Podcast transcript, Mosen at Large episode 197, iOS 16, demo and explanation of some of its new features

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Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen, and this is Mosen At Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. This entire episode is devoted to Apple’s iOS 16, the operating system that runs on iPhone, your iPhone is about to get much more capable. I’ll show you some of my favorite features.


Mosen At Large podcast.


Introduction to this review and to iOS 16

Welcome to Episode 197 of the podcast, I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the Apple event and that you’ve enjoyed the Apple event itself, and all that Apple had to reveal. We’re going to be focusing on this podcast on iOS 16. Now the same disclaimer applies this time as it did the last time and probably the time before that. I used to write a series of books called iOS Without the Eye, and I know that a lot of people would buy those and look forward to them to guide them through the latest version of iOS from a blindness perspective.

This is not a replacement for the iOS Without the Eye series, I don’t have the time to do that level of detail like I used to, but I have discovered a few new things about iOS 16 during my use of it and I’m passing them on to you. If you find some interesting things about iOS 16 that I haven’t covered, by all means feel free to get in touch.

First, let’s talk about system requirements, because there are some older devices that are not going to be capable of running iOS 16, the iPhone SE, that’s the original one, you will not be able to run iOS 16 if you have that device, nor will you if you have an iPhone 6 and the various iPhone 6 derivatives and the iPhone 7 as well. The iPod Touch is excluded from iOS 16 as system requirements become too intense for those devices.

Third party voices can be OS-wide

One thing I’d like to mention that is a pretty significant development that we won’t be able to demonstrate here, but I think will be one of the reasons why iOS 16 is remembered in the long term, is that it does appear that Apple is going to release with an API for third-party voices. It looked like Apple was going to do this before but pulled it during the beta cycle, it looks like it is here to stay this time, and that means that third-party manufacturers should be able to make voices downloadable on the App Store.

If this framework is used, it should also mean that if you use third-party apps that introduce voices for their use, and I’m thinking of apps like BlindSquare and Voice Dream Reader, then I think it’s technically possible that they could make those voices available throughout the operating system. What may limit that though is any licensing requirements.

If their licenses say that they’re only authorized to use the voices within that specific apps, then all the framework changes in the world aren’t going to change that as the third-party developer would have to go back and renegotiate the licenses. Time will tell how effective this framework is, but you could potentially see text-to-speech manufacturers releasing their own apps, introducing voices right into the operating system, so this is a fantastic development.

Eloquence and other new voices

Another huge feature of iOS 16 for voiceover users is the arrival of Eloquence, and less huge but interesting, some of the novelty voices and there are some additional vocalizer voices as well. If you’re interested in this, I’ll refer you to Mosen At Large Episode 183, where we demonstrated this way early in the iOS 16 beta cycle. For all things voices, do go back and check out Episode 183 of Mosen At Large.

Eloquence has, I think, improved during the beta cycles since we demonstrated it, there seems to be a higher sample quality version of Eloquence installed now, and there has been quite a bit of work done on this. The one thing I would observe though, is that mixed case words don’t seem to be spoken correctly when you have Eloquence selected. If you look at YouTube, which has a capital T in the middle, Eloquence on iOS doesn’t appear to be working very well with that. Hopefully, that can be addressed, but it is something that I notice.

Customisable lock screens

One of the highlights from Apple’s point of view is the ability to customize lock screens. This means that you can change the way that the lock screen looks visually, you’ll also be able to add widgets, such as weather and other relevant information right to your lock screen, and eventually not in iOS 16 but a subsequent release, you will be able to have live updates from certain apps appear on your lock screen.

For example, if you’re waiting for an Uber, you just look on the lock screen and your Uber app should be able to tell you exactly where your Uber is without you having to go into the app. As I record this at least, I would not describe the customized lock screen feature as fit for purpose for voiceover users. It’s really clunky, it’s sort of doable if you know what you’re looking for, but I’m not even going to try and demonstrate this because I don’t think Apple has it right. When they do, and I’m sure it will be a high priority for them to address, we’ll come back to this and demonstrate customizing lock screens, particularly when we start to see apps and a future build of iOS that can take advantage of that real time updating.

If you want to have a play with this, then all you do is you double tap and hold or you can triple tap as well on something like the date on the lock screen. You’ll be presented with a user interface that allows you to add wallpapers and widgets and customize the lock screen. Don’t be too disheartened if it makes no sense to you. It’s a pretty rough and ready thing right now from a voiceover user’s perspective.

Door detection and Magnifier changes

Apple has gotten into this brilliant habit of actually giving disabled people a bit of a heads up on what’s coming to iOS before anyone else gets it. Nice to be first for a change, isn’t it? When Global Accessibility Awareness Day happens in May, Apple has started doing these releases, which talk about things that are coming up. One of the things that really intrigued a lot of us was this concept of door detection. Would it really make a practical difference?

There’s a caveat too, and that is that you will need a newer iPhone Pro. I remember this was actually the thing that tipped the scale about would I buy an iPhone 12 Pro or not, and I did because I thought LiDAR would be an interesting thing to watch. You’re going to need an iPhone 12 Pro, an iPhone 12 Pro Max, an iPhone 13 Pro, and an iPhone 13 Pro Max and of course, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Every individual’s got to decide whether going for a pro is worth it for this feature, you also do get a much better camera system and they may help with taking photos and difficult light conditions, and the wider angle lens can contribute to getting better pictures, so there may be some advantage. Plus of course with the iPhone 14, you will see a speed advantage too. Let’s have a look at how we set this up. What I’m going to do is perform a four-finger triple tap. Yes, so tap three times with four fingers, which is the default gesture to bring up the magnifier.

VoiceOver: Magnifier and button.

Jonathan: I’m going to flick right.

VoiceOver: A black background with nothing else.

Jonathan: That’s because at the moment I’ve got the phone on the desk with a camera lying on the desk. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: People detection on button.

Jonathan: I should explain that beep because you’re going to be hearing it quite a bit. That is a tone that tells you that actions are available. I finally got sick of VoiceOver saying actions available all the time. This is not a new feature to iOS 16. I’ve just switched it on. When you hear that tone, it’s telling me that actions are available. It’s actually a lot more efficient than hearing that all the time. There are actions available here. We’ve demonstrated the people detection feature before on this podcast. As somebody gets closer, you get a more intense tone. It was particularly helpful when people were conscious of maintaining social distancing during the height of the pandemic. I’m actually going to disable people detection.

VoiceOver: People detection off.

Jonathan: Now, I’m going to flick right.

VoiceOver: Door detection on button.

Jonathan: I definitely want door detection on, because I want to show you how this works. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Image descriptions on button.

Jonathan: This is pretty cool, actually. We’ll show how that works in a minute and that’s what we have. I’ve turned people detection off, but we’ve got image descriptions on and we also have the door detection on. To give you the demo that this feature is due, I’m not actually going to go outside or go to a mall or anything like that because I’m packing to go away as I record this broadcast, but we will leave the studio and walk around Mosen’s house. The audio geeks get grumpy with me if I don’t talk about how the sausage is made.

Let me explain what I’m doing here, I’ve got my Zoom F3 clips to my belt. Gary O’Donoghue did a fabulous review of the Zoom F3 recently on Mosen At Large. Into one input of the Zoom F3, I have plugged in a Sennheiser M 42. This is the microphone I’ve bought to take overseas with me, and it’s deliberately omnidirectional. It’s designed to pick up a lot of noise. For example, when we go to the Tower of London or we’re on a bus or a train or something and we want to record, you would get the full ambience.

Into the second input, I have a cable that has an XLR connector for the Zoom F3 at one end and I have a 3.5 millimeter stereo plug at the other, and of course that has to go into the lightning adapter since there’s no headphone jack in the iPhone. What that means is that I can walk around and listen to the iPhone through the F3’s headphone jack and you can hear it too. Let’s leave the studio and check out how this works.

We are in the same room. It may not sound like it and it’s a tribute to how good the Heil PR-40 is at eliminating background noise and other things. I have gone for gold here. Other than people detection, we’ve got a describing images and scenes around us and we’ve got a describing all kinds of attributes of the door. Since I’m holding a microphone, it’s kind of tricky here because I have to flick to get this started. Just bear with me.

VoiceOver: Viewfinder, in card controller, selected, detection mode.

Jonathan: Right, we’ll switch that on and you will hear the phone come to life. Using the Alex voice to describe what’s going on.

VoiceOver: Detection mode on. Image descriptions on. Blur detection on.

Alex Voice: A black leather armchair in front of a beige wall, a black leather chair in front of a white wall, a black leather chair in front [crosstalk].

Jonathan: Just moving around.

Alex Voice: A computer monitor keyboard and mouse on a desk, a group of electronic devices on a wooden desk, open door two meters away, brown, turn handle, or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Door 1.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single.

Jonathan: I’m moving forward.

Alex Voice: Shelf, cabinet, textile-

Jonathan: I guess now you know what’s in the studio.

Alex Voice: -closet. Door two meters away. Text, silver and brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Book-

Jonathan: I’m walking close to the door

Alex Voice: -word processed. Door two meters away, text-

Jonathan: -and the speed.

Alex Voice: – and brown, turn handle or knob.

Jonathan: The clicks are getting faster because I’m getting closer to the door.

Alex Voice: Door two meters away, text, silver and brown–

Jonathan: Now I’m right by the door.

Alex Voice: -the knob, swing, rectangular, single. A white wall next to a wooden-

Jonathan: I’ll open the door–

Alex Voice: A whiteboard with a light shining on it. A white-

Jonathan: -and we’re out of the studio now.

Alex Voice: Two doors detected. Open door 1.5 meters away, text, V0, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single.

Jonathan: It did have that right, there was an open door on my left that goes into a spare bedroom. Now, I’m going to continue to move forward.

Alex Voice: Two doors detected. Door 1.5 meters away, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single, a hallway with white walls and a brown door. Two doors detected, door one meter away, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Open door 0.5 meters away, white, turn handle or knob-

Jonathan: That’s correct, so the one on my right is closed, and the one in front of me is open and it’s detected an open door. Now, I’m going to turn left and go up the stairs.

Alex Voice: White wall. Door one meter away, white, rectangular, single. A person standing on a flight of stairs.

Jonathan: That’s me. [laughs].

Alex Voice: Turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single, window, a gray staircase next to a window-

Jonathan: That is the recycle bin that it’s found there, right by the front door and it found a gray surface next to a window.

Alex Voice: Door one meter away, brown, swing, arch, single. A yellow container on a black surface, a little fabric on a white surface-

Jonathan: A better description of the recycle bin. I’m going to go up the second flight of stairs now.

Alex Voice: -white wall. Stairs, a group of gray steps next to a white wall.

Jonathan: All right, I’m going up them.

Alex Voice: Carpet next to a white wall, a white wall next to a beige carpet.

Jonathan: Here’s another door.

Alex Voice: Door two meters away. Swing, rectangular, single, window. Door 2.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular.

Jonathan: What it does seem to have a problem with is that up here we have a sliding door and it’s not detecting that as far as I can tell as a door. It’s certainly not telling me that there’s a sliding door. I’m going to walk through that sliding door, it is correct though that on the right there is a standard door that has a handle.

Alex Voice: Cabinet, wood processed.

Jonathan: We’ll go through.

Alex Voice: A kitchen with white cabinets and a gray floor.

Jonathan: Yes, we’re in the kitchen.

