In addition to the more significant changes detailed in our First Look at VoiceOver in iOS 6, there are other minor tweaks to accessibility in Apple’s sixth version of its mobile operating system. We plan to make note of these in a series of shorter posts, as well as tips and tricks for taking advantage of them effectively.
VoiceOver includes a feature to toggle the muting of speech output by performing a three-finger-double-tap. In previous versions of iOS, this muted all VoiceOver sounds, including the speech.
In iOS 6, this feature has been tweaked. VoiceOver sounds, such as the focus click, the activation tone, and the new screen indicator still play. Only the speech is silenced.
This new behavior is useful in a variety of circumstances. In the Phone app, users can hear the position of keypad buttons as they gain focus, without VoiceOver speech needing to compete with voice prompts from an automated service, for example.
Another example of when this is handy is if you have an AppleTV. Using the Remote app while simultaneously listening to the AppleTV’s VoiceOver output could often be distracting at best and confusing at worst. Muting the speech and listening for the VoiceOver sounds is an effective way of controlling your AppleTV without dueling VoiceOvers.