I've found the strangest issue in the world when it comes to after migrating from an Intel 2012 Mac Mini to a new M1 Mac Mini for my dad. Even though he doesn't need VoiceOver, it's always good to have it around, in the rare case he needs me to help him with something while he's doing something else off-PC.
Basically, the problem I'm having is that once I do the normal process of setup/migration with VoiceOver, which is all normal of course, after migration completes, VoiceOver just stops working, and the ⌘F5 command to re-enable VO no longer works, even when in the Login window. I've also noticed that VoiceOver Utility does not quit like it normally would and a force quit would need to be done, otherwise, a "not responding" thing next to it would pop up. I've done both Thunderbolt to USB-C migration and a Time machine backup, and the same result occurred both times. Again, this is resulting from migrating from a 2012 Mac Mini to a new 2020 M1-based Mac Mini. Of course, this has stumped me big-time, as I've never seen this happen to me at all on any migration for any of my MacBooks which are all Intel-based.
For those who migrated to M1 Macs, has anyone else had this issue of VoiceOver possibly being corrupted in the system? Could it also be because voices haven't been updated on the disk and it can't work, or some other file was corrupted, preventing it from working? I'm sort of thinking this out loud, as I really don't know what I can do with over 700 GB of data that I just migrated, besides totally setting it up as a new Mac and manually moving local stuff over that's not in the Cloud. That would be the last thing I'd like to do, as I'm sure it'll be very time-consuming in the process and I'm trying to get it back to my dad as soon as possible.
Any thoughts on possible solutions I could use for this? Does anyone know what to reset besides the drastic Recovery Mode part of things which could improve VoiceOver, except for resetting preferences which might not do any good? Any thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
I know part of your problem.
As I was reading your post, I totally was thinking, ok, that's totally whacked up. Then, I saw you had a mac mini 2012 that you were trying to migrate from.
That's the same system I used to use. I can tell you that system only could get up to Catalina for the OS.
Enough things with Voiceover have changed from Catalina to Big Sur. It's not really stuff you'd probably notice, but under the hood, a lot of things with drivers, libraries, kexts, etc, probably even some PList files have changed behind the scene just enough that trying to do a VO migration like that from an older system most likely is gonna totally break. Your better bet, though annoying would be migrate everything needed to the new system, then set up Voiceover manually from scratch on the new system. Again, I know that's super annoying, but it's what it is. Don't feel bad, I had to do the same thing when I upgraded my system the other day.
Another thing, too, worth considering.
You also said that you went from an intel based mac to the new system being the M1 Arm chip. It's very possible that there is some difference going on there causing some migration incompatibility between the two systems. I can't say for absolute definite this is part of the issue, but it's definitely a very possible variable to consider.