December 17, 2014

December Technology Tip: iOS 8 and Bluetooth Keyboard Use

Photo: An Apple Brand Bluetooth Keyboard

The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center's (WBRC) iProgram has been getting a lot of questions lately from iProgram Alumni and current students regarding the recent Apple Operating Software (iOS) update for iPhones and iPads.  WBRC has hesitated to encourage users who use an iPhone or iPad with VoiceOver to update if they use a Bluetooth Keyboard.  Why?  Because it appeared that the keyboard letter and number keys would not work with an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 or later while using VoiceOver.... frustrating!

Well - after a bit of research we have discovered the solution to this problem.  The iPhone/iPad with iOS 8 or later user can use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and VoiceOver at the same time by turning 'Quick Nav' OFF on their keyboard.

What is Quick Nav?  Most interaction with VoiceOver involves the use of keyboard shortcuts, and many of these shortcuts include the Control and Option keys. These keys are known as the VoiceOver (VO) keys.  Quick Nav is a new feature in iOS 8 that allows you to navigate without having to use the VO keys.  The problem is that with Quick Nav on - the letter and number keys don't work.

How do I turn off Quick Nav?  Simply press the left arrow key and the right arrow key on your keyboard at the same time to turn Quick Nav off or on.  The letter and number keys will work on the keyboard with Quick Nav off.  Turn Quick Nav back on to navigate without having to use the VO keys.

Should I update to iOS 8? Choosing to update your iPhone or iPad software is a purely personal choice.  While the differences between iOS 7 and iOS 8 are not drastic - there are differences.  It is always advised that you do your research in order to make an informed decision prior to updating your software.  WBRC iProgram Alum should feel free to contact the WBRC Technology Coordinator at 650-493-5000 x24158 with questions regarding software updates.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC

CLICK HERE to learn more about the WBRC Computer Access and iProgram

Article by: Summer Beasley-Hoffman

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