Before updating to iOS 11

Featured Image: 
Screenshot of 32-bit error message: "7 MCW" needs to be updated. Developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.

OS 11 will be released on September 19 - here are some things you should know before you update!  As always, new features can also mean new bugs. For many who depend on their iOS devices for work, school or life in general, waiting a short while may be the best option. According to iAccessibility, iOS 11 has two known accessibility bugs:

  • iPad multitasking with split view is currently broken with VoiceOver (workaround available)
  • Zoom does not always properly rotate between portrait and landscape

AppleVis reports several additional bugs and new features.  If you use a braille display with your iOS device, be sure to read the full article!

Serious bugs:

  • Braille Display: Translator misses some text when you type quickly
  • Message App: Bug and workaround with deleting a conversation
  • PDF: Several issues with VoiceOver reading a PDF

View the full AppleVis article, The Accessibility Bugs in iOS 11 for Blind and Low Vision Users; from Serious to Minor.  This article also mentions some changes, which are not bugs. A few of these bugs (and changes) may impact students, including the moderate bug when editing large blocks of text with a braille display, the braille cursor and VoiceOver become sluggish.

32-bit apps

64-bit apps, which began to appear in 2013, improve app performance and reliability. In 2015, all iOS apps and app updates must be 64-bit apps. With the release of iOS 11, 32-bit apps will not be supported, meaning that you will not be able to launch these apps in iOS 11. Less than 1% of apps in the App Store are 32-bit apps. For more information, go to 32-Bit Apps Represented Less Than 1% of Apple's App Store Revenue Last Quarter.

 Be sure that your apps are all up-to-date; recently there have been numerous app updates as developers are working hard to convert older apps to 64-bit apps. If there is a red number on your App Store icon, you have apps that need to be updated.  

If you have the latest version of iOS 10, you can quickly find out which apps are not supported. Simply go to Settings > General > About > Applications and the list of 32-bit apps on that device will appear.  

Teacher Hint: There are many educational apps or blind-specific apps that are 32-bit apps. These apps will NOT work with iOS 11! (Currently, I have 11 educational apps including Accelerated Reader (AR) that are 32-bit apps, 13 blind-specific apps and an invoice app that will not work with iOS 11.)

Some of these app developers may no longer be active or they may have chosen not to update these apps. Some app developers may consider updating their apps if enough people request those apps to be updated. Do you use - and want to continue to use - a 32-bit app? Contact the app developer and let them know!

New Features

The iMore blog, What's New with Accessibility in iOS 11, talks about these new accessibility features:

  • Smart Invert
  • Improved Text Detection
  • Improved Photo Descriptions
  • Large Text Enhancements
  • Type to Siri
  • Drag and Drop with VoiceOver Support

The AppleVis blog, iOS 11; Is it Worth Upgrading, explains these features:

  • A Note to Braille Users
  • Hey Siri, What's New With You?
  • What's in that Picture (VoiceOver describes pictures with a 3-finger tap on the image)
  • Dragging Around the Home Screen (Drag and Drop)
  • Managing files
  • Finally, an Easier Way to Check Spelling!

Prior to Updating to iOS 11

iOS 11 has numerous new features that will be beneficial for users, including students using iOS devices in the classroom. After carefully deciding you are ready to update, Mac Rumors suggests that you do these things prior to updating:

  • Compatibility Check
  • Storage Space
  • Create an Archived iTunes Backup

Note: An encrypted backup retains all your account passwords, your health information and Homekit data. Follow the step-by-step backup instructions provided by Mac Rumors.


Posted by TS12345Oct 21, 2017

I want many of my apps to update.  One of my favorites, "Draw with Curious George", was updated a few weeks ago. Same happened with Math Bingo, but not Create A Car. The latter is from the same developer. I am really upset about the decision to stop 32bit on the Mac because many of my games are 32bit. At least WIndows has no plans on slowing down!

Posted by Diane BraunerOct 23, 2017

Can you tell me more about Math Bingo?  Is it accessible with VoiceOver?  Sounds like you are using a number of fun apps - I'd like to hear more about these apps!