iOS 14.4 update virtually breaks support for Braille devices like Mantis and Chameleon, no fix in sight

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The last thing one can expect from a software is it being a cause of major inconvenience for the differently-abled. And with the iOS 14.4 update, quite sadly, Apple has done just that by messing up Braille display support.

As a result, there has been a bunch of complaints from aggrieved users highlighting how their Braille displays have started malfunctioning since they updated to iOS 14.4.

We know for sure that iOS 14.4 breaks the APH Mantis and Chemeleon displays. We know for sure that people are complaining that braille support has been crippled in iOS14.4. What I haven’t seen, was confirmation from users that any other displays were broken. SO, is this so?
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To all of my blind friends; which hardware keyboard do you recommend for iphone 11 and ipad mini fifth generation? Apple upgrade 14.4 makes using braille display impossible, so want hardware option for input.
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The Braille issue only seems to be affecting those with Braille displays from APH for now but it is highly likely that other devices are affected too.

APH was quick to spot the problem and issued an advisory recently asking users not to update to iOS 14.4 to avoid complications.

In short, braille displays are having connectivity issues after the iOS/iPadOS 14.4 update where the Mantis or Chameleon fails to connect after the iPhone/iPad are put to sleep/screen-lock.

As clear from above, the only way to work around the issue is by toggling the Bluetooth on the iPhone. But this isn’t exactly the perfect solution as it is highly inconvenient and is only temporary.

Hence, if you are a Braille user, then your best bet would be to not update to iOS 14.4. Keep in mind though that your iOS device will try to update to the latest version automatically.

To disable this behavior, head over to Settings > General > Software updates > Customize Automatic Updates. Next, turn off both “Download iOS Updates” and “Install iOS Updates off”.

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Again, all this is highly irresponsible on part of Apple. And while the iOS 14.4 release notes haven’t really mentioned anything about Braille displays, it’s clear that there were some under-the-hood changes made that have resulted in this issue.

That said, we will continue tracking the matter and update the article as and when new developments emerge.

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