What is ‘TalkBack’ on your Pixel and how to turn it on or off

As part of several accessibility features designed to make using your Google Pixel easier, Talkback is a way for you to receive spoken descriptions of what’s happening on your screen. It’s pretty easy to turn on, albeit by accident.

For those who are visually impaired or need help understanding what’s displayed on your Google Pixel, TalkBack is a wonderful option. The feature reads both written words and images aloud to give you an idea of ​​what’s on your screen.

As a fair warning, TalkBack takes a little getting used to. When the feature is enabled, you will no longer be able to use the normal gestures that come with stock Android. Rather, you have to get used to new gestures.

For example, TalkBack highlights text for reading. You can swipe left and right to highlight new text and double-tap the screen to select it. If you want to navigate to a new page, you need to learn multi-finger gestures. Enabling the feature will give you a really good tutorial on how to use it properly. So be sure to read it if you plan to use the feature.

How to turn TalkBack on or off

When setting up the Pixel, TalkBack can be enabled from the start. The feature also has a handy shortcut that lets you turn it on with the volume buttons, which can also lead to some accidental triggers.

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In total, there are three ways to turn TalkBack on or off. You can either go through the settings, ask Google Assistant, or turn on the shortcut. In order for the shortcut to work, the shortcut must be enabled in the first place.

TalkBack in Settings

If this is the first time you want to enable TalkBack for use with your device, enabling the feature through Settings is the best way. You’ll get a more detailed description of the feature, as well as some tips and tricks to help you navigate Talkback better, as it’s useful but takes a bit of getting used to.

To turn on TalkBack in your Pixel’s settings:

  1. Go to your on your pixel the settings.
  2. From there, scroll down and find Accessibility.
  3. Beat TalkBack.
  4. To turn it on, tap Use TalkBack.
  5. To enable quick link, tap TalkBack shortcut.
    • Note: Tap the text, not the switch. From there you can choose what type of shortcut to use. Holding the volume buttons is preferable as you won’t see an icon on your screen all the time.

TalkBack with the shortcut

If you have turned on TalkBack shortcut on the Pixel you can use it from now on. Depending on which one you’ve chosen, there are different ways to use it.

The first option is the accessibility button, which only needs to be activated with a single tap. After that, turning it off is an absolute pain due to how TalkBack works. You need to long tap the icon again and double tap it. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to use your phone as normal.

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The second – and best – way is to use the volume button shortcut. You can press and hold both volume buttons until prompted to turn them on. Because of this, TalkBack sometimes turns on accidentally. To turn TalkBack off, simply press and hold the volume buttons again for three seconds and it should turn off.

Ask Google Assistant to turn TalkBack on or off

The last way to turn TalkBack on or off on your Pixel might be the easiest. Just press and hold the power button – if that feature is enabled – or tap the microphone icon in the search bar on your home screen. From there, ask Google Assistant to “Turn TalkBack on/off”.

Once you’ve done that, the feature should immediately change status to On or Off depending on what you asked.

TalkBack is a great feature overall. For those who need a little extra help with what’s on the screen, the accessibility feature is invaluable. Aside from that, it can also be easy to trigger accidentally. Knowing how to easily turn it off can come in handy.

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