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2,673 Tutorials

How to use Android's Accessibility Service

TalkBack helps vision-impaired users control their smartphone

Google Android's Accessibility Service includes TalkBack, KickBack and SoundBack apps, which can be utilised by blind and vision-impaired users to help them control their smartphone.

Together, the three apps add spoken, audible and vibration functionality to your device. These options are not configured by default, however. Here, we explain how to get started. See Best Android Apps.

Step 1. Open the Settings menu, scroll down to the bottom of the list and choose Accessibility. A message will pop up onscreen stating that no accessibility-related applications are installed. Click Ok to go to the Android Market and install a screen reader.

TalkBack 1

Step 2. Your phone will be directed to Google TalkBack at Android Market. Tap on TalkBack, then click install on the following screen, and 'Accept & download' on the next. Alternatively, you can browse to and download KickBack or SoundBack in Android Market. KickBack triggers haptic feedback whenever you do anything; SoundBack replaces these vibrations with a sound.

TalkBack 2

Step 3. Return to the Settings, Accessibility menu. TalkBack (and KickBack and SoundBack if you installed them) will now be listed here. Tick the box next to Accessibility, then enable whichever of the three apps you'd prefer to use. Note that you don't need to use all three. Press Ok to the pop-up message, but note that the service may be able to collect any data that type into your handset - including bank details and private messages.

TalkBack 3

Step 4. By now a message may have appeared in your notifications bar offering to download Accessibility Preferences, which lets you set preferences for TalkBack. If you choose to use this app, you'll be able to access it from your Apps menu. Accessibility Preferences lets you configure keyboard shortcuts and set preferences for whether TalkBack should continue to function in Silent mode, when the screen is switched off, and so on.

TalkBack 4

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