Generally the blind or low vision people get through their lives by using equipments like Braille, reading glasses or a walking stick. The most common problems these people experience in their day to day life is to recover over their weaknesses. Everyone today is busy is explaining how great their Android phone is. But no one will spare sometime of their life and think of those visually impaired people who face much difficulties in the operating their little phone screens.

There are peoples who have a hard time seeing the overload of information that a modern smartphone offers. This problem can be solved by the Android technology which has advanced to such an extent that even a visually impaired or blind person can operate their phones with ease. All credit goes to the feature called TalkBack provided by the Google. The Android smartphone equipped with such hilarious feature can help the users with low vision to easily operate their phones. There are various types of accessibility services that aid in navigating your Android device.TalkBack is an accessibility service that helps low vision users to interact and enjoy their devices. This feature can totally change their experience of using the android phone. TalkBack greatly helps blind people hear what they are trying to do with their mobile phone. It tells them the item that they have just selected or picked. It can also read texts aloud. Every movement that the user makes on her or his phone is carefully being monitored and spoken up.

This service uses spoken word, vibration and other audible feedback to let you know what’s on your screen, what you’re touching, and what you can do with it. This will surely turn a regular smartphone into a powerful tool for the blind. It is routinely updated with improvements and new features through Google Play. TalkBack speaks the entire contents on the screen. It can also speak out the incoming text messages, emails and the notifications. The alarms which you set for can also be announced by talkback. The text, characters, word, line, sentence, paragraph which you type and delete everything is announced. Thus is gives voice feedback for your every action. It speaks time, battery level and connection status. It can change behavior for silent mode, system notifications, caller ID and the proximity sensor. It can speak faster or slower using the text to speech settings of your phone. The phone’s physical volume control decides whether to speak out louder or softer.

Every Android phone with Android 4.0 version and up is given this TalkBack feature. Whether you’ve a Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, HTC One, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 3, Note 4, Galaxy Tab 2, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7 or any newer Android device, you’ve got TalkBack. This is a very good feature especially for those with a low vision and is found on all devices with Android OS Ice-cream sandwich, Jelly Bean and higher. If you’re not blind or visually impaired then obvious this isn’t a feature you’re likely to use. But due to curiosity you may definitely like to turn it on. Another feature in TalkBack is called Explore by Touch. When you activate this feature, it tells you what you’re pressing before the action is actually completed. This is the feature and not TalkBack which drives a person crazy. It may totally confuse you with some disastrous results from it. Actually TalkBack is not the reason for confusion but Explore by Touch is. People have no issues when TalkBack is enabled. But when they press Explore by Touch, the real problem begins. The biggest issue which most of the people face is getting past their Android lock screen.

How to Enable TalkBack:

To enable TalkBack on your Android phone, follow the following path:

Menu->Settings ->Accessibility ->TalkBack

Enable TalkBack

As soon as you enable it, a popup window will appear which will ask whether to enable Explore by Touch or not. A curious person will not think of what actually he/she is doing and to see how TalkBack works he/she will enable the Explore by Touch without even thinking about it. This is where people run into problem.

Enable Explore by touch TalkBack

After you turn it on via the prompt, you will no longer be prompted again to turn it on or off. There is absolutely no way to turn it off in the Accessibility settings. To turn it off you need to turn off the TalkBack entirely. This problem is mainly observed in Samsung Galaxy devices and the HTC phones.

If you just enable TalkBack and cancel the Explore by Touch, you’ll only hear actions you perform. But in case if you turn the Explore by Touch on then you’ll also hear the descriptions of what you are pressing. At such times you will have to double tap to perform any action. The users of Nexus devices although don’t have to worry about this issue as in these phones you can easily access the settings of TalkBack where you can disable Explore by Touch without disabling TalkBack. Refer screenshots.

For Nexus Devices:

Disable Explore by touch on Nexus 1Disable Explore by touch on Nexus 2

How to use Explore by Touch:

When the Explore by Touch feature is enabled, you’ll have to use a single swipe which allows a yellow box to move around the screen and select different apps, widgets and settings. Every selection will be announced loudly. If you want to select something, you’ll have to double tap it. If you want to switch screens, you’ll need to swipe across the screen with two fingers.

How to Disable TalkBack:

To disable TalkBack mode, you need to make your way to ‘Accessibility’ in the ‘Settings’ and toggle TalkBack off.

If your phone has a hard menu button then you can easily enter the settings by double tapping on it. But if you have a phone without a hard Menu key then you’ll have to navigate your device with double taps and long presses.

To access Settings from the Notification:

Step 1: Use Two fingers simultaneously (slightly separated) and swipe down from the top to open the Notification panel.

Step 2: Touch the Settings symbol once and then double tap it to open.

Step 3: As you enter the Settings, hold down on it until a yellow square appears around it, then double tap anywhere on the screen to access it.

Step 4: Next scroll down with two fingers simultaneously until you see the Accessibility option.

Two finger Swipe TalkBack

Step 5: Press the Acessibility once and then double tap on it to open.

Step 6: You’ll see the TalkBack icon now. Again press once on TalkBack and then double tap on the icon.

Step 7: You’ll see the On/Off switch on the upper right hand corner. Again press once on it and then double tap to switch it off.

Disable TalkBack

Step 8: A popup tab asking whether to stop TalkBack or not will appear. Just press once on OK and then double tap on it to completely turn it off.

Stop TalkBack

This will completely disable the TalkBack and will bring your device back to normal.

Phone Speaks out even if TalkBack Off:

This is the most observed problem in Galaxy devices. Even if you have disabled the Talkback and Explore by Touch mode, the phone speaks out when you receive a call or message. If you are facing this problem, there are chances that the Driving Mode feature of your phone is turned on which is making your phone speak when you receive any notifications. It may also speak out the time and alarm set. To get rid of it, just turn the Driving mode off from your phones notification panel.

Driving mode TalkBack

How to unlock your Lockscreen when TalkBalk is enabled:

Let us assume that the TalkBack is enabled. Now as you turn the phone on, the lock screen will tell you to double tap and swipe the screen to unlock.

Unlock Lockscreen when TalkBack enabled

But double taping and swiping the screen will only work on Nexus devices. For other Android Smartphones you need to follow these instructions:

  1. Use Two fingers and Swipe across the screen simultaneously to Unlock.

Two fingers swipe when TalkBack enabled

Note: Do not tap just swipe. Also ensure that the two fingers are apart, because if they are too close together, this won’t work.

How to unlock Phone in Password mode when TalkBack is enabled:

When the Talkback mode is enabled, it becomes difficult to unlock a Phone. And it becomes more difficult when the phone is password protected. If you are suffering from such problem then follow the instructions as follows:

So long press the password field and then double tap it. This will show you the keyboard. Next long press the alphabets, numbers or characters of your set password and when you have typed your password completely, long press or double tap the ‘Done’ button on the keyboard.

This will unlock you phone in Password mode when TalkBalk is enabled.

Success

That’s it! You have successfully fixed your Lockscreen issues and disabled Talkback Mode completely. If you have any queries, doubts or suggestions do contact me through the comments section below. I’ll be pleased to help you out. And for further updates and happenings in the Android world stay tuned on our page! 🙂

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