Back in June, Google renamed TalkBack to the Android Accessibility Suite. It’s a collection of the company’s assistive services for phones and tablets to help with eyes-free usage. Version 7.2 is widely rolling out today with a number of updates.
The Select to Speak feature allows users to highlight something on the screen to have it read aloud. In the latest update, an experimental multitasking feature lets you scroll down or open another app, while Select to Speak is reading.
Meanwhile, the TalkBack screen reader allows swiping left or right on the screen to rewind or fast-forward, respectively, while in continuous reading mode. Several parts of the feature have been simplified, with improved navigation in Controls. The full changelog for TalkBack is below:
- In continuous reading mode, swipe right or left to fast-forward or rewind. If you’re using a keyboard, press Alt + right arrow or Alt + left arrow. (To start continuous reading, choose “Read from top” or “Read from next item” in the global context menu.)
- On webpages, the “Headings and landmarks” navigation setting is now “Headings.” To navigate by landmarks, use the local context menu.
- Improved navigation by “Controls.” The “Controls” navigation setting now includes checkboxes, radio buttons, switches, toggles, and sliders (seek controls).
- For people who prefer to turn off the “Enhanced focus” setting introduced in TalkBack 6.2, you can now turn this off in Settings.
- For Android 8.0 and above, the “Dim screen shortcut” has been removed.
Another part of the Android Accessibility Suite allows users to control phones and tablets with an assistive switch device. Text editing has been improved with a new menu design and performance improvements:
- Text editing is easier with more actions available in the menu, including Highlight, Delete, Previous, Next, Copy, Cut, Paste, and Undo.
- The menus have a new design to help you stay in context as you navigate. Local (actions) menus appear next to the item, and the global menu appears under the menu button at the top of the screen.
- Performance improvements.
- Scroll arrows now appear for scrollable items.
The Android Accessibility Suite is accessible from Settings under the “Accessibility” menu. Android Accessibility Suite 7.2 and its new app icon is rolling out now via the Play Store.
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