EnHanced Siri Voices for VoiceOver Not Available on iOS 10.0.1 After Restoring my iPhone 6S

For quite some time I have been a very satisfied user of iOS, starting with iOS 7 several years ago. I recently upgraded to iOS 10 and, after performing a restore from an iTunes backup, I noticed that the enhanced Siri voices, while they are available with Siri, are no longer available for users of VoiceOver. This has left me feeling disappointed, as the enhanced Siri male voice is one of the few that I really prefer on the iPhone. I have reported the relevant details regarding this problem to Apple and I encourage you to do the same if you’re having the same problem. Apple will be more likely to investigate and correct this bug as more users contact them about the problem. Their email address is

accessibility at apple dot com

To avoid spammers, I have written out the email address with spaces and words for the punctuation, so be sure to remove the spaces and replace the words at and dot with the relevant symbols.

Here is the text that I sent to them.


I am writing concerning a problem which I am unable to solve. This issue concerns an iPhone 6S, 64 GB model. The same problem has affected a family member who owns an iPhone 6, 128 GB.

Here are the details of my device and the problem I am experiencing.

I am visually impaired and use VoiceOver for access. I use the U.S. Siri enhanced male voice. My iPhone 6S initially came preinstalled with iOS 9. Its speed and overall performance were extremely satisfactory using VoiceOver. When iOS 10 was publicly released, I downloaded and installed it onto my 6S. I noticed that some apps took a longer time to load. I also noticed a slightly longer than usual delay when performing the two-finger scrub gesture to move back to the previous screen. While I wouldn’t say that the delays were unacceptable, I admit to being disappointed at the difference in performance on a phone which is still a very recent model. I decided to perform a complete reset and erase, followed by a restore from a recent iTunes backup, hoping that doing so might increase my phone’s performance.

After performing the restore from iTunes, I noticed that there was no difference in my phone’s performance. However, I was unable to switch to the enhanced Siri voices with VoiceOver as these voices were no longer listed as available choices. While it was possible to set VoiceOver to any of the Siri voices, these were just the lower-quality voices. The enhanced voices no longer appeared as possible choices. Please understand that these enhanced Siri voices were available to me when I initially upgraded from iOS 9 to iOS 10. They disappeared when I performed a reset and restore on my phone.

This is very troubling to me as these are my favorite voices and I very much prefer them over the other voices from Nuance and I would very much like them back. As I indicated, another family member who also uses VoiceOver is experiencing the same problem with his iPhone 6. If there is a way to return these voices to my phone, I would appreciate learning how this is done. If this is a bug due to resetting or restoring the device, I would greatly appreciate it if Apple could investigate the cause of the problem.

Many thanks.

iOS 10: Next Phone Meeting: Philadelphia Computer Users’ Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired

On September 13, Apple released iOS 10. This newest version of the operating system is available for the iPhone starting with the iPhone 5, most iPads and the latest iPod Touch. Our next phone meeting is devoted to a discussion of this newest operating system. Perhaps you’re curious as to iOS 10’s new features. Maybe you’re one of the brave souls who have taken the plunge and have upgraded. Whatever camp you’re in, you’re welcome to chime in with your question or comment.

There are lots of new features in this newest OS, many of them impacting accessibility, hopefully in a positive way. Our next phone meeting is dedicated to discussing the various new features of iOS 10. Have you used Siri to book a ride with Oober or Lyft? Have you tried any of the new voices? Have you added any words to the new pronunciation editor? Have you moved all of your apps and folders on your home screen with the new and improved gestures? I’d love to hear from you.

Some of you may be using one of the newer iPhone models by the time our next conference begins. If you will soon be a user of the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, I’d love to hear your product review.

Our meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 30 at 8:00 PM Eastern time. To participate, the number to call is (712) 432-3900. When prompted for your access code, enter 391477, followed by the pound key.

I’m looking forward to this next conference.

Star Trek Turns 50 Today

On September 8, 1966, the first episode of Star Trek, titled "the Man Trap", aired on NBC. This program, way ahead of its time even then, inspired 5 spin-off series along with feature films and a ton of original novels which, while starting in the late 1960’s, continue to be written and distributed to this day. As I think of the various variants of the series, one thing that comes to mind is the technology which was a regular staple on starships, starbases and space stations throughout the United Federation of Planets. Some technologies still only exist in the world of fiction, particularly the transporter. While having access to one would greatly eliminate the time I spend commuting to and from work, I’m not certain I’d want my atoms dispersed at home and reassembled at my desk. I think Dr. McCoy was right to have such mistrust in those things. However, many forms of technology, originally shown on Trek, are now very real. From the first episode onward, Starfleet personnel had access to a device known as a personal access data display, or PADD for short. It was a flat computer which was, in the original series, operated with a stylus. Even in the early days of the Next Generation, we never dreamed we might own such devices, as our computers at that time were still running DOS. Now, I have two of them in my desk drawer at work, one of them being an iPad. If you’re curious, Memory Alpha, one of the online Star Trek encyclopedias, has a great article about the PADD and its various models we’ve seen on the various series.

The iPhone has aspects of the PADD in that it’s a flat touchscreen that allows me to access various types of information but it also includes another type of Trek technology, the communicator, allowing me to easily call someone even if they’re located on the other side of the planet.

Later series showed a room known as a holodeck, where you could turn an empty room into any location you desired, even allowing you to interact with holographic characters. Now, we have companies who are designing products which will allow you to enter a holographic world for activities such as playing games.

