Smartphones are becoming advanced with each passing year. Their user interface is easy for most people, but those with disabilities may still find it hard to use phones. To aid them, Android phones include the Android Accessibility Suite. Let’s know what it is and how to use it.
What is Android Accessibility Suite?
Android Accessibility Suite is a set of Google apps made especially for people with visual, hearing, speech, and physical disabilities. These apps help them use their phone more easily.
What Are The Different Features in the Android Accessibility Suite?
These are the major features of the Android Accessibility Suite. Some features may differ depending on the brand because some brands also include accessibility features in the Android Accessibility Suite.
The first four accessibility apps are included in the Android Accessibility Suite, which you can install from the Google Play Store. But most Android phones and tablets have them pre-installed.
- The Accessibility Menu
- TalkBack (Screen Reader)
- Select to Speak
- Switch Access
- Color Correction
- Live Caption
- Color Inversion and Dark Mode
- Font Size
- Display Size
1. The Accessibility Menu
This app is for people with visual disabilities. Those who can’t see the regular icons and menus can use the Accessibility Menu. It offers big icons with easy-to-read font sizes of common useful apps and functions of an Android phone.
2. TalkBack (Screen Reader)
TalkBack is a screen reader that describes your actions while you use your phone. You use the phone’s touch screen as usual, and when you act, TalkBack describes it, so you know what you’re doing on your phone.
3. Select to Speak
The Select to Speak function is also for visually challenged people. This feature reads out loud any item you select. It also works for images as it describes the text on the screen braille keyboard.
4. Switch Access
With this function of the Android Accessibility Suite, people with physical disabilities can connect a keyboard or a physical switch to control the phone.
5. Color Correction
This feature is for individuals with color blindness and other visual impairments. Some people can’t distinguish between a range of colors. They can easily use the color correction feature in the Accessibility Suite to change the display colors to their desired capacity.
If you want to know everything the characters in the videos say, you can turn on Captions to get text converted from the video’s audio. Captions are shown below the video, and they are also called subtitles. They are most beneficial for people with hearing problems.
7. Live Caption
This feature is an updated version of Captions available on Android 11 and above. It adds captions or subtitles to any video, audio, or podcast saved on your phone or played online.
You don’t have to be connected to the internet to use this feature, as everything is handled locally on your phone.
8. Color Inversion and Dark Mode
Color inversion was an easy method of inverting the display’s colors (including the apps) to read or see some texts or images correctly.
Users who have difficulty seeing what’s on the phone’s screen can use the magnification tool to zoom in on an area of the screen and see images or read texts more easily.
10. Font Size
This feature enables you to increase or decrease the font size on the screen. People with vision deficiency can increase the font size to read texts more easily.
11. Display Size
Like Font Size, the Display Size feature lets you increase the full display size. You can see menus and chats better.
How To Set Up the Accessibility Shortcut?
I mostly use one of the accessibility features more often. Android phones have a shortcut key that you can assign to any accessibility function. Pressing the Volume Up and Down keys together for 3 seconds enables your selected accessibility feature.
But how to set up the shortcut key to enable the function you want? Use these steps:
(You need to activate the feature for the first time from the accessibility menu to access them with the shortcut later. To activate accessibility features, jump to the next section)
- Open your Android device’s settings app.
- Swipe down and select Accessibility.
- Choose ‘Volume key shortcut.’
- Tap the toggle to enable it.
- You’ll be prompted to select the accessibility feature you want to link with the shortcut key.
- Choosing some feature requires you to allow them permission to observe your actions, texts, and notifications.
- Once selected a feature, press the back button to see that it’s been selected.
- To test, go to the home screen and press the Volume up and down keys for 3-5 seconds. Your selected accessibility feature will launch.
How To Use the Features in the Android Accessibility Suite?
Now we know what Android Accessibility Suite is, follow below to learn how to activate the features in the Accessibility Suite. Some steps and options may vary depending on your phone’s manufacturer and Android version:
- Activating the Accessibility Menu
- Using TalkBack
- Activating Select to Speak
- Setting Up Switch Access
- Using Color Correction
- Turning On Captions
- Activating Live Caption
- Using Color Inversion and Dark Mode
- Activating Magnification
- Setting Up Font Size
- Changing Display Size
1. Activating the Accessibility Menu
You have to switch on The Android Accessibility Suite Menu from the settings for the first time.
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu
- Tap the toggle to turn on the Accessibility Menu.
- You’ll see a permissions notice that requires access to observe your actions and text on the phone. Grant access and the feature will turn on.
Once the feature is turned on, you can use its shortcut to activate or deactivate it, so it doesn’t take up the accessibility shortcut key (volume up and down keys). Use these steps:
- On the screen, swipe up with two fingers.
- If TalkBack is enabled on your phone, use three fingers to swipe up and activate the Accessibility Menu.
2. Using TalkBack
To activate TalkBack and get spoken feedback, find the steps below:
- Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack.
- Turn on the service.
- Grant the permissions it needs for activating the service.
- You’ll be taken to a TalkBack tutorial. Follow the instructions and press the next button to continue and reach the end of the tutorial.
Using the TalkBack screen reader requires some practice. It uses your first tap as an indicator to read the selected item. If you want to perform an action such as pressing the OK button, tap it once. When you see the green highlight on it, then double-tap it.
For the visually impaired, use this method:
- After activating TalkBack, slowly move your finger on the screen. This will select the items your finger will make touchscreen, and the TalkBack feature will describe them.
- Keep moving your finger until you find the option you want to use. When you hear it, double-tap on the option.
You can assign the accessibility service shortcut to TalkBack by following the steps in the earlier section.
