Tech Article: Apps That Assist Beginners With Learning Voice Over Gestures

Here are some recommendations for apps that might help new iPhone users learn the iPhone gestures.


These are four apps I think are helpful in learning the VoiceOver gestures of the iPhone.  They are all free, I think.


The Blindfold Bop one is free, however limited in how many times you can use it, so I purchased it for about $6 which allows me unlimited use of the app.


Below I have provided a link to the entire list of iFocus MP3 files in my Dropbox folder.  It is a Zipped file that you can download to your computer.


  1. VO Starter, is an app that is text based and explains the VO gestures well in a well organized fashion.  It’s a great manual for learning what’s possible.
  2. Blindfold Bop, is a game based tutorial that gets you to practice gestures with ever increasing speeds and complexity.
  3. VO Tutorial, is an app that works the user through several games requiring that gestures be performed in order to work through the game.  It’s great for beginners.
  4. VO Lab, I found this one less helpful as it gets the user to turn off VO and use a self-voicing voice.  It might be too confusing for beginners.  I don’t like it, and it’s possible that others will learn from it so I included it.


Of course, VO Calendar is a great way to use the Calendar with an accessible and usable overlay on the native on board Calendar app.


iFocus MP3 Zipped File (nearly 3GB):


Thx, Albert



Accessibility Article: What’s New in iOS 11 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision and Deaf-Blind Users, Submitted by Scott Davert, Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

What’s New in iOS 11 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision and Deaf-Blind Users

Submitted by Scott Davert on 19 September, 2017 and last modified on 19 September, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team


Text of article found below:


iOS 11 has arrived for users of the iPhone 5S and later; the iPad fifth generation and later; and the iPod Touch 6th Generation. Mainstream changes such as the revamped Control Center, new HomeKit options, the new Files app, and many other enhancements have been added. Other blogs and videos will cover these changes, but as is the case with all major iOS releases dating back to iOS 5, there are many changes specific to accessibility which may not be well documented.

Without a doubt, there will be other features not written about here that people discover as they have their play with iOS 11. While I’ve been running the betas since June, I am certain I will learn of more changes as the masses get their opportunity to play with the update. While I consider myself a decent Tech Detective, I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Please note that this article is not intended as a comprehensive guide to iOS 11; rather, it is designed to document changes likely to be of particular interest to users who are blind, have low vision, or who are deaf-blind.

Before proceeding, I would like to acknowledge the hard work that went in to documenting the visual modifications in iOS 11 done by Ryan Pugh of the NFB’s International Braille and Technology Center. Without his input, the details with regard to visual changes would not have been possible.

Important Information To Know Before Upgrading

This section applies equally to those who work with accessibility features and those who do not. iOS 11 has dropped support for applications developed for only the 32-bit platform. Before performing the upgrade, you may wish to check your device to see which apps will not be supported that are currently installed; for step-by-step instructions on how to do this, consult this guide. Note that you will need to be running iOS 10.3 or later to use this feature.

Type It, Don’t Speak It

In iOS 11, not only has Siri earned a spot under Accessibility Settings, but you can now type to Apple’s virtual assistant instead of speaking to it. This makes it possible to perform queries silently. For Braille display users, coupled with another iOS 11 feature discussed below, you will now be able to fully utilize Siri from a Braille display without interacting with the touchscreen. Look for a guide on how to do this shortly after iOS 11 is released. To turn on this feature, go to Settings> General> Accessibility> Siri, and turn “Type to Siri” on. In this menu, you will also be able to control voice feedback. You can turn it on all the time, off all the time, or have Siri respect whether your device is muted or not. If you enable “Type to Siri,” you will no longer be able to speak to it unless you have “Hey Siri” enabled. Each time you bring up Siri, a keyboard will appear onscreen. For Braille users, though you will not be put in a text field, you can simply begin typing. Once you have completed what you wish to have Siri do, press dot 8 with space, or enter on the Bluetooth keyboard. To read responses through text using VoiceOver, you will then need to flick to the right 3 times, but if you leave Siri’s speech on, you will automatically get a verbal response. Speaking of voice feedback, there is a new Siri female voice which some find sounds more natural. The male Siri voices are the same, but they sound clearer since they are now at a higher sampling rate.

Indoor Mapping Comes to iOS

At the time of posting, I have yet to venture into a space that has this ability, but iOS 11 has support for indoor mapping functionality with the Maps application. Note that this will only apply to spaces where beacons exist.

More Control Over Accessibility

I wrote above about the newly revamped Control Center. It is now on one page instead of two, and can be customized to the users’ preferences to some degree. To add and remove items in your Control Center, head over to Settings> Control Center> Customize. Here you will find a total of seventeen features that you can insert or remove from the Control Center. Among other things, you will find the Accessibility Shortcut; Flashlight; Guided Access; Magnifier; and Text Size as options. This can be easily used to almost have a secondary Accessibility Shortcut since you can simply invoke the Control Center, and enable any of these options. This can come in handy for users who utilize different accessibility tools within the operating system at different times. Visually, the Control Center has been cleaned up and appears to be more intuitive. It has been reorganized into distinct groupings of functionality. The default contrast is significantly better. Cross screen bars have been replaced by banded blocks where possible.

I’ll Answer That

If you have ever been a person who finds answering calls to be a challenge for any reason, there is now the option to have calls answered automatically. Go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Call Audio Routing>Auto Answer Calls to configure this setting. Once turned on, you have the ability to tell your iOS device how long you would like the OS to wait before answering a call. Before auto answer kicks in, you can still dismiss the call through the methods already available in previous versions of iOS. You can set the time to have the call answered automatically anywhere from 0 up to 60 seconds after it comes in. This feature not only works for FaceTime and standard phone calls, but also appears to be functioning with several other third party applications that handle calls such as Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook, and Google Hangouts.


What Has Changed?

Before discussing new features, it may be important to note what has changed for VoiceOver users. While this section will not highlight a lot of changes, a few of what the author would view as noteworthy are listed below.

Moving Apps Becomes A Drag, Sort Of

Last autumn, Apple introduced a new way of moving apps around the various Home Screens via the rotor. The primary change to this method is that dragging of multiple apps is now an option. In iOS 11, instead of swiping up to “Arrange Apps,” the touchscreen VoiceOver user must double-tap and hold to invoke “Edit Mode.” For Bluetooth keyboard and Braille display users, you can still press up or down arrow, or space with dot 3 or 6, to move to “Edit Mode”.

Once you are in “Edit Mode,” you still will need to first locate the app you wish to drag. You have the options of delete, drag, or stop editing apps. Note that if you are in “Edit Mode,” and you wait about thirty seconds, iOS 11 will automatically exit you from this mode. If you wish to move an app, find it, and then select “Drag.” Then navigate to the place you wish to “Drop” the app, and choose the appropriate option. Your options are to drop it before, after, or to create a folder with the app VoiceOver focus is set to. You can also drop an app within a folder.

