How to Set up and Use Android's Talkback App

Talkback is part of the Android Accessibility Suite

Smartphones display a ton of information at once, which can be an absolute nightmare for the visually impaired. Luckily, Android's Talkback app is here for people who have trouble seeing and navigating their phone screens. Here's what you need to know about Talkback and how you can set it up on your Android.

What is the Talkback App?

Talkback is Google's screen reader app, which enables people with visual impairments to better navigate their smartphones. It uses a variety of feedback outside of screen reading as well, including other noises and vibrations, to help you make sense of the information on your phone.

The Talkback app is part of the Google Accessibility Suite, which comes pre-loaded on all Android phones, and is frequently updated with new features through the Google Play Store.

How to Turn Talkback On in Settings

There are a few ways to turn on the Talkback app. You can enable it as you're setting up your phone for the first time, but there are other ways to get it set up if you aren't on a brand new phone.

Since so much sensitive information is on your phone and the Talkback app reads text aloud, you'll probably want to set up and learn how to use Talkback somewhere private. You'll also probably want to wear headphones when using it around other people.

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility.

  2. Toggle Talkback on. You may need to confirm a few dialog boxes.

    Screenshots showing how to turn Talkback on.
  3. Once you enable Talkback, a tutorial will begin and explain all the Talkback features to you. It's an extremely thorough tutorial, but you can always go back through it to refresh your memory.

Use the Accessibility Shortcut to Turn Talkback On and Off

You can also turn on an accessibility shortcut so you don't need to navigate to your settings every time you want to turn Talkback on and off.

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility.

  2. Tap either Volume Key Shortcut or Accessibility Shortcut.

    Screenshots showing how to turn accessibility options on.
  3. A screen will appear explaining how to toggle your accessibility apps on and off. You typically need to hold down both volume keys or tap a specific button three times.