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On selecting a message containing multiple links or other interactive items in VoiceOver, how do I activate any after the default first item?

Suppose an iPhone VoiceOver user receives a SMS message like this one:

Hello! Your order number 12345 is ready, you can check status on our website or app here https://app.example.com/orders/12345

With VoiceOver on, the number 12345 is treated as an interactive item, so most gestures I try on such a message select the number, not the link.

If I open the message's context menu, or swipe down to "Actions - default", or if I do any of the things described in this Apple forum thread "How do I open links on accessibility voiceover?", it only activates the number and gives me the option to copy the number to the clipboard. How can a VoiceOver user reach a link that isn't the first interactive item in the message?

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I've found one way, but it's not great:

  • Tap or swipe to select the message containing multiple links
  • Do a two-finger rotate gesture until the rotar says "Links". For me one rotation left (anti-clockwise) from the default position seems to usually reach Links
  • Swipe down repeatedly until the desired link is selected. It'll now go through each interactable item in the message (not just links), so in this message it'll select the number then select the link
  • Double-tap the screen while the link is active to activate it
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  • Why don’t you think this is good? The rotor is a huge part of VoiceOver on any Apple products. It’s a huge productivity boost, and a quite ingenious way of making a touchscreen accessible. Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 17:38
  • Ah so this is the expected workflow, is it? That's useful to know, thanks. It just felt like a lot of steps compared to just swiping through items. Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 17:49

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