VO is too verbose for group Messages

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iOS & iPadOS

When I receive a group e-mail from a number of people, VO is speaking all of the names to whom the message is sent before reading the message on the locked screen. Although it is nice to know everyone to whom a message is being sent, when such mesages are sent to 10 or more people it takes too long to speak the name before the message itself is spoken.

I am hoping that Apple will change this behavior so that VO only anounces that it is a group mesage and then quickly gets on to speaking the mesage itself. One can always see all recipients in the Messages app itself. This is only a problem on the locked screen but it makes such messages almost unuseable.

I have reported this to Apple Accessibility. We'll see what happens. perhaps others can write to them also if they are bugged by this behavior.

--Pete

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Comments

Submitted by Josh C. on Sunday, March 8, 2020

I have message notifications turned off and I always check my messages manually, but I could see how that could be very annoying. if it would announce the first two names in the group, and then say and others, that would fix the problem. an even more annoying behavior for me that makes the Messages app almost unusable in group messages is that even when messages notifications are turned off, and I am reading a group message, or any message for that matter, and a new message comes in, VO Will stop Reading the message and begin reading the new message instead. I have had to put my phone in airplane mode and turn off Wi-Fi when reading threads in group messages because of this behavior. I reported it to Apple back in 2014 or 2015, but the problem is yet to be fixed.

Submitted by peter on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Another feature of messages which I find annoying is that, when dealing with a message that comes comes to the locked screen or at the top of the screen when the phone is unlocked, the only action available to get rid of the message is "dismiss". Although this is nice, if messages are only "dismissed", then the icon near the messages app continues to indicate that there are unread messages. The only way to mark a mesage read is to actually get into the messages app. It would be nice if one of the available actions on a message was "read". After all, if I read enough of the mesage to know I want to dismiss it then it should be marked as read or at least give me the option to mark it as read.

--Pete

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Hi Peter,

As like you this can be quite a nightmare when you have a large group of people that are in tied in a message. I do have one option for you to try as this is what I do in this case.

1. Open Message
2. Double Tap on the Message that contains the group of people
3. At the top left is the Back button. Now swipe once to the right. It may say 6 people. Just double tap on this and select the Info.
4. On this page you will find the option to name your group. Just enter a name you like.
5. Double Tap the Done button at the top right corner

There you have it Now on when you receive a message from this group. It will now announce the person that sent the message along with the group name.

Hope that helps!

- Thomas

Submitted by peter on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Thomas,

Thanks for the detailed instructions and this great idea.

Unfortunately, it didn't work for me on my iPhone XR running the latest version of iOS 13.

First, when I flicked right from the "Back" button, I came to the first name in the group of names.
continuing to flick past each of the 10 names in the message, I finally came to the button labeled "10 people".

Double tapping on this did nothing. No other dialog popped up.

After that button, flicking right again brought me to the next mesage in the list. However if I moved my finger around near the "10 people" button, off to the right there was an item labeled "info". One could not flick to that nor was it labeled as a button. Double tapping on it did bring up a list of the names, but only with options to Facetime, call, message, etc.

There was no place I could put the group name in.

Curiously, I did set up a name for this group of people in Outlook and synced it with my contacts on the phone. Of course they weren't in the same order, but they were the same names.

Anyway, thanks, but no luck here. Maybe I'll submit a bug report to Apple because it is really annoying hearing this whole list of names each time a message comes in.

--Pete

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Hi Pete,

Yes, that is interesting.

Let me ask you this. The point where you had double tap on the Message group that you like to name. At the top left corner is the Back button. Just swipe once to the right and do a force touch. So essentially press a bit harder when you press down on this element. Does the option to select from starts with Audio? If so, swipe right a few more times to find the Info. Just double tap on that. It can contain the name of a person in that Message group and not necessarily speak of the number of people. The Xs works a bit different than my iPhone 11 Pro.

Yes, you will see a list of people or group of people on this page. You should hear each person in that group and the option to call, Facetime, etc. The Name should be right before the first person on the list.

Lastly, I am gathering that you do have iOS 13.3.1 on the device? I am determined to help you on this. :)

- Thomas

Submitted by peter on Sunday, March 8, 2020

Okay, if i double tap and do a forced touch on the "10 people" button, and wait a bit, the Audio button appears. Then I can swipe to the Info element which now appears as a button.

Double tapping on the Info button brings me to the place where I can see the list of names with an option to message, Facetime, or Call each.

At the top of the screen is (presumably) a map that says "no info available". However if I double tap on that I get a map of where I am with streets and everything.

However there doesn't seem to be any element above the first name in the message group and, thus, no way to assign a group name to this list of people.

At the bottom of the screen are various options for sharing my locations, but again, no way I can tell of to create a group name.

Any other ideas?

--Pete

Submitted by peter on Sunday, March 8, 2020

My system is an iPhone XR running iOS 13.3.1.

--Pete

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Monday, March 9, 2020

Hi Pete,

The bad news is this works only if everyone in your group uses iMessage. If you're texting one or more, say, Android users, the Group Name option won't appear. This is an SMS limitation and not something that we can blame Apple for.

Here is for hoping that we could recommend this to Apple if they could possibly make this as a feature for VoiceOver.

- Thomas

Submitted by peter on Monday, March 9, 2020

Thomas,

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, as you suspected, not all of my contacts are using iPhones. some use that Android system!

I actually wrote to Apple support about this some time ago, but you know the type of feedback they usuallly provide. I believe that when my sighted wife sees such messages, she just sees that it is a group response and maybe a name or two, but not the full list. My complaint to Apple was that speaking all of these names, rather than just saying it was a group response is not good. sometimes too much speech feedback can be a bad thing since it takes too long to get to the data in which we are really interested.

Anyway, we'll see if things change. Thanks again for your help and feedback.

--Pete

Submitted by gailisaiah on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

If a message comes in and I read it on the lock screen, the Messages App will still say there is an unread message. But, if I ask Siri to read my message, it won't still show up as unread. Just a little work around for that pesky bug.