Mobile Phones Android Make Your Life Easier with Android's Accessibility Features Try out custom audio, visual, and input settings By Molly McLaughlin Writer, Editor Molly K. McLaughlin has been a technology writer since 2004. Her work has appeared on PCMag, Dealnews, Wirecutter, and many others. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Molly McLaughlin Updated November 13, 2019 Android Switching from iOS Tweet Share Email Smartphones are designed to be easy to use, but one size does not fit all. Fonts might be hard to read, colors hard to distinguish, or sounds hard to hear. You may have issues with tapping and double-tapping icons and other gestures. Android has accessibility features that make it easier to see and interact with the screen and receive notifications. The Settings app has a section for accessibility. How it's organized depends on the version of Android. See the Android Accessibility help center for help with older versions of the operating system. The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. Vision Use these feature to navigate around the screen, convert text to speech, change the look of fonts, and zoom in on small objects. Voice Assistant: Use this feature to navigate the screen. The assistant tells you what you can interact with on the screen. Tap an item to hear what it does, then double-tap the item to complete the action. When the Voice Assistant is enabled, it displays a tutorial that shows how it works and which functions can't be used while the assistant is enabled. To learn more about the Voice Assistant, read about the best Android Accessibility settings. Text-to-speech: If you need help reading content on a mobile device, use text-to-speech to have the text read to you. Select the language, speed (speech rate), and service. Depending on the device setup, these choices depend on Google, the manufacturer, and third-party apps you downloaded. Accessibility shortcut: Use this to turn on accessibility features in two steps: press and hold the Power button until you hear a sound or feel a vibration, then touch and hold the screen with two fingers until you hear audio confirmation. Voice Label: This feature helps you interact with objects outside of your mobile device. Write voice recordings to NFC tags to provide information about nearby objects. Font size: Adjust the font size from the default size (small) to tiny to huge to extra huge. High contrast fonts: This makes text stand out better against the background. Show button shapes: Adds a shaded background to make buttons stand out better. Magnifier window: Turn this on to magnify content on the screen, then choose the zoom percentage and the size of the magnifier window. Magnification gestures: Zoom in and out with a triple-tap anywhere on the screen with one finger. While zoomed in, pan by dragging two or more fingers across the screen. Zoom in and out by pinching two or more fingers together or spreading them apart. To temporarily magnify the screen, triple-tap and hold, then drag to explore different parts of the screen. Screen colors: Change the display to grayscale, negative colors, or use color adjustment. This setting measures how you see colors with a quick test, then determines whether you need an adjustment. If you do, use your camera or an image to make the adjustments. Hearing These settings play an alert when the phone hears a certain sound, turn on the flashlight for notifications, and add captions to images. Sound detectors: Enable alerts for when the phone hears a baby cry or a doorbell ring. For the doorbell, place the phone within 3 meters of the doorbell and record the doorbell so the device recognizes it. To detect a baby crying, keep the device within 1 meter of the baby with no background noise. Notifications: Set the phone to flash the camera light when you receive a notification or when alarms sound. Other sound settings: Turn off sound and improve the sound quality for use with hearing aids. Adjust the left and right sound balance for headphones and switch to mono audio when using one earphone. Subtitles: Turn on subtitles from Google or from the phone manufacturer (for videos) and choose the language and style for each. Dexterity and Interaction These settings determine how switches interact with the device, provide quick access to menus, and set touch and screen delays. Universal switch: Use customizable switches to interact with the device. Use external accessories, tap the screen, or use the front camera to detect the rotation of your head, the opening of your mouth, and the blinking of your eyes. Assistant menu: Provides quick access to common settings and recent apps. Assistant Plus shows contextual menu options for selected applications in the Assistant menu. Other interaction settings: Include set dominant hand, reorder or remove menus, and adjust touchpad size, cursor size, and cursor speed. Easy screen turn on: Turn the screen on by moving your hand above the sensor; an animated screenshot shows you how. Touch and hold delay: Set the delay as short (0.5 seconds), medium (1.0 second), long, (1.5 seconds), or custom. Interaction control: Block areas of the screen from touch interaction. Set a time limit to turn it off automatically and prevent blocking the Power button, Volume button, and keyboard. More Settings These settings set the direction to swipe to unlock the screen, add shortcuts, set up reminders, turn off alarms, and answer calls. Direction lock: Unlock the screen by swiping up, down, left, or right in a series of four to eight directions. Turn on vibration feedback, sound feedback, show directions (arrows), and read drawn directions aloud. Set up a backup pin in case you forget your setup. Direct access: Add shortcuts to settings and functions. Open accessibility settings by quickly pressing the Home button three times. Notification reminder: Set up reminders by vibration or sound when you have unread notifications. Set reminder intervals and choose which apps should get reminders. Answer and end calls: Choose to answer calls by pressing the Home button, and end calls by pressing the Power button. Or, use voice commands to answer and reject calls. Single tap mode: Dismiss or snooze alarms, calendar, and time notifications. Answer or reject calls with a single tap. Manage accessibility: Import and export accessibility settings or share settings with other devices.