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Getting Started with Android

Do you want to get your first Android phone or want to find out more about Android and its accessibility? We handpicked 15 of the most asked questions on various communities.

The green robot is your friend

Did you know? The Android Logo’s main element is a robot consisting of a quadrangular torso, semicircular head with two antennas on it, and limbs presented by bars with rounded ends. Android is everywhere! Today, Android is no longer just an operating system for a smartphone, but an entire infrastructure. Not only phones, tablets, and computers run on this operating system, but also televisions and even refrigerators. Speaking of Android phones, HTC Dream was the first ever smartphone to ship with the Android operating system in September 2008. Time really flies.

15 most asked questions about Android and accessibility

Whether you’re doing a switch or you have your very first phone that runs Android, below you’ll find the questions easy to navigate through headings. Once you hear the question title, pressingEnter on your PC or double tap on your device will show you it’s answer in the next line. So let’s go ahead and dive in!

Yes, you can use voice dictation on Android as well. GBoard is the default keyboard on most Android phones and it has a built-in voice dictation feature represented by a button found just above the letter "P" as "Voice Input" for non-Pixel6 and Pixel7-series phones where that button is called "Assistant Voice Typing."

Samsung, Microsoft SwiftKey and even Advanced Braille Keyboards lets you dictate using your voice.

If you are switching from iOS to Android, you may not be able to use your purchased apps on your new Android device. However, certain apps that lets you use, say, your email login will let you move your lifetime subscriptions. You may consider contacting them about a possible solution.

There are various eBook readers you can use on your Android device such as Legere Reader, @voice aloud reader and Speech Central. Some OCR apps such as "Speechify" have some e-book reading capability. You can head over to our apps directory to have a look at what apps you can use.

Unlike iOS, Android has separate volume channels for media, ringtone, notification tones, and accessibility. The accessibility volume controls the speech output of the screen reader.

To adjust the volume of the screen reader on Android, place one finger on the screen and repeatedly tap either the "up-volume" key or the "down-volume" key. This will increase or decrease the accessibility volume, affecting the speech output.

On the other hand, to adjust the media volume on Android, you can simply tap on either the "up-volume" or "down-volume" without placing a finger on the screen. This will directly control the volume of media playback, such as music or videos.

It's worth mentioning that on many Android phones, it is possible to change the volume control behavior when no finger is on the screen so you can adjust the ringtone volume instead of the media volume.

Thousands of blind people worldwide are using Android phones. You can join any of the Blind Android Users groups to ask questions and benefit from the experiences of others. Additionally, you can explore the various sections of this website, including reviews, tips and tricks, or listen to the Blind Android Users Podcast on YouTube or your preferred podcast client.
It is also a good idea to visit phone stores and spend some time playing with the phones they have on display to try them out yourself.

Android is based on the Linux kernel, and like that complex piece of code, most parts are open-source with a few binary blobs included to make things work with specific hardware. The core Android platform, known as the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), is available for anyone to do what they like. Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and many other manufacturers have done precisely this on phones and tablets. They're hardly alone.
Amazon put Android on Kindle and NVIDIA shoved it onto a game console. Meanwhile, companies are shipping the operating system on their smart TVs. You can get Android on everything from point-and-shoot cameras to refrigerators.

Most Android phones have NFC along with other connection features. Check out the technical specifications of your favorite device to see if it has NFC, before you make it yours.

You can use Apple Music on your Android phone. After downloading the Apple Music app from Google Play Store, you can log in using your Apple ID. Note that if you have enabled two-factor authentication on your previous iOS device, you must choose to receive the login code via SMS.
Keep in mind that The iTunes store isn't available on the Android version of Apple Music, but you can see all of your previously purchased songs in your library.

You can use Gmail, Samsung Mail, Outlook, Yahoo and Aqua Mail. There are also other mail clients to try but we recommend the ones above as a beginning.

Pressing the power button will show you your lock screen, then you can slide two fingers up on the screen to unlock your device. Once you get familiar with the lock screen, you may consider setting up a PIN or a fingerprint.

That means that the headphone jack and the charging port are made through the same port. You will need either a Type-C headset or a type-c to 3.5 MM converter.

Yes, Google Meet is the default app for that purpose, which comes pre-installed on most Android phones.

That may vary depending on the phone you have:
If you are setting up your Pixel or Xiaomi device, you can press volume up and down buttons together for a few seconds. Sometimes Xiaomi phones will ask you to do the same to make sure if you really want to turn on Talkback. For Samsung phones, you can press the power button and the volume up buttons together for a few seconds to launch Talkback.
The "Legacy" of holding down two fingers on the face of the phone still works on just about every Android phone that has both a TTS engine and the Play Store onboard.

You can double-tap with two fingers anywhere on your screen to answer an incoming call. For Samsung phones, you can set your volume up key to answer a call.
When you're done talking, you can double tap with two fingers again to end the call, or you can activate the power key to end calls by enabling it in the accessibility settings.

There are various accessible note taking apps for Android but we recommend you to go with Google Keep since you can take or manage notes using your PC as well.

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  • Untitled 5 December 2023
    New app added to the Accessible Apps directory by Amir: Premium. Accessible with a few unlabeled buttons. Download the number one dictionary app with English language learning tools and word games built for every level of learner. #Android #App
  • Untitled 4 December 2023
    Much expected announcement! New app added to the Accessible Apps directory by Editorial Staff: Seeing AI. Accessible. Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed with and for the blind and low vision community. #Android #App #AI #SeeingAI
  • Untitled 4 December 2023
    156th episode of the Blind Android Users podcast has landed on your favorite podcatcher of choice. This episode features Samsung OneUI lockscreen settings, managing and clicking links in messaging apps, new image recognition feature of Jieshuo Screen Reader, and Android journey of Amir Soleimani @amir #Android #accessibility #podcast
  • Untitled 28 November 2023
    New games added to the Accessible Apps directory by Will Bilec: Conjury and Click Your Poison: INFECTED. Accessible. #Android #App #Game #a11y
  • Untitled 20 November 2023
    New app added to the Accessible Apps directory by Wesley Martin: Wordweb dictionary. Accessible. Wordweb dictionary is a free offline English dictionary and thesaurus with synonyms, related words and great search – and no adverts. Audio pronunciations are available with the separate Audio Edition app. #Android #App
  • Untitled 19 November 2023
    New app added to the Accessible Apps directory by Warren Carr: Radio G. Accessible with a few unlabeled buttons. Radio G is an online radio player that also includes a recorder #Android #App
  • Untitled 19 November 2023
    154th episode of the Blind Android Users podcast has landed on your favorite podcatcher of choice. This episode features Samsung OneUI display settings, Android 14 QPR Beta 2.1, interview with Dipti Prasad from Nobaflix a leading OTT for app mainly for Visually challenged individuals in India. #Android #accessibility #podcast