TalkBack, part of the broader Android Accessibility Suite, gives spoken feedback to your taps, enabling you to use your phone without needing to see the screen. Today, among a suite of Android updates, Google has announced version 9.1 of TalkBack, adding new gestures, in-depth customization, and more.

First up, TalkBack is gaining new multi-finger gestures to help with editing text, controlling media playback, and more. For instance, you can pause/play music with a two-finger double-tap of the screen. More importantly, all of TalkBack’s gestures, new and old, can be reconfigured to better suit the way you want to use your phone.

To help make lengthy articles easier to digest, TalkBack now offers controls that let you speed up or slow down the reading speed, all the way to character-by-character reading. This can also be controlled by the app’s new voice commands, such as “find” to locate text, or “increase speech rate.”

TalkBack’s two context menus have been merged into one menu that’s able to show only the options that are relevant to what you’re currently doing. As with the gestures, this menu can also be customized to add or remove any options you want to keep always at hand.

Additionally, TalkBack plays home to the recently launched braille keyboard for Android. With this update, the braille keyboard now supports typing Arabic and Spanish.

Google notes that these latest updates to TalkBack were developed in collaboration with Samsung, which replaced their own “Voice Assistant” accessibility tool with TalkBack starting with One UI 3.

TalkBack is installed by default on Google Pixel phones and Samsung Galaxy phones with One UI 3 or newer. Otherwise, TalkBack can be installed and updated with the Android Accessibility Suite via the Google Play Store on most Android phones and tablets.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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