Change Switch Access settings

This information applies only to devices using 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 for actions on the highlighted item: Actions on the highlighted item include Scroll forward, Scroll backward, and Touch & hold. (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.)

Assign switches to global 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.

  1. On the Switch Access settings screen, tap Assign switches to global actions.
  2. Assign switches to any of the following actions: Back, Home, Notifications, Quick Settings, Overview.

Customize scanning

Your scanning method is the way Switch Access moves the highlight across your screen. You can choose from the following options. 

Auto-scan

Auto-scanning automatically moves the highlight through the items on the screen until you make a selection. You press the switch to start scanning, then press the switch again to select the highlighted item. Auto-scan settings include the following: 

  • Auto-scan time: Choose how long (in seconds) the highlight should stay on each item.
  • Delay on first item: Choose an additional time delay (in seconds) to wait on the first item before moving the highlight. This delay will be added to your auto-scan time. A longer delay can help you get oriented on a new screen before scanning starts, so that you don't miss the first item. Note: Changing this setting changes the same setting under "Point scan."
  • Number of scans: Choose how many times auto-scan repeats. Note: Changing this setting changes the same setting under “Point scan.”

For more instructions, learn how to set up Switch Access.

Scanning method 

Choose from several ways to scan your screen: 

  • Linear scanning: This is the default scanning method. The highlight moves through items on the screen one at time. Note: If you choose this option, row-column scanning is used for keyboards.
  • 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 instructions, learn how to set up Switch Access.

Point scan 

Point scanning lets you choose a specific place on the screen to tap, swipe, or zoom (in locations that support pinch to zoom). Lines move across your screen to let you select a specific horizontal and vertical location. Point scanning settings include the following:

  • 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. Note: Changing this setting changes the same setting under “Auto-scan.”
  • Number of scans: Choose how many times point scan repeats. Note: Changing this setting changes the same setting under “Auto-scan.”

For information about using point scanning, see tips for using Switch Access.

Automatically start scanning 

Turn on this option to start scanning without pressing a switch. (By default, you need to press a switch to start scanning.)

Auto-select 

Turn on this option to automatically tap on the highlighted item when you select the item. When this option is off and multiple actions can be performed on the selected item, a menu with available actions is shown instead. For more instructions, see tips for using Switch Access.

Display & sound

  • 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.
  • Speech, sound & vibration: Turn on spoken feedback to hear spoken feedback for items with available actions and for items that have descriptive text. This setting might be useful if you're unable to see the screen. In this section, you can also adjust other sound and vibration settings. For more instructions, learn how to set up Switch Access.

Switch accommodation

  • Ignore repeated presses (formerly "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.