Tuesday, October 14, 2014 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iOS 8 Accessibility Regressions

Chris Hofstader:

For the past few years, based on what I’ve written in this blog and elsewhere, blind enthusiasts of the Android platform have labeled me as an Apple fanboy. It is true that I use Apple devices and that I applaud Apple for its outstanding out-of-the-box accessibility in iOS/7 and the pretty good version of the same on OS X.


So, it remains that iOS/7 is the all time out-of-the-box accessibility champion. As iOS/7 can no longer be purchased from Apple, this also means that the most accessible solution for mobile computing is now a thing of the past. We’ve regressed in iOS/8 and Apple must be taken to task for such.


Apple is doing something different and dangerous with their accessibility strategy. By choosing to release iOS/8 with so many glaringly obvious bugs, they have allowed accessibility regressions to vastly overshadow any improvements in such in iOS/8. My personal conclusion is that this is the result of a failure by the Apple competitors, most notably Google and Microsoft, to actually compete in this space. Apple released iOS/7 with a 100% accessibility API compatibility rating, the only out-of-the-box solution that has even tried to achieve such. Apple is still the clear leader in accessibility in the mobile computing arena but has proven that they can disappoint as well as surprise this community with their accessibility efforts.


Detailed in this post are possible accessibility bugs which members of the AppleVis Editorial Team have identified during their testing of iOS 8. If you have not already updated your iDevice to iOS 8, we strongly recommend that you read through this post and any comments before doing so, as we believe that there are a number of bugs in this release which might have a significant impact on the user experience for some blind and low vision users.

Update (2014-10-20): AppleVis:

Based upon what we have typically come to expect from a full point release of iOS, it is likely that some will be disappointed to see that this update does not include more fixes for the accessibility-related bugs that were introduced in iOS 8.0. However, it is worth noting that iOS 8.1 comes just a month after iOS 8.0, and that Apple appears to be working on a very different version schedule to what we have typically seen in the past.


Here are the fixes and improvements that we have found in our initial testing of iOS 8.1.


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