By Bruce Harrell, 25 October, 2023 Forum iOS and iPadOS Hey everybody, Is anybody who uses VoiceOver having a good experience with voice control? I'm thinking about investing some time and effort to make it work, but I don't know if it's worth it. Thank you! smile Bruce Options Log in or register to post comments Comments Using Voice Control with Voiceover This can actually work pretty well if you want to control your phone remotely and hands free. The one problem I had with using Voice Control with Voiceover was when exercising on my treadmill and wearing my Apple Airpod Pro 2 buds. It turns out that Voice Control only listens through the iPhone's microphone. Thus, with my iPhone on a shelf in the room and trying to speak commands through my Airpods, Voice control would not work. I had to talk into the phone rather than into the Airpods. There was no way to switch the microphone Voice Control uses in order to listen to commands. So, in the end, it wasn't quite as remote control as I would have liked. --Pete I adore Voice Control. A few quick thoughts before I go back to work. I'm happy to elaborate. Some caveats: most of my usage is on an iPad. And I do have some vision, though I can't always use it. I would advise you to use headphones if you aren't already because sometimes Voice Control picks up the Voiceover speech. And every once in a while Voice Control seems to hang when used with Voiceover at the same time so I have to turn off Voice Control and turn it back on again. I make good use of the handful of Voiceover navigation commands that are included. It saves wear and tear on my fingers, which is important since I can only use one hand. I have also created custom commands to shorten the built-in Voiceover commands so that I can say, for instance,"Next option" instead of saying "Voiceover select next rotor option" all the time. In general, I find the dictation to be very accurate. I'm fortunate, though, that I can speak clearly. And I was taught to speak carefully from an early age, so that helps. One thing that is a little cumbersome for me personally is double checking possible misrecognized words and selecting corrections. A lot of times the wrong word and the right word sound alike, so I have to switch to character mode and find the correction menu that pops up and go through the words by character until I find the right one. But depending on what you're trying to do, there is also a spelling mode, and sometimes I just spell the word I wanted to say rather than go through the corrections. I also like that I can just select text with my voice. It's easier than using the rotor. By the same token, once you know how things are labeled, you can just jump to a lot of things with your voice instead of having to tap around or cycle through. Figured I'd start with mostly pros. What are the drawbacks? Aidan and Hands, thanks for the feedback. I understand that the phone mic hears voiceover which messes up voice control. Headphones (or in my case, hearing aids) solve that problem. Good. Now a few questions. Do you leave voice control turned on 24/7, or do you only turn it on when you anticipate needing some hands free time? Can you point me to any tutorials or how to guides for learning voice control? Did you teach yourself voice control by only turning on a few features at a time until you memorized them, or did you go about it in a different way? Which voice control controls do you use most often? I mean, play, stop, back up, forward, I understand those would get used a lot, but what others? Are there any situations where you find it best to turn voiceover off when you are about to use voice control? Thanks for your input. smile. much appreciated. Bruce Agreed, and more two cents Well, here's a drawback for you. Here I was hoping to recommend the new Voice Control practice tutorial that Apple added to the Voice Control settings in 17, but when I went to try it out, it turns out it is an absolute mess trying to access it with Voiceover. There goes another bug report to Apple Accessibility. I found a Lifewire article that tells you how to go in and get started, but really it's talking around and getting the commands in your head for what you want to do. I can tell you what I did personally, without the tutorial, to get used to it. The Lifewire article is here: https://www.lifewire.com/using-voice-control-on-iphone-ipod-1999169 Mostly I think I started with basic navigation like "Show app switcher" and so forth, then learned bit by bit according to my activities at the time, so I didn't feel like I was getting too overwhelmed. On the iPad this was by saying "Show commands," which brings up absolutely everything you can say, organized by category. Basic navigation, Device commands, Accessibility commands, Text editing, and so forth. And I'd look under whichever category fit what I was doing at the moment to make sure I had the right idea. There's also a quicker "What can I say" or "Show me what to say" command (you can say both) that will give you just a few core commands targeted to the specific app you're in at the moment, which might also be helpful. Another thing I like is there's a command to show available actions. So for instance if you want to edit your home screen icons, you could say "Show actions for Files" or whatever and have the option to either edit the screen or open your app library. I know that Voiceover can do that too but I just think it's cool that Voice Control does it as well. It helps that the commands are pretty straightforward. I don't know if I have commands I use more than others, since I use Voice Control for so many things. But your comments on things like play controls remind me of another hiccup. Some apps have controls that are recognizable to Voiceover, but not to Voice Control. When I watch a show in Peacock, for instance, I can't just