The final option is to “Add To Drag Session.” This option will allow you to move multiple apps at once. When multiple apps are added, you can still “drop” them before; after; add the app currently in focus to your “drag session”; add to a folder if one is in VoiceOver’s focus; or create a folder with these apps and the app currently in focus. This comes in handy when you wish to drop several apps into a folder, and wish to add apps at the same time from various Home screens. I’ve only tested adding four apps to one “drag session,” but found it worked effectively.

Moving apps around is good practice for using the “Drag and Drop” method on the iPad. While it works on the iPhone and iPod Touch for the purposes written above, it’s also possible to, for example, add a file in the Files app to a drag session, switch to the Mail app, and attach that file to a message you are composing by “dropping” the file in the Mail application.

Previews Are Back!

In iOS 10, VoiceOver users had to perform a 3 finger single tap on a message to hear the preview of their email messages. The preview will now be read out loud by VoiceOver without the user having to interact with their touchscreen.

More Options

Continuing to cover the Mail application, there are a few other changes. When you are reading a message, the VoiceOver user will now find an “Actions” option. This enables the user to take action on the message. This has been a feature available from the “All Messages” mailbox for several releases, but never before from the content of a message. The actions of this rotor option are to reply, archive, flag, mark as read/unread, and to activate. This comes in handy for those who use the threading options who wish to act on a specific message in the thread.

If you choose to sort your messages by thread, there is another new rotor option called “Expand/Collapse Thread”. When expanded, mail threads show all messages without the need to open the thread. This lets you easily read and deal with each message individually. I prefer to use the “Messages” rotor option, as I find that more effective as a Braille user. Casting my personal preference aside, it’s good to have multiple options for the threading of emails.

Assigning The Old New Names

I wrote above that Siri has new voices. However, if you have enjoyed using some of the old Siri voices with VoiceOver, you’ll be happy to know that these are still around, but they now have names. The old American Siri voices are now named Aaron and Nicky, the British voices are known as Arthur and Martha, and the Australian voices are known as Catherine and Gordon. These TTS engines are available for download along with the rest of the voices that were introduced in iOS 10.

Verbosity Gets More Verbose

iOS 11 includes several new options for the configuring of Verbosity settings. To find the features in the below subsections, go to Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Verbosity.

”I Periodically Have Questions”

If you have wanted to adjust the punctuation spoken with VoiceOver before, but didn’t enable this choice in your rotor, you now have the option here as well. Navigate to the punctuation setting under the Verbosity menu and select some, none, or all.

Updating In Real time

One of my small annoyances about earlier versions of iOS was that VoiceOver and Braille would not always report the status of certain things if one left the VoiceOver focus set to that element. A couple of examples include with transportation and delivery apps. If you left VoiceOver focus on the ETA element, it would not change automatically. This was an issue for those using Braille displays who wished to quickly check the status of something, but couldn’t without going to the previous or next element then navigating back to the element of interest. When turned on, Speak Detected Text will automatically speak any text that is changed on the focused element. It can still be turned off, so if you find it annoying, the option to disable it is also in this submenu.

Capitalize On This However You Want

Continuing to explore the new Verbosity options, you can now specify how VoiceOver speaks a capital letter. Your options are to speak the word “cap”, play a sound, change pitch, or do nothing. Another option under the Verbosity menu is “Deleting Text”, which offers similar options. You can have the word “deleted” spoken, play a sound each time something is deleted, change the pitch, or do nothing. The same options exist for embedded links. This means that if you encounter a link on a web page, you can have VoiceOver speak the word “link”, play a sound, change pitch, or do nothing.

Bringing More Verbosity Options To The Table

In this case, I’m not referring to the kitchen table, though I suppose I could be if you are using your iOS Device at said table. This refers to handling tables on the web. It’s now possible to control whether you have the headers of the column and row you are in spoken, as well as the number of the column and row you are currently in reported with VoiceOver speech. It was an option before, but now you can disable it if you would like. Note that if you decide to turn this information on, it is not displayed in Braille.

I’m Reading You Loud And Clear

Though the title of this option is “Media Descriptions”, this setting actually has to do with captions and subtitles. It’s now possible to read these with speech output, Braille, or to have both at the same time. If you are using Braille, you will need to be a fast Braille reader to keep up. This will come in handy for those who watch films where there are subtitles, or if you need some textual support to offset a hearing loss while watching a movie. This feature, however, will not work well for those who are totally deaf-blind since there is no context included within the captions and subtitles. For example, you will get everything that is being said, but you have no idea who may be saying it. It’s also worth noting that not all captioned videos are supported. This feature has been tested on Netflix and with iTunes movies, and found to work as expected with those services.

And… Here Comes The Pitch

It’s true that baseball season starts to heat up this time of year, but it’s also true that this has nothing to do with the feature discussed in this section. Under the “Speech” button of VoiceOver, you now have the ability to change the pitch of speech output. Whether you wish VoiceOver to sound like it has an Adam’s Apple the size of a medicine ball, has with lungs full of helium, or somewhere in between, you now have that ability. Leaving the slider at 50% will give you the pitch you are familiar with. It’s also worth noting that the pitch will be applied to all voices, and that these changes will also be applied to “Speak Screen” and “Speak Selection” functions. It would be nice to have “Pitch Change” as a rotor option so that it can quickly be adjusted on the fly, and to have it be something you can adjust with each voice.

Describe It All To Me! Well… Sort Of.

In iOS 10, Apple introduced the ability to generate alt text for the photos in your photo library and camera roll. With iOS 11, this has expanded to a few third party apps like Facebook. When you find an image you would like to have described, perform a 3 finger single tap when VoiceOver focus is set to that item. Note that for this feature to work, you will need to have the Screen Curtain disabled. To toggle the Screen Curtain on and off, perform a 3 finger triple tap. This also works to varying degrees with images containing text, where iOS will sometimes recognize text and perform OCR on it. It is not, however, a function that works across all applications. The best way to determine whether the app you are using is supported seems to be to just try it. If you are a Bluetooth keyboard user, you can also use this feature directly with the keyboard command VO+F3. Note that with some keyboards, you may also need to include the FN key in this command depending on how your keyboard is configured. You can also set up a Braille keyboard command for performing this function as described in the Braille section of this article.

VoiceOver On Demand

With Mac OS, you have always had the option to jump directly to the VoiceOver Utility. iOS 11 has this covered with the same keyboard command found in Mac OS: VO with F8. This will take you directly in to the VoiceOver menu instead of having to navigate to it from the “Settings” screen. You can also customize a keyboard command on a Braille display to perform this function, though it isn’t set up by default.

I Misspelled What?

