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Using Screen Readers


On a simulator

Setting it up Simulators don't have VoiceOver, so you'll have to use the Accessibility Inspector.

From XCode, go to Xcode menu > Developer Tools > Accessibility Inspector, and make sure to change the laptop icon in the top left of the inspector window to the simulator instead.

Operation For operation, the WWDC video on the inspector is more helpful than the documentation:

On a device

Setting it up Go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver and toggle VoiceOver on. You can also toggle VoiceOver a few other ways:

Operation Basic navigation for beginners:

  • Tap items on the screen to hear them read aloud or interact with them
  • To activate items you have selected, double tap quickly anywhere on the screen
  • To scroll, select an item within the scrollable area and use a three-finger swipe

Other useful navigation tips:


Devices with TalkBack installed

Setup Go to Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack and toggle it on.

You can also:

  • Set up a shortcut to toggle TalkBack by pressing both volume keys for 3 seconds
  • Configure through adb:
# enable
adb shell settings put secure enabled_accessibility_services \
# disable
adb shell settings put secure enabled_accessibility_services \

Operation Basic navigation:

  • TalkBack follows a "drag your finger to explore the screen" paradigm. As you drag your finger around, you'll hear items read out. Pause over items you want to hear.
  • You can also swipe left and right with one finger to explore items linearly.
  • Double-tap to activate an element.
  • Use two-finger swipes to scroll or pull down the notification shade.
  • Typing: By default, TalkBack tries to follow the "drag your finger to explore the screen" pattern on the keyboard too. Drag your finger over the keys. Whichever you hovered on last and then lifted is typed.
    • This does not appear to always work with the default Samsung keyboard. You can install "GBoard" from the Google Play store and use that instead.

The rest:

Devices with Voice Assistant and not TalkBack

(e.g., Galaxy S models less than 20)

Setup TODO: Voice Assistant instructions

You can also probably install TalkBack on your device. Install "Android Accessibility Suite" from the Play store, and then enable it from Settings > Accessibility > Installed Accessibility Services. Note that if you have multiple profiles on this device, this service must be installed on the primary (personal) profile.

Operation Cheatsheet: