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Turn on TalkBack

You can turn on TalkBack when you turn on your Android device for the very first time. You can also turn on TalkBack at any time after you've begun using your device.

Once you turn on TalkBack, spoken feedback starts immediately. As you navigate your device, TalkBack describes your actions and alerts you about notifications and other information.

Option 1: Turn on TalkBack when you first turn on your device

This option is available for devices running Android 4.0 and above. Find out how to check your Android version.

When you first turn on your Android device, you can enable TalkBack from the initial setup screen.

If possible, keep headphones handy so that you can plug them in when it's time to enter any passwords, such as your WiFi password. By default, key echo is only turned on if headphones are plugged into your device. You can change this setting later in your Android device settings.

  • Devices running Android 4.1 and above: Press and hold two fingers on the setup screen. When your device recognises this gesture, TalkBack is enabled and a tutorial begins.
  • Devices running Android 4.0: Use your finger to draw a closed rectangle on the setup screen. When your device recognises this gesture, you'll hear a beep.

Option 2: Turn on TalkBack later, after initial setup

The steps below require sighted assistance.

To turn on TalkBack, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Accessibility.
  2. Follow the steps for your version of Android. Find out how to check your Android version.
    • Android 4.1 and above: Select TalkBack and slide the TalkBack switch to the on position.
    • Android 4.0: Select TalkBack and slide the TalkBack switch to the on position. Next, go back to the previous screen and turn on Explore by touch.
    • Android 3.2 and earlier: Select the Accessibility tick box, then select the TalkBack tick box.
  3. The confirmation screen displays a list of permissions that allow TalkBack to provide useful spoken feedback. To confirm that you allow these actions and to begin using TalkBack, touch OK.

Accessibility shortcut

You can turn on an accessibility shortcut that will let you turn on TalkBack at any time without using sight. To turn on and use this shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. In Settings > Accessibility, select Accessibility shortcut.
  2. Set the switch to the on position.
  3. Now you can turn TalkBack on or off any time by following these steps:
    1. Press and hold the power button until you hear a sound or feel a vibration.
    2. Release the power button.
    3. Touch and hold two fingers until you hear audio confirmation (about 5 seconds).

Unlock your device

There are two ways to unlock your device once TalkBack is turned on:

  • Two-finger swipe up from the bottom of the lock screen. If you've set a pass-code for unlocking your device, you're taken to the pin entry screen for entering your pass-code.
  • Explore by touch to find the Unlock button at the bottom-middle of the screen, then double-tap.