3. Activating Select to Speak
For activating Select to Speak, follow below:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Select to Speak.
- Turn on the service.
- Grant the permissions it requires.
Once activated, you can use it anywhere on your phone to read text and images with text in them.
To use Select to Speak:
- Drag your finger across the text.
- A group of items will be selected.
- A play button will be visible that will play the text.
The Select to Speak feature is also usable on the camera app.
- Point your camera to a text and activate Select to Speak by pressing the volume keys together for a few seconds or by tapping the accessibility icon at the right end of the navigation button of your phone (back, home, menu buttons).
- Select the text to hear it.
If this feature doesn’t perform well on the camera app, you should try Seeing AI by Microsoft.
4. Setting Up Switch Access
With Switch Access enabled, you can use any USB or Bluetooth switch device (such as a gaming console controller) to control your phone. This is nothing short of magic for people with motor impairments. When activating it, you are given options to select the switch you’ll use for controlling your Android device. Follow these steps:
- Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Switch Access.
- Turn on the service.
- It’ll ask permission to observe your actions, retrieve window content, read your text, and perform gestures. Permit it by tapping OK.
- You’ll be taken to a screen where you can select the switch.
- Choose your switch type and follow the instructions to set it up. We’ll select a PlayStation controller connected via USB. For this, choose ‘USB switch.’
- The next screen will show USB-connected devices; select your PS controller.
- Now, choose between ‘One Switch’ or ‘Two Switch.’ One switch will allow you to use one button to navigate and select items, whereas, with two switches, you can move between items with one button and select items with another. We select ‘Two switches.’
- After this, you must select how to scan the items on the screen. We choose ‘Linear scanning.’
- The setup will ask you to select the button you want to use for performing the Next action.
- Now, you’ll be given a tic-tac-toe game to test your switches.
5. Using Color Correction
To activate color correction, use these steps:
- Jump to Settings > Accessibility > Color Correction
- Tap the toggle to turn on Color Correction.
- Select the type of color correction that suits your vision by tapping ‘Color mode.’ If you don’t know which mode is better, select each mode and check the change of colors.
6. Turning On Captions
Enabling Captions is straightforward. Follow below:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions.
- Turn on the service and tweak the text size and font.
7. Activating Live Caption
- Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption.
- Switch on the toggle next to ‘Use Live Caption.’
- You can choose to hide profanity by toggling on ‘Hide profanity.’
- If you want the system to label sounds like calps and laughter, turn on ‘Show sound labels.’
- Should you want your calls to be captions for easier interactions on phone calls, select ‘Captions calls’ and choose any option you want.
For quick access to the Live Caption feature, you can use the volume key to get the Live Caption option and then turn it off or on. To activate it:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption.
- Turn on ‘Live Caption in volume control.’
Now, whenever you press the volume button, there will be a Live Caption icon under the volume at the left corner of the screen. Tap it to turn it on or off.
8. Using Color Inversion and Dark Mode
Color Inversion and Dark Mode are the easiest to activate as most Android phones have one of the features in the quick settings panel.
- Swipe down from the top.
- Tap the dark mode or color inversion icon to activate the feature.
Most newer phones have Dark Mode in the quick settings. So, if you don’t find Color Inversion, use these steps to activate it:
- Navigate to Settings > Accessibility.
- Scroll down and turn on ‘Color Inversion.’
9. Activating Magnification
You must set up the magnification feature to zoom in on your screen.
There are two methods of using the magnification feature:
9.1 Magnify with Triple-Tap
- Head to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification.
- Choose ‘Magnify with triple-tap.
- Turn on the feature.
9.2 Magnify with Button
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification.
- Pick ‘Magnify with the button.’
- Turn on the feature.
Some Android versions allow another method for magnification. Once you turn on the service, there is a small zoom button at the corner of the screen. You can tap it to zoom the screen.
10. Setting Up Font Size
To increase the size of text on the screen, follow the below:
- Open Settings > Accessibility > Font size.
- Move the slide to the right to increase the font size and to the left to decrease the font size.
11. Changing Display Size
All the icons, menu, and elements will become bigger and easy to see if you increase the display size. Follow below:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display size.
- Use the slider to increase or decrease the size. The screen above the slider will show you how bigger the display would be at a certain size.
Now your question about what is Android Accessibility Suite is answered. These tools and features are useful for people with visual, speech, hearing, and physical disabilities. We also laid out step-by-step methods to activate this accessibility.
What Is Android Accessibility Used For?
Android accessibility suite is a collection of useful apps and features for people with visual, hearing, physical, or speech impairments. Common features of the Android accessibility suite are:
– The Accessibility screen Menu: It replaces the home screen with big and easy-to-read icons of common apps.
– TalkBack: It describes the actions performed on the device.
– Select to Speak: It speaks out any text selected on the screen.
– Switch Access: You can connect switch devices to control your phone.
Can I Turn Off Android Accessibility Suite?
Android Accessibility Suite is turned off by default. If you enabled it and want to turn it off, use these steps:
– Navigate to Settings > Accessibility.
– Select the feature you enabled and turn it off.
How Do I Open The Accessibility Menu On Android?
To open the Accessibility menu, it must be activated first.
– Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu.
– Toggle on the service.
Once activated, open the Accessibility menu by swiping it with two fingers. If TalkBack is on, then use three fingers to swipe up.
How Do I Turn Off Accessibility Shortcuts On Android?
The Accessibility shortcuts work only when the Accessibility features are activated. So, to turn off Accessibility shortcuts, deactivate the Accessibility features.
– Open Settings > Accessibility.
– Go to each feature and turn it off.
– Once all of them are deactivated, their shortcuts won’t work.