Alex Voice: White cabinets and a wooden floor. A kitchen white cabinets and a wooden floor.

Jonathan: What happens if I look at the fridge?

Alex Voice: -and black countertops. Door, one meter away, rectangular, single, window. A metal door with a label on it.

Jonathan: Okay, that’s the fridge door

Alex Voice: A silver refrigerator on a wooden surface.

Jonathan: There we go, it got the fridge.

Alex Voice: A kitchen with white cabinets and a wooden floor. A kitchen with white cabinets and a silver sink.

Jonathan: I’m moving into the dining room now.

Alex Voice: Teddy bear sitting on a silver surface next to a silver sink.

Jonathan: That’s because I gave Bonnie some flowers for her birthday.

Alex Voice: A living room filled with furniture and a rug. A white chair next to a black table on a beige carpet-

Jonathan: Now, we’re at the dining room table.

Alex Voice: Sofa, table, textile, wood processed. A white chair with a black seat.

Jonathan: We’ll move through, we’ll find another door. A series of doors.

Alex Voice: Colored board boxes on a white surface. Two doors detected, door two meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular.

Jonathan: I’m walking down the hallway upstairs.

Alex Voice: Door 1.5 meters away, white, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Door 1.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing rectangular.

Jonathan: Let’s go into this little corridor.

Alex Voice: A wide surface with lines on it. Open door, swing, rectangular, single. A bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and a window.

Jonathan: Yes, this is going into one of the guest bathrooms.

Alex Voice: Open door, rectangular.

Jonathan: Sitting here.

Alex Voice: A toilet seat, a wash basin and other items in the bathroom. Nothing detected, but a toilet with a roll of toilet paper on top of it.

Jonathan: That microphone is picking up that the fan is on and let’s switch that off.

Alex Voice: -fabric in front of a window. A toilet in a room with white walls.

Jonathan: Now, I’m going to head back.

Alex Voice: -sitting next to a white toilet. A group of icicles hanging in front of a black background.

Jonathan: I think that might be– I don’t know what that is.

Alex Voice: Open door one meter away, white.

Jonathan: I’m heading towards the stairs we came up now, but they’re going down this time.

Alex Voice: Open door one meter away, white, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single, armchair, crib, sofa, window, wood processed. Nothing detected. A person standing on a staircase-

Jonathan: That’s right, I’m at the top of the stairs.

Alex Voice: -double, window. Door 2.5 meters away, swing, rectangular, single.

Jonathan: It’s got the front door in its sights.

Alex Voice: A yellow car is parked next to a window. Door 1.5 meters away, swing, rectangular, single. A yellow vacuum cleaner on the floor.

Jonathan: Now we’re at the front door. If I open the front door, we’ll just go outside and see what it sees.

Alex Voice: -the way, swing, rectangular, single. A group of icicles hanging from a ceiling. Nothing detected.

Jonathan: I’m outside now.

Alex Voice: -next to a road, a green bench sitting on the side of a road, a green bench on– [ring]

VoiceOver: Ring, now, ring. There is a person at your front door.

Jonathan: Oh yes, I wonder who it could be. Should I let them in? Let’s just see actually, if I leave the store open and go back out, what is it seeing? It stopped talking to me and I’m not sure why that is. It seemed to get upset by that last notification potentially, so let’s just see if we can fix that.

VoiceOver: A green bench on the side of a road.

Jonathan: Alex has stopped, there we go.

Alex Voice: Detection paused. Three doors detected. Door one meter away, swing, arch, double, door, stairs, wood processed. Door 3.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Door brown, lift, rectangular, single. Door 2.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular-

Jonathan: I think it said lift and we don’t have a lift.

Alex Voice: -single. A window with a white frame.

Jonathan: It did see the doors down the stairs. I just shut the front door-

Alex Voice: Nothing detected.

Jonathan: -and now we’ll go down the second flight of stairs.

Alex Voice: Handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Open door 1.5 meters away, turn handle or knob, rectangular, single. Nothing detected.

Jonathan: Going down the corridor.

Alex Voice: Two doors detected. Door 1.5 meters away, white, turn handle or knob, rectangular, single. Two doors detected.

Jonathan: Here’s the studio door going out.

Alex Voice: -meters away, white, turn handle or knob, rectangular, single. A room with white walls and green curtains. Nothing detected.

Jonathan: Now we’re back in the studio.

Alex Voice: Textile, curtain, desk, textile.

Jonathan: I’ll shut the door.

Alex Voice: A bookshelf, tripod. A white box on a wooden surface, wood processed. Door 0.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single–

Jonathan: Let’s move around the studio.

Alex Voice: Nothing detected. Door 1.5 meters away, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single. Curtain, light.

Jonathan: Is that window.

Alex Voice: 0.5 meters away, brown, turn handle or knob, swing, rectangular, single.

Jonathan: All right, by the window there.

Alex Voice: Next to each other. Cabinet, printer, cabinet, curtain, printer.

Jonathan: Now, we’re back in the studio. Obviously, I will get back on the regular recording system and we’ll talk about this further. That was a lot of fun to do actually. When technology makes you grumpy, it’s sometimes good to have an experience like that, it makes you realize how far we’ve come, because that little Zoom F3 was perfect for a recording like that. There’s a lot of information that the iPhone Pro model is conveying there.

If you’d like to explore, you may find that swinging for the Pro model is worth it. I’m looking forward to trying this when we are overseas in hotels where there is unlikely to be Braille on the hotel doors and seeing if it can read the signs and find the doors to hotel rooms and other facilities within the hotels, so that will be very interesting.

Now, there was a lot of chatter there and it doesn’t have to be that way. What I was seeking to demonstrate was just how much information the iPhone can now convey with iOS 16. There may be many situations where that is just TMI, mate, Too Much Information, and to control how much information you get, you go into the magnifier settings. Let’s have a look at that. If you go into the magnify using the four-finger triple tap, then you will be in the detection mode and you’ll need to end it, so I’ll go to the top of the screen-

VoiceOver: End button.

Jonathan: -and we found the end button, I’ll double tap it.

VoiceOver: Detection mode off, viewfinder, image. A yellow text box on a black background.

Jonathan: It’s a little bit sluggish, but then I’m just running a measly iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you’ve got an iPhone 13 or you’ll soon be getting a bright, shiny iPhone 14, you probably won’t see what I’m seeing there in the sluggishness department. It also does seem to chew through a lot of battery, especially when you have all the modes on like we just did. I’m going to go to the bottom of the screen now, having ended the mode.

VoiceOver: Multi photo mode button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick left.

VoiceOver: Settings button.

Jonathan: There’s the settings button and that’s where we need to be to determine exactly what is spoken when we’re on a journey like that.

VoiceOver: Default button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Save new activity button, settings button.

Jonathan: There is the settings button, so I’ll double tap that. It’s a little bit confusing, but you double-tap settings. You have to flick right a couple of times, and then there’s another button, a separate one, also called settings.

VoiceOver: Custom use controls, heading.

Jonathan: Now, I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Done button, add and organized controls you use most often, primary controls, heading, detection mode.

Jonathan: I moved that as the primary control right at the top, because if I ever opened the magnifier another way than doing that four-finger triple tap, I probably won’t want to use magnification because I’m totally blind. I made sure that I moved the detection mode to the top.

VoiceOver: Reorder detection mode button, draggable.

Jonathan: If you’re a seasoned iOS user, you’ll be familiar with those kind of controls where you can drag elements around the screen and change the order in which they appear.

VoiceOver: Drag up to two controls to always be shown, secondary controls, heading, cameras, reorder cameras button, brightness, reorder brightness, filters, reorder filters, torch, reorder torch button.

Jonathan: That could be called flashlight in your market.

VoiceOver: Other controls, heading, insert zoom button, zoom.

Jonathan: If we continue to move through this screen, you will be able to insert various controls in the magnifier app and change the order in which they appear, but what I’m going to do to speed this up is navigate by heading because this is the all-important heading we’re looking for.

VoiceOver: Detectors, heading.

Jonathan: Detectors. We’ll flick right now.

VoiceOver: People detection button.

Jonathan: We’ll double tap this.

VoiceOver: Units, heading, selected meters, feet, sound pitch distance, heading, two meters, two meters, adjustable, sound feedback will use a higher pitch when people are detected within the distance indicated, feedback, heading, sounds, switch button on, speech, switch button on, haptics, switch button off. Your iPhone can let you know when it detects people nearby with sound. Speech and haptic feedback. Feedback will be more frequent when the person is closer to you. Make sure your iPhone is in ring mode to hear the sound play or distance of person announced. People detection should not be used for navigation or in circumstances where you could be harmed or injured.

Jonathan: As you become familiar with the detectors and which ones are of interest to you, you can mix and match. If, for example, you want the people detector to make no speech, no sound, but to give you a bit of haptic feedback, you can do that, and that can reduce the verbal clutter considerably or if the people detection feature is of no interest to you, you can disable it entirely. I’ll go back.

VoiceOver: People detection button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Door detection button.

Jonathan: Let’s have a look at what the door detection feature can tell us. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Units, heading.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Selected meters, feet, sound pitch distance, heading, two meters, two meters, adjustable.

Jonathan: This is the same screen essentially at this stage that we saw for the people detection, so you can set its threshold. You can get more or less warning of doors coming up.

VoiceOver: Sound feedback will use a higher pitch when a door is detected within the distance indicated. Feedback, heading, sounds, switch button on, speech, switch button on, haptics, switch button off. Your iPhone can let you know when it detects doors nearby with sound. Speech and haptic feedback. Feedback will be more frequent when the door is closer to you. Make sure your iPhone is in ring mode to hear the sound play or the distance of or announced. Door detection should not be relied upon in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured in high-risk or emergency situations or for navigation.

Jonathan: If you turn speech feedback off, you may find it quieter, but you could miss out on information that you would find helpful and we’ll have a look at that as we flick right.

VoiceOver: Color, white 100 button, select a color to outline detected doors, back tap, switch button off, double tap the back of your iPhone to hear more information about detected doors, descriptions, heading.

Jonathan: This is where I’m talking about that speech being disabled for this one could be a disadvantage.

VoiceOver: Door attributes, on button. Door attributes provide detailed information about the detected door, like the color, material and shape.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Door decorations, switch button on. Door decorations provide information about text and signs on or near the detected door.

Jonathan: That’s what we have. You may want to leave speech on for door detection even if you perhaps constrain what it is telling you, I’ll perform a two-finger scrub to go back.

VoiceOver: Door detection button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Image descriptions button.

Jonathan: Let’s take a look at the image descriptions.

VoiceOver: Feedback, heading, text, switch button on, speech, switch button on, image descriptions will provide a live description of the scenes and people detected in the camera view.

Jonathan: Depending on your geek threshold, you may find it a little bit disconcerting or conspicuous to hold your phone out and get all this information, but what will be interesting is when apple comes out with some glasses product that blind people can wear and get a lot of this information, because with the integration so closely with iPhone, that could be very interesting to see. Some very significant accessibility enhancements, some innovative stuff going on with iOS 16 and the magnifier.

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Jonathan Mosen. Mosen At Large podcast.


More granular control of text to speech punctuation

Jonathan: Previously in iOS, if you wanted to change how much punctuation was spoken by your text-to-speech engine with VoiceOver, you would have a limited amount of preset selections to choose from. Now, you’ve got much more flexibility. I’m going to open VoiceOver settings and this is the first time in this demo that I’ve asked Siri to do anything. For the first time, you will hear the new Siri sounds that are used for VoiceOver users in iOS 16. Open VoiceOver settings.