While sighted users have always had an easy time finding misspelled words, this hasn’t been true for VoiceOver users unless you pause after each word to see if it is misspelled. There is a new rotor option, which now appears called “Misspelled Words”. It is not always appearing with each text field as was intended, but works well for finding those pesky spelling mistakes quickly. Once the VoiceOver rotor is set to this option, flicking up and down to cycle between misspelled words works well. However, if you wish to correct a word, you will still need to do the rest of the process through the “Edit” rotor options as it was done in previous versions of iOS.

New Gestures With New Features

Specifically, for iPad users, one of the changes is the addition of the Dock which is no longer limited to four items. The Dock now resembles what users of Mac OS have been experiencing for several years. The Dock has always been accessible from anywhere within the operating system, and this is now true for iPad users as well. To bring up the Dock, perform a 2 finger swipe up from the bottom of the screen, or press VO with D on a Bluetooth keyboard. You will find applications you have added manually, but also a list of your most recently used apps.

Putting the iPad in “Split View” functions much like it did in iOS 9, though now the Dock has become the main focal point for setting up “Split View” or “Slide over”. Start by using a 2 finger swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Dock. Then select an application, and in the “Actions” rotor, swipe up to choose “Open Side App”, (Slide Over) “Pin to Left”, or “Pin to Right”. Then double tap to carry out the desired action. Like before, you can tap the left, right or middle of the screen to switch between each app. You can also use the rotor to navigate to “Containers”, and then flick up and down to go between apps. Remember that Split View is only supported on the iPad Mini II and later, and also on the iPad Pro models.

If you are someone who has not enjoyed the Mail app when it is divided in to columns of messages on one side and then the message you are trying to read opens on the other, iOS 11 has given VoiceOver users the option to quickly jump from the table of messages to the message content. On the Mac, and also now on the iPad, this can be done with VO and the letter J. You can also perform a 2-finger swipe right if you are a touchscreen user.


Important Information Before Upgrading

If you are a Braille user, it’s worth noting that many users of Braille displays are reporting that their cursor puts them in random places on the screen when attempting to edit anything over a few sentences long. Further, if you are a fast typer with the Braille keyboard, it’s also been documented that the translator will miss letters. The longer the block of text, the more this happens. If you plan to do a lot of typing and editing with a Braille display, the first release of iOS 11 may not be for you. When working within any text field using either contracted or uncontracted Braille, these bugs seem to be present with both U.S. English and Unified English Braille. By typing rapidly, I mean anything over around 50 words a minute.

No Longer Lost In Translation

Those major bugs aside, there are many nice things about iOS 11 for Braille users. One of the changes is that you can natively use contracted Braille input without having to worry about the translator not taking what you have previously written into account. Though the translator works well, when editing, the cursor will exhibit the behavior documented above.


Many users of Braille displays have desired for different commands to be part of the key mapping of iOS. Braille users of Mac OS have had the ability to customize Braille keyboard commands for quite some time. With iOS 11, you can decide not only what function you would like to be able to carry out from your Braille display, but also what keyboard combination you would like that command to have. If the command you desire is already in use by another function, that’s okay, you can change it to something else. The commands are specific to each Braille display. Though most Braille displays have a Perkins style keyboard, they also have buttons that make them unique. For example, the Braille Edge from HIMS has four rectangular buttons on either side of the spacebar. These can be assigned specific functions, or even Bluetooth keyboard equivalents. The same is true of the Focus displays, which have many controls on the front of the device that can be either assigned, or re-assigned, a specific command. The amount of options available for new commands will vary based on the Braille display’s specific capabilities and programmable buttons.

To assign a new command for your Braille display, go to Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Braille>More Info. While you still have the “Disconnect” and “Forget This Device” options, you will also find one called “Braille Commands”. Within this screen, you will find seven options for configuring new or existing commands. You will also find the option to “Reset All Commands” at the bottom of this screen. There are too many options to list, but I will describe how to add or change a command by example below.

One advantage to using a Bluetooth keyboard on iOS has always been the ability to carry out a lot of tasks quickly using a robust set of keyboard commands. It is possible to, for example, carry out many Bluetooth keyboard commands to make using the Mail app more efficient. Command plus N creates a new message, Command plus R will reply to an open message, Command plus Shift plus R will reply to all, etc. When formatting text, Command plus B will bold the selected text, Command plus I will italicize it, Command plus U will underline it, etc. Touchscreen users must use the rotor for these options which involves a lot more steps than the keyboard. Bearing the power of the “Command” key in mind, let’s set up a Braille command to invoke this key using a Braille display.

  1. After navigating to Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Braille>More Info>Braille Commands, activate the “Keyboard” button.
  2. Scroll down to the “Toggle Command” button. Note that there is also a “Command” button without the toggle, but I’ve found that trying to press a letter with this command doesn’t always work, whereas the toggle does.
  3. Navigate to “Assign New Braille Keys”, and activate it.
  4. Press a key, or combination of keys, that you wish to be assigned this command. Be sure to either pick something you do not ever use, or a brand new command altogether. For example, on the VarioUltra, I used D4 and D5 pressed together. Though this has already been assigned a command, which will force VoiceOver to translate whatever I’ve typed, that command already exists with space and dots 4-5.
  5. If the command you have chosen doesn’t already have something assigned to it, you will be done with this process. If the Braille keyboard assignment does have a command already associated with that keyboard combination, you will get an alert telling you what the already assigned action is, and asking you if you wish to change it.
  6. Choose “OK” or “Cancel”, and the appropriate option will be chosen.

You can now press that Braille keyboard combination you have assigned this function, once to toggle the Command key on and once to toggle it off, and perform all of the commands I listed above and many more. For example, to bold a selected block of text, press the Command key toggle, the letter B, and then press the Command key toggle again. You have many other options, such as the ability to invoke Siri. This allows you to then use Siri from your Braille display without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard.

What’s The Status Of The Formatting?

Another new feature in iOS 11 is the ability to detect what formatting attributes are in a document using the status cell. To turn this option on, go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Braille>Status Cells”, and choose to turn on “Show Text Status”. Cracking the code of what dot stands for each type of formatting will take a bit of memorizing, but you can easily pull up a list of which dots symbolize which text attribute by pressing the cursor routing button over the status cell. You can exit this mode by pressing Space with B. As the insertion point in your text changes by using the Braille cursor, so too should the status cell if the text formatting is different. If your cursor is not routed to somewhere on the screen, the formatting will follow wherever the insertion point is set to.

Feel Those Emoji’s

VoiceOver users who use speech have had the ability to listen to whatever emoji they have selected, or to whichever one they encounter. Prior to iOS 11, this was very limited for Braille users. They often saw a series of symbols that didn’t differ from emoji to emoji. Now, Braille users can tell what emoji they are encountering just like their speech using counterparts.

The Text Goes On And ON And On And…

Another new Braille function is “Word Wrap”. No, this is not a feature which will quote various Hip-hop lyrics, but is a feature which will not break up the contents displayed by words. Instead, you may find that you have half of a word at the end of the display, and then when you pan forward, you will find the rest of the word. This option may come in handy for users who are on smaller displays. You will find it under Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Braille>Word Wrap.

