return key when you are done.
Note: “~/Library/…” actually translates to: /Users/[Your User Name]/Library/…
The “/Users/[Your User Name]/Library/…” folder is hidden by default in macOS. To expose the folder, hold the option key while clicking the Finder’s Go menu and the Library folder will appear in the menu. Any time you see a placeholder like “[Your Device Name]” or, “[Your User Name]” you should replace that part of the path with your actual device’s name, or your computer user name.

Windows 10:
C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Local\Packages\AppleInc.iTunes_devicename\LocalCache\Roaming\Apple Computer\Logs\CrashReporter\MobileDevice

Windows 8, 7, Vista:
C:\Users\[Your_User_Name]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\Logs\CrashReporter\MobileDevice\
[Your_Device_Name]\DiagnosticLogs\sysdiagnose
Note: The AppData folder in Windows 8 is hidden by default. Click on the View menu item in a Windows navigation window and check the "Hidden items" checkbox and the AppData folder will appear in the list of folders under C:\Users\[Device_Name]. Important: Replace "[Your_Device_Name]" or "[Your_User_Name]" in the file paths above with the actual device name for the iOS device, or the actual user name you use on your computer.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Sunday, December 19, 2021

Apple News today reports that Forbes reports that millions of IOS 15 users, particularly those with the iPhone 12 or 13, have been having extremely aggravating bluetooth problems. I have not been having problems, thank God. I never upgraded, and I'm very glad I haven't, because I am bluetooth connected between my iPhone and my hearing aids.

Bruce

Submitted by Scott Davert on Monday, December 20, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

re: a petition, I don't think it would be very effective, this has been done in the past with little to no verifiable effect.
What I have found with the dropping of Bluetooth connections is that I'm not having an issue running a Brailliant BI 20X and no other devices connected. I have added my hearing aids into the mix, which are not MFi certified, and still no connectivity issues. A friend who owns a Brailliant BI 40X had connection issues in 15.2 and is running MFi hearing aids. She reported that if she left speech off, and her MFi hearing aids not with an active connection, the connection between her phone and display was solid. I have also found that a user who uses a Chameleon and had her AirPods connected did not suffer any Bluetooth connection problems and another using a Mantis with Airpods also did not have these issues. I'm perplexed! It seems like the Focus display issue may be a different one, I will try pairing one to the iPhone 12 Mini running 15.2 and see what happens. I can't report this myself since I can't test it to follow up. I'd be chasing people around most likely. I'm trying to duplicate the issue and am not able to.

Submitted by SmoothJazzyTrumpet on Monday, December 20, 2021

While I haven’t had any issues with my focus 40 blue fifth generation braille display, and connecting my AirPods Pro or even a Bluetooth speaker or my Bose frames tempo, this sounds like it may be happening in some later models of iPhone and possibly iPad. I am running 15.2 on an iPhone 8 Plus but the only problem I seem to be having ever since upgrading to iOS 15 from 14.8 is Siri not opening apps with regards to Bluetooth device is being connected like the Bose frames tempo or the AirPods Pro that I have and I have tried to troubleshoot that but Knogo so I’ve kind of given up on it even with regards to talking with Apple accessibility support via email. It only happens when I’m at home but it’s funny when I’m away from home that I am able to launch apps and I do not know anything about how to reset my home network or router that’s my dad‘s business stuff so I dare not touch any of that so I make of that what I will and just press on and utilize braille screen input although now that I mention braille screen input I noticed sometimes when I’m trying to erase some text that I’ve written it actually says stopping real screen input and then that’s when I find it backs out of braille screen input mode and I have to go back into braille screen input mode just because I’ve tried to erase certain things very fast because I’m very quick with my fingers. And that particular problem has been happening since iOS 14 for me. Sorry for the long post everybody. I hope you guys have a great holiday season! :-) oh and regards to Siri, don’t you just love it when you’re connected to a Bluetooth device and you want to launch an application and it says it’s having issues with the connection make sure of this device is on the same network as this HomePod and what’s more is that if one does not own a HomePod that makes it very perplexing to me And then later when you’re done with your Bluetooth device and it takes about a second to power it off and disconnect from the iPhone, you try to Siri command and then it says it still has connection issues so then you try again and finally it works after the fact that it forgets that you just disconnect the Bluetooth device? Anyway it’s all confusing to me but I’m just rolling with the punches here.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Monday, December 20, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

This seems to possibly be an issue with Bluetooth in general. I connected a Focus 40 to an iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 15.2. It was able to be paired without any trouble. SO I through my hearing aid connection at it. What happened was that the Bluetooth from my hearing aids would drop every couple of minutes. Eventually, the braille display's connection dropped, but only after about 15 minutes of use. The entire time my audio dropped, braille hung on as though nothing were wrong. However, just like others have described, once the display's connection takes a dump, the only way to rectify the situation appears to be to repair or restart. I tried toggling Bluetooth, forgetting my hearing aids, and restarting the Focus. All with no result. However, it seems that my hearing aids will pick the connection back up after a 2-finger double tap. What does this mean? Inconsistency and more mystery I guess. Sigh.

Submitted by Mitchell on Monday, December 27, 2021

I've used a BrailleNote Touch Plus on previous versions of ios 15, and the main issue that I run into appears to stem from the BrailleNote itself. After it connects to the iphone in question, after a while, within bluetooth and Braille settings, it shows up with an "in progress" status bar, even though it's connected. This happened with my Macbook Pro as well, so I'm really not sure where that problem came from. This doesn't appear to happen on a Brailliant BI 40, though, so it just boggles my mind as to why these problems seem to occur.

Submitted by Johan Piryns on Saturday, January 22, 2022

As followed on comments here about te great issue with a focus blue 5th gen: I’ve the same bug. The display freeze after a couple of hours. I’ve made a phone call with Apple Care Netherlands to explain it and they’ve said that they didn’t know a solution ‘bout this. Maybe a firmware update or not? Where is mr Cook with his great statement about accessibility? After ios 15.2.1 update last week, the problem is there yet.

Let’s hope mr Cook reads this page?