Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

VoiceOver bug

Posted by universalis on 4 October 2019

It is very rare for Apple to introduce a bug into their operating systems which causes major trouble for users of the Universalis app, but unfortunately it looks as if this is what has happened in iOS 13.

Apple’s VoiceOver feature reads the contents of an app screen out loud to the user, thus enabling blind people to use the app. Universalis has worked with VoiceOver for many years now, but with iOS 13 there has come a problem.

On many devices, nothing goes wrong. For instance, on the iOS 13 devices we have been testing, everything works perfectly on the iPhone.

Where things do go wrong, the symptoms are bizarre. It is as if another, invisible screen were present, covering up the Universalis screen. The result is that tapping on the screen, instead of reading out what is on the screen, produces an odd sound effect – a burble, or a twitter, or a thump. Very occasionally something “real” (but spurious) is played. Once we got the single word “Settings”. Another time the iPad started playing “Ticket to the Moon”.

We asked Apple Technical Support for help, and they told us that it was a bug in iOS. We have accordingly reported the bug to Apple, and now we have to wait for them to do something about it.

We are very sorry that our blind users are inconvenienced, but there is nothing more that we ourselves can do. It is out of our hands. If anyone experiences this problem and tries reporting it through Feedback Assistant, please include the reference number of our original bug report, which is FB7340738.


This bug affects all current versions of iOS 13, from 13.0 to 13.1.2.

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