Science fiction has often written about various types of technologies which, though fictional at the time, became a reality in the future. In fact, the article I referenced earlier suggests that Star Trek may have been a factor in inspiring Steve Jobs to invent the iPhone.

In closing, I’ll share an amusing and true story regarding my own writing which illustrates this. I’ve written a lot of various short SF pieces over the years, none of them officially published. In one of them, I unknowingly came up with an idea for a product which didn’t exist then but is something we take for granted. In this story which I wrote about 16 years ago, one of the characters was a computer programmer. While I never included this reference in the actual piece, I toyed with the idea of having her wearing a computer on her wrist. In one brief scene, which had nothing to do with the main story, she gets annoyed when her computer, known as a Microsoft watch, stops working due to a crash. It was really meant as a joke, since Windows computers were certainly known for crashing on a fairly regular basis, requiring a restart. I thought it would be funny to have the same thing happening to this character, wearing a watch, powered by a Microsoft operating system. As I say, it was really meant to give the story some humor and I chose not to include it. I would have never guessed that we’d be able to wear computers on our wrist in 2016, including a product known as the Apple Watch. Well, the next time I think of a cool piece of tech that hasn’t been invented I’ll be sure to contact Apple or Microsoft and see to it that I get handsome royalty checks from my ideas. <grin>

Live long and prosper.

So, when you pick up your iPhone or iPad, consider that Gene Roddenberry was toying with these concepts in the mid 1960’s. Live long and prosper.

August 26/Next Phone Meeting/Philadelphia Computer Users’ Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Our next phone meeting of the Philadelphia Computer Users’ Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired is scheduled for Friday, August 26 at 8:00 PM. Anyone is welcome to call and participate, even if you’re outside of Philly. The topic is open to whatever you’d like to ask or comment about. Some topics for possible discussion could be:

  • Windows 10. Have any of you begun using Windows 10, particularly the new anniversary update. What do you think of it? How do you like it, compared to previous versions of Windows?
  • iOS 10 should be released in a little over a month. Are you looking forward to yet another new operating system for your IDevice?
  • Apple should be announcing new iPhones in early September. Are you considering upgrading your phone?

To participate, the number to call is

712 432-3900

Conference ID

391477 followed by the pound key.

Hope to see you then.

Tips/Copying and Pasting Text Spoken By Your Screen Reader

There are times when screen readers may speak the contents of a page or an error message and being able to copy and paste what was spoken could prove to be very helpful. This has come in very handy for me when I’m testing a page or piece of software. The screen reader says something unexpected and I want to let the developer know exactly what I’m hearing, without trying to remember and then type what I thought it was. JAWS
With JAWS, there are three very nifty tools which can assist with this task. The first is called speech history, which diligently records everything JAWS has spoken during the current session. To access it, press insert-space, which JAWS calls a layered command. Once you press insert-space, you should hear a couple of clicks and JAWS is now waiting for you to enter a second letter. Press H for the speech history. Everything which was spoken is displayed in the virtual buffer, allowing you to peruse it as well as using copy and paste commands on specific portions of the history text. Pressing the escape key closes the history text window and returns you to where you were before you invoked the command.
Next, JAWS has a couple of tools for doing what they refer to as virtualizing the current window or control. Essentially, you can take any window and have the text of that window “virtualized”, meaning that it gets placed in the virtual buffer, allowing it to be read, copied or pasted as needed.
To virtualize the current window, press insert-alt-W. To virtualize just the currently focused control, press shift-insert-alt-w. (The Virtualize current control command, while it may be useful, may not work consistently.) As it may feel as though you need three hands to execute some of these keystrokes, it is possible to change the key bindings for these commands in the JAWS keyboard manager.
NVDA has a very cool feature which, while I believe it’s documented, is not always very well-known. Essentially, you can copy and paste blocks of text found while reviewing text with NVDA’s review cursor. If you’ve never used the numeric keypad to control NVDA’s review cursor, it can be quite a trying experience if JAWS is what you’re used to. If you have a logical mind and are used to the interaction model used on the Mac, you’ll have a very easy time adjusting to this method of reviewing. Sections 5.4 through 5.6 of the NVDA user guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to use the numeric keypad to review text on the screen.
Once you’re familiar with using the numeric keypad for either flat review or object navigation, here is how you can copy and paste text which you are reading. While using the numeric keypad, pressing insert-f9 will place a marker, indicating that you’re at the beginning of a block of text you want to select. NVDA should say “start marked” after this key has been pressed. Next, keep moving with the numeric keypad until you come to the end of the block of text and press insert-f10. Pressing this key takes the block of text and places it into the clipboard, where it can be pasted into a document or email message. In addition, there is an addon which can be downloaded that, essentially, attempts to give NVDA the capability of the virtualize window feature for JAWS. The URL for the addon is
http://addons.nvda-project.org/addons/virtualRevision.en.html This addon is in the development section of the repository and so it’s not officially ready for prime-time release. I find that it does not work with the consistency which I would expect and have gotten used to with JAWS. Therefore, your mileage with this addon may vary. If you’ve never installed an NVDA addon, the process is quick and simple. Just double-click the addon, confirm your action and the installation should take a few seconds, followed by an NVDA restart. To virtualize the current window, press insert-ctrl-W. Again, this may not work reliably with every application window.
Mac users should be able to press VO-shift-C to copy the last spoken phrase onto the pasteboard. As far as I’m aware, VoiceOver does not include the capability to virtualize a window.
iOS users can also copy the last spoken item to the pasteboard. To do this, perform a three-finger quadruple tap. (With three fingers, tap the screen four times.)
Happy virtualizing.