VoiceOver: Settings, accessibility, back button.

Jonathan: Where we find the changes.

VoiceOver: Verbosity button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Punctuation button.

Jonathan: Let’s double tap punctuation, it’s the first item.

VoiceOver: Active punctuation group, some button.

Jonathan: This is a new concept in iOS 16, the active punctuation group. I’ll double tap and we’ll go into the screen.

VoiceOver: System groups, heading, all, selected some.

Jonathan: I am not sure why some is appearing twice. That may be a bug.

VoiceOver: None.

Jonathan: We’ve got all some and none, and there’s no change here, those with the groups that we had before. I’ll perform a two-finger scrub to go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Active punctuation group, some button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: System groups, heading, all button, some button, none button, add punctuation group button.

Jonathan: If you have this perennial dilemma of having some punctuation speaking too much, for example, but no punctuation speaking too little, we can go into add punctuation group and roll our own. Let’s do that.

VoiceOver: Alert, initial punctuation group.

Jonathan: The first thing you’ll need to decide is what punctuation group do you want to base your own personal group on. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Choose a punctuation group to base your new group on, all button, some button, none button, cancel button.

Jonathan: I’m going to choose some or at least one of the somes.

VoiceOver: None button, some button.

Jonathan: Double tap.

VoiceOver: Grave accent, ignore button.

Jonathan: Now, we’ve got a list of punctuation symbols and if I double tap on the grave accent.

VoiceOver: Select, back button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Grave accent, heading, punctuation, grave accent, text field.

Jonathan: The cool thing about this is not only can you choose the punctuation symbols that are included in a given group, you can actually change the way that they are pronounced. I wouldn’t want to hear grave accent if I wanted this selected, I think grave would be sufficient, cuts out a whole two syllables, and those efficiencies do add up.

VoiceOver: Replacement, dimmed text field, rule heading.

Jonathan: Now we’re onto the rule heading.

VoiceOver: Selected, ignore, replace, remove. Bullet ignore allows the voice synthesizer to interpret punctuation. Bullet replace will substitute the replacement text. Bullet remove will remove punctuation from being output.

Jonathan: Obviously, it’s going to take you some time to go through the punctuation symbols and customize things to the way that you like, but once you’ve done it once and you’ve got everything the way that you like, it’s a very powerful feature. If I just go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Grave accent ignore button.

Jonathan: If I flick right.

VoiceOver: Composed with button, at button, hash symbol, hash symbol, but dollar sign, ignore button, left brace, left brace button.

Jonathan: I won’t flick through every single punctuation symbol here because there are a lot, but you get the idea. You go in here to verbosity and then choose punctuation. You can create your very own custom group that has things just the way you like them.

Torch/Flashlight notification

Also in verbosity settings of VoiceOver, we have this.

VoiceOver: Torch notifications on button.

Jonathan: Depending on where you are in the world, it may be saying flashlight. Over here, we say torch, I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Torch notifications on.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Alert when the torch is left on.

Jonathan: That’s all there is, a simple little feature, but it can save you a lot of battery if you’ve turned on the flashlight or the torch inadvertently.

Rotor items for Dot Pad and similar multi-line Braille devices

In Episode 195 of Mosen At Large, we spoke with Eric Kim, the chief executive of Dot Incorporated. They are working on their dot pad device and they’re also collaborating with APH and Humanware on this technology. Apple is well and truly on board with this. There are a bunch of settings pertaining to multiline Braille displays in the rotor. If we double tap on rotor.

VoiceOver: Rotor button, selected audio destination.

Jonathan: I’m going to go to the bottom of the screen by performing a four-finger single tap on the bottom half of the screen.

VoiceOver: Reorder invert Braille button, draggable.

Jonathan: We’ve got a number of Braille options pertaining to multiline.

VoiceOver: Invert Braille, reorder Braille vertical pan button, Braille vertical pan, reorder Braille horizontal pan button, Braille horizontal pan, reorder Braille thickness button, Braille thickness, reorder Braille zoom button, Braille zoom.

Jonathan: It’s happening. We could be getting to the point where multiline Braille displays really do go mainstream. At least as mainstream as a Braille device can go. It’s exciting and encouraging to see Apple as such an early adopter of the infrastructure that’s going to make that possible.

Apple Watch mirroring

We’re going to have a look now at a new accessibility feature called Apple Watch Mirroring. This is not VoiceOver related. To get to it, you back out of your VoiceOver settings and go to the main accessibility screen. If you flick through the myriad of accessibility options that Apple now has, you will eventually find this.

VoiceOver: Apple watch mirroring button.

Jonathan: I’m going to double tap.

VoiceOver: Apple watch mirroring off.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Jonathan’s apple watch heading.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: AirPlay video, AirPlay mirror at 5:30 PM dinner.

Jonathan: That’s my dinner appointment at 5:30. I’m now looking at my Apple Watch on my iPhone. If I flick through, it’s as if I were flicking through my Apple Watch, but I’m doing so with VoiceOver on my iPhone.

VoiceOver: Unread notifications, battery 82%, 3:02 PM and 54 seconds, 84 BPM Bullet six minutes ago.

Jonathan: Oh, that’s not too bad, I suppose, while I’m recording a demo.

VoiceOver: Current temperature, 15 degrees, low, 11 degrees, high, 15 degrees.

Jonathan: This is my watch face. This is what I see when I wake my watch up.

VoiceOver: Breezy, three unread messages.

Jonathan: Well, it’s nice to be in demand, isn’t it? I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: One, Just Press Record.

Jonathan: That is my Just Press Record app.

VoiceOver: Digital crown button.

Jonathan: You’ll hear that sound showing the actions are available, so if I flick down here.

VoiceOver: Digital crown rotate up, digital crown rotate down, activate Siri, activate default.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Digital crown, Jonathan’s Apple Watch, heading, now playing button, parcel button.

Jonathan: I think I may be on my main app screen.

VoiceOver: Digital side button.

Jonathan: Here’s the side button and there are actions available.

VoiceOver: Emergency SOS, activate default emergency activate.

Jonathan: If I activate the side button-

VoiceOver: Side button.

Jonathan: -and what have we got?

VoiceOver: Jonathan’s Apple.

Jonathan: Takes a while to respond.

VoiceOver: Workout.

Jonathan: Yes, that’s in my dock.

VoiceOver: Heart rate, digital crown button, side button, HIRT workout.

Jonathan: If I double tap on workout.

VoiceOver: Workout,

Jonathan: Just wait for it to refresh.

VoiceOver: Jonathan’s Apple Watch heading.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: 3:06 PM. Workout heading, other, open goal button, indoor walk.

Jonathan: All the workout choices and I can flick down.

VoiceOver: HIIT activity type, change goal, activate default.

Jonathan: That is Apple Watch Mirroring. It is an interesting feature and it seems to be quite accessible. There is a similar feature in accessibility settings that allows you to control nearby devices. I don’t have another device nearby that is logged into my iCloud account other than my Apple Watch, but if it works as well as the Apple Watch Mirroring does, then you should be able to control other devices from your accessibility settings. The device does need to be logged into your iCloud account.

What’s new with Siri and dictation

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with Siri. Let’s take a look at what is new with Siri in iOS 16. Since we’re hanging around the accessibility screen at the moment, we’ll start with accessibility features. The first one

VoiceOver: Siri pause time heading.

Jonathan: Is Siri pause time, and this is great for people with speech impairments who may take a bit longer to say things to Siri.

VoiceOver: Selected default.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Longer, longest. Set how long Siri waits for you to finish speaking.

Jonathan: Let’s just try this. We’ll have a look at the default. What time is it?

VoiceOver: It’s 3:11 PM.

Jonathan: Now if we set it to longer, what’s the time?

VoiceOver: It’s 3:11 PM.

Jonathan: All right. It took a bit longer then. If we set it to longest, we’ll ask the time again. What time is it?

VoiceOver: It’s 3:12 PM.

Jonathan: Oh, and the time’s ticked over two and it took a little bit longer to respond. Another Siri accessibility setting that’s new is this.

VoiceOver: Call hang up on button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Call hang up on. You can use Hey Siri to end phone and FaceTime calls on iPhone 11 or newer devices. It’s also available on older devices when connected using AirPods or Siri-enabled beats headphones.

Jonathan: I have not been able to get this to work and we’ll give it a go though. I’ll make a phone call. Call Reading Cinemas.

VoiceOver: Calling Reading Cinema work, mute button, phone call, readings–

CSR: Hi, thank you for calling Reading Cinemas. Courtney [crosstalk]

Jonathan: Hang up.

CSR: Well, you received a draft report from independent engineers, which while in draft discloses a potential risk [crosstalk]-

Jonathan: Hang up.

CSR: -Reading Cinemas.

Jonathan: I just hang it up. I cannot get Siri to hang up, and I’ve tried this on FaceTime. I’ve tried it on a phone call and it doesn’t work even though the feature is on. If it works for you, what have you got that I ain’t got, eh? What have you got? Somehow I’ll just have to keep carrying on despite the heartbreak of that not working. I will now show you a feature that doesn’t work quite as seamlessly as I thought it would. To show you this feature, we’ll go into open Siri settings.

VoiceOver: Settings.

Jonathan: Packed away in these settings we will find.

VoiceOver: Automatically send messages button

Jonathan: I’ll double-tab.

VoiceOver: Automatically send messages on.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right for the explanation.

VoiceOver: Siri will automatically send messages unless you ask to change or cancel.

Jonathan: I guess it does have to pause because it needs to know if you want to change it. I’m not sure how much advantage there really is in having this on, but let’s show you how this works. Text Bonnie Mosen. Hello. I am recording this message to demonstrate the automatic send feature in Siri for my Mosen At Large demo.

VoiceOver: Sending to Bonnie. Hello, I am recording this message to demonstrate the automatic send feature in Siri for my Mosen At Large demo. Siri and search back button.

Jonathan: It has sent that message. Now, after pausing, during which time I could have asked Siri to change it, it wasn’t evident there, but that does segue us on to another feature relating to dictation. To explore this, we would go into the general settings and then we would double tap.

VoiceOver: Keyboard button.

Jonathan: Which I will do.

VoiceOver: Keyboards two button

Jonathan: We can navigate by heading in this screen.

VoiceOver: English heading, dictation heading.

Jonathan: Here are the dictation settings.

VoiceOver: Enable dictation on, auto punctuation on.

Jonathan: When you turn this on, it’s supposed to be able to detect the pauses in your voice and insert appropriate punctuation. In my experience, it works very well some of the time, but it does not work reliably all of the time, and you might want to bear that in mind if you’re using dictation for important things, but my caveat would be just don’t, don’t use dictation for important things.

I’m going to go into notes now. Open notes. I am in a new note and I’m going to start dictating. You will note that there was a new dictation sound as well. I hope I’m not imagining it, but I think, at least where I am in my part of the world, dictation appears to be more reliable. I’ve got the automatic punctuation turned on, so I’m going to try and make some distinct pauses and see how well it goes.

Hello, Mosen At Large listeners, this is Jonathan Mosen, and I am dictating into the notes app using iOS 16. I’m dictating with what I hope are some clear pauses, in the hope that it will insert the correct punctuation. I will also be interested to see just how accurate this is. I’m talking in a relatively natural flowing style. Like I would if I were talking to someone in person. Because of habit, I am finding it very tempting to insert punctuation, and I’m not going to do that.