say "Play" or "pause" or "rewind 10 seconds" even though the buttons are labeled that way. I have to move focus to them and activate them with Voiceover commands. Which is minor compared to having controls that aren't accessible at all, but might be worth mentioning. And a very large drawback right now concerns dictating a message in the native Mail app. At least on my device, I can only dictate one sentence in the message body, then Voice Control effectively goes deaf in that text field. Never fails. But I'm told Apple is investigating this issue. Other hiccups will inevitably pop up, like sometimes Voiceover doesn't always announce or confirm a change made by Voice Control, like when copying text or replacing text. But it's definitely doable. In my case, since I have limited use of my hands, I have Voice Control running pretty often, though I tell it to stop listening for a bit if I'm just reading a book or something. And I'll turn it off and on again to refresh it when it's been on for a while; I think it gets tired. And in terms of microphones, I'm pretty sure that Voice Control is listening to the headset I have on right now, an old Trekz Titanium. Unless my voice really carries. I just left the room and told Voiceover to select the next item, and I heard it do so. I can't think of times I turn Voiceover off to use Voice Control off the top of my head. I hope at least some of this is informative; I'm getting over a nasty bug and not feeling too coherent at the moment. Happy to clarify. I thought I said that, yes. Might be my brain fog, so pardon if I misunderstood, but I thought I'd mentioned that I tell Voice Control to stop listening/put Voice Control to sleep when reading or not otherwise needing it. Only I say "Stop listening," not "Go to sleep," because that's easier for me. When I turn Voice Control totally off and back on, that's after I have been using it a bit. Doing that seems to keep it from freezing after I've been using it for a while. And being called Handsome Mouse made me smile trying to think of the image, so thank you. As far as misrecognized words go, that was a happy one. I hope Apple continues to integrate the two; I'm so glad they even did this much. Personally I'd enjoy a couple more Voiceover commands, like even a corresponding "Voiceover resume speaking" command to go with "Voiceover stop speaking" so that I can pick up reading a Kindle book where I left off if I have to pause for a moment. Like a vocal version of the toggle speech finger tap. We shall find out, I guess. using Voice Control here Hi all, in short I do use Voice Control sometimes. I've only started using it recently, but my use-case is very specific so here goes. I use eTextbooks to learn languages. Some of these books have enhanced content, meaning they have 'play' buttons on a lot of the pages so the learners can hear dialogues and lists of vocabulary etc.. However, these buttons aren't often accessible with VoiceOver unless you're using Apple Books. these buttons don't even show up on Kindle as Play buttons, they're just track listings according to VoiceOver, and with Google Play Books the buttons are visible with VoiceOver, but they don't work by double tapping, you either have to turn VoiceOver off and activate them that way by getting your finger exactly in the right place on the screen, or mess about with Voice Control like I've been doing. To use Voice Control (I'm still using VoiceOver at this point), I get to the page I'm trying to read with the Play button, and activate Voice Control. I then say, 'show grid continuously', this brings up a list of numbers on the screen, and each number is associated to each icon. So one of these icons is the Play' button. I then take a screenshot of the page, activate Be My Eyes, and then share the screenshot located in my photos. Be My AI then describes the screen, and states there are numbers. Sometimes it gives indications straight away of some of the numbers and their associations, and sometimes it doesn't. The description works better with VoiceOver turned on throughout because it gives a better description of the text and doesn't complain the text is obscured by a grid of numbers etc.. I often have to ask it something like 'Which number is the Play button', and then it'll say '13' for example. I then go back to the book, turn off VoiceOver, and then say 'tap 13', and then the audio will play. VoiceOver's speech didn't interfeer with Voice Control when I just tried this. If it does, you could turn off Voice Control when using VoiceOver to navigate between photos and listening to the Be My AI description, and then activate Voice Control again, and get it to show the grid with numbers again. Provided you're on exactly the same page of a book or using exactly the same screen of an app the numbers associated to an icon don't change. I've tried this several times with the same page and the Play button has the same number associated to it. Pretty revolutionary for me since not all the stuff I want is on Apple Books, and sometimes Apple Books is more expensive. To tap stuff and to move between icons, you need to turn VoiceOver off. So you can't just find a 'play' button or something with VoiceOver, and then tell Voice Control to double tap. You have to know the grid references. This is why for years Voice Control was useless for me because I couldn't activate inaccessible buttons, and now I can. The grid Tara, thank you for mentioning the grid--that's one of the parts that's a bear that I didn't have the energy to get into. I don't need to invoke it very often for most of what I do, at least so far. The Be My Eyes workaround for your books indeed sounds revolutionary! I wonder if the eTextbook publishers would be interested in what you've said here? Might motivate them to find possibly more accessible ways of displaying the content. (I