Quick Guide to Using Google Talkback Screen Reader on Android

This is a short introduction to the Google Talkback screen reader for Android, particularly geared toward sighted developers or instructors who never had any exposure to assistive technology software for users who are blind.

Setting Up

  • Launch TalkBack from Settings -> Accessibility, then toggle on or off.
  • To suspend TalkBack temporarily
    • with TalkBack on, swipe down and right to open the context menu,
    • touch the “Pause TalkBack” option at the top left corner of the screen.
  • To resume TalkBack
    • press the POWER button of your Android device.

Essential TalkBack Gestures (with TalkBack on)

  • Swipe left and right from anywhere on the screen to move between the elements (think of the TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys on the keyboard).
  • Touch an element once to hear its name, type and a hint (if available). Please note, this gesture does not perform any action.
  • Double-tap on the element to activate it, e.g. to open an app, toggle a checkbox, focus into an edit field, push a button, etc.
  • To scroll left, right, up or down, swipe with two fingers.
  • To stop or resume speech, lay your hand over the light sensor (near the earphone speaker).

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