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Change Switch Access settings

This information applies only to devices running Android 5.0 and higher.

You can customize your settings to make Switch Access suit your needs and preferences.

The following options are available in Settings and then Accessibility and then Switch Access and then Settings.

Assign switches for scanning

When you set up Switch Access, you can choose which switches or keyboard keys perform each action (such as "Next" and "Select"). You can change your switch assignments at any time by following the steps below.

To assign keys or switches to scanning actions:

  1. On the Switch Access settings screen, tap Assign switches for scanning.
  2. Tap the action that you'd like to assign. The dialog displays any switches already assigned to the action.
  3. To add or remove a switch, press it.

Here are some examples of customized switch assignments:

  • Assign multiple switches to an action. You can press multiple keys or switches to assign all of them to an action. This option can be helpful if you're using a standard keyboard as your switch, and you'd like the entire keyboard to act as a single switch.
  • Assign a "Previous" switch. A "Previous" key or switch reverses your last scanning choice. Note that "Previous" doesn't undo actions, such as opening an app. "Previous" only affects the highlighting of items on the screen. If you're using step scanning, "Previous" moves your highlighting in the opposite direction from "Next." If you're using group selection, "Previous" undoes your last highlighting choice.
  • Assign a "Reverse auto-scan" switch. If you're using auto-scanning and you want to add a second switch to change the direction of scanning, set up a "Reverse auto-scan" switch.

Assign switches to actions

If you're using multiple switches, you can assign switches to specific actions. For example, you might want to assign a certain key to the Home button. On the Switch Access settings screen, tap Assign switches to actions.

The following actions apply to the currently highlighted view. (Note: If you're using group selection with more than two switches, these actions don't work consistently because multiple items can be highlighted at once.)

  • Scroll forward
  • Scroll backward
  • Long-press

The following actions work anywhere on your Android device:

  • Back button
  • Home button
  • Open notifications
  • Open Quick Settings
  • Overview button

Change scanning method

Your scanning method is the way Switch Access scans your screen:

  • Linear scanning. This is the default scanning method. The highlight moves through items on the screen one at time.
  • Row-column. The highlight moves through the screen one row at a time, until you select a row. Then the highlight moves through the row one item at a time. This method is often faster than linear scanning.
  • Group selection. This option is only available if auto-scan is off. Note: On some devices, this is called "Option scanning."

For more details, refer to instructions for setting up Switch Access.

Turn on spoken feedback

To hear items on the screen read out loud, you can turn on spoken feedback in Switch Access.

  1. On the Switch Access settings screen, tap Spoken feedback.
  2. At the top, tap the On/Off switch.

After spoken feedback is on, the following additional options are available on the Spoken feedback screen:

  • Text-to-speech (TTS) settings. Change your Android TTS settings.
  • These settings apply when more than one item is highlighted:
    • Speak first & last item. Turn on this setting to hear the first and last highlighted items on your screen ("[first item] to [last item]").
    • Speak the number of items. Turn on this setting to hear the number of highlighted items ("[number] items").
    • Speak all highlighted items. Turn on this setting to hear all highlighted items in order ("[first item], [second item]," all the way to "[last item]").
  • Finish speech before moving (for auto-scan only). Turn this setting on to wait for spoken feedback to finish (up to 10 seconds) before moving to the next item.

Settings for auto-scan and point scan

  • Number of scans. Choose how many times auto-scan and point scan repeat.
  • Line speed. This setting applies to point scan only, determining the speed at which the scanning lines move. Enter a speed in density-independent pixels (dp) per millisecond.
  • Delay on first item. Choose a time delay (in seconds) to wait on the first item before starting scanning. A longer delay can help you get oriented on a new screen before scanning starts, so that you don't miss the first item.

Other Switch Access settings

  • Scanning highlight style. Choose the color and thickness of the highlighting on your screen. If you're using group selection, you can choose each group’s highlight.
  • Automatically start scanning. Turn on this setting to let scanning start automatically, without pressing a switch. (By default, you need to press a switch to start scanning.)
  • Debounce time. Choose a time delay (in seconds) for Switch Access to wait after you press a switch before it accepts more input from that switch. A higher debounce time can be useful if you find that you unintentionally press switches more than once.
  • Release to perform action. With this setting on, Switch Access actions happen when you release a switch, instead of when you press a switch. This setting can be useful if releasing a switch is easier for you than pressing a switch.