VoiceOver running on OS X Mavericks.

How To Turn Off VoiceOver For Mac OS X

VoiceOver for Mac OS X is a very helpful assistive technology for blind Mac users – unlike screen readers for Windows, which cost hundreds of dollars, it’s built right into OS X. Unfortunately for sighted users, occasionally people turn in on without meaning to and the results can be confusing …

If your Mac won’t stop talking – reading what’s on-screen in a computer-generated voice – and you see a thick black line around everything and possibly also the black box or caption bar at the bottom of the screen like this:

System preferences pane showing VoiceOver graphics
VoiceOver example – note heavy black outline on the “General” icon and caption bar at bottom of screen

The good news is that turning VoiceOver on and off is generally really easy – just hold down the command key (⌘) and tap the F5 key.

It’s possible to disable this command-F5 shortcut, so if it doesn’t work you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose “System Preferences” from the Apple () menu.
  2. Click on the “Accessibility” icon in System Preferences, then the “VoiceOver” item in the list on the left.
  3. Uncheck the “Enable VoiceOver” box.

– Ricky

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23 thoughts on “How To Turn Off VoiceOver For Mac OS X”

  1. Thank you so much. Not my cat, I was trying to turn my contrast down but pushed pretty much every button at the same time.

  2. An alien used my computer last night while i was sleeping, and there were crop circles in my wheat field. He/it also left the cork out of my lunch, and screwed up my computer with voice over, which freaked me out. Thanks so much for this site. Dang those space cadets anyway.

  3. I’m beginning to believe that it may be linked to a covert cat conspiracy! I have noticed the cats trying to sit on the keyboard a lot lately and yesterday the voiceover!

  4. Thanks for this info. Like most everyone else here somehow my 5 year old imac started to talk endlessly and I had that black box around everything. I had to turn sound off because I could not even concentrate; so thank you for this help! Merry Christmas!

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