can dream.) And Singer Girl I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to notice the voice typo in a bad way, just a happy one because of the image it gave me (a mouse with a mustache and a little suit). You did mention your troubles with editing, and I apologize for calling attention to it, even unintentionally. Probably I should have picked a more clearly pronounced name. It was an old handle for something and it stuck. re the grid Hi Hand2Mouth, contacting publishers might not be such a bad idea, though I've heard of other blind people trying and they haven't had any luck. I was using Google Play Books a lot with Windows through my browser. I've just got so used to finding work-arounds now. The Play buttons are accessible in Google Play Books on Windows. Using eTextbooks for language learning is doable when you're blind, but you just have to get creative with extracts from Google books search, OCR, dictionaries and online grammar references to check stuff sometimes. But now with Be My AI, even more things are possible with it being able to describe screenshots of pages and text etc.. Be My AI Hi Singer Girl, I'm pretty sure everyone now has access to Be My Ai. You can ask Siri to take a screenshot of your screen from wherever you are on your phone. Maybe you could set up a siri shortcut to Be My AI. As for photos, you can open the camera app with Siri but it won't take the picture for you. think I've found a solution Hi singer girl, So it seems you can take a picture with Voice Control and when VoiceOver is on. I've got my phone volume pretty low which is why it doesn't interfeer with it. Here's what I said. open camera tap take photo Then you'll hear the sound of the photo being taken. open photos tap recents (Or wherever your photos are stored). It seems to be Recents by default. Then say, 'tap photo' if you have just one photo, but if you have more than one, each photo will be numbered. I think the most recent will be the lowest number. So let's say you have 2 photos, you would say either, 'tap 1' or 'tap 2' Then say, 'tap share' Now depending on how many items are on your share sheet, you might have to scroll down a couple of pages. You could start off by saying, 'tap describe with be my eyes', then if nothing happens say, 'scroll down' and you'll be taken to the next page on the share sheet, now try saying, 'tap describe with Be My Eyes'. It might work this time, but I actually had to scroll down twice because I've got three pages of items on my share sheet, and Be My Eyes is at the bottom. When it works, you'll hear Be My AI come up. While I was doing this, VoiceOver was reading where I was on the screen, and Voice Control wasn't getting confused or anything. The only time nothing was read out was when Voice Control hadn't tapped on Describe with Be My Eyes because I had to scroll down to find it. I'm running the latest version of iOS on my iPhone 12 mini. Screenshots and photos There is also a Take Screenshot command in Voice Control. You can also open and operate the camera by Voice Control, though when I opened it Voiceover kept repeating herself until I tapped something. After that it was all right. I'm using a beta of iPadOS at the moment, so that might have something to do with it. I agree, I would love it if more Voiceover gestures made it to Voice Control. It seems like at least a few more of them should be doable. Another thing that bugs me is that to spare my fingers, often I use a stylus which limits me to single finger gestures. The Custom Gestures in Assistive Touch and the Gesture custom command in Voice Control are supposed to let you record and play back any multi finger gestures. But if I record a multi finger Voiceover gesture, playing it back does nothing. I think I understand why it doesn't work; my guess is it interferes with Voiceover actions somehow. But I wish it could work. audio ducking Hi Hand2Mouth, I've got audio ducking enabled in my VoiceOver settings. I wonder if that makes a difference. But maybe you've got that enabled too. I'm using British English Daniel enhanced. I wonder if the voice you're using could possibly make a difference. I don't really see why but you never know. Successes Yeah, there has been some pretty good follow through. A lot of Voice Control users including me were clamoring for Apple to add a spelling mode and to fix the correction menu, which for some reason I still don't understand offered utterly nonsensical replacements that weren't even words. It took a few years, but we got a spelling mode and sound-based word corrections. That's one of the reasons I decided to beta test 17, to check out the new corrections. I just sent more suggestions for new Voiceover Voice Control commands, so here's hoping. Voice Control in Spanish is a mess I dont know if it is just me but think that voice control needs improvement at least in Spanish. I can't succeed even in the tutorial for voice control, because even the instructions that the tutorial suggests to give, don't work for me. Particularly regarding editing text, if i want to replace aword, it writes down the phrase "replace word for word" and everything is the same with whatsoever instruction I speak when editing text. lucky ones who could make this work in English. Spanish text replacement If you're consistently having trouble with the text commands, it's worth getting in touch with Apple Accessibility. My spoken Spanish is rusty, but I dictated some text and gave the selection, correction, and replacement commands a try. Voice Control did interpret the commands as text several times before it eventually understood I was issuing commands. However, I will say that Voice Control seemed to respond better when I used "Cambiar frase a frase" to replace text instead of "Reemplazar frase con frase." But that might have been because of my pronunciation.