VoiceOver: Inserted because of habit. I am fin–

Jonathan: Let’s just see what we’ve got here.

VoiceOver: Note, text field is editing. Hello, Mosen At Large listeners. This is Jonathan Mosen, and I am dictating into the notes app using iOS 16. I’m dictating with what I hope are some clear poses in the hope that it will insert the correct punctuation. I would also be interested to see just how accurate this is. I’m talking in a relatively natural flowing style, like I would, if I were talking to someone in person because of habit. I am finding it very tempting to insert punctuation, and I’m not going to do that, insertion point at end.

Jonathan: It got almost all the punctuation right, but not all the punctuation right. I guess I like to have control over these things. I would be inclined to insert the punctuation manually. If you leave the automatic punctuation on, you can still insert manual punctuation symbols. Of course, there is the danger that if you’re just pausing for thought, it might insert punctuation symbols where you don’t want them. Siri’s also a lot more capable of inserting emojis now, and that is also in dictation.

One of the things that Apple also says is that the interface for dictation has been significantly revamped, and that means that you can edit with the regular keyboard and make other changes as you go. I haven’t actually played with this before, but I’ve got a clear new note. I deleted all that stuff we were just working with, and I’m going to start dictating, but also making corrections, reading along with my Braille display and we’ll see how this goes.

[record sound]

Hello. This is Jonathan Mosen, and I am dictating into the iPhone watching it on my Braille display.

[end of record sound]

VoiceOver: Set temp note, text field is editing. Hello, this is Jonathan Mosen, and I am dictating into the iPhone, watching it on my Mantis Braille display, word mode, insertion point between mantis and Braille.

Jonathan: If you were paying super close attention, you will notice that when I was dictating, I didn’t say Mantis Braille display, but that’s what you just heard back. I had to do some editing there, because obviously if I told you what I was doing while dictation was on, it would take that dictation. What I was able to find out was that this is a huge advantage of Braille, because when you are dictating, VoiceOver goes silent, and I completely understand why that is. We’ve seen the consequences of that not happening on so many Android devices where you turn on dictation and the TTS is being picked up by the microphone.

Apple’s got this right, but it does mean that the only way to make the most of these new features is to use Braille. What I was able to do was leave the dictation going. I was able to read on the Braille display what the iPhone was picking up, and then I went back while dictation was still running and I inserted the word Mantis by rooting the cursor, using the Mantis to the B in Braille and typing the word Mantis and a space in front of it. That does work really well, and it is going to work well for Braille users. It could really make dictation quite viable, a combination of dictation and Braille.

Privacy settings

Onto privacy settings now. Apple prides itself on keeping your information private. It doesn’t sell your information. Some might argue that Apple’s a bit overzealous about this, and that this is having some impact on innovation in areas where we could benefit from more sharing of information. Some will say that the reason why Google Assistant and Amazon’s Assistant are moving ahead is because they’re a little bit more relaxed about these things.

Nevertheless, this is really part of Apple’s brand and they take it very seriously. There are a couple of big features to tell you about that have come to iOS 16. The first is called safety check. You’ll find this under the privacy settings from your main screen of your settings app. If you flick right through this pretty big screen, you will eventually find this.

VoiceOver: Safety check button.

Jonathan: Here’s the explanation to the right.

VoiceOver: Protect your personal safety by staying aware of which people, apps, and devices have access to your information.

Jonathan: I’ll flick left.

VoiceOver: Safety check button.

Jonathan: We’ll double tap to take a look at how this feature works.

VoiceOver: Safety check dimmed.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: If circumstances or trust levels change, safety check allows you to disconnect from people, apps, and devices you no longer want to be connected to.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Learn more button.

Jonathan: You can learn more about the safety check feature on this screen, but sometimes there are people who find themselves in genuinely unsafe situations. They need to get away and most importantly, they need not to be stalked. If somebody has been added, say via find friends and things of that nature and things have changed, as Apple clearly describes there, sometimes you just need to cut those ties for your own safety. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Emergency reset. Immediately reset access for all people and apps and review your account security button.

Jonathan: You can press this button and people that you have allowed to see your location, to share things with you, they immediately get disconnected. I’m sure there’s a prompt. I’m not willing to try it.

VoiceOver: Manage sharing and access. Customize which people and apps can access your information and review your account security button.

Jonathan: Family sharing is something that many people use. It’s got many advantages, but if you need to review what the group members of your family sharing group have access to from you, you can go in here and take a look at that.

VoiceOver: Manage sharing and access. Customize which people and apps can access your information and review your account security button.

Jonathan: If you’re curious, the reason why it is saying customize, is because we’re using the US Siri voice, which I think is highly intelligible to pretty much everybody. I have my phone set to New Zealand English, and we spell customize and words like it with I-S-E, not I-Z-E. That is an American thing and it’s not pronouncing it properly.

VoiceOver: Manage sharing and access. Customize which people and apps can access your information.

Jonathan: I’m going to double-tap this.

VoiceOver: Face ID authenticated. Mine is sharing an access. Heading.

Jonathan: Understandably. This is protected behind Face ID. There’s a quick exit button, because if you are in an emergency situation and somebody could see that you’re trying to disconnect from them and they could get violent, you need that quick exit button. I’m going to perform a continuous read at this point.

VoiceOver: Manage sharing and access. Heading, manage sharing and access for specific people and apps and review your account security. Any changes you make will be saved as you go. Keep in mind that people may notice if you stop sharing your information with them. Review people, manage what you’re sharing with people, like your location or photos. Review apps, manage which apps have access to your information, like your calendar or contacts, account security, review your account security, including your Apple ID password, continue button.

Jonathan: There’s the continue button. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Sharing with people, heading.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Select people to review what’s shared and stop sharing. David Mosen, find my photos and two more.

Jonathan: Now, you can go through and do your privacy check and make sure that everything is as you want it to be. Backing up, back into the privacy settings. We have this.

VoiceOver: App privacy report button.

Jonathan: Let’s take a look in here.

VoiceOver: App privacy report, privacy and security, back button. App privacy report. Heading. Share button. App privacy report records data and sensor access and website network activity, and the most frequently contacted domains. Learn more. Data and sensor access. Heading. Mail five minutes ago, contact button. Weather, 15 minutes ago, location button. Messages, 21 minutes ago, contacts and photos button. Watch, 22 minutes ago, contacts and photos button. Phone, 26 minutes ago, contact and microphone button. Show all button. These apps access to your data or sensors in the past seven days.

Jonathan: You can navigate this by heading.

VoiceOver: App network activity, heading. Website network activity, heading.

Jonathan: Let’s have a look at that.

VoiceOver: Google.co.nz 134 button.

Jonathan: Whoa.

VoiceOver: Stuff.co.nz 70 button, macrumors.com 66 button, 9to5mac.com 60 button, geekzone.co.nz 35 button.

Jonathan: Nothing untoward there. I flick to the next heading.

VoiceOver: Most contacted domains, heading.

Jonathan: You could have a look at this and find out what is going on with your apps, what parts of your phone they are using, what domains are being contacted. It’s quite interesting, but perhaps not as interesting as this feature I want to show you in this privacy screen and it is called.

VoiceOver: Lockdown mode off button.

Jonathan: Lockdown mode. This is serious stuff and if you go in here, you will get all sorts of warnings. I have not enabled this feature. I’m not sure what happens if you do in terms of VoiceOver, but I’m assuming it would work.

VoiceOver: Lockdown mode dimmed.

Jonathan: Let’s do a continuous read.

VoiceOver: Lockdown mode dimmed. Lockdown mode is an extreme optional protection that should only be used if you believe you may be personally targeted by a highly sophisticated cyber-attack. Most people are never targeted by attacks of this nature. When iPhone is in lockdown mode, it will not function as it typically does. Apps, websites, and features will be strictly limited for security and some experiences will be completely unavailable. Learn more button, turn on lockdown mode button.

Jonathan: Are you brave enough to take the lockdown challenge? No, seriously. I think it’s highly unlikely that anybody needs this, but I’ll double tap and see what happens.

VoiceOver: Lockdown mode heading.

Jonathan: You know that Apple really means business when you get a second warning screen before you can do something. Let’s read this.

VoiceOver: Lockdown mode heading. When iPhone is in lockdown mode, apps, websites, and features will be strictly limited for security and some experiences will be completely unavailable. Messages. Most message attachments are blocked and some features are unavailable. Facetime. Incoming FaceTime calls from people you have not previously called are blocked.

Web browsing. Some web technologies and browsing features are blocked. Shared albums. Shared albums will be removed from the photos app and new shared albums Invitations will be blocked. Device connections. Wired connections with another device or accessory while your iPhone are blocked. Apple services. Incoming invitations for apple services from people you have not previously invited are blocked. Profiles. Configuration profiles such as profiles for school or work cannot be installed. Turn on lockdown mode button.

Jonathan: Heavy stuff, dude. I’m not prepared to go any further. Chicken. Yes, that’s me. If you want to do that or maybe you have done it, you might like to comment on the lockdown mode experience from a VoiceOver users’ perspective.

Changes to Messages

Let’s have a look at some changes to iMessage in iOS 16, and one of the biggies is that for 15 minutes after you’ve sent a message, you can edit it.

If you do this, the edits are visible to your recipients and you only have a maximum of five edits that you’re permitted to make in that 15-minute period. I’m now in my long iMessage conversation with Bonnie that’s been going on for 10 years now, and I’m going to type a message with my APH Mantis on the QWERTY keyboard. I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the demo.

VoiceOver: Space.

Jonathan: All right, let’s try that.

VoiceOver: I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the demo.

Jonathan: I’m now going to press enter.

VoiceOver: Sent message.

Jonathan: It has sent it, so I’ll go back.

VoiceOver: Apps, camera, messages, vertical script delivered, your iMessage. I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the demo. 3:54 PM.

Jonathan: I’m going to triple tap.

VoiceOver: Reply, heart button, thumbs up button, thumbs down, ha-ha, exclamation, question, reply, undo sent, edit button, copy button, edit button.

Jonathan: Here is the magic edit button. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Text field is editing. I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the demo, character mode, insertion point at end.

Jonathan: Now, I am going to locate the D of demo

VoiceOver: Messages, text field, space, space.

Jonathan: I’m going to type iOS 16, so it now reads.

VoiceOver: I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the iOS 16 demo.

Jonathan: I’ll press enter.

VoiceOver: Message. Text field is editing. iMessage, insertion point at start.

Jonathan: It’s sent it, and so if I go back.

VoiceOver: Apps, button, camera, messages, vertical script delivered, bullet edited button, your iMessage. I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the iOS 16 demo.

Jonathan: As you heard it say, it was delivered and edited. I can keep editing. I’ve got four more edits before my edit quotient runs out. You do have to have focus on the message that you want to edit and if you can’t edit that message anymore, the edit button simply doesn’t come up, so you can do a triple tap on the message or a double tap and hold.

VoiceOver: Reply, heart button, thumbs up, thumbs down, ha-ha, exclamation, question mark, reply, edit button.

Jonathan: Double tap edit.

VoiceOver: Text field is editing. I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the–.

Jonathan: The message has come back up in the iMessage editor, so I’m going to go back to the I-

VoiceOver: Space, space.

