Using iTunes 12 with Windows and Jaws

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Dear all,

I have just downloaded iTunes 12 and I am finding so much of iTunes difficult now. Now that the side bar has totally gone I am finding the interface such a different experience and I don't know how to get around it now. I have so many questions to ask but I won't bombard you all with them at present. Can anyone direct me to some good resources to try to make iTunes a better experience? Playlists are a particular problem as I don't now understand how to enter the track list of a play list and burning to CD seems to have disappeared off the applications menu. Any help gratefully received. Alison



Submitted by David Griffith on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Using Jaws 15 and NVDA it appears no longer possible to configure accessibility on an iPhone using iTunes 12. Sporadically Voiceover stops working on my iPhohne 5 and triple clicking home will not recover Voiceover despite correct settings accessibility shortcut.
My normal way to resolve this is to reset Voiceover via iTunes.
However surprisingly this capability appears to have been withdrawn in iTunes 12
I would be very glad if somebody could correct me on this. If Apple has withdrawn Accessibility Configuration via iTunes this is a very retrograde step in my view.

David Griffith

Submitted by kool_turk on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's still there, listed under the summary section.

You just have to tab around, this iTunes requires quite a lot of tabbing around for my liking, something we have to get use to I'm afraid.

Submitted by David Griffith on Thursday, November 13, 2014

In reply to by kool_turk

Thanks for this. Looking again I did in fact find the summary section for configuring Accessibility but it took a bit of finding. The problem was not really one of accessibility but of iTunes responsiveness.
By switching to Jaws I was eventually able to pick up the summary section but even with Jaws I had to wait for some time after pressing the iPhone button for this table option to arrive on screen and become visible to Jaws.

iTunes 11 did not exhibit this lag so if if anybody else has the same problem make sure you wait for some time after pressing enter on an option for further options to arrive. I was tabbing past the necessary option as neither Jaws nor NVDA had initially picked up on them because of the slowness of loading options in iTunes 12.

David Griffith

David Griffith

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Configuring iPhone Accessibility Windows iTunes.
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:14:52 +0000
From: David Griffith <>
To: BCAB Discussion List <>

As far as I can tell it appears no longer possible to configure accessibility on an iPhone using iTunes 12 on the Windows platform. I have looked in the usual places using both NVDA and Jaws. I have also gone through all the preferences.

Has anybody any idea as to where Accessibility configuration has gone to or has this been withdrawn?

David Griffith

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Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, November 13, 2014

I am getting used to tabbing around, and have found the things I need.

What i can't seem to figure out is how to use the Get Info function to then be able to edit item information. Everything says read only."

I'm hoping there is a solution in the works.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hello David:

The configure accessibility button is most certainly still there. What you do is plug the iDevice into iTunes and allow iTunes to start doing its thing. Then, locate the treeview where it gives you the options to highlight music, apps, movies, etc., use the up/down arrows until you find summary. Then you just tab until you find the Configure Accessibility button. Pressing the enter key will open this and the usual control options are all there just as in iTunes 11 and prior.
Just remember that, once the summary option has been highlighted, you must travel quite a ways with the tab key before this button will appear. You tab passed all the usual info including the device name, cerial number, iDevice version, etc.

Another thing to realize is that, if JAWS is reporting information and then says Read Only, you have not located the actual treeview with the summary, movies, apps, etc. JAWS reports everything as a treeview now but when you have located the spot you need, it will only say the item name such as Treeview Summary 2 of 196 which it has landed on and not include the words Read Only. This treeview is the same thing as the Source Listview seen formerly in iTunes 11 and prior.

It should be noted that I use windows with JAWS.


Submitted by Deborah Armstrong on Friday, December 12, 2014

This thread was helpful, but there are still a few things that confuse me.
With previous iTunes, it was fairly easy to see if I was in the list of albums or apps that were in my library as opposed to the list that was on the iDEVICE. Using Windows, iTunes 12, and any screen reader -- I tried three of them -- I can't figure out how you know which list you are in.
Also to decide what to sync and not sync, the item needs to be checked or unchecked. But the spacebar, which is usually used to check something also starts playing the current song. Are you supposed to use a different keystroke to check and unchedk items? Is there any way to uncheck all or check all? And with two devices, if I am checking an item how do I know which device I've now checked it to sync with?
Also though there are several podcasts on navigating iTunes 12, there's nothing on AppleVis about doing what most of us want to do most of the time, which is copy or remove a few items from an iDEVICE. I'm glad that ctrl-7 goes to apps, CTRL-2 goes to movies and CTRL-F lets me search, but these keystrokes are already in the keyboard shortcuts. I haven't found a lot in the podcasts here on Applevis about how, in Windows to actually accomplish the most common tasks with iTunes that iDEVICE users would want to do.
I really appreciate the thoroughness with which David Woodbridge covers using iTunes on the Mac, and I'm finding even after trying several screen readers that I'm not at all skilled doing these same things in Windows.
Lastly, I don't seem to be able to use the applications key anywhere to do anything relevant for transferring or removing something from a device. Sometimes you can highlight an item and use the applications key (similar to right-click) and you get a choice for delete, but is that going to delete the song, audio book or app from the device or from the iTunes library? I'm afraid to delete, because I usually want to keep it in my library while deleting it from the device.
Now that I've got a 16GB iPHONE and a 32GB iPOD I really need to master iTunes because I need to maintain content on each device differently.

Submitted by DPinWI on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I use a combination of playlists, both regular and smart, to control music on my two devices. I do not use any check boxes for this. I do not attempt to manage the task of adding or removing music as individual files. Instead, I use playlists to control what goes where in groups.

