GTT Nat Con Call Summary Notes, iOS 13, the Good and the Bad, 2019Oct09

GTT National Conference Call.

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes

October 9, 2019


Theme: Apple’s iOS 13 update, the good, the bad and the ugly.


On October 9, 2019 the GTT National Conference Call discussed the above topic with the help of the below presenters, which was followed by a number of spirited questions from the floor.  The presenters were asked to talk about 3 of the things they like and don’t like about the version being used on that date, namely iOS 13.1.2.  Since then additional updates have been released so depending on the date you read these Summary Notes your experience may be different.


To learn more about iOS 13 visit this Apple Website:


To access many fantastic iOS 13 AppleVis Podcasts follow this link:


Presenters: Michael Feir, Elmer Thiesen, Tom Dekker, Kim Kilpatrick, Brian Bibeault and David Green.


Please check out the presentation on the CCB Podcast below for more details.

10 GTT National Conference Call, iOS 13, the Good and the Bad, October 9, 2019


Michael Feir:

  • Michael expressed frustration over the hang-up bug, and suggested that in iOS 13.1.2 users can use triple click on the home button three times to turn off Voice Over, which always resolves the freeze being experienced.
  • To set the triple tap on the Home or Side buttons to Voice Over do the following: Go to Settings, Accessibility and select the Accessibility Shortcut to launch Voice Over.
  • Be careful not to accidently click the button five times in a row without sufficient pause or you can activate the SOS call to 911.
  • Custom Controls Can Be used to limit or expand the haptic feedback and sounds given off by iOS 13 devices. The user can also re-define existing gestures, and define undefined gestures to functions that are difficult to manage, like the turning of the Rotor dial.
  • The Reminders app is another area where iOS 13 has made great strides. It is far more customizable and configurable to the needs of the end user. It now boasts some project management features that make it really good to use.


Elmer Thiesen:

  • Elmer indicated that for him the ability to customize gestures is a really big deal, and the first one he changed was the Rotor gesture to use two fingers sliding across the screen left or right to turn it in those directions.
  • He also expressed that the Vertical Scroll Bar is a great addition to iOS 13. It allows the user to scroll pages of information far more easily and efficiently.
  • Elmer likes the ability to establish Activities with desired features like, having a specific voice read emails with no punctuation, and another voice work on word processing apps with all punctuation turned on. These can now be customized to the user’s preference.
  • One of the bugs Elmer has struggled with is that Siri would get lost in what she was asked to access and keep repeating the same irrelevant thing over and over again until he re-set the Network Settings. Apple Support assisted in getting this sorted out.


Tom Dekker:

  • Screen Recording is the thing Tom likes most about the upgrade to iOS 13. it never quite worked well before iOS 13, and now works very well with good quality sound.
  • Commands and the ability to customize them is another of Tom’s favourite things about iOS 13.
  • On Screen Braille keyboard is better than ever. He can now type more quickly and with more accuracy than before.
  • Tom thinks that a weird thing is the iPhone User Guide downloaded to the iOS Books app. It only reads the first line or two of each paragraph. It doesn’t track anything correctly. Older Guides work well, but not this one.


Kim Kilpatrick:

  • Kim agreed that the iOS 13 User Guide doesn’t work well.
  • As for the hang-up bug, her experience seems to be that it only happens when she uses the microphone button on the wired earbuds. She also indicated that this bug didn’t come up during the beta testing phase, which she has been on since the beginning.
  • Kim expressed that a great feature of iOS 13 is that Accessibility is not buried in General and that it has its own spot in Settings.
  • Kim has heard that Low Vision users are liking the Dark Mode offered in iOS 13.
  • She indicated that there are some good things added to Braille support that allows Voice Over to have more things read back to the user as they type, however a bug seems to have been introduced that creates a disconnect when back spacing to delete errors. Kim also agrees that Braille Screen Input has improved dramatically.
  • Voice Control is another item Kim appreciates about iOS 13. Although it isn’t a Voice Over specific feature, it never-the-less works well with it, and it will really help those with limited hand function to access even more functions of their iOS devices. Voice Over users must use earbuds when accessing Voice Controls otherwise the Voice Over speech will interfere. The strong point about using Voice Control when dictating in an edit field is that Voice Over will read back what is being dictated periodically. It functions more like Dragon Naturally Speaking in that regard. this should only be used in quiet places otherwise it makes many errors.
  • Kim told the group that in Activities you can also adjust punctuation for different apps and activities according to your personal preferences, the voice, rate and punctuation can all be set for different apps and tasks.


David Green:

  • David told the assembled that when inserting passwords and code numbers for voicemail iOS 13 seems to be far faster in echoing the touch screen presses, which leads to increased accuracy in typing those characters. This is especially noticeable in voicemail entry codes.
  • One bug David noticed is in the Native Mail app. When he tries to move from one account to another focus seems to go into Edit Mode instead of activating the new account. It will also do this in the Messages app sometimes.


  • David found that after the upgrade to iOS 13 the speaking voice was changed from his favourite American voice to a British one. The only way to fix this was to set the Location to America in order to get those voices back.
  • Slide to Type is one feature that David will have to practice a lot before it will become comfortable, if it ever does.
  • Many of the new features and functions of iOS 13 are not of interest to David, so he will likely give them a pass.


Brian Bibeault:

  • Brian wasn’t going to upgrade yet, however having forgotten to shut off his phone one evening he woke up to an upgraded iPhone. Since this event he has worked at trying to learn its new features and is getting comfortable with them. The first day was a nightmare, but he recommended that anyone intending to make the move go to AppleVis and listen to the many Thomas Domville podcasts about iOS 13. He provides a great set of tutorials and guides to the important features and upgrades.
  • One glitch Brian found is when using the Bluetooth Keyboard, the focus jumps all over the place unexpectedly.
  • Brian suggested that if one is going to use Voice Control, turn it off after using it, otherwise it’ll drive you nuts if you answer a phone call with it still turned on. It’ll keep repeating text not relevant to the conversation.
  • He found that his recent move to Bell Fib Cablevision has improved since iOS 13, whereas the app was not accessible with iOS 12.4.


Question Period:

Participants had a range of questions to ask the presenters, for which some found answers and some are yet to be resolved.  To access the remainder of the session please find the complete Podcast recording on the Canadian Council of the Blind Podcast channel.


For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:


Albert Ruel                   or                               Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                           1-877-304-0968,513            


CCB Backgrounder:


The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.


The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.


CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: URL: