September 14, 2020

A Deep Dive Into Android 10 Accessibility Features

Written by kevin-c

Tips & Tricks

"How does Android 10 support users with features to help with accessibility?"

It's a question that, as I unfortunately get older, becomes more relevant by the day. As current events have thrown into sharp relief, smartphones can be a critical lifeline in countless ways. Luckily for me (and every other Android user), Android 10 is packed with loads of accessibility features. So let's take a deeper look into how to, well, access Android accessibility features.

Head to your trusty settings menu, and tap on - you guessed it - Accessibility to open the accessibility menu, Let's go through each of these options:

Accessibility and Screen readers

Android 10 accessibility menu

Volume Key Shortcut for Talkback: Talkback is a nifty feature that provides spoken feedback so you can use your phone without looking at the screen. The volume key short cut means you can turn Talkback on-or-off  by pressing volume up and volume down simultaneously.

Your Phone Companion is a recent addition to the Android Accessibility suite: Basically, you can pair your Android phone with your PC (sorry Mac users) and control your phone apps from your PC, super useful if you're using a screen reading tool on your PC.

Select to Speak does exactly what you imagine it might; turn it on, and your phone will read out items on your screen that you tap on - for example an image, or a word or line of text.

Text-to-speech output: Tap on this to adjust various options for Text-to-speech - the preferred text-to-speech engine the device will use, the language it will speak in, and the speed and pitch of the speech.

Display options

Android 10 display options

Font size: Allows you to adjust the size of the fonts used for text, and helpfully gives you a sample text to see what the text looks like at different sizes.

Display size: Increase or decrease the size of the items on your screen.

Dark theme: A personal fave of mine, as my eyesight kinda stinks, so turning on the dark theme makes text much easier for me to read. And as an added bonus, setting the theme to Dark extends your battery life too.

Magnification: Settings to magnify the screen through tapping the screen or via shortcuts.

Color correction: A very cool feature that adjusts the colors on the screen to help folks with color-blindness, and even has separate settings for red-green, and blue-yellow blindness.

Color inversion: Similar to the "dark theme" setting. Where dark theme affects the Android operating system and menus, color inversion goes further and inverts ALL the colors on the screen, including images and videos.

Large mouse pointer: This might seem confusing as many people don't know you can use Bluetooth mouse with your Android phone or tablet. If you do, this setting will allow you to make the mouse pointer much larger, making it easier to see.

Remove Animations: Android tends to animate a lot of the user interface, like showing an app shrinking or expanding when you tap on it. Some people are sensitive to those animations, or just don't like 'em. You can turn them off here.

Android 10 Accessibility Interaction controls.

Interaction Controls

Accessibility Menu: A very useful feature to turn on an accessibility icon that lives on the bottom of your screen. Tapping on it brings up a menu with large, easy to read icons.

Switch Access: If you have a physical switch (either bluetooth, or USB), you can turn on this feature to use the switch to tap items on or off on your phone.

Dwell timing: If you're using a mouse with Android, the "dwell" setting will allow you to adjust the amount of time the mouse point can sit on an item on the screen before it performs a click.

Power button ends call: A super convenient setting, that lets you tap the power button to hang up a call. (Pressing and holding the power button will still turn off your phone normally.)

Auto-rotate screen: Turn this on to rotate your screen automatically when you rotate your phone.

Touch & hold delay: on smartphones you can often touch on an icon or onscreen item to interact with it. For example, touch and hold an app icon and it'll bring up a little options menu to pause the app or clear notifications, and the like. The touch & hold delay setting adjusts how long it takes for those menu options to come up.

Time to take action: You know those notification messages you get on your phone? Like a new email pop up? Well, you can set how long those messages stay on your screen before disappearing - 10 seconds,  30 seconds, 1 minute or 2 minutes.

Vibration & haptic strength: Set the strength of your phone vibrations here.

Audio & On Screen Text

Android 10 accessibility audio and text settings

Sound Amplifier: One of the weirder hidden Android features- Sound Amplifier turns your Android device into a makeshift hearing aid. Plug in headphones (USB  or bluetooth) and turn on the Sound Amplifier to amplify the sounds around your phone, through the device's microphone.

Mono audio: Forces stereo or other multi-channel audio into mono.

Audio balance: Adjust the slider left or right to favor the left or right ear stronger.

Live Transcribe: A very useful feature. Turn this on, and your Android device will try to transcribe what you speak into the microphone.

Live Caption: Will automatically attempt to caption any video you play on your device.

Caption preferences: Set your preferences for Live Caption here - size of text, text style, and the language for the captions.

Hearing aids: Tap on this to pair a hearing aid with your Android device.

High contrast text: You'll notice this is listed under "Experimental", which explains why it didn't seem to do anything when I turned it on. Use at your own risk.If you're in the market for a ridiculously affordable Android phone to try out these Android 10 accessibility features with, check out out our current selection at TextNow!