Navigate your device with TalkBack

After you turn on TalkBack, you can explore your screen by touch, or swipe linearly to hear items in order. 

Explore by touch

To explore by touch, slowly drag one finger around the screen. TalkBack announces the icons, buttons, and other items as you drag your finger over them. When the focus reaches an item you'd like to select, double-tap anywhere on the screen to select the focused item.

Linear navigation

To explore your screen one item at a time, swipe left or right with one finger to move through the items in sequence. When you focus on an item, TalkBack provides a hint after a short delay about the actions that you can perform on it.

To cycle through the TalkBack navigation settings, swipe up or down until you reach the setting that you'd like to use. Then continue swipe right to move forward or left to move back using the chosen setting.

The navigation settings include the following options:

  • Headings: Navigate by headings.
  • Links: Navigate by links, such as email addresses, phone numbers, websites, addresses, or any other links on the screen.
  • Controls: Navigate by checkboxes, radio buttons, switches, sliders (seek controls), text fields, and buttons.
  • Default: Explore every element on the page in logical order.

For example, suppose you choose to navigate by links. As you swipe left or right, TalkBack focuses on each link and announces it. When there are no links on the current screen, TalkBack scrolls to the next or previous screen. Swipe again to look for the next or previous link. If you're on the last or first screen, and no links are found, TalkBack stops the search at the closest focusable item. 

Tip: TalkBack gestures provide more ways to navigate quickly on your device. Learn about TalkBack gestures.

Search your screen

  1. To search your screen, start with one of these options: 
    • Global context menu: Swipe down then right to open the global context menu. (You can assign a different gesture in TalkBack settings.) Swipe right until you reach Screen search, then double-tap to select.
    • Keyboard shortcut: Press Alt + Control + / (forward slash).
    • Gesture: Swipe left then down.
  2. Enter your search term.
  3. Pick from the list of matches.
  4. To search the next or previous screen for matches, select Previous screen or Next screen.
  5. To clear the search term, select Clear input.
  6. To exit screen search, select Close search.

Read continuously

To read everything on your screen continuously, follow these steps:

  1. Open the global context menu by swiping down then right. (You can assign a different gesture in TalkBack settings.)
  2. Swipe right until you reach Read from top or Read from next item, then double-tap to select.
  3. To stop reading, touch the screen.
  4. When you reach the end of the screen, TalkBack automatically advances to the next screen. 

To skip forward or backward during continuous reading:

  • On the screen, swipe right or left. 
  • If you're using a keyboard, press Alt + right arrow or Alt + left arrow.

To scan your screen for headings, links, or other navigation settings during continuous reading:

  1. Cycle through the TalkBack navigation settings by swiping up or down until you reach the setting that you'd like to use, such as headings or links. 
  2. To open the global context menu, swipe down then right. (You can assign a different gesture in TalkBack settings.)
  3. Swipe right until you reach Read from top or Read from next item, then double-tap to select.
  4. TalkBack starts reading using the navigation setting that you selected in step 1. For example, if you selected headings, TalkBack now reads only headings. 
  5. To stop reading, touch the screen. 

Edit text

When you enter a text editing field, a virtual keyboard appears on the bottom of the screen. You can explore this keyboard by touch just as you would other screens, but the activation works differently.

To type a letter:

  1. Slide your finger over the keyboard until you hear the character that you'd like to type.
  2. Lift your finger to type the focused key.

To review text in an input field character by character, press the volume up or down keys.

Note:

  • If you've installed a keyboard other than the default Android keyboard, you might have a different experience.
  • If you've connected a physical keyboard to your Android device, review TalkBack keyboard shortcuts.