Google docs and IOS

iOS and iPadOS

Hi all,
So someone recommended i try google docs which I should learn anyway for any type of employement. I've gotten it to work on the Windows side, and in an E-mail copy of something I sent to someone, it was telling me about the apps. How accessible is the app with IOS? My buddy I asked didn't have any ideas, so I'm coming to the community for further assistance. I recently got a new computer with a version of office that half works, and am looking to fix that problem but was looking at other options anyway. Thanks for any assistance.



Submitted by Tyler on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I believe the Google Docs app is mostly accessible, although it's been some time since I've last used it.


Submitted by J.R. on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hello T dog,

Thanks for your reply, it is very helpful. While I understand you have not used it in awhile, are you able to tell me whether I can do most things on it such as typing in documents and reviewing them? I would assume the more advanced things like linking and other things is better done on the computer, but I'd rather write in word than in text where possible for the project I am involved in where I'm free to write about everything. Its a site which is good, however, they assist me because of the image aspect, but would prefer to write the initial document in word. I'm not looking for anything fancy at all, and as I said, i could find tune it via computer. I assume too, since I have two-factor authentication, I need to set a password for it in my account like I did for mail?

Submitted by J.R. on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I went back looking through the Email, and now I don't see what I thought was the idea of using an app for docs, i do see through accesability help that I can use the phone, but all it says is that I can use voice over, but thats all so I guess I should ask if thre is an app, or do we just use safari with the phone? I thought i had saw a link in the email for an app, but now I'm not sure. Maybe i should get clarification?

Submitted by Tyler on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In my experience, Google Docs is more accessible with the iOs app than with a computer. You should be able to perform most common word processing functions on the app.

Submitted by J.R. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Does this include linking passages, and other word processing commands? I found enough to get me started with it, and I've played with headings, underlining stuff, and typing although I can't go to the top and bottom of the document, but thats the least of my worries at the moment. I'll have to play with it.

Submitted by Tasha on Monday, January 18, 2021

I have the latest version of google docs on ios and i can't figure out how to get to the end of a document. I can page down until the end, but VO starts reading from the beginning.

Submitted by Reginald George on Monday, March 15, 2021

Before adding to this thread I did a search for Google Docs on IOS. All the entries are so out of date on this topic.

I had always been told this was a good app for accessibility. All I know is whether editing a Word document in Docs on IOS, or editing a Google Doc, if
you delete content with the onscreen keyboard, or from a Bluetooth keyboard, it just says selected item. As you backspace or whatever it will not tell
you what you are deleting, making this nearly impossible to edit with.
This was my primary editor for Word documents because it seemed to work better than Microsoft Word with a Bluetooth keyboard, until last year when this
mysteriously stopped working. I verified the issue with other friends using the same technique. I hope someone will tell me I am wrong.

I did the responsible thing and called Google support through the Be My Eyes app to report this bug. The agent reproduced the problem and escalated the
issue. I checked a few months later, no ETA for resolution.

If this is unusable, I believe this information needs to be a blog post, or given some higher visibility than being buried in a 4 year old forum topic.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, January 10, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Google's documentation for iOS with BoiceOver:

To quickly move to the beginning or end of a document, use VO+Space. VoiceOver will respond with "insertion point at start" or "insertion point at end".

Google Docs makes it pretty cumbersome to delete a character at a time. If you turn on quick nav and rotor to select, then up arrow to select characters, you can hear each character as you select it. Then hit backspace to delete the selection. While this works, it's tedious. Furthermore, spaces and punctuation aren't announced. This makes it impractical for professional editing, in my opinion.

I do a lot of document reviewing in which I need to add comments. As with practically any word processor that supports a comment feature, there is no obvious way to jump focus between comment text and anchor text. For example, Google Docs has a nice comment pane, allowing me to move through each comment, but, with focus on a comment, there's no way to close the pane and leave focus on the anchor text. There's also no way to sort the comments, and they seem to be listed most recent first.

Starting a new Google Doc from scratch, I was unable to find a way to add a first-line hanging indent, which seems like a pretty serious feature omission.

It appears I'll be able to do some basic work with Google Docs on iOS, but it's no where near as useable and feature-rich as the Mac OS desktop / Safari browser experience.

Submitted by Wenwei on Monday, January 10, 2022

I use Google docs on iOS with speech output almost every day, especially for initial edits.

I'll sometimes use the rotor to navigate by lines on my keyboard. Otherwise I just use text editing commands–e.g., option + up-down arrows to move by paragraph, option+ left-right arrows to move by word, function + VO + command to move by sentence, etc. I find it a lot faster to select by word and then use the indicated google docs shortcut keys to insert comments, suggested edits, hyperlinks, etc. Good luck!

Submitted by Tasha on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Is there a way to jump to the bottom of a document in a Google doc without a bluetooth keyboard, scroll back a few pages, and have VO read from the cursor position? I've never gotten this to work.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I'll prefix this answer by saying I'm on an old iPad 4 - yes, a 10-year-old iPad - and it is running iOS 10. The Google Docs app hasn't been updated in years. So even though this works for me, your mileage may vary.

I double tap until I hear VoiceOver say "Insertion point at end". Then I 3-finger scroll back a few screens. I drag around the screen with one finger until I find a line to start reading at. Then I double-tap to put the insertion point there. Finally, 2-finger swipe down. VoiceOver reads from that insertion point to the end of the document.

It would be truly sad if the only solution for basic functionality like this is to keep a 10-year-old iOS device around.

Submitted by Wenwei on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

If I really had to, I would double tap to go to beginning or end of document and use the rotor settings to navigate by line or paragraph. I've never tried swiping with three fingers to move by page, but I don't see why this wouldn't work.

If you mainly need to read (and not do too many edits) the reading experience opening a google doc in drive is much easier to deal with.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I found a way to jump from a comment into the document anchor text. Again, I'm using an old version: 1.2019.12202 so I don't know if this is useful.

With edit mode off, find the Comments button and open it. Find the comment of interest. Select it. You'll hear VoiceOver read the anchor text followed by the word "selected". Excellent. Close the comments panel with the escape key (I imagine 2-finger scrub will work).

Now, here's the important part: Go to the Edit button at the bottom of the app. I think it's the last button on the screen. Select it. This puts you in edit mode, and the anchor text is selected, so if you use the arrow keys, your focus is right where you want it.

My problem was that I wasn't using the edit button. I was just double-tapping the edit window. But that has the side effect of moving focus to the beginning of the document.

I'm making progress. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

After several hours of trying stuff, Docs on iOS is going to work for me. At some point, I do intend to upgrade to a current iPad and current iOS, and then I'll see what's broken with the latest technology. For now, I'm almost scared to upgrade.

Submitted by Wenwei on Thursday, January 13, 2022

I cannot escape out of the comment, and I suspect it's because there is an actual close button, so there's nothing to dismiss. That said, I'm able to leave the comment open and then navigate through the text of my Google Doc on the right side of the screen and locate the selected text that way. It's equally clunky and not ideal. If I were working with the contents of a Google Doc that I have never read, I would use an alternative method to read the information.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, January 13, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Thanks, that's good to know. I will almost certainly upgrade my iPad to a current model soon, and then I'll replace my clunky way of doing this with your clunky way. LOL.

Submitted by Wenwei on Thursday, January 13, 2022

Hahaha, good luck! Your VoiceOver knowledge far surpasses mine, so if you find a less clunky way of reviewing comments after you upgrade, please let us know.

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