How to switch off Google ‘Talkback’ mode on Android smartphone


What is Google Talkback?

TalkBack is an Accessibility Service that helps vision-impaired users interact with, and enjoy their devices. It 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. TalkBack was installed on your device when you bought it as part of Google’s Android application suite, and it is routinely updated with improvements and new features through Google Play.

How does Google Talkback work?

How it works is that you use your finger to “explore” what is on the screen, and when you come across any element that can be acted on or any block of text that can be read back to you, TalkBack kicks in. For text (including things like the time and notifications) the screen reader service tells you exactly what it was written — including things like “colon p” for emoticons, and all the characters in a web address for example. For elements that you act on, TalkBack tells you what you’ve touched, and lets you act with a double tap or move to the next element without triggering anything. It’s pretty well thought out, and if you can follow the audible prompts you can do anything on an Android — even if you can’t see the screen. All you need to do is set it up.

How to switch Google Talkback off?

I don’t think TalkBack mode alone is the culprit here, but you must have enabled “Explore by Touch” also when you activated TalkBack, which makes things tricky.

If you just have the regular swipe to unlock feature for your lock screen, to unlock it, you’ll need to…

Use TWO fingers and swipe the screen, but make sure your two fingers are separated because if they are too close together, it’ll think you’re using one.
That’s it. That should unlock the lock screen. You don’t have to worry about tapping on anything like it says; that is only if “Explore by Touch” is not activated (just TalkBack).

Now, to disable TalkBack mode, you need to make your way to “Accessibility” in the “Settings” and toggle TalkBack off. On my Galaxy S3, I can just hit the Menu hard button and double-tap on Settings, but I don’t think the Tabs have a hard Menu button, so just head to the Settings as you normally would using two-finger swiping, long pressing to select, and double-tapping for entering.

For instance, to access Settings from the Notification tray…

  1. Make sure to use TWO fingers (slightly separated as before) and swipe down from the top to open the Notification tray.
  2. Then, touch the “Settings” symbol once, then double-tap it to open it up.
  3. Use two fingers to scroll down to “Accessibility” and press it once, then double-tap to open.
  4. Then, press once on “TalkBack” and double-tap it.
  5. And once on the “On/Off” switch and double-tap.
  6. Then do the same for “OK” and you should be good to go.

Its bit difficult to understand Google talkback. As once you get the trick how to operate your Android smartphone in talkback mode it is easier to disable it.


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