Jonathan: -and type excellent.

VoiceOver: Ex–

Jonathan: Now, we’ve got.

VoiceOver: I am typing this message for the purpose of editing it for the excellent iOS 16 demo.

Jonathan: I’ll press enter.

VoiceOver: Message. Text field is editing. iMessage.

Jonathan: We made another edit.

VoiceOver: Apps, camera, messages, vertical script delivered, bullet edited button.

Jonathan: If you double tap that because you’ll here it’s a button

VoiceOver: Delivered bullet edited, delivered bullet hide edits button.

Jonathan: Now, it’s on delivered hide edits,

VoiceOver: Delivered bullet hide edits, delivered bullet edited button.

Jonathan: It’s a toggle. Another thing that you can do in iOS 16 with iMessages, as long as you are messaging someone else who also has iOS 16 or in the future higher is that you have two minutes to unsend a message. This has been significantly curtailed since it was introduced in the early betas where you had 15 minutes, so you still have 15 minutes to make your edits to a message, but you only have two minutes now to unsend a message. Let’s see how this works. I’m going to type something that I might from time to time to Bonnie and it is, “I have lost my USB drive.”

VoiceOver: Space.

Jonathan: “Do you know where it is?” Now, of course-

VoiceOver: Space.

Jonathan: -Bonnie would say, “Where did you have it last?” To which I would reply, “If I knew where I had it last, I wouldn’t have lost it, would I?” Any other couple have that conversation, I find it infuriating that somebody asks me this. Anyway, I’m really on a tangent now. I go to press enter, right?

VoiceOver: Sent message.

Jonathan: I’ve sent it. Now, let’s say, “Oh, I remember where I left that drive.” I need to delete this message before Bonnie sees it. I’ll go back up.

VoiceOver: Apps, the camera, messages, delivered your iMessage, “I have lost my USB drive. Do you know where it is?”

Jonathan: I’ll flick down.

VoiceOver: From 2:00 PM. React, reply, undo send, copy, undo send.

Jonathan: Undo send.

VoiceOver: Effect, your iMessage, “I have lost my USB drive. Do you know where it is?”

Jonathan: Now, if I flick through the conversation and find that message, all we get is this.

VoiceOver: Edited button. You unsent a message. Bonnie may still see the message on devices where the software hasn’t been updated, button.

Jonathan: Well, she’s running the iOS 16 beta for the first time, so that’s exciting. She won’t have seen that message, but the time is limited for a limited time only, you have two minutes to unsend your message.

The cool thing about the dual SIM nature of iPhone is that you can have your work phone and your personal phone on the same physical phone.

Your work phone might be an eSIM and your personal phone might be the physical SIM or vice versa. One very nice feature of iOS 16 is that if you do have a dual SIM set up like that, you can now filter messages based on each line, so that’s useful to keep home and work messages separate. A really nice feature too in a household like mine, where I’m metric and Bonnie is not, is that there are conversions for certain measurements that are built right into iMessage.

If I send a message to Bonnie and I say that it’s going for a high of 16 degrees Celsius today, that will come up as a link and she can choose that and find out what it is in Fahrenheit, which despite her nine years in New Zealand, still makes a lot more sense to her than Celsius. It also works with weight and currency and a few other conversion measurements as well.

Now, I don’t know whether this is intended, whether it’s a bug that’s going to be fixed, but it is now more difficult to send an audio message in iOS 15. Before, even if you didn’t have apps visible, that iMessage app visible, you found a button beside the edit field where you could hold it down or lock it down and record an audio message. That button isn’t there anymore. Let’s have a look at how we get to the audio message feature. I’m in my conversation with Bonnie and I’m in an edit field right now to compose a message. There’s nothing in that edit field. In past versions of iOS when I flicked right, I’d find the button there. Instead if I flick right now.

VoiceOver: iMessage.

Jonathan: It just says iMessage. If I double tap and hold, that’s not it. Nothing’s happening.

VoiceOver: Message, iMessage.

Jonathan: We’ll go right.

VoiceOver: Dictate button.

Jonathan: There’s the new dictate button. You can still dictate with a two-finger double tap, what’s called the magic tap.

VoiceOver: Okay.

Jonathan: Now, we’re into those offered suggestions.

VoiceOver: Thanks. Talk later. Cap Q Quebec.

Jonathan: Now, the qwerty keyboard. No audio button. Let’s go back left.

VoiceOver: Okay. Dictate iMessage. Message. Text field is editing iMessage insertion point at start.

Jonathan: What we need to do is flick left.

VoiceOver: Apps button.

Jonathan: Double-tap apps.

VoiceOver: Apps.

Jonathan: Now, if we flick right.

VoiceOver: Message, text field, iMessage, dictate button, apps, photos, button, store, button, audio button.

Jonathan: There’s audio. Double-tap audio.

VoiceOver: Tap or hold to record.

Jonathan: At the bottom of the screen.

VoiceOver: Record.

Jonathan: There is the record button. That’s how you record an audio message. There is another way though and it’s quite convenient. If I go to the home screen-

VoiceOver: Messages.

Jonathan: -I can now say, “Record an audio message to Bonnie.”

VoiceOver: Go ahead.

Jonathan: Hello, I’m now recording this audio message as yet another part of this demonstration for the show.

VoiceOver: I’ll send it.

Jonathan: To prove that it went, let’s go back into the messages app.

VoiceOver: Messages, your iMessage, “Hello? I am recording this.”

Jonathan: All right, we’ll go right.

VoiceOver: Your iMessage, audio message, 7:29 AM.

Jonathan: Double tap. Hello, I’m now recording this audio message as yet another part of this demonstration for the show. There we go. That was done using Siri so that’s another way around the problem.

New features in Mail

There are a few things in iOS 16 Mail that are worthy of note. I’ve gone into the mail app now, and we’ll have a look at a message here.

VoiceOver: Unread, Kevin Chao Dot Pad, 3:24 PM. I’ve been exploring, learning, and figuring out Dot Pad over the past week. I have been having a lot of, “Wow, so cool.” That’s amazing. Feeling expressions. Similar to most frail displays. It was quick and easy to par and voiceover Braille settings.

Jonathan: That’s the preview of the message from Kevin Chao about Dot Pad. I can flick down now.

VoiceOver: Mark as read, flag, more, read later.

Jonathan: Read later is a new feature in Mail. I’ll double-tap it and we’ll see what it does.

VoiceOver: Alert. Remind me. Remind me in one hour, button. Remind me tonight, button. Remind me tomorrow, button. Remind me later, button. Cancel button.

Jonathan: You can specify a time if you double tap, remind me later. Otherwise, you’ve got these presets there that you can work with, and this will send you a notification at the predetermined time to remind you to get back to this mail. Another nice feature if we can get it to work, is that you can send an email later. I’ll press command+N to send a new message because I have my Mantis connected.

VoiceOver: Two, text field is editing. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: As the very old song says, “I’m going to sit right down and write myself a letter.” I’m just going to type my name.

VoiceOver: Add contact with results, Jonathan Mosen.

Jonathan: Then we’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Message subject, text field. Insertion point at end.

Jonathan: Testing. Now, I’ll just type, “Hello? Is this thing on?”

VoiceOver: Space, hello? Is this thing on?

Jonathan: Now, I’m going to flick left.

VoiceOver: Subject testing, testing, cancel, tap send, button.

Jonathan: Now, this is not your grandfather’s iOS send button, I tell you. This is the new modern send button which you could triple tap or double tap and hold.

VoiceOver: Send now, button. Send 9:00 PM tonight, button. Send 8:00 AM tomorrow, button. Send later, button.

Jonathan: If I double tap, send later.

VoiceOver: Saturday, cancel button.

Jonathan: We’ve got a picker to choose when you want to send this email. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Send later, heading, done, button. This message will be delivered by this device at the time you choose. Make sure this device is online to ensure message delivery. Send 1/09/2022, button, expanded 4:12 PM, button, collapsed.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Month, September 2022, button, adjust–

Jonathan: I want to send it tomorrow.

VoiceOver: Selected today, Friday, September 2nd, button.

Jonathan: I’ll double-tap.

VoiceOver: Selected Friday, September 2nd.

Jonathan: So far so good. I’ll go back to the left.

VoiceOver: Month 4:12 PM, button, collapsed.

Jonathan: Double-tap that.

VoiceOver: 4:12 PM, collapsed.

Jonathan: This is where we seem to get stuck right now. It doesn’t seem possible to expand this so that you can specify a different time. If you want to send it 24 hours from now, that’s okay, or some of the prenominated times, that will work. At the moment, there does appear to be a bug with this. The send mail feature is really quite useful and I’m sure they’ll iron out the kinks. The important thing to remember is your phone’s got to be powered on. It can be logged, that’s okay, but it has to be powered on, has to have current running through it so it’s on. It has to have an active internet connection via WiFi or cellular.

Transcripts of Mosen At Large are brought to you by Pneuma solutions, a global leader in accessible cloud technologies on the web at pneumasolutions.com, that’s, P-N-E-U-M-Asolutions.com.

Improvements to Focus

We’re all more conscious than ever of taking our life back. Push notifications were fun for the first couple of years. Then we realized what they were doing to us. Every time you get a push notification, it’s hard not to grab your phone, find out what it is, the whole, FOMO, fear of missing out thing. Then the pandemic came along and a lot of people were working from home.

Many people are enjoying the lifestyle benefits of continuing to work from home, but you do have to be quite disciplined about the work-life balance thing. Otherwise, your work is with you everywhere you go. Even before the work-from-home thing, this is one of the challenges of the smartphone. It is so easy to stay connected to your work when you are not at work. Apple’s done a few things to try and deal with this.

There is the screen time feature. Last year for me, the highlight of iOS 15 was the focus feature. We spent a long time on Mosen At Large last year, demonstrating this, showing you how it works. I use this a lot. I’ve got various focuses set up, some of which kick in when I launch apps. I have to say that sometimes that doesn’t happen as reliably as I would like, but when things are behaving, I can go into the Kindle app or the Books app, for example, that is Apple’s Books app and push notifications go right down because there are only a small number of push notifications that I will allow through when those apps are running.

When I’m in here in the studio, recording the podcast, for example, I put my phone into a focus mode called DND with VIP. In other words, do not disturb except for very important people who need to get hold of me at all times. Otherwise, I’d have to stop recording constantly because of all the push notifications that are coming through. There are default focuses set up for common scenarios like home or work.

Apple have done a couple of important things with the focus feature in iOS 16. They’ve made it easier to use, and they’ve also expanded the capabilities of the feature. I like it but some people have said to me, focuses are really geeky and are difficult to set up. Let’s explore that first. What’s involved in setting up a new focus in iOS 16? We’ll ask Siri to do the magic. Open focus settings.

VoiceOver: I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Jonathan: All right. Well, don’t. We’ll go into the settings app manually, open settings. Now that we’re there, we need to locate-

VoiceOver: Focus button.

Jonathan: -and double-tap.

VoiceOver: Do not disturb, button.

Jonathan: Now, we have the focuses that are set up and the first one is the good old traditional do not disturb.

VoiceOver: DND with VIP on, button.

Jonathan: That is one that I have set up and that is active at the moment, my do not disturb with VIP.

VoiceOver: Minimal notifications, button.

Jonathan: That one is the one I just talked about that kicks in when I load certain apps like books when I’m reading. When that focus is on, I will get a couple of breaking news apps and text messages from important people. Other than that, I can read my book in peace.

VoiceOver: Personal, button. Sleep, button.

Jonathan: Sleep is a unique one because that lets the phone know that you are going to sleep. That works in harmony with the Apple Watch, of course. There’s quite a bit more data that is collected about sleep in iOS 16 and Watch OS 9.

VoiceOver: Work, set up, button.

Jonathan: I haven’t set up my work focus.

VoiceOver: Focus lets you customise your devices and silence calls and notifications. Turn it on N-off in control centre.

Jonathan: Just a note that at the time of recording, at least, when you do that, when you go into control centre to try and turn off one of the focus features, it’s got a little bit dodgy from an accessibility point of view, there are a couple of buttons relating to it, but you should be able to figure it out, particularly if you’re familiar with the layout from iOS 15.

VoiceOver: Share across devices, on. Focus is shared across your devices and turning one on for this device will turn it on for all of them.

Jonathan: I find that particularly helpful with the Apple watch. For example, if I set my focus to sleep at night, the Apple watch knows that it should go and collect sleep data.

VoiceOver: Focus status on button. When you give an app permission, it can share that you have notification silenced when using focus.

Jonathan: This is useful. If you have this on and someone tries to send you a message, for example, then the person will be notified that you might take a while to respond because you’ve got your focus set to not notify you of the messages. Now, when we came into this focus screen, it’s put focus. If you will. That is the voiceover focus on do not disturb, but if we flick left from there, you will get the all-important add button.

VoiceOver: Add button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: What do you want to focus on, heading?

Jonathan: This is the new onboarding or setup process for focus.

VoiceOver: Choose a focus to get started. Custom button, driving button, fitness button, gaming button, mindfulness button, reading button.

Jonathan: We’ll try the mindfulness one because meditation is something I do every day. We’ll have a look at what that’s got to offer.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness image back button

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Close button, mindfulness image, 941 account image, possibly person.

Jonathan: I’m not sure what is going on with this.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness focus. When you’re in a mindfulness session, stay present by silencing notifications or customizing your screens and apps. Customised focus button.

Jonathan: There’s a customised focus button. Obviously, they don’t think that American Siri is going to be used by British English speakers. Anyway, we’ll double tap the customised focus button.

VoiceOver: Focus back button.

Jonathan: Flick right?

VoiceOver: Mindfulness focus heading, allow notifications heading. Notifications from selected people and apps will be allowed and all others will be silenced.

Jonathan: We’ve got people and apps. Let’s flick right?

VoiceOver: People, none allowed button.

Jonathan: If I double tap this.

VoiceOver: Silence notifications from button selected, allow notifications from button.

Jonathan: You can now do this two ways. In iOS 15, you could only allow notifications from specific people and specific apps that meant that it was super time-consuming to set up a focus where you only wanted to exclude a small number of people or a small number of apps. Let’s say for example that you want to set up a personal focus and you’ve only got a handful of work contacts on your phone. You would have to go through an iOS 15 and double tap all the contacts other than the work ones. Now, you can default to allowing everybody but deselecting the small number of work contacts that you have. It’s significantly more efficient to set up this way. Here’s the explanation.

VoiceOver: When mindfulness focus is on notifications from people you select will be allowed. All others will be silenced and sent to notification centre.

Jonathan: If I go back and choose the other option.

VoiceOver: Silence notifications from button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap that.

VoiceOver: Selected silence notifications from.

Jonathan: Then the explanation has changed.

VoiceOver: Allow notifications from button. When mindfulness focus is on notifications from selected people will be silenced and sent to notification centre.

Jonathan: Obviously, in a case like this, you want almost everything silenced for mindfulness. I might, for example, want Bonnie or my kids to be able to contact me in case there’s some emergency if I’m doing a mindfulness thing, but other than that, leave me alone. You don’t want to get grumpy with all these push notifications when you’re trying to be mindful so go back.

VoiceOver: Allow notifications from button selected. Allow no notifications from.

Jonathan: Now, I’ll flick right?

VoiceOver: When mindfulness focus is on notifications from people you select will be allowed. All others will be silenced and sent to notification centre, add button.

Jonathan: Here’s the add button. When I double-tap this, I’ll go into my contacts.

VoiceOver: Lists back button iCloud, heading, done button. Search field.

Jonathan: I can search for contacts and add those people who I do want to allow through. If you want to set up this mindfulness focus, you may well go ahead and do this for now.

VoiceOver: Cancel button.

Jonathan: I’ll cancel this.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness focus back button.

Jonathan: We’ll continue to look at the other options. The next of which is.

VoiceOver: Phone calls allow calls from allowed people only button, allow incoming calls from only the contacts you added to the focus.

Jonathan: What other options do we have for this? I’ll flick left.

VoiceOver: Allowed people only button.

Jonathan: Once you allow somebody then phone calls from them will come through, but we can double tap and change this.

VoiceOver: Everybody button selected, allowed people only button, favourites button, contacts only button, dismiss contacts menu button.

Jonathan: I have in my favourites, close family members and that’s all I have because in the old days of do not disturb, you could make exceptions for favourites in some situations. This is actually quite a quick way of allowing people through who might want to contact me even when I’m doing mindfulness because it’s probably urgent or important so I will flick left.

VoiceOver: Contacts only button, favourites button.

Jonathan: Double tap favourites.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness focus back button.

Jonathan: That’s done next.

VoiceOver: Allow repeated calls, switch button off.

Jonathan: Here’s the explanation.

VoiceOver: A second call from the same person within three minutes will not be silenced.

Jonathan: It doesn’t matter how persistent you are. If I’m being mindful, then I don’t want to hear from you.

VoiceOver: A second call from this–

Jonathan: That’s all there is. I’ll go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Focus back button.

Jonathan: We looked at people. You can also customise.

VoiceOver: Apps. None allowed button.

Jonathan: I’m actually quite happy with that but if there is an app that you want to send you notifications in a situation like this, then you can add it and the system is the same. You can either exclude or include apps, which is a very efficient way to set all this up.

VoiceOver: Options button.

Jonathan: Double tap options.

VoiceOver: Silence notifications, heading, show unlock screen, switch button off, show silence notifications on the lock screen instead of in notification centre. Dim lock screen, switch button off. Darken the lock screen when this focus is on. Hide notification badges, switch button on. Hide notification badges on home screen apps. Apps in your allowed notification list will continue to be badged.

Jonathan: It can defeat the purpose if you’ve got an app that’s excluded from notifications, but you can explore around your home screen and you notice the number of items going up in that app in other words the badge. It’s super tempting to look at what’s going on. Hiding badges can be a good thing for discipline. That’s the last option so I’ll go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness focus heading.

Jonathan: We can navigate by heading to get to the next thing.

VoiceOver: Customise screens heading.

Jonathan: We get to customise the screens.

VoiceOver: Choose a lock screen or home screen page to turn on to help limit distractions. Choose lock screen button.

Jonathan: As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, you can customise your lock screen and you can have multiple lock screens that could be switched on and off at different times or different locations or based on focus. We will come back when things are in slightly better shape and just take a look at customizing lock screens. If we flick right.

VoiceOver: Choose home screen button.

Jonathan: This might require you to work in a different way from the way you’ve been working before but the way you could set this up is, you could have a page on your phone where all your work-related apps live and when you turn on your work focus, you could set that page as the page of apps that appears when the work focus is on so you could make Facebook and Twitter and various games and all those distracting things disappear and just have a place where you can get work done.

Now, I don’t have my phone set up like that at the moment. I’ve got a lot of lovely little folders like productivity and utilities and audio recorders and various other things like that. It would require significant reorganization for me to use this. You can also

VoiceOver: Choose, watch face button.

Jonathan: That’s really cool because I have several watch faces set up for different occasions and it may be that you want a set a watch face up that prominently displays your next appointments and other work-related data but when you’re not at work and particularly if like me, you’re heading off on a nice long break and you want to forget about work for a while and recharge, then you can make it all disappear by setting the right focus up.

This is also good if you’re taking a break, by the way, because it means that when you have say a holiday or vacation focus on depending on where in the world you are and what language you use, you could exclude things like Microsoft Teams and other things from that focus so that you’re not being pinged and bothered by work-related things. We’ll keep on with this because you’ll see more of that.

VoiceOver: Turn on automatically heading. Have this focus turn on automatically at a set time or location or while using a certain app.

Jonathan: I already talked about how I load Kindle or books and the focus kicks in but you can do so much more than that if you work from 8:30 to 5:00 or 6:00 or however long you work and you know that’s pretty routine you can have the focus turn on automatically. Alternatively, if you’re working in an office when you get to the office you can have your focus turn on automatically and everything just goes into that mode. Your phone can go into work mode. You can have only your work-related apps and notifications visible and it can all just happen by magic.

The one thing I don’t think you can do. That seems so obvious to me. I’m not sure why it’s not there is trigger a focus when you are in a calendar event. I would love to be able to do this when my calendar event starts I would like to have my DND and VIP focus turned on so that I can only be bothered if it’s really important. Then when the calendar event ends I would like to be able to just return to switching that focus off and my phone going into normal mode. I don’t believe that’s possible.

VoiceOver: Mindfulness. When you start a session on button.

Jonathan: Now, because this is the mindfulness focus that we are setting up and this is a specific one that has been provided by Apple, it knows about mindfulness apps. If you run a mindfulness app it can turn this focus on for you, so that’s pretty cool.

VoiceOver: Add schedule button.

Jonathan: You can add a schedule.

VoiceOver: Focus filters heading. Customise how your apps and device behave when this focus is on. Focus filters help you remove distractions from apps when the focus is on. Add filter button.

Jonathan: Focus filters are a new and very powerful feature in iOS 16 and it really just adds to the epicness of this feature. I’m going to double tap the add filter button so we can see how this works.

VoiceOver: Cancel button

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Focus filters, heading, app filters, customised apps during mindfulness focus. Selected apps will be notified when this focus turns on or off

Jonathan: Now, I flick right

VoiceOver: Calendar, filter calendars button.

Jonathan: These are the apps that support focus filters at the moment. I believe that this is also being exposed to third-party apps so you may see more focus filters being added.

VoiceOver: Mail, filter in boxes button.

Jonathan: Let me show you how this would work so if I double tap–

VoiceOver: In progress, work bridge button

Jonathan: There’s my work bridge email box. That’s the organization I work for

VoiceOver: iCloud button.

Jonathan: I’ve got quite a few email accounts in here so if I go back-

VoiceOver: Work bridge button.

Jonathan: -and I double tap the work bridge button.

VoiceOver: Selected work bridge.

Jonathan: You can hide specific email boxes or specific features of apps within a focus. This is much more than just making an app disappear. You can get really granular. Again, let’s say that you’re setting up a scenario where you are going on holiday. You don’t want to be bothered by work things rather than try and ignore your email box or, in the past, people might have got in at the beginning of their holiday and switched off their email box from the mail settings.

Now, you don’t need to do that. once you have set up a holiday or vacation focus, you can go in and just make your email account disappear for your work whenever you turn that focus on. You can do the same with calendars as we just saw before. If you don’t want your work calendar to be available when you’re in vacation mode, then switch it off. It’ll just magically disappear from your phone, the moment you turn the focus on. I’m going to go back for now

VoiceOver: Cancel button

Jonathan: We’ll have a look at what else? We’ve seen calendar and email.