Less Spaces Are Good

Prior to iOS 11, it was necessary to press the Spacebar in conjunction with dots 7 or 8 to perform a delete or to activate the Enter key. With iOS 11, you can simply press dot 7 or 8 without the Spacebar, and these functions will work correctly. However, as old habits die hard, you can still use the Spacebar with dot 7 or dot 8 like you could before.

Low Vision

General Clean-Up

The new features and enhancements in the below sections show that Apple has done substantial work to improve the low vision experience. While the below added functions are important, there are a lot of smaller changes to the appearance of the operating system that will make the upgrade potentially a good one. For example, a number of default icons have been visually cleaned up, removing “flair” to create a crisper and clearer presentation. Here are a few noteworthy changes, but not an exhaustive list:

  • The paintbrush ends on the App Store have been removed, and the lines across the pencil have been cleaned up to create a crisp overlapping “A” with curved lines.
  • The times on the clock have been boldened and clarified.
  • The Maps icon has been simplified to become more visually distinct.
  • The number of lines on the Notes and Reminders icons have been reduced.
  • The Calculator icon has been given a slight overhaul changing it from orange and gray boxes to a black calculator image with orange and white buttons on it.
  • The iTunes Store has a new icon changing from a music note to a crisp star.

Other little changes that can make a big difference include a larger navigation bar in some apps, a QR scanner built directly into the camera that eliminates the need for a third party app with unknown accessibility standards. Bigger, bolder and better controls for formatting in the notes app make the experience less of a strain.

The App Store Redesign

All around the App Store the off-white background has been removed in favor of a flat white theme throughout improving color contrast across the board. The install now buttons for apps are far larger and visually distinct, with a full button around the “install now” text. Reviews and ratings are now a dark gray instead of yellow, and much larger and more prominent, icons at the bottom of the screen are bigger and heavier. Search suggestions are twenty percent larger and far bolder. The search box itself has doubled in size and the grey of the box has been lighted to improve contrast against the black text as you type. The updates page has much larger text and icons and the buttons have a larger rounded look and there is even a system wide setting that has been added to disable feedback request inside of Apps to reduce visual clutter and eliminate those frustrating pop ups. The small cleanups around the Store are innumerable and make for a much more comfortable experience, the final big change that should be called out, there is finally an option to disable auto playing videos around the store and reduce the visual burden they can create.

iOS 11 Gets More Bold… Somewhat

Though iOS 11 sports more bold text, the issue is that it isn’t consistently done. For example, the passcode screen numbers are over twice as thick and significantly clearer than in iOS 10, while icons on the Home Screen and some native apps setup screens have only a modest increase in size and line thickness. One could easily miss that bold is even turned on, particularly on the web. This is a really nice feature in the areas where it has been implemented, but the places where it is functioning are the minority rather than the majority.

A More Dynamic iOS

iOS 11 brings with it more enhanced dynamic type. In all native menus and apps we examined, the line wrapping successfully shifted over lines and allowed the full body of text to be viewed. The irritating cutoffs and overflows that existed in iOS 10 have been removed. The tap and hold function for a larger pop out control in the middle of the screen does exactly what it says it will. However, the improvements do not carry over to the web where text appears to be presented exactly as it was in iOS 10. To enable this feature, head over to Settings>General>Accessibility>Text Size, and turn on “Larger Accessibility Sizes”.

Bigger Is Cleaner

In the Zoom window, the cleanness at high magnification levels is considerably improved. The Zoom window is not as impressive at enhancing images, but even at a 15x greater magnification level, it is still able to render a cleaner and smoother image than in iOS 10.

Sometimes, Being Negative Is Smart

Invert Colors has been made “smarter” in some places throughout the operating system. This feature is intended to not invert things like media, images, and some apps that have darker color styles to make them more clear. To enable “Smart Invert”, head over to Settings>General>Accessibility>Display Accommodations>Invert Colors and enable “Smart Invert”. It’s possible to use the Invert Colors functions from prior to iOS 11 by enabling “Classic Invert Colors”. Using smart inversion with the camera makes it easier to differentiate between objects of very similar colors, and apply tints to each to make them visually distinct. Smart Inversion determines whether to apply color inversion to a single object, or multiple objects, seemingly based on what is in frame. In some cases, this feature will invert one object, and not another directly beside it, to create sufficient contrast to differentiate the two.

With Smart Inversion active, there are still a few issues with app buttons that begin dark against a dark background, and light against a light background. Against a mostly black background, the background is not inverted, and neither is the Stocks icon. The edges of that image remain a little unclear. Native pictures and videos seem to not be inverted, but the same cannot be said for media on the web and third party applications. In Apple’s defense, this may require an update, or additional coding work by the app developers.

The biggest low vision issue we have been able to identify with the Smart Inversion is that pink and blue will turn green and orange. While providing improved color contrast, it is not sufficient to make it fully visually distinct on smaller items. This makes it markedly worse for those who are color blind. There are some holdover issues with inversion inside the Weather app. This is especially true where the inversion now creates an orange/brown background while the images of the sun remain a bright yellow. This makes them less distinct with inversed colors than without.

There are some inconsistencies in the way in which app logos are inverted. Examples include the list of apps in the Control Center, the Siri app suggestions were only sometimes inverted, the YouTube app was blue in one instance and then the normal red and white the next time, etc.

I Like More Colorful Speech, But Can You Give Me The Highlights?

Speak Selection has been around for several versions, but seems to get enhancements with each operating system. iOS 11 is no exception. You can now highlight colors with Speak Selection. This comes in two flavors: words and sentences. You can either use these functions independently or together. This can be used to track focus which is especially useful for complex web pages without intuitive reading orders. However, the line or colored band does not move in real time if you scroll the page until the next sentence is started. This could potentially create some visual confusion.

The selection of colors leaves something to be desired with only blue, yellow, green, pink, and purple available. The highlight bands are also inverted when Smart Inversion is active. Before inversion, a visually distinct sentence highlight of purple and green will be inverted into dark green and orange brown. This may result in having to repeatedly alter settings to use this function if you regularly use Smart Inversion. This is because the bad contrast will appear in only areas where the smart inversion actually inverts.

An Upgraded Magnifier

Though a slight delay still remains when going from darkness to bright light, this appears to be less than what is found in iOS 10. The Magnifier is now better able to handle glare, and adjust to rapidly changing light. Smaller objects, text, and stacked items seem to be receiving cleaner and faster focus. The upgrade is especially noticeable when using the magnifier to examine text either in print or on a computer screen.


This Phone Was Made For You And My Hearing Aids

Over the years, Apple has been working with hearing aid manufacturers to develop Made For iPhone (MFI) hearing aids. iOS 10.2 saw some upgrades to the newer models, in that the technology behind AirPods and the w1 chip was implemented. It is my understanding, though I do not have a set of MFI hearing aids to test myself, that the stability issues found in iOS 10 have been addressed with the newer models using the w1 chip. Again, I do not have access to a set of MFI hearing aids, so it is impossible for me to tell you what else has been changed. It is my hope that someone who owns a pair of MFI hearing aids will take the time to inform us all of what has changed.

