AppleTV 5.2 Update Brings Accessibility Changes

Today, Apple released an update for the AppleTV set-top box, bringing the software up to version 5.2. Among the changes are support for Bluetooth keyboards, iTunes in the Cloud, Up Next, and some tweaks to accessibility.

When browsing the AppleTV interface with VoiceOver users will find that the grid layout of icons is better represented. VoiceOver navigation will stop at the far left or right ends of a row of icons, clearly delineating between rows. This should eliminate some of the confusion navigating experienced by some users.

More significantly, a new option can be found in Settings->General->Accessibility, to toggle on an Accessibility Menu. When this option is active, pressing and holding the Menu button on the AppleTV remote will activate a small menu which allows for quick toggling of VoiceOver and closed captioning. This feature will be met with particular relief from households including a mix of family members with and without disabilities.

Using the Bluetooth keyboard works very well with VoiceOver. Pressing the first few letters of an onscreen option jumps immediately to that item. For instance, typing the first few letters of "Music" moves directly to the Music option on the home screen of the AppleTV.

Update: The Accessibility Menu has been available since the prior version of the software.