We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,862 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

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model