Can You Give Me More Background?

For those who are hard of hearing with low vision, or those who have low vision that wish to access subtitles, iOS 11 brings additional options for captioning. It is now possible to increase the size of captions, and to add an outline to make them more visually distinct. The outline functions presents the text in a far more consistent and clear manner than the bold function. This makes captions far more clear on the screen especially against a backdrop of a very bright, or very dark video. To play around with this new functionality yourself, navigate to Settings>General>Accessibility>Subtitle & Captions>Style.


Apple continues to make changes and enhancements to its mobile operating system for everyone. Their work toward inclusive design continues to keep them ahead of many other platforms in terms of built-in accessibility options. Certainly, the enhancements in iOS 11 prove this trend continues. Just like previous iOS releases, whether you should upgrade or not depends on whether the bugs present in the new release will impact you on a greater level than you can tolerate—and whether you feel the new features are worth the upgrade. If possible, it may be best to try out the new version of iOS on another device before installing it on your own. To check out a list of bugs related to VoiceOver and b/braille, check the this AppleVis post. To download the update over the air, go to Settings> General> Software Update, and follow the prompts onscreen. Alternatively, you can update your device through iTunes.


CCB-GTT Victoria Summary Notes, Year in Review and Stuff, June 7, 2017

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

Summary Notes
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm by chair Albert Ruel

Attendance: 23 people.

Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting, After a one month absence (where we took the meeting to Shaw last month) it was good to be back at the GVPL, for our final meeting before the 2 month summer break. Seeing as this is our last meeting for awhile, no formal agenda was presented, rather a “year in review” and “open discussion” were encouraged.

BlueSky TV:
The meeting started with some discussion about The BlueSky offering from Shaw. Partisipants were asked if they enjoyed the demo and if any members did elect to subscribe to the service. At least 4 participants said they had signed up for BlueSky.

Mike Carpenter gave a complete description and overview of the service. He personally is delighted with BlueSky. Several members had questions pertaining to just how accessible is the service, and it was agreed that it does have it’s limitations in regards to presenting the program grid and/or external app content. Rather then calling it an accessible product, it might better be described as an inclusive product, developed for mainstream consumption that is usable by the blind .

There does not seam to be a lot of print, or even web information available about the service, however Albert has gathered some YouTube videos from the States that describe the ComCast service (same service as blueSky) that he will make available via the blog.

Must remember takeaways, you must have Shaw150 speed internet. Button A on remote turns voice guidance on/off . Shaw FreeRange app works great with Voiceover on iPhone and iPads.

Capital and Nanaimo Region BC Transit Stop Announcement Updates:
Albert reported that plans for a fully accessible transit “stop announcement” and external audible bus identifier system is moving forward. Nanaimo will be one of the first BC Transit cities to realise the Service. They should be fully installed in all 7 announced BC Transit service centers by the end of next year.

Victoria Bicycle Lane Update:
The new Downtown bike lanes were discussed, Linda reported that there were several issues including bus stops located on islands. Major concern for VI transit users whereas the must cross the two way bike lanes to get to and from the transit stop. Also location transit stop not identified on main sidewalk. Linda encouraged everyone with issues in this regard to be vocal, report your concerns, experiences and issues with the city of Victoria.

Music Writing Apps for the computer:
Some general discussion about music writing software like MusScore and Lime took place. Jaws 18 and the issue of upgrading was talked about and Albert spoke about how to create accessible MS Word tables (Albert will share info with those interested).

Access Technology Institute Accessible Textbooks:
Accessible textbooks by CathyAnn Murtha, one of which is called An Immersion Into Word2013-JFW, were discussed by Albert, although expensive they are in his opinion the best out there and worth the money. You will find information on all their textbooks and training sessions at Access Technology Institute (ATI)GTT Blog, Facebook and Email Engagement Streams:
Albert encouraged everyone to sign up for our GTT blog for updates, and to join our facebook group and email discussion list. More information will be distributed to all currently on the GTT Victoria mailing list.

the new GTT FaceBook group for youth was announced and for anyone interested more info is available from the CCB National office or on the Blog. Addressing the tech needs of blind youth was viewed by the group as being an extremely worthwhile and forward thinking initiative.

Eyes-free academy by iHabilitation:
Tom Decker informed the group of a new inclusive learning project that is now available via iHabilitation Canada. It’s called the Eyes-free academy. The first course is being offered free of charge as a beta. For more info visit Tom is eager to receive feedback on the project and looking forward to offering many more courses. Stay tuned.

iOS Updates Coming to an iDevice Near You:
A brief discussion took place about the new offerings that will be a part of iOS11 (to be released later this fall). many new and exciting changes that will be discussed when the group gathers again in September and beyond.

Special Thanks to Karen and the GVPL for Hosting GTT Victoria for the Past Year:
A special “thank you” went out to Karen for her help and participation in CCB GTT Victoria. The Greater Victoria Public Library has been a strong supporter of the program. Our thanks go out to everyone at the library, we are proud and honoured to call the GVPL our home base for GTT Victoria. Karen informed the group that Scott Minroe, GVPL staff might be joining us in the fall, with Karen dropping in from time to time.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:10pm. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER !!!!!

Next meeting, Wednesday September 6, 2017

Minutes prepared and Submitted by Corry Stuive


Guest Post: How to Re-Arrange App Icons on your iOS 10 Device

Dear GTT Members,

Thanks goes out to GTT Edmonton member, Owais, who has written a tutorial on arranging iOS app icons that he would like to share with us. See his email below.

Subject: Arranging Apps In Ios 10

Hello Gtt. I have prepared a Tutorial that demonstrates how to Arrange Applications in iOS 10 since Apple has made it very easy to do this. In this tutorial I have prepared all the steps to arrange apps with a Braille Display and without a Braille Display. I hope this helps everyone.

