Important note for VMWare Fusion users regarding upgrading to MacOS Sierra

As I write this post, it’s only a few hours until Apple officially releases MacOS Sierra. The new operating system offers some welcome new features, including Siri, and being able to unlock your Mac automatically when you’re wearing your Apple Watch.

While I use some Mac applications and enjoy all the continuity features of the Apple ecosystem, I still find that I’m more productive for the vast majority of my business-related tasks in Windows. For that reason, it’s critical to me that I can use JAWS on my Mac under VMWare Fusion as efficiently as possible.

I prefer using Fusion rather than Bootcamp, in that I can always have both operating systems running side-by-side.

Since purchasing my first Mac, the combination of two tools from the same developer, Karabiner and Seil, have helped me to use Windows effectively on my Mac. When used together, they allow you to use your Caps Lock key as the VO key on the Mac, and the JAWS key in Windows.

You can now tell VO itself to use the Caps Lock key on the Mac side, but this doesn’t deal with using the Caps Lock key as your JAWS key. This is where Seil comes in.

With just a few hours to go until Sierra’s release, there is no version of Seil compatible with MacOS Sierra. I’ve not been able to find any information indicating whether a Sierra-compatible version of Seil is in the works, but I know many of us will be hoping that there is. The Seil website says that Seil doesn’t work with Sierra “at the moment”, which gives me hope that the project isn’t dead.

This means that if you upgrade to MacOS Sierra at the moment, you won’t be able to use Seil to define your Caps Lock key as your JAWS key.

Instead, you’ll need to use other utilities, such as Sharp Keys or key remapping features built into Fusion itself.

These are inferior solutions in my opinion, because you must use a less convenient modifier such as the Tilde key. I’ve not found another solution allowing you to use Caps Lock under Fusion the way you can with Seil.

Having been running the gold master of Sierra over the last week, I really miss the functionality Seil gave the blind community, and you can be sure I’ll be monitoring closely in the hope that a Sierra-compatible version is released.

My profound gratitude to the Seil developer for making working with Fusion such a joy for screen reader users. Here’s hoping it returns soon.

2 Comments

  1. Carla

    Hello – I am supporting a professor who is using Jaws 14 within a VM for 64 bit Windows 7 on a Mac Mini. The performance is not good – what are the specs that you see as needed for solid performance for such a setup?

    • Jonathan Mosen

      Hi Carla. I got by using a Macbook Air with 8GB of RAM, but it is definitely a lot smoother now that I have my Pro with 16GB, with 8 of those GB allocated to the VM>

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