My iPod is my main music device. I have a variety of stuff on it. I have regular playlists that are static, and smart playlists that are dynamic. For example, I have a Favourites list, that contains songs I always want on my iPod. I also have a New Stuff smart playlist that holds music that i have recently purchased, but have not yet listened to. I put music I am working on, I am a musician, on my phone as I always have that with me, and I can listen to that stuff on my phone when I get a chance. I also keep this list on my iPod

I use iTunes to create and maintain these lists. Playlists can be created, and stuff added or removed from them either directly through the main iTunes library, or automatically by way of the rules created in a smart playlist.

On the main library screen reached with a Control + 1, you can show music playlists along with the other library categories. There is a check box for this on the screen, several Tabs after the Search box. With that playlist box checked, you can navigate from the main music listing by way of up and down arrows through the source tree. It is sort of like the old, and much missed Sidebar, but different.

Once you have your playlist or lists as you want, it's time to get to the iPod or iPhone device screen, arrow down through its sources tree to the music section, then F6 over to the music sync options. I have it set to only sync playlists, to ignore check boxes, and to not fill up my device's empty space. A few more tabs and you get to the playlist tree. Here, you can safely with the space bar, tag and untag playlists to add them to, or remove them from, the device.

Submitted by John Cury on Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hey guys, I also have issues with the new iTunes, I used to go in to iTunes and upload videos or songs to my players, like VLC now I can't find how to do it. any help?

Submitted by David on Sunday, July 26, 2015

In reply to by kool_turk

I don't mean this in the sense of not realising that currently the keyboard functionality is pretty heavily biased towards using the tab key, rather than anything else to navigate around. But rather, I think that if using the tab key is inefficient, and inconvenient, then we should tell Apple this and get the accessibility improved. I hate the current operation of ITunes, to the extent that I'm seriously considering removing ITunes again. it's just so unfriendly and cumbersome to use, just trying to go through the list of audio books and flag which ones to synchronise with my phone. Rather than just accepting it, shouldn't we give Apple feedback to say it's not good?

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, December 12, 2016

I'm going to help a friend with iTunes on Windows tomorrow, so I spent some time in the app today just to start getting used to it. I usually use ITunes on my Mac, but now I can use it on Windows with JAWS too.

I agree with the tabbing issue already mentioned here. If I pop into the Info dialog and want to go to the Sorting tab, that's 9 tab keystrokes to get there. Simply hitting 'S' doesn't do anything. Why? Once on the Sorting tab, if I want to get to "Album Artist", that's another 11 tab keystrokes. It's ra6ther a pain.

For syncing content to an iDevice, I want to emphasize the use of Playlists as mentioned above. I have always used playlists to control what is on my iDevice and what isn't. Nonetheless, using iTunes on my Mac, I've always had trouble editing playlists in iTunes with VoiceOver. I pretty much just resort to using my crappy residual vision, inverse colors, and magnification. I know this isn't an option for you totals.

I have yet to try editing playlists on Windows, but that's next on my agenda.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Having played around a little, here are specific issues I found with adding songs to playlists on iTunes / Windows 7 / JAWS.

The most convenient way to do this is to select "Songs" in the sidebar, which gives you all your songs. Arrow down through the list, and when you get to a song you want to add, hit the context menu key, arrow down to "add to playlist", and select the playlist from the submenu.

Unfortunately, I find "Song" view kind of cumbersome. I typically want to navigate my library by albums. But if I select "album" view from the sidebar, then adding songs to a playlist becomes much more cumbersome. You have to arrow through the albums. Each time you do this, a set of controls with a song list opens up. You can tab over to the list of songs, but this appears to be an atomic control. By that, I mean you can bring JAWS focus to the list of songs, but you can't bring JAWS focus to an individual song in the list. For example, tab to the list, arrow down to the song you want to add, hit the context menu key, and select "add to playlist". This adds the entire album, not the one song, to the playlist. Visually, I can see that there is only one song highlighted, and I can see that the menu pops up at the top of the list rather than at the song. So, this seems broken.

The only way to both use "album" view and add a single specific song is to revert to the application's "Song" menu. So, like in the previous paragraph, use "album" view, arrow to the album you want, tab over to the list of songs, arrow to the song you want. Then, open the Song menu with Alt-O and arrow down to "add to playlist". This works. But I have no idea why I can't do the same thing with the context menu.

It seems like, when you're making a playlist, you're going to add a lot of songs, one after the other. This is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to have a keyboard shortcut for. We should be able to arrow to a song (regardless of album or song view from the sidebar), then hit a hotkey to add the song to the most recent playlist. We shouldn't have to mess around with the context menu, or even the application Song menu. It's kind of frustrating.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Okay, last comment before I head over to my friend's house to help her with iTunes. :-)

With "song" view selected from the sidebar, selecting multiple songs from the song list is very limited. I can shift + down arrow to select a block of contiguous songs, but if I want to select multiple songs that are not adjacent to each other in the list, then the Windows-standard control + down arrow does not allow me to move focus down the list to another song. Correspondingly, control + spacebar is a no-op, so there's no way to toggle selection status on an item with focus.

So it's pretty broke.

Submitted by DPinWI on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As a Windows and iTunes user, I feel your pain. The accessibility is never perfect, and often as one issue is resolved, another is introduced.

One thing you haven't mentioned, and will likely be an issue, is that the tree of playlists in the device screen of iTunes is not accessible. Well, it's not spoken by JAWS. If you have enough vision, you can arrow through the tree and select desired lists.

Good Luck.