I feel like I have written a version of this post for each Apple OS lately, but I want to give it a go here.
I have recently noticed that VO is no longer reading many previously accessible TVOS apps. The worst of late has been youtube tv, but I have also noted loss of accessibility with Peacock, (which was only marginally accessible to begin with), GCN+, and HBO max.
Has anyone else noted recent performance issues with VO and TVOS, and if so, did anyone find a workaround or solution?
By joshl, 7 June, 2022
tvOS and Apple TV Apps
The downhill spiral of the…
The downhill spiral of the apple tv accessibility started in TV OS11. I dumped apple tv a couple years ago and switched to firestick. Voiceview is much more accessible on a firestick than voiceover is on apple tv in my oppinion, and yes thought I'd never say that.
Thank goodness it's not just me
Yes, I've noticed this as well. For me, at least, it has rendered YouTube TV completely unusable (which is irritating because that is a paid service) and the same with HBO Max and Amazon Prime video. The accessibility team has so far been unhelpful, although the representative did spend a good deal of time with me documenting the problem and did escalate it to the engineers. But said engineers have so far just told me to reach out to the third party app developers. My own theory, however, is that the mode of navigation they call "direct touch" is either no longer available or no longer works. Sorry, but I have not yet found any work-arounds or solutions. I might try turning VO off entirely in Prime Video since it is self-voicing, but if that doesn't work I will truly be at my wits' end. I hope you and any others who have noticed this behavior will also contact Apple about it. Of course I will contact the app developers as well, but I think it's highly unlikely that three or four different developers submitted updates that wrecked accessibility in their apps at around the same time. I note that the initial post here was created around the same time I noted this problem.
Please Share with Apple Accessibility
Ask them to forward your notes to the Apple TV team. I've met with them personally and they are keen to make the platform as accessible as possible.
A friend of mine is on the Peacock team. I'll pass this note along, but definitely connect with the developers and throw a tantrum as they should be building using Apple's native frameworks which include all of the groundwork for accessibility.