Arranging Apps In iOS 10 With A Braille Display:
Note: This tutorial assumes that the user is already connected to a Braille Display.
Step 1. First locate on your Home Screen of the iOS Device to an app. It will help if your at the very top of the Home Screen.
Step 2. Press Spacebar and Dot 6 to go to your options of your current Rotor Settings. Try to find Arrange Apps.
Step 3. Click or Double-Tap on it with your Rotor Keys. The Braille Display and Voiceover will announce Arranging Apps.
Step 4. Scroll up or down once and then back to the app you were previously on. You will then read the App’s name and the word “Editting” beside it.
Step 5. Be careful here because Double-Tapping on this may Delete the App however you will get an Alert Pop-Up.
Step 6. Locate to the app that you wish to move and swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3. Look for Move the specific app for example Messages.
When you swipe up your Ios Device should say Move Messages.
Step 7. Double-Tap and a Pop-Up should be seen spoken to choose a Destination.
Step 8. Now anywhere on your phone locate to an app on your phone that you would like the currently moved app to be with.
Step 9. When you have found that app swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3 again. You will see place Message in this case before or after or the current app. Another option you will have is to Create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the option you want and press the either of Rotor keys to Double-Tap. Your app will then be mrved.
Step 10. To end the Editting Mode press the Home Button or do the same steps if you wish to mrve other apps.
Step 11. When you create folder with several apps the iPhone may name it randomly according to the Category of apps they fit in. You may change the App’s name by going into the Folder and putting your Ios device in Editting as explained above as you want to move an app.
Step 12. Instead of mrving apps go to the very top of the folder. You will see Clear Text and when your Ios Device has focused the Braille Display on the Folder’s Title, a Pop-Up comes saying “Double-Tap to edit text field.”
Click on it using the Braille Display Rotor keys and simply enter the Title you wish to give this Folder. Press Spacebar and E when your done.
Step 13. End your Editting as described above.
Note: When you have completed formatting your Ios Device’s Layout place your Rotor Setting option to Activate Default since if it’s focused on Arrange Apps, your phone will go back into Editting Mode as soon as you Double-Tap on the app to use it or when you press Enter.

Arranging Apps Without A Braille Display:
Step 1. Swipe Up or Down on your Ios Device’s screen and Double-Tap on Arrange Apps. Swipe to the right/left and then back to your current app you would like to move and Voiceover will announce for example Messages Editting.

Step 2. Be careful here and don’t Double-Tap since that may lead you to Deleting your app. Please note that if you click on this button here as well Voiceogher will alert you telling you that your about to delete an app.
Step 3. Swipe up to find move Messages for example and Double-Tap on it.
Voiceogher should announce Choose A destination.
Step 4. Locate to the app you wish to move the current app before or after.
Step 5. Swipe up or down and you will get options to place Messages after or before or even create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the one you want.
Step 6. Now your app has been moved and your done. Press the Home Button if your done formatting your Screen Layout or follow the same steps to mrche your other apps.
Step 7. When your folder in a folder and wish to change the folder’s name in which your apps are located do the follow things.
Step 8. Proceed to the very top of the folder and put your Ios Device back into Editting Mode.
Step 9. You will hear Voiceover announce the folder current name in addiy to a Pop-Up saying Double-Tap to edit the Text Field.
Step 10. Double-Tap and use your Touch Screen to enter the Title you wish to give your folder.
Step 11. Double-Tap on done and your all done.
Note: Make sure your screen is focused on Activate Default instead of Arrange Apps when your done since this will do the same thing as described in the note with the Braille Display above.

Best Regards,

Please send your questions and comments to,

Guest Post: Dolphin Releases the EasyReader App for iOS, a new Direct To Player audio book reading app

June 9, 2017

Dear GTT Members,

Earlier this week Dolphin released their latest app that will allow CELA patrons to access Daisy books directly into the app. Below are two helpful links, the first will take you to the Dolphin Web Site where you can access a YouTube video and other sources of information about the Dolphin EasyReader App, and the second one will take you to the App Store where you can download the app into your iDevice for free.

Dolphin EasyReader Direct to Player App for iOS:

Where to purchase EasyReader from the iOS App Store:

Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you may log in to your CELA account by typing the following in front of your six digit CELA ID Number:


Follow that with your password in the password field and you should be able to try out this great new app.

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Mobile: 250-240-2343

For a Cool Blind Tech article on this app check this link:

Training Opportunity: Eyes-Free Academy Presents, “iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen” by iHabilitation Canada

Eyes-Free Academy Presents:
“iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen”

As you may already know, iHabilitation Canada has been busily learning about multimedia recording and online learning management systems. We’ve done this to discover how these technologies can be integrated to create inclusively-designed instruction in Eyes-Free iPhone operation for both teachers and learners.
You can imagine how happy we are to announce the launch of our Eyes-Free Academy, because it does just that! Our first course, “iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen”, is offered free of charge because we want to encourage feedback regarding future course content.
To find out more, please join our low traffic Email info list at the above URL. You’ll receive a booklet with a more detailed explanation of Eyes-Free Academy course content and teaching methodology.

Our approach promotes the idea that almost anyone can navigate the iPhone touch-screen via the Voiceover screen-reader, rather than looking at the phone.

This introductory iPhone Eyes-Free course, which is inclusively-designed, provides detailed audio/video real-time demonstrations along with PDF documentation to suit various accessibility needs. The course comprises six sections: introduction, lessons and summary.

We have also posted a promotional video on our YouTube channel that describes the course and the philosophy behind iHabilitation Canada. You can find the video at the above URL. The channel will also showcase future course material.

Thank you,
Tom Dekker VRT
Founder, iHabilitation Canada
778-265-2513 or 250-661-9799

CCB-GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, iPhone demos and Training, May 8, 2017

Summary Notes
GTT Edmonton Meeting May 8, 2017

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held May 8 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
16 people attended.

May Topic – iPhone demos and Training

Russell demonstrated how to use the Uber app with VoiceOver on his iPhone. He first showed how to book a trip for pick up right away by tapping on the “Where To” button, and then choosing the pickup and destination addresses, and then tapping on the “Request UberX” button. He talked about how the app shows the ETA as well as the amount the trip will cost.
Russell then demonstrated how to schedule a trip for a later date by tapping on the “Schedule a ride” button, choosing the date and time from a “Picker” list, choosing the button to “set” the date and time, and then tapping a button to schedule the trip.

The Uber app allows you to contact the driver once the trip has been booked either by phone or text message. This is helpful to let the driver know that you are blind and will need assistance to the vehicle. There is a “Menu” button that gives options to change your profile information, change your payment method, and view past or upcoming trips. There is also a button on the main screen that gives access to more content and actions like sharing coupons with friends and ordering food through Uber Eats.

The app is accessible with VoiceOver.