VoiceOver: Messages, filter conversations button.

Jonathan: Super cool. Again, you can go in here and make sure that certain conversations in messages don’t appear when a focus is active. If you use your phone as a home phone and a work phone, then you can make work-related people’s conversations just disappear. They will not be there when you turn this focus on.

VoiceOver: Safari set tab group button.

Jonathan: You can set a tab group to appear in a specific focus. First of all, you’ve got to create that group of tabs and when you’ve done that you can select that tab group to be active in a given focus.

VoiceOver: System filters, customised system settings when this focus turns on.

Jonathan: We have–

VoiceOver: Appearance set to dark button, low power mode, turn on button.

Jonathan: I thought about this and I thought maybe if you are prone to getting power cuts maybe during some weather event or other, you could set up an emergency focus where it just sets things right back, minimal notifications to preserve your battery life, low power mode, and just invoke that focus. I’ll go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Focus back button

Jonathan: Right at the bottom of the screen–

VoiceOver: Delete focus button.

Jonathan: We have the delete focus button which I will press at this point because we’ve only just been demoing the features here.

VoiceOver: Delete alert. Do you want to delete this focus? Delete focus button, settings back button.

Jonathan: Apple is no exception. Sometimes any software developer will get a feature in place and think okay that’s that feature complete and we’ll leave it. I am so pleased to see that Apple is committed to growing the focus feature because I think it is so cool and powerful. If you haven’t used the focus feature in iOS 15 it can give you a lot of control over what happens on your device. Sure that’s handy, but it can also really assist with your sense of mental wellbeing.

Medication tracking in the Health app

That segues us nicely onto the health app where there’s a significant new feature this year and this relates to the logging of medications. It’s so significant in fact, that you will find a dedicated medications app on your watch in watch OS 9, but a lot of this is initiated and controlled by the health app on your iPhone. This is one of those features that works better in the United States than other markets. There are a few of these and that’s all right but I do wish they would charge us a bit less in other countries if we get fewer features.

The feature that’s a bit different in the US is that you can scan medications and get your medications into the phone. That way everybody else can add them manually, and because I’m in New Zealand that’s the user interface that I have so we’ll take a look at how we do this. Open health. Now, the health app is open. I didn’t get any feedback about it but it is so we’ll go to the bottom of the screen

VoiceOver: Continue button

Jonathan: Oh, there’s a little message here let’s take a look.

VoiceOver: Welcome to health. Heading, this app brings your health information together in one place. You can see important changes or alerts, get insights from your data, and learn about essential topics. Continue button.

Jonathan: That message is typical of what will happen when you run a lot of Apple’s stock apps for the first time. Those apps where there have been significant changes. The first time you run them after you’ve installed iOS 16. You will get little screens like this that tell you about new things in the app. I’ll double tap the continue button.

VoiceOver: Your health data is private and secure. Heading, to protect your privacy, health data is encrypted on your device when it’s locked. Learn more button, continue button.

Jonathan: We’ll double tap again.

VoiceOver: Set up health details. Your health details are the basic information the app needs to provide you relevant information.

Jonathan: It’s going to go through my health details which should be all in place because I’ve used the health app for years, but presumably it is just confirming all of that so I’ll go through this process. I did that and everything was correct so I chose the next button and now we have this.

VoiceOver: Health notifications, Heading. The health app can notify you when there’s something you need to know, additional notifications, heading, trends, receive a notification when there’s a new trend in your health data, switch button on. Enable notifications button.

Jonathan: This is new in iOS 16 and I’d like to do that. Now, I’m in the health app and I’m on my summary screen. I’ll go to the bottom of the screen.

VoiceOver: Tab bar, browse tab three of three.

Jonathan: It’s the browse tab that we want because we came in here to take a look at the new medication tracking feature so I’ll double tap browse. There’s quite a list here but we want to find.

VoiceOver: Medications button.

Jonathan: Which is a brand new category in iOS 16. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Select set up medications, track all your medications in one place, set a schedule and get reminders. Your medication information is encrypted and cannot be read by anyone including Apple without your permission. Add a medication button, about medications, heading, tracking your medications. Why it’s important to keep up with what you’re taking button.

Jonathan: Well, let’s choose that button first.

VoiceOver: Medications article heading

Jonathan: We’ll just have a look at this.

VoiceOver: Done button. Why medication tracking is important, heading whether you take one prescription medication or 10, it’s important to keep track of what you’re taking and when. How your body responds to a medication is unique so tracking what you’re taking can help you understand how well a medicine is working for you. It can also help you remember when you took your last dose and when it’s time for your next accidentally taking doses too close together could lead to too much medication in your system, which can be unsafe. Taking doses farther apart than prescribed or skipping them all together could result in too little medication in your body, making it less effective.

It’s also important to keep track of how you’re supposed to take your medicine. For example, some medicines should be taken with food in order to decrease side effects while others should be taken on an empty stomach so they can be absorbed properly. Adding notes to your tracking method can help ensure you’re taking each medicine as intended. What are drug interactions heading?

While modern medications are safe and effective there are certain medications that can react with each other, the foods you eat, or even your body’s physiology. This can cause them to be less effective or potentially cause side effects. Some of which can be dangerous. Your doctor, care team, and pharmacist are trained to look out for these interactions when prescribing or providing medications and having an accurate record of what you’re taking can help them.

They should also be able to answer any questions you have about interactions. There are three main types of drug interactions. Drug-to-drug interactions, heading. This happens when two or more drugs interfere with each other, the health app can check for this. If it finds an interaction, it flags it as one of three risk levels. A critical interaction means you should not take these medications together and need to discuss them with your care team.

Taking them together may cause significant side effects or cause your medications to not work as well. A serious interaction means taking this combination may cause significant side effects or cause your medications to not work as well. You should talk to your care team to see if you should adjust your prescriptions. A moderate interaction means you can take the medications as prescribed, but side effects may occur or your meds may not work as well.

Drug-to-food interactions, heading. Foods can interfere with certain types of medications. For example, great fruit and great fruit juice can impact some medications used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, and even allergies. Milk can limit how the body absorbs some antibiotics and thyroid medications. Leafy green vegetables, normally a healthy choice contain vitamin K, which can interfere with some blood thinners.

Drug condition interactions, heading. These occur when you have a health condition that makes it risky for you to take certain medications. For example, if you have high blood pressure taking certainty congestions can raise your blood pressure even more. Other interactions, heading. Finally, if you drink alcohol, use tobacco, or cannabis, or take any type of recreational drugs, have an honest conversation with your doctor or pharmacist about it. For example, combining alcohol with paracetamol, an over-the-counter pain reliever, can cause liver damage, and combining alcohol with pain medication can be life-threatening.

Tobacco and cannabis contain active ingredients that interact with hundreds of prescription medications. It’s helpful to keep in mind that medication tracking while useful is only one tool in safely managing your medication schedule. Please consult with your doctor pharmacist, family members, and any caregivers to create a plan that works best for you.

Jonathan: I realized that was lengthy, but it’s interesting and it illustrates the value of this feature. We’ll go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Tracking your medications, why it’s important.

Jonathan: Now we’ll go left.

VoiceOver: About medications, heading. Add a medication button

Jonathan: Let’s have a look at the user interface for adding a medication,

VoiceOver: Medication name, heading. Add medication name, text field.

Jonathan: You can type the name of the medication. The only thing I really take supplements so I’m not a good Guinea pig for this at all. I take melatonin in the evening and magnesium and things of that nature, but I don’t have any prescription medication at all. I’ll flick through

VoiceOver: Next dimmed button.

Jonathan: Let’s see if it will take melatonin. I’ll type in M-E-L-A-T-O-N-I-N and presenter.

VoiceOver: Next button.

Jonathan: What have we got?

VoiceOver: Clear text, button. Next button, choose the medication type, heading. Common forms, heading. Capsule tablet, liquid, topical. More forms, head cream, device, drops, foam, gel, inhaler, injection, lotion, ointment, patch, powder, spray, suppository.

Jonathan: If anyone ever asks me if I take melatonin, I’ll say I didn’t inhale. I’ll go to the top.

VoiceOver: Back button melatonin, cancel, capsule, tablet.

Jonathan: There’s tablet, I’ll double tab

VoiceOver: Tablet, next button.

Jonathan: Then focus is put on the next button so I’ll double tab that

VoiceOver: Tablet ticked. Add the medication strength, heading, strength, heading, add strength, text, field. Insertion point at N

Jonathan: I can type just the number five at once. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Choose unit heading MG.

Jonathan: That’s right. Five MG

VoiceOver: MG ticked next button.

Jonathan: Then I can go to the next button, but you can flick through other units. What have we got? I’ll go back left.

VoiceOver: Percent night, sky ML, G night sky, MCG, MG ticked, skip button. Next button.

Jonathan: We’ll go to the next button.

VoiceOver: MG ticked

Jonathan: Let’s flick right.

VoiceOver: Melatonin. Melatonin.

Jonathan: Now, there appears to be a focus issue at time of recording on the screen so I’m just going to put my finger on the screen somewhere

VoiceOver: Add a time. If you schedule a time, health will send you a notification to take your medications.

Jonathan: Oh, boy.

VoiceOver: Time of day heading, add a time.

Jonathan: If we add a time here, then if you have a pretty regular bedtime, you could maybe in the case of melatonin get the notification to take it. Say an hour or an hour and a half before you want to think about going to sleep.

VoiceOver: Next dimmed button.

Jonathan: It’s dimmed so it looks like–

VoiceOver: Add a time. Time of day, heading. Add a time. Next button add a time. Tablet button, one text field time picker, 7:10 AM button, time of day heading. If you schedule a time.

Jonathan: Well, it says if you schedule a time, but the next button was dimmed until I added one so I’m not sure if that’s a bug or my misunderstanding of the feature, but I’ll play along for this purpose.

VoiceOver: Time of day, heading. Time picker seven, 07:10 AM, button collapsed.

Jonathan: Double-tap.

VoiceOver: Seven o’clock picker item.

Jonathan: I’ll go to 8:00.

VoiceOver: Eight o’clock next button.

Jonathan: I’m a 5:00 AM person so I go to bed pretty early.

VoiceOver: Next.

Jonathan: Focus is stuck here. You can see there is a lot of potential here for blind people, but there’s a lot of work to be done to fix some of these issues.

VoiceOver: Eight o’clock picker, 10 minutes, 15 minutes next button.

Jonathan: I was just trying to scroll to about eight 30, but again, it took focus away to the next button so I have to go back.

VoiceOver: Next, next, next, button. Next, next, dismiss pop up. Dismiss pop dismiss 20 minutes.

Jonathan: I have to explore by touch, do I?

VoiceOver: 17 of 25.

Jonathan: Again, focus has gone away.

VoiceOver: Dismiss pop-up AM picker 25 minutes, 30 minutes next button.

Jonathan: Focus went to the next button again, but at least I’ve got it right now. Except that

VoiceOver: Eight o’clock 30 AM– [crosstalk]

Jonathan: I need to change it to PM

VoiceOver: Next button back button.

Jonathan: That was tricky. Now, what have we got?

VoiceOver: Melatonin tablet, five milligrams. When will you take this, heading. Frequency, every day?

Jonathan: That’s right.

VoiceOver: If you schedule a time, health will send you a notification to take your medications. Time of day, heading, time picker 8:30 PM button click one text tablet button.

Jonathan: That’s right, too.

