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Focus Blue Compatibility with iOS 10.2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Solution

On December 12, 2016, Apple released an update to iOS 10, the operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

This update introduces a bug which affects the use of Focus Blue Braille displays. This document describes the issue, and what you might do to mitigate it. We will update this document when we receive information from Apple about when they can correct the issue.

The Problem

If you are a Focus 14 Blue, Focus 40 Blue, or Focus 80 Blue user, your display is paired with your iOS device, and you upgrade from iOS 10.1 to 10.2, you will be able to continue using your display normally.

If you are a new Focus Blue customer who has not yet paired their display with their iOS device, or you need to unpair your display with your iOS device and wish to pair once again, you will not be able to complete the pairing process and you will be unable to use your display with your iOS device.

What you can do

If using your Focus Blue with your iOS device is important to you and you have a successful pairing relationship already, then it is important not to unpair your display from your iOS device when running iOS 10.2. If you need to use your PC with your display and USB is not a practical option for you, then we suggest toggling off Bluetooth from iOS settings while you use your PC with the display.

It is also possible for now to downgrade from iOS 10.2 to the last version of iOS 10.1, but Apple typically does not permit this for long. We have reached out to Apple not only to seek a specific timeframe for them to resolve this issue, but also to urge them to permit downgrades until the matter is resolved.

To downgrade your device, you will need to use iTunes to install the appropriate IPSW file from Apple. Apple Accessibility support should be able to assist you with this.

If Braille support is critical, we urge you not to delay and to do all you can to downgrade as soon as possible in case Apple stops signing the previous version.

What we are doing

As the screen reader vendor, Apple has complete control over the drivers they write and include for all Braille displays, including ours. We have reached out to Apple to communicate the significant impact this issue is having on our customers, urging a speedy resolution and seeking a timeframe for it. We will update this bulletin with any progress we are able to report and will do all we can to assist Apple to resolve the issue.