New to the Mac and clueless...

I just got a brand new MacBook Pro last week and I'm completely clueless on how to use it. I thought that Voice-Over would work very similar to the way it does on my iPod and iPhone when using a Bluetooth keyboard, but it doesn't. I can't even get to the apps on the desktop or anything. I'm beginning to think there's something wrong with my Mac because VO doesn't read alerts about software updates that pop up on the screen, and when I try to change the voice rate, the computer seems to bog down even though I have a 2.5 GHZ quad core I7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. Also, VO does not start automaticly when I turn the Mac on, I have to start it manually, then sometimes it just sits there and acts like I'm on a blank screen. Also, voice adjustment settings aren't being automaticly saved at shutdown. What am I doing wrong, and where do I find the best VO tutorials?


Some answers

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

First, I'd encourage you to visit the Your First Mac page on AppleVis. That's where we keep all the podcasts, guides, and so on that we think will help those new to the Mac.

As to VO on the log-on screen, that's easy to do once you're comfortable with VO. If you'd rather, you can get sighted help for now until you feel more confident. Open System Preferences (vo-m, down arrow on the Apple Menu, find System preferences). Go to the scroll area and interact; find the Users and Groups button; press space. Interact with the Users and Groups list, vo-down to Login Options, stop interacting, and find and check the "use VoiceOver on the logon screen" checkbox. You may need to find and hit the "click the lock to make changes" button and enter your password, depending on your settings.

VO sometimes makes that sound when logging on; it's a new and exciting bug in 10.11. Just type your password anyway, hit enter, and you should be logged on.

As to VO being sluggish, it shouldn't when you change the rate, volume, or most other settings. However, if you change to a Nuance voice, that can take a while on even powerful machines, for some reason.

VO works similarly to iOS with the trackpad (hold control and option, then do a clockwise rotor turn). With a keyboard, though, it's a different animal, mostly because OS X is a much more powerful and complex system that offers a great deal more than iOS. The dock is vo-d, the desktop is vo-shift-d, for instance. The Quick Nav concept is identical on both platforms, though, as are many gestures once you enable the Trackpad Commander.

Again, I encourage you to go through the resources in the above link and see what we already offer. Please feel free to ask any questions that arise, and we'll be happy to help further.

the basic tutorial can be useful

App Developer

If you press control, option, command, and f8, you will open a voiceover introduction which can give you some nice introductory tips. It's not complete, and will mostly handle the basics, but it's nicely interactive and thus I would recommend it.

Get Janet Ingber's book from NBP

You sound like me when I got my Mac.

There's an excellent book available from the National Braille Press called Everything You Need to Know to Use the Mac with Yosemite & VoiceOver. The author is Janet Ingber. Her explanations of VO and the functionality of the Mac are clear and concise right down to press these keys in this sequence to accomplish this activity. I was totally lost until I got this book. Btw, I have no affiliation with Ms. Ingber or national braille press. I just think this book is a wonderful resource for someone new to the universe of the Mac.

Another book

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Thanks for the reminder about books. There's also "Mastering the Mac with VoiceOver", available free from iBooks. You can get that, read it on your phone, and follow along on the Mac. I haven't read much of it personally, but I hear good things about it. Plus, it's free.

Name Of Book

What was the name of the book from IBooks again? I typed in the name that was given on here, but I didn't get any results in the IBooks store.