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How to Disable Talkback on Android Devices

If you own an Android phone with Android 4.0 and up, whether it be the latest Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II, a Nexus device, a Motorola or HTC handset, you must have seen a feature called “TalkBack” while browsing the options under device Accessibility Settings. This is an excellent feature especially for blinds, and those with low vision. Once activated, your device speaks out whatever you do on your phone. I have tested the method described below to disable TalkBack feature on Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Note 2 and Nexus 4. Because it is a native Android feature, it is found on all devices with ICS and Jelly Bean.

One day it happened so that I was waiting for a local train at a station. I had 30 minutes of spare time, so I just took out my Galaxy S3 with official Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean firmware and began playing with it to pass the time. I opened the phone Settings, scrolled down to Accessibility option where I saw an option called Talk Back. Just out of curiosity of how really it works, I activated it.

For the next few minutes, I jumped from this option to that, from lockscreen to home screen, etc. listening to the voice feedback for all my actions. A female voice read out the time, the dialer buttons, the name of the app icons, and so on. It was a pleasant experience if not a comfortable one. Enabling the TalkBack mode blocks some of the features of the phone. You cannot, for instance, capture screenshot and open the notification center. Anyways, I decided to turn off the TalkBack mode and switch back to the normal mode. So I opened Settings to go to Accessibility> TalkBack to turn it off.

The sense of pleasure, however, turned sour quite soon when I realized that I was not able to scroll the list of options under Settings. The screen showed only the first 10 options. I tried to scroll down the list but it was of no use. I then googled to find out a solution or trick to get out of the awkward situation but was again disappointed to find none. Finding no way out, I thought of re-flashing the stock firmware but then I realized that the firmware file was not on my laptop.

Now, I had no other option but to keep trying to get to the Accessibility option that is found just above “About device” and “Developer options” on the bottom of the Settings option list. After some time I noticed something. Each time I swiped my fingers on the screen to scroll down, the items on the screen were highlighted with a yellow rectangular shape. With each swipe, it came down one item. I kept on swiping finger hoping that doing this will finally take me down the list but it stopped at the last item, that is Display, on the screen.

Disable Talkback on Android Devices

I kept trying swiping my fingers in a variety of ways. Suddenly, the list scrolled a little up. I did not know then how it happened. I tried to recall my last move and tried again and it happened again! The solution was rather easy. I realized it later though. If you want to scroll up or down in TalkBack mode on any of the Galaxy devices, you just need to swipe upward or downward with two fingers. Opening an app or selecting an option requires a double tap. Anyways, I finally reached Accessibility and disabled the TalkBack mode. If your phone is locked with the TalkBack mode activated, you can unlock it by double tapping + swiping your finger on the lockscreen.

Unlock your Phone in Password Mode:

If you have chosen the Password Unlock mode on your phone and are unable to enter the password due to the Talkback mode, do as follows. First of all long press the password field and then double tap it. Now you will see the keyboard. Long press the alphabets/numbers of your set password and when you have typed it, long press/double tap the “Done” button on the keyboard. You can now follow the two finger swipe and double tap as described above to deactivate the Talkback mode.

Phone Talking Even If Talkback Off:

If you have a Samsung Galaxy device, there is another possibility that your phone speaks out while you do specific things on your phone. If you are facing this problem, most probably it is the Driving Mode feature that is making your phone speak when you have an incoming call or message. It also starts talking the time and alarm on your lockscreen. To get rid of it turn off the Driving Mode from the notification panel.

Have you ever been through such an experience on your phone? Do share with us via comments! And yes, remember the tips if you dare reactivate it on your Android device!

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This article was last modified on April 14, 2017, 5:38 pm

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