Deactivating TalkBack: How to switch off the screen reader from
TalkBack is Android's integrated screen reader that can read out texts on the smartphone display. For many users, however, this operating aid is more of a nuisance than helpful. Here you can find out how to deactivate TalkBack.
Has it ever happened to you that your Android smartphone suddenly starts chatting and reads texts from the display? This is not a technical bug, but an Android feature called TalkBack. This function is very often accidentally activated, especially on Huawei smartphones. In this guide, we will explain to you how to switch off TalkBack on Huawei cell phones and other smartphones.
What is the TalkBack Android feature used for?
TalkBack is a useful feature for the blind and users with impaired vision. Image: © Screenshot 2021
TalkBack is a screen reader that gives spoken feedback on content on the smartphone display. An Android device can be controlled practically without eye contact. However, this feature is not aimed at users who want texts on websites or incoming messages to be read aloud. Rather, it is an operating aid for the blind or users with poor eyesight.
Thanks to TalkBack, they can also use most of the functions of a smartphone, even if they cannot see the screen of their smartphone. TalkBack is unsuitable and even annoying for Android users with normal eyesight. By activating the feature, all symbols and menu entries have to be double-tapped in order to be registered by the system. In the next few paragraphs we will therefore explain how you can deactivate TalkBack.
How can I turn off TalkBack?
Depending on the adapted Android interface from the respective manufacturer, TalkBack may not be able to be switched off in the same way. Therefore we have listed three different options with which you can deactivate TalkBack.
Method 1: turn off TalkBack using the volume buttons
Depending on the smartphone model, you should receive an acoustic confirmation, a pop-up or both when you deactivate TalkBack. Image: © Screenshot 2021
The quickest way to turn off TalkBack is to use a keyboard shortcut with the volume keys. This is also the recommended solution for Huawei devices, where TalkBack is activated quite often accidentally. To switch off the screen reader, proceed as follows:
- Hold down both volume buttons on your smartphone for three seconds.
- You will then receive the acoustic feedback "TalkBack off" and, if necessary, a pop-up confirming that TalkBack has been deactivated.
If the Android screen reader cannot be switched off with this key combination, you can try the following option.
Method 2: disable TalkBack using the Google Assistant
If you regularly use the Google Assistant on your smartphone, you can also use it to switch off TalkBack. To do this, proceed as follows:
- Activate the Google Assistant with the voice command "Hey Google" or with the hardware button specified for this.
- Now say "Deactivate TalkBack".
- You will then receive a response confirming the deactivation.
Method 3: turn off TalkBack in the device settings
The location of the TalkBack menu item in the settings differs depending on the Android interface. In Xiaomi's MIUI you can find TalkBack under the input help. Image: © Screenshot 2021
Alternatively, you can deactivate TalkBack directly in the device settings of your smartphone. Depending on the Android interface, however, the feature can be located in different places. If you cannot find the names of the menu items on your smartphone, simply search for similar-sounding terms.
Navigation with activated TalkBack
If TalkBack has accidentally activated itself, the navigation on your smartphone will also change at the same time. To open a menu, it is no longer sufficient to tap an icon once. In order for an entry to be registered, you always have to tap the respective symbol or menu item twice in a row.
You can deactivate TalkBack as follows on Pixel devices and smartphones with an almost unmodified Android interface:
- Open "Settings".
- Go to Accessibility> TalkBack.
- Deactivate "Use TalkBack" and confirm with "OK".
Tip: To avoid accidentally activating TalkBack, you can also unlink the volume key in the TalkBack settings.
- TalkBack is a screen reader that gives Android users acoustic feedback on all elements on the mobile phone display.
- The Android feature is aimed specifically at blind users or users with severe visual impairment.
- If TalkBack is accidentally activated, entries are only registered if you tap the corresponding button twice in a row.
- There are several options to choose from to deactivate TalkBack:
- Press and hold both volume buttons for three seconds.
- Activate the Google Assistant and say "Deactivate TalkBack".
- Turn off TalkBack in Settings> Accessibility> TalkBack.