For more information on Uber go to:

Yellow Cab App
Lorne demonstrated the Yellow Cab Edmonton (Y C Edmonton) app with VoiceOver on his iPhone.
From the main screen, you can start the booking process by tapping on Book a Taxi, or by tapping on one of your frequent addresses (they call them Favorites).
the next screen is where you enter all the details of your trip, such as the pickup address, destination address, type of taxi (regular sedan or van), scheduling the trip for now or some date in the future, as well as giving any info you want the driver to have, such as asking for a call upon arrival, etc.) When choosing your pickup address, you can do so either by using your phone’s GPS (which isn’t always exact), or by typing it in, or choosing one of your phone’s contacts.
All the buttons in this app are labelled with what they do, but some of them don’t say Button, so a VoiceOver user might not know to tap on them, such as when you’ve finished entering all the trip details and you’re ready to send it off. You must tap where it says Book, but it won’t say button.
If you enter a destination address(optional), it will give you an estimate of the cost, however this is just an estimate, and the final price may be more. This is one of the major differences between this app and the Uber one, Uber charges you as soon as the trip starts, based on the calculated distance. If your cab driver gets lost, etc., then your trip might be more expensive.
This app advertises the ability to set up a credit card and pay from within the app, however that feature either has since been removed, or perhaps must be set up through contacting the company.
This app shows a map on screen when the cab is on its way to you, however that part is not accessible with Voiceover, however it does tell you the 3-digit number of your cab, which might be useful if you ever get denied because of your Guide Dog, etc.
One of the biggest advantages of using an app instead of just calling their dispatch centre like in the past, is the app will send you notifications if your cab is late, and you can send and receive updates back and forth to the driver. no more wondering if your cab is still on the way, etc.
Here is more info about the app from the app store:

Gerry provided training on basic iPhone usage was presented to 2 people who are considering using and iPhone or iPad to help them with everyday tasks.

Next Meeting (Monday June 12at 7pm)
• As usual, we will provide one-on-one training especially iPhone and DAISY players. If you have other training requests email your interests to us so we can try to accommodate you.
• As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
• Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
[End of Document]

CCB-GTT New Westminster Summary Notes, Using the Safari Web Browser on iDevices, April 19, 2017

Get Together with Technology (GTT)
New Westminster Meeting

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind in partnership with Blind Beginnings

Summary Notes
April 19, 2017

Present: Shawn, Albert, Peg, Mary, John, Carol, Pat, Fay, Louise and Kiyo

Safari is the native Web browser on iPhones/iPads/iPods and Mac computers.
A web browser is used for accessing web pages on the Internet.
It is the Apple equivalent to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
You can download Firefox or Google Chrome on your iDevice but Safari will always be the default browser.
Unlike with the Microsoft Windows platform, you can’t change the default web browser on iDevices.
The Safari icon is usually found in the Doc at the bottom of your phone, however it can be moved to other locations on the Home Screen.
When you open/launch Safari it will open to the last site you visited, not a default homepage like can be established in PC web browsers.
To type/dictate a new web site or a search string you will find the Address bar at the top of the page, and you can conduct a one finger double tap to bring focus to it.
Once you are focussed on the Address Bar you can type/dictate the direct address of the site you want to visit, or you can type/dictate key words to conduct a web search.
Once you type/dictate the relevant text, conduct a one finger double tap on the “Go or Search” icon in the bottom right corner of the device to activate the search.
If you want to copy the URL of the web page you are on, conduct a one finger double tap on the Address Bar and the text contained therein will be highlighted. Activate the Share Button on the Safari Doc and one finger swipe right to find the Copy Button, then one finger double Tap it and a copy of the URL will be moved to the clipboard ready for pasting where ever you need it.


One Finger Double Tap;
The one finger double tap activates/launches/selects/opens items.
To activate the Play Button in any audio player or on YouTube you must conduct a one finger double tap on the button. Once the audio is playing the Magic Tap will pause/resume playing. If ever you find that music or your audio book starts playing without you tapping the relevant button, you may have accidently conducted a Magic Tap, so repeat the action and it will pause the audio again.
To activate an Edit Field you must conduct a one finger double tap, then you will be able to type/dictate.
When VoiceOver says that Actions are available it means you have options and you can flick up and down with one finger to hear the options.

Magic Tap;
The Two finger double tap is called the “Magic Tap” because you can use it for many things including dictating, turning off or on music or audio books, or answering or hanging up a phone.
You must be in the edit field and in edit mode in order for the two finger double tap gesture to open the microphone so that you can dictate.
You must be outside of the edit fields in order to have the two finger double tap answer/hang-up the phone or play/pause audio.

Siri and dictation are related, but not the same. Siri gives you very little time to dictate your request/instructions before she thinks you are finished, and Dictation allows you time to stop and think during dictation.

Activate the Rotor by placing two fingers on the screen and turning them as if you were turning a radio knob. Ensure your fingers aren’t too close together or it will think it is just one finger.
Use your rotor to select characters, words, lines, headings, links, etc.
Once a Rotor item is selected, the one finger flick up and down moves the focus point forward or back by the selected movement unit, like, characters, words, lines, headings, links, etc.
Once you land on an actionable item the one finger double tap will activate/select the item.
The one finger flick up takes the focus to the beginning of the character/word/line, and the one finger flick down takes the focus to the back of the character/word/line. This is important for Back Spacing over text you want to delete.

Two finger flick up or down;
The Two finger flick down will start VoiceOver reading from where the focus is.
The Two finger flick up will send the cursor to the top of the screen/page and start VoiceOver reading from there.

Google Operators:
Put quotation marks around multiple words that should appear in specific order that you are looking for, for example, “Joe Bloe” so that only Joe Bloe will show up in the results. Otherwise, all the Joe’s and all the Bloe’s will show up.
Add a plus sign after the search string to add two things together in a search term, for example if you are looking for Joe Bloe in Vancouver you would do the following:
“Joe Bloe” +Vancouver
You can also use a minus symbol to exclude something in a search term, for example, if you are looking for Joe Bloe and don’t want the Vancouver one to show up you would replace the above + sign with a minus sign, and all Joe Bloe’s outside of Vancouver should appear.
If your initial search term is too generic you may get too many results, so try to be really specific in your search terms.

Two finger scrub;
At the top left corner is a back button that takes you back to the screen you were at before, including lists of email messages, Contact profiles, web pages or Twitter/Facebook posts.
The Two finger scrub like the print letter Z done quickly is attached to the Back Button and will also usually take you back to the screen you were on before.

Saving Favourites;
You can save a site to your favourites by selecting the Share Button on the Safari Doc at the bottom of all web pages you will visit. It is found just above the home button at the bottom of the screen.
Swiping through the list of options you will find several actionable items including air drop which allows you to share with someone in the room who also has an iDevice, message – allows you to send the link to the site to somebody else through text, mail – allows you to Email somebody the link, notes allows you to save it in a note, Twitter/Facebook – allows you to post to those social media sites, add to favourites – allows you to include that page to a list of your favourites, add bookmark – sets a bookmark in the Bookmarks list, add to reading list – allows you to access it without being on the Internet, add to home screen – allows you to save it to your home screen as an icon.
In the above list you can double tap on Add to Home Screen, and that will allow you to edit the name before flicking left to double tap on the Add/Save Button and it will be saved to your Home Screen for easy access to that web page.

PC Web Browsing:
Hold down the Alt and type the letter D to bring focus to the Address Bar in Firefox or Internet Explorer. When you land there the URL for that web page is selected, so just hold down the Control key and type the letter C to copy it to the clipboard for pasting in a document or email message.

Possible topics for future meetings that resulted from this talk:
Rotor on iDevices,
Tips for searching in a browser,
Gestures with voiceover,
How to set up your home screens,
Text editing – copying, cutting and pasting.