VoiceOver: At a time next button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap next again.

VoiceOver: Choose the shape, heading. Capsule button pill, button, oval pill, button, caplet button, transparent pill, bottle button, solid jar with lid button measurement cup button, tube button more heading. White diamond-shaped pill button, triangular pill button, cone-shaped pill button, square pill button, rectangular pill button, trapezoid-shaped pill button, pentagon-shaped pill button, hexagon-shaped pill button, white hexagon-shaped pill button, octagon-shaped pill button, white octagon-shaped pill button, shield-shaped pill button, D-shaped pill button, U-shaped pill button, pill pack button, heart-shaped pill button, double circle shaped pill button, lozenge button, gum button, liquid bottle button, spray button, vial button, injectable button, injector pen button, dropper, medication packet button, inhaler button IUD button, ring button, skin patch button, suppository button, liquid button, topical medication button, powder button, effervescent medication button, inhaled medication button, shampoo button, solid pill bottle button, hot beverage button.

Jonathan: Plenty of choices here, but mine is–

VoiceOver: Pill button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Selected. Next button, selected pill, pill white, background dark blue, choose colors, heading shape, heading selected, white button, grey button, beige button.

Jonathan: I have no idea of course so I’m [chuckles] just going to-

VoiceOver: Next button.

Jonathan: -go with the default.

VoiceOver: Melatonin, heading. Tablet, five milligrams schedule, heading every day, 8:30 PM. One tablet, optional details, heading display name, text field notes, done button.

Jonathan: We’ll double tap done.

VoiceOver: Done options.

Jonathan: Now, that’s quite a process to get your medication in there, but as I say, if you are in the United States, then you can scan the medication and if you have somebody assisting with your healthcare, maybe you have a range of medication to take because where this will really come in handy is if you have a lot of medications and it’s time sensitive, and your health really depends on this, then you could get a healthcare professional, even if you can’t scan them in to set this up for you, no matter what country you are in.

Then you will get the notifications, you can have a good description that makes sense of the medication and when you need to take it, so I spent a lot of time on this because I think this is a very significant feature for a lot of people, and those who do use pharmaceuticals to maintain their health. This is much more serious than my melatonin. This can really be very useful, so I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Medications heading cap M, log heading. 8:30 PM, add button pill white, background dark blue, melatonin as needed medications. Add button your medications heading, edit button, pill white, background dark blue.

Jonathan: Let’s explore the actions.

VoiceOver: Archive activate archive.

Jonathan: Okay, that’s all.

VoiceOver: Melatonin tablet, five milligrams schedule every day. Add medication, about medications, tracking your medications why it’s more heading, add to favourites, button. Favourites appear in summary, export PDF.

Jonathan: If you need to, you can export this data as a PDF and then give it to your healthcare professional, so a few focus issues here in iOS 16 with this new feature and a reminder that you can use the medications app on your watch if you have an Apple watch to track the medications that you have set up in the health app.

Transfer eSIMS via Bluetooth

Onto something a bit geeky now, and that is E-SIMs. They do think that eventually, Apple will go completely E-SIM. They think eventually Apple might go to a completely portless iPhone as well. That will be [chuckles] scary stuff, but in the meantime, I think an E-SIM-only phone is a much more immediate possibility.

To make E-SIMS easier to use when you are changing phones regularly, you can now transfer an E-SIM from one iPhone to another via Bluetooth. This is great because I did have an E-SIM for a while with one of the carriers that I was with and transferring iPhones was a pain because you’d have to go into the store and get a new QR code so this is going to make things much easier, but your carrier will need to support this feature.

It’s not just going to happen, your carrier will need to agree to opt-in. I suppose there is some remote possibility of SIM fraud and some carriers are very sensitive about that, but hopefully, Apple has thought about those security things they usually do. Obviously, it’s a lot more convenient for everybody, including the carrier if you can securely transfer your E-SIM to your new phone.

Weather changes

There are a few little aesthetic changes that you notice, for example, the app store updates. If you still update manually, as I do is a little different, in fact, it takes a few more swipes. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not, but the final thing that I would like to show you before we conclude this look at iOS 16 is the weather app. We all enjoy talking about the weather, don’t we? Why not talk about the weather app? There are some changes, significant improvements in some ways to the weather app in iOS 16, and this is due in the most part to the integration of the dark sky technology that Apple purchased in 2020.

Now, I am one of the few people who cannot show you the full extent of the changes in the weather app, because there are quite a few notifications including of extreme events, and they’re not supported in all countries. Apple says at the time of iOS 16s release, you will get support for these notifications if you live in or are, of course, visiting Australia, Canada, Japan, China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Thailand, the United States of America, and most countries and regions in Europe. Let’s open the weather app, open weather. I’m not getting any spoken feedback, but I believe the app is open, I’ll go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Wellington 14 degrees breezy, low 11 degrees, high 15 degrees.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Windy conditions will continue for the rest of the day.

Jonathan: I’ll keep flicking right for now.

VoiceOver: Now, breezy 14 degrees, 3:00 PM, breezy, 14 degrees. 4:00 PM, breezy, 14 degrees.

Jonathan: Even if I have hints on, I’m not getting any indication that this is tappable, but a lot of it is, so if I double tap?

VoiceOver: Temperature.

Jonathan: Now we’re in a kind of a details screen pertaining to the temperature. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Close button calendar today, Friday, September 2nd, 2022 adjustable.

Jonathan: I can swipe up and down and change the day that I’m looking at so this is a quick way to look into the future, maybe you have an activity coming up, you wonder what the weather is for Sunday, you can drill down and have a look.

VoiceOver: Currently 14 degrees and breezy, low of 11 degrees, high of 15 degrees. Chart condition, temperature button, popup button.

Jonathan: This one is telling me that it’s tappable and it’s a conditions button so if I double tab.

VoiceOver: Selected temperature, UV index button, wind button, precipitation button feels like button humidity, button dismiss context menu.

Jonathan: There are ways to get to this information elsewhere, but this is a quick menu so that you can change screens from within another screen. I’m going to stick with temperature for now, so I’ll back out of this menu.

VoiceOver: Temperature, close button. Calendar, currently chart condition graph, temperature, 12:00 AM, 12 degrees. Audio graph available, the X-axis is time, the Y-axis is temperature. There is one data series.

Jonathan: In recent times, Apple’s done a fantastic job of rendering graphical data. We’ve got the actions here, I’m not getting that noise that should tell me that we have the actions rotor, but we do so if I go down.

VoiceOver: Describe graph, play audio graph, chart details, describe graph.

Jonathan: What we can do is have a look at the audio version of this graph.

VoiceOver: Play audio graph.

Jonathan: Since the temperature should be coolish at nighttime and then warm up, what I expect to hear is an audio rendering of the graph that tells me that it is cooler at nighttime so there should be a lower sound. It’ll warm up during the day, so the tone should get higher and then the temperature will go down again tonight so the graph will go down as well. Let’s have a listen. [beep] You hear it doesn’t go down too low and it would go down lower if the temperature were to be going lower so that gives you a quick indication of the nature of the curve, pretty cool stuff. If that doesn’t take your fancy will go down?

VoiceOver: Chart details, describe graph.

Jonathan: We’ll have voice over describe the graph.

VoiceOver: The X-axis is time, the Y-axis is temperature. There is one data series.

Jonathan: That’s the description that we heard earlier and we can also just flick through if we go into the details and look at this hour by hour. What I’d like to do now is change the view.

VoiceOver: Chart condition, temperature button–

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Pop-up button, selected temperature, UV index, wind button.

Jonathan: We call Wellington the Windy City in New Zealand it has a reputation for its wind. There was even a radio station once here in Wellington called Radio Windy. The wind has got up today so if I double tap this button we’re going to find a graph that I think indicates that it was a fairly still night and then the wind got a bit intense so we’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Double tap to dismiss the popup window button.

Jonathan: And I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Wind close, button calendar today. 35 kilometres per hour from the North northwest gusts, 60 kilometres per hour–

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Chart condition, wind button, pop graph, wind 12:00 AM, 20 kilometres/h North northwest gusts 35 kilometres/h. Audio graph available.

Jonathan: This is similar to the screen that we saw for weather. What I’m going to do is navigate by heading because there’s other information on this page,

VoiceOver: Daily summary heading.

Jonathan: Here’s the daily summary.

VoiceOver: Wind is currently 35 km/h from the North Northwest. Today, wind speeds are 19 to 38 km/h with gusts up to 64 km/h.

Jonathan: The next heading?

VoiceOver: About wind speed and gusts, heading. The wind speed is calculated using the average over a short period of time, gusts are short bursts of wind above average. A gust typically lasts under 20 seconds.

Jonathan: Eat your heart out, weather nerds. I’ll go back to the previous screen.

VoiceOver: Wellington 14 degrees windy conditions will now breezy 3:00 PM.

Jonathan: We can go through hour by hour for the next few hours. We can also take a look at the forecast for the next couple of days and the 10-day forecast, and on the main screen, if we get past all of that, we get this.

VoiceOver: Precipitation, breezy.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: UV index 2 low, low for the rest of the day, minimum value 1 maximum value 11 plus.

Jonathan: If I were to double tap on this UV index, it would take me to the same place that button in the detail screen, where we were looking at the precipitation and the wind would take us.

VoiceOver: Sunset 5:57 PM. Sunrise 6:43 AM. Wind. Winds from the north Northwest at 35 km/h. Precipitation zero millimetres in last 24 hours, four millimetres expected in the next 24 hours. Feels like 14 degrees wind is making it feel cooler. Humidity 76%. The dew point is 10 degrees right now.

Jonathan: If I double tap here, I’ll go into the humidity screen and get details and we’ll see this chart. What we may be interested in is just the general trend. We may not need to hear the exact percentages. We know how humid it is now and we’re interested in how humid is it going to be? How humid was it earlier? We can play this audio graph without really necessarily reading all the data. We get that feel about what the humidity is going to do. Take a listen and see if you can discern that. [beep]

What I get from that is that the humidity started off quite high at the beginning of the day, which is midnight. It got a little bit lower as the day progressed, but then by the end of tonight, it’s going to get quite humid. Dealing with data in this way is just so much fun. Another improvement that’s in the weather app is the number of locations that you can monitor.

Currently, I’m in Wellington and this is my current location. I haven’t set Wellington as a location in my weather app because I’m here much of the time and wherever I go, the weather app will be. I’m sure that when we travel to Europe, the severe weather notifications will be available and I will enable them. You may have friends or loved ones in particular locations, and you want to know what the weather is for those locations. In iOS 15, you could add a maximum of 20 locations to the weather app. In iOS 16, that number has increased to 50.

That’s a look at some of my favourite features in iOS 16, when Apple releases the operating system, you’ll be able to go to settings general and software update, and you’ll be advised that the update is available. It’ll be a big download initially so settle back and be patient. There are some very practical advancements in iOS 16, particularly for those of us with pro devices, with all of the work that they’ve done on LIDAR in a blindness context. And of course, glorious Eloquence. Fantastic. Hope you enjoy your iOS 16, and that you’ve found this helpful.

Closing and contact info

I’d love to hear from you. If you have any comments you want to contribute to the show, drop me an email written down or with an audio attachment to Jonathan J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com. If you’d rather call in, use the listener number in the United States, 864-606-6736.

Speakers: Mosen At Large Podcast.

[01:54:33] [END OF AUDIO]