Quickly bringing up context menus in VoiceOver in iOS 13.2

Since the release of iOS 13, Apple and app developers have put more emphasis on context menus in apps such as Files, Mail, or on home screen icons. in iOS 13, Apple made it a lot easier for VoiceOver users to get to these.

Before iOS 13.2, what VoiceOver users had to do to simulate a long-press of an item was to double-tap and hold, wait for a tone that signaled that the gesture was being passed through, and hope the finger wouldn’t break while doing so. 😉 Keyboard users had it easier: They could press the VoiceOver modifier plus Shift+M, so by default Control+Option+Shift+M, to bring up the context menu. That went without the waiting period.

With the release of iOS 13.2, Apple made an adjustment to the default touch gesture set for VoiceOver. Previously, a triple-tap of a single finger on an item would simulate a double-tap as if VoiceOver wasn’t running. However, in practice, that gesture seldom proved useful. Apple changed the assignment so that a triple-tap now brings up the context menu of an item. No more fingers breaking while waiting for the gesture to complete. The previous functionality is now moved onto a 4 single finger taps on the item.

With contextual menus gaining more importance as apps on iOS and iPadOS get more complex, this change is definitely welcomed. Also, with the phasing out of 3D touch on newer iPhones, and the fact that other devices never had 3D Touch to begin with, it is more than appropriate for Apple to change the VoiceOver gesture set to give context menus a prominent, easy to invoke, gesture for this functionality. I hope this helps some who have wondered how to more easily invoke context menus and hadn’t discovered the gesture change yet.

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