Topic for the May 17 meeting will be rotor and gestures with VoiceOver.
Albert will check if we can designate a donation to our public library for CELA.

Respectfully submitted by Shawn Marsolais and Albert Ruel

GTT Calgary Summary Notes, Copying, Cutting and Pasting with iOS, March 22, 2017

CCB-GTT Calgary

Summary Notes

March 22, 2017.

We had 7 members  in attendance.

Our topic was to be copying, cutting, and pasting with the iPhone.

In our attempts to accomplish our task, we found several inconsistencies while copying, cutting and pasting with voice/over.  First, there were times when you would copy, but when you paste the contents back, into whatever into your selected application, the contents of the clipboard would not be there.

Next we tried working with notes, and messages to see if the process was any different.  We found that by using a pinching method, it is indeed possible to copy text, but it is unreliable and you can’t do it with any accuracy as to content.  Using pages is even more of a challenge.  Pages is set up more like the mac layout, and may be intimidating to some users who aren’t familiar with it.

Our conclusion, unless someone on the blog has information that we don’t have, and is willing to share, we found copying, pasting, and cutting information on the iPhone inconsistent and unreliable.  If you must do this, my suggestion would be to use a keyboard.

Ted, try sharing this link with your members titled, iFocus Selecting, Copying and Pasting Text.mp3, produced by the Hadley Institute for the Blind.

Thank you for your attention.


Ted Phillips

CCB Calgary

GTT Coordinator



Tutorial Resource: How To Connect a Refreshable Braille Display to iDevices

Hello GTT members across Canada:

For those of you who are blind and may be thinking of connecting an electronic braille display to your iPhone or iPad the following are tips from one of our GTT Edmonton student members, Owais Patel.

Thanks to Owais for sharing his experience.


Hi Gerry.

Here are the important things that I would like you to share with all of our Gtt members regarding using a Braille Display with your iOS device. Finally I have completed them now. Thanks for sharing them for me.


Note: These instructions apply to the iPhone but for most of the part are same for all iOS devices and the following instructions apply to the Braille Sense U2, however make sure with the Tech Team of your Braille Display that these instructions also apply to you. Most likely they should be the same.


How To Connect a Braille Display to iDevices:

  1. Locate to Utilities and Terminal For Screen Reader on the Braille Sense and select Bluetooth Serial Port, press F1 and then F4 which will put you in a mode where all of your display will be blank.
    1. Now on the phone locate to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver and then Braille. Find the Heading labeled Choose A Braille Display and scroll down once. Here your Braille Display’s name should appear. Double-tap and you will be placed in the Text field of entering a 4 Digit Pin Code. If you want to remember it easily try to keep one number repeated 4 ts. Quickly
  2. do this and click on Pair Button. Now on your Braille display you will have a Pop-up saying Pin Code. Here enter the code which you entered on the phone quickly and press enter. You should be now connected.


Keystrokes To Use With The Braille Display:

  1. When you are connected to a Braille Display you don’t need to touch the screen of your phone and everything becomes even faster but everything you do also changes.
  2. In the situation of a Braille Sense your Home Button is the Function Key 2.
  3. To scroll up and down you may use the Scroll keys on the sides of the U2/.play. If these keys don’t appear there, use Space bar and Dot Dot 1 to go up or to the previous item and Space bar and Dot 4 to go Down or to the next item.
  4. Press Space bar and Dots 1 2 4 5 to toggle between the Braille codes in which the stuff from your iPhone is displayed on your Braille Display.
  5. Although this is different when you write because this code doesn’t apply to the Output of the phone onto your Braille Display.
  6. To manage this code press Space Bar and Dots 2 3 and 6. To swipe up poess space and dot 3 and to swipe down press space and Dot 6.
  7. To Delete something in a Text Field press Space and D.
  8. To write something from the Writing field of the Braille Sense into the real iPhone field press Space and E. For example when you trying something in search field and you you write “Weather Today”
  9. to paste this into the Search field press space and E. This can also be used to insert a blank line in a document. It works like the enter key on your Qwerty keyboard.
  10. To go to the very top of the screen press space and Dots 1, 2 and 3. To go to the very bottom of the screen press Space and dots 4, 5 and 6.
  11. To Double-Tap using the Braille Sense use the Cursor Keys.
  12. To open the help menu to see what each keystroke does press Space and K, or a 4 finger Double-Tap. When you’re here you can do any keystroke to see what each does for you. Don’t worry because Voiceover will speak each keystroke’s action or the the spoken words will pop up text on the display. Although the real keystroke in this section will perform its action.
  13. Once you would like to close this don’t press space bar and K, instead you will have to do the 4 Finger Double Tap on the iPhone screen.
  14. To activate Rotor options press Space bar and Dots 5:6 to go forwards and Space bar and dots 2 and 3 to go back. Then swipe up and down to select and deselect text.
  15. Press Space bar and S to see all of your bars Battery Remaining Etc.
  16. When your done with this do the keystroke to go to the top of the screen and this will take you back to the home screen or where you were before you activated this Status Bar Screen.
  17. To go out of a Window on your Phone or go back to something press space and letter B.


Voiceover Braille Display Short Forms:

When you just use Voiceover to use the phone you will not notice the short forms which Voiceover uses to label things in several places on the iPhone, because Voiceover just speaks the original phrase or words directly.

  • Firstly the short form used for Heading is Hd. The short form of Button is B.T.N. These are the main ones only. Hope they help.


Important Notices:

  1. There are several places on iOS devices where Pop-ups happen. As a result if your a slow reader you may not be able to read what was on your screen before the pop-up happened. A tip for this is to wait for the pop-up to disappear and then read without moving up or down what’s on the Braille Display. To refer back to the Pop-up scroll down-up and go back to where the pop-up appeared.
  2. You can adjust all the Braille Settings based on your opinion in the Settings and this will really help.
  3. Sometimes the doesn’t connect to the Braille Displays we use. It’s a great idea to reset both devices and then retry. If it still doesn’t work try turning your Bluetooth on your iPhone off and retry. Hopefully this will help.
  4. Sometimes when entering a password or a Username it may be a problem to enter it because of the Braille Code translation. However if this happens. Use your screen to type for this time only and you should be all right.
  5. It’s a great idea to turn the Speech Off when you’re using a Braille Display with your Ios device because the speech slows everything down. For example if you on an app title, Voiceover will still speak the title even though your at the next app on your Braille Display.
  6. Whenever you’re in any Text Field it is a great idea to do the keystroke Space bar and Dots 2, 3 and 6. It’s a great idea because it might mess up your writing in my experience.


Contact Info:

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you face any problems. I will try my very best to help. My email address is written below.


Also using a Braille Display with all of the MacBooks is extremely accessible as well. To get all the keystrokes regarding the use of Braille Displays with the Mac please contact Kim the Gtt Coordinator in Ottawa.



Kind Regards,