Set up Android and TalkBack

You can adjust your Android device so that it suits your needs and preferences. This page describes several settings that can improve your experience using Android and TalkBack.

Step 1: Learn how to adjust your settings

Change common settings in Quick Settings

The Quick Settings panel contains some commonly used device settings, such as airplane mode, Bluetooth, and volume.

  • When your device is locked: Two-finger swipe down from the top of the screen.
  • When your device is unlocked: Two-finger swipe down from the top of the screen, then two-finger swipe down again.

Change all settings in the Settings app

There are several ways to open the Settings app Settings app:

  • On the Home screen, explore by touch to find Apps, then double-tap to open. In the Apps screen, find Settings and double tap to open. Apps are typically listed in alphabetical order.
  • If you've turned on "Ok Google" on your device, you can use voice commands to open the Settings app. Just say "Ok Google," wait for the tone to indicate voice search is active, then say "Open Settings." Learn how to turn on "Ok Google".
  • In the Quick Settings panel described above, explore by touch to find Settings, then double-tap to open.

Use fingerprint sensor to change TalkBack settings quickly

This option is available on devices with a fingerprint sensor using Android 8.0 or later.

To change TalkBack settings quickly using the fingerprint sensor on your Android device, turn on the Selector.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Select Accessibility, then TalkBack.
  3. Select Settings, then Selector.
  4. At the top, turn on Selector.
  5. Optional: Change which settings are available in the Selector.

To use the Selector:

  1. Swipe up and down on a fingerprint sensor to switch between the following TalkBack settings: Speech rate, Verbosity, Navigation, Audio ducking.
  2. Swipe up and down on the touchscreen to change the value for the setting.

Step 2: Adjust Accessibility settings

The following settings can improve your experience using TalkBack.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Select Accessibility.
  3. Find Auto-rotate screen, and turn it off. Rotating the screen can interrupt spoken feedback.
  4. Find Power button ends call and turn it on. When this setting is on, you can press your device's power button to end a call.

Step 3: Adjust keyboard settings

For the best experience with TalkBack, you might need to adjust your keyboard settings. For English, use the Google Keyboard. For other languages, you might need a different keyboard.

To check what keyboard you're using:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Select System, then Language & input.
  3. Under "Keyboard & inputs," check the virtual keyboard.

To download another keyboard, visit Google Play.

Step 4: Adjust TalkBack settings

To open TalkBack settings:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Select Accessibility, then TalkBack.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Review and update any of the following settings.

Shake to start continuous reading

TalkBack has a setting that lets you read text continuously by shaking your device. This shortcut can be useful for reading a long document, email, or webpage to the end.

To change this setting in TalkBack settings, turn on Shake to start continuous reading. You can choose among several different intensity levels: Very light, Light, Medium, Hard, and Very hard. You might want to try two or three different settings to find what's best for your device and your personal preferences.

Another way to read continuously is to open the global context menu by swiping down then right, then select Read from next item or Read from top. Learn more about the global and local context menus.

Change TalkBack volume

Android has different volume levels for different audio sources. To change TalkBack volume during media playback, place a finger on the touchscreen and press the volume up or down keys.

Change earcon volume

Depending on what text to speech engine you're using, you might need to adjust the volume of the TalkBack earcons. You can change the earcon volume in Other feedback, with the Sound volume setting. For example, if the volume of the TalkBack earcons is too loud, you can set the sound volume to 50% of media volume.

Audio ducking (Focus speech audio)

To avoid drowning out TalkBack speech with other audio sources, such as music or videos, you can turn on audio ducking in TalkBack settings. When this setting is on, other audio volume decreases when TalkBack is speaking.

Optional: Change TalkBack language

You can switch between text to speech languages that you install on your device.

To install languages:

  1. Open the global context menu by swiping down then right. (You can choose a different gesture in TalkBack Settings.)
  2. Select Text to speech settings
  3. Select Settings, then Install voice data.
  4. Select a language from the list.
  5. Select the download control.

To switch between languages while using TalkBack, you can use any of these options:

  • Open the global context menu by swiping down then right. Select Languages.
  • If you're using a physical keyboard with your device, press Alt + Ctrl + L.
  • Assign Languages to a gesture. Go to TalkBack Settings and select Gestures.

Learn about all TalkBack settings.