Navigate your device with TalkBack

When you turn on TalkBack on your device, you can touch or swipe your screen to explore.

Explore by touch

Slowly drag one finger around the screen. As you drag your finger, TalkBack announces icons, buttons, and other items. After a pause, TalkBack might suggest actions for you, like how to activate or view the content. When you find an item you want, double-tap anywhere on the screen to select it.

Explore by swiping

To explore your screen one item at a time, swipe up or down with one finger. When you focus on an item, TalkBack reads that item aloud and might suggest actions for you.

Choose reading controls

You can change your single-finger up and down controls or choose your default reading control.

  1. On your Android device, cycle through options for reading controls.
    • On devices with multi-finger gestures (updated R and up): Three-finger swipe right or left. Or, in one motion, swipe up then down or down then up.
    • On devices without multi-finger gestures (not-updated R or lower): In one motion, swipe up then down or down then up.
  2. After you hear the reading control that you want, single-finger swipe up or down to move TalkBack’s focus.
    • The granularity you select changes how TalkBack reads. For example, TalkBack can navigate by words, lines, or characters.
    • To move between the chosen navigation, single-finger up or down.

After you choose a reading control:

  • To move forward: Swipe down.
  • To move back: Swipe up.
    • For example, three-finger swipe until you hear words, then one-finger swipe up or down to hear the previous or next word.

Tip: You can customize TalkBack reading controls to add additional or remove default options. For example, you can add the option to navigate by landmark or hide the screen.

Learn more about how to use TalkBack gestures.

Reading control options

You can customize reading controls based on your reading needs.

By default, reading controls include:

  • Characters: Move focus from one character to the next.
  • Words: Move focus from one word to the next.
  • Lines: Move focus from one line to the next.
  • Paragraphs: Move focus from one paragraph to the next.
  • Headings: Move focus from one heading to the next.
  • Controls: Move focus from one control to the next.
    • Controls include checkboxes, switches, text fields, and buttons on your screen.
  • Links: Move focus from one link to the next.
    • Links include items on your screen such as email addresses, phone numbers, websites, or addresses.
  • Speech rate: Change the speed that TalkBack speaks.
  • Language: If you have multiple languages on your Android, you can switch spoken languages in real time.

You can add or remove items from your reading controls, like:

  • Landmarks
  • Default navigation
  • Verbosity
  • Hide screen
  • Audio ducking

Add or remove items from reading controls

  1. On your device, open TalkBack settings.
  2. Select Customize menus.
  3. Select Customize reading controls.
  4. Select or deselect the item you wish to add or remove from the list of reading controls.

Tip: TalkBack gestures can help you navigate on your device. Learn more about TalkBack gestures.

Learn more about TalkBack menus and reading controls.

Search your screen

  1. To search your screen, start with one of these options:
    • TalkBack menu: To open the TalkBack menu, swipe down then right. Swipe right until you get to Screen search, then double-tap.
      • On devices with multi-finger gestures, three-finger tap. Swipe right until you get to Screen search, then double-tap.
    • Keyboard shortcut: Press Alt + Ctrl + /.
    • Gesture: Swipe left, then down.
    • Voice command: Swipe right, then up. Then say, “Find [the keyword you want to search].”
  2. Enter your search term.
  3. Choose from the list of matches.
    • To search the next or previous screen for matches: Select Previous screen or Next screen.
    • To clear the search term: Select Clear input.
    • To exit screen search: Select Close search.

Read continuously

You can update your settings so TalkBack reads everything on your screen.

  1. Open the TalkBack menu.
    • On devices with multi-finger gestures support: Three-finger tap. Or, in one motion, swipe down then right.
    • On devices without multi-finger support (prior to updated Android R with TalkBack 9.1): In a single motion, swipe down then right.
  2. Swipe right.
  3. Double-tap Read from next item.
    • When you reach the end of the screen, TalkBack automatically starts to read the next screen.

Stop, skip, or scan

  • To stop reading: Touch the screen.
    • On Pixel and other devices with Android R and TalkBack 9.1, you can also use a 2-finger tap.
  • To skip forward or backward: On the screen, swipe right or left.
    • If you use a keyboard, press Alt + right arrow or Alt + left arrow.
  • To scan your screen: To cycle through headings, links, or other navigation settings, swipe up or down.

Edit text with Gboard

When you’re in a text field, you get an on-screen keyboard at the bottom of the screen. You can explore this keyboard by touch.

Important:

  • If you install a keyboard other than Gboard: The keyboard may or may not be compatible with TalkBack.
  • If you connect a physical keyboard to your Android device: Review TalkBack keyboard shortcuts.

To type with Gboard:

  1. On the keyboard, slide your finger until you hear the character that you want.
  2. To choose the focused key, lift your finger.
    • You might need to double-tap some keys, like Shift or Enter.
    • You might also need to double-tap to switch to a different keyboard or language.
  3. To dismiss the keyboard, do the back gesture.
    • Swipe down then left, or two-finger swipe from left or right.

Tip: To review your text character by character, touch the edit box. Then, press the volume up or down keys.

Use sliders with TalkBack

With TalkBack, you can move sliders, like volume or video controls.

Important: Some of these steps work only on Android 7.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

  1. On your device, swipe or explore by touch.
  2. Find the slider.
  3. To move the slider, do one of the following:
    • Press the volume up or volume down key.
    • Swipe up or down.
    • Double-tap and hold, then drag right or left.

For more help with Talkback, contact the Google Disability Support team.

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