A Guide to Android Accessibility Settings (With Screenshots)

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A Closer Look at Accessibility Settings

Close up shot of hands using handphone
Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

Android has a slew of accessibility options some of which are rather complex. I have an in-depth overview of accessibility features that you can read here, but I've taken a few of the harder to explain settings and included screenshots. Tip: scroll down to the bottom of this slide and click "show all" to well, see all the slides at once. Let's go!

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Voice Assistant

Voice Assistant

Android's Voice Assistant helps you as you navigate your smartphone. On a given screen, the assistant will tell you what kind of screen it is, and what you can interact with. For example, if you're on a settings page, it will tell you which menu it is and how many options are available. When you tap an icon or item, the assistant tells you what it is. Double tap the same icon to open it. 

If there's text on the screen, the assistant will read it to you when you tap it. You can change the settings to have it read word-by-word, letter-by-letter, line by line, or paragraph by paragraph. A tutorial shows how to adjust volume and other settings using gestures. There's also a gesture for requesting that the time and date, signal strength, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth status, missed notifications, and battery life is read out to you.

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Font Size

Increase Fonts

This setting lets you change the font size on your device from tiny to huge to super huge. As you adjust the size, you can see how text will look. Above, you can see the font size at the huge and super huge sizes. The full text says: "Main text will look like this." The default size is small.

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High Contrast Fonts

High Contrast Fonts

In addition to size, you can also increase the contrast between the text and the background. This setting can't be adjusted; it's either on or off. Check out the difference between the text on the left (default) and on the right (high contrast.)

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Show Button Shapes

Button Shapes On and Off

Sometimes it's not obvious that something is a button, due to its design. Make buttons stand out by adding a shaded background so you can see them better. Here you can see the help button with the feature enabled and disabled. See the difference?

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Magnifier Window

Magnifier Window Settings

Separately from adjusting font size, you can turn on a magnifier window that zooms in on your screen's content. You can set the zoom percentage and choose the size of the magnifier window (small, medium, or large). This is helpful if only need magnification from time to time.

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Grayscale, Negative Colors, and Color Adjustment

Color Adjustment

You can change the color scheme of your device to grayscale or negative colors. Grayscale grays out all colors, while negative colors turn black text on white into white text on black. Color adjustment lets you customize the color saturation. You start by arranging 15 color tiles by selecting which color is most similar to the previous one. How you organize them will determine whether or not you need color adjustment. If you do, you can use your camera or an image to make the adjustments.

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Assistant Menu

Assistant Menu

The assistant menu gives you easier access to functions such as the home screen, notification panel, settings, recent apps, and the magnifier window. You can also lock your phone using this menu. It's represented by a small icon that you can tap to open. The menu can be set on the right or left of the screen, based on your dominant hand, and you can reorder, add, or remove any items. Turn on Assistant Plus to get contextual information about certain apps.

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Direction Lock

Direction Lock

Finally, this is another option for unlocking your screen, in addition to pin, password, and pattern. With it, you can unlock the screen by swiping in a series of four to eight directions (up, down, left, or right). This requires settings up a backup pin in case you forget the series. You can opt to show directions and read the directions aloud ​as you're unlocking. Sound and vibration feedback can also be enabled.