When you unpack a Samsung device or you’re starting fresh, there’s a setup you must go through, as you would have to for any other device. The setup consists in you agreeing to Samsung’s terms of service and policies, connecting to a Wi-Fi network (if available), adding your Google account, protecting your phone, then adding your Samsung account, plus a few other additional steps, starting with the S21 series and above and in any OneUI port ROM. One of these steps is to uncheck the bloatware that installs right after finishing setup, such as Spotify, Netflix, Disney Plus, etc.
To turn TalkBack on, you can do any of these 3 things:
- Making sure your screen is on, keep 2 fingers held on the screen for a while until you hear a TTS voice (If your starting language is supported by SamsungTTS by default, more on that later). If you don’t hear a TTS voice, hold them until you can hear TalkBack’s sound feedback clicks. It’s important these stay on for this case.
- You can press power plus volume up. Press them, don’t hold them. If running Android12 and below, S, Note and Z series will vibrate to signalise the shortcut was activated, while other lower entry phones won’t. If running Android13, however, any device will vibrate, no matter the kind of device it is. After you press the shortcut once, wait for like 2-3 seconds, then press it again. If you press it once, the next popup will appear on the screen. If you have sight, you can confirm it by pressing the button, however pressing the shortcut will confirm it, as we’ve discussed earlier
- By pressing volume up and down keys for 3 seconds. The procedure is the same, the only difference is that by using this shortcut, you’ll also hear the Samsung SpaceLine notification sound as you toggle on or off this shortcut. The other difference is that some variables in the popup will change, but that’s very well to be expected. Again, don’t use, use.
Use side key+volume up for TalkBack?
Pressing Side and volume up keys together will toggle talkback.
Don’t use (left)
I see that TalkBack is on, I hear the sounds, but there’s no speech. What’s happening?
Samsung TTS (The Text To Speech engine that comes by default) has just a few languages available by default. More of them can be downloaded, but this feature cannot be accessed during setup. If there’s no TTS voice coming, then it means that your phone has defaulted to a language that’s not supported by voice packages already installed on your phone. What we’re going to do next is set the phone to English, so that we’ll be able to use Samsung TTS and have speech coming through.
One thing I’d advice before we start this is to keep your SIM card out of your phone if you’re not in an English speaking country. But this doesn’t always work. If your device is carrier locked or you’ve already entered your SIM card in, there’s nothing you can do but set your phone to English.
Make sure your TalkBack’s sound feedback is on! You have nothing to rely on but your sound feedback!
As TalkBack starts, it puts you on the TalkBack tutorial. What we need to do, so we make sure this is safe and we don’t click on something unusual, is to keep clicking the next button. The next button can be found on the bottom left. I’m using the TalkBack from Android13 as a reference.
The next button will always be located in that same place. Just tap then activate it everytime the window changes. Keep doing this until you hear something different. Notice how the TalkBack’s clicking sound was heard this time? Before it wouldn’t be heard, now it did. That’s a sign. You’ve clicked the finish button.
Now that we’re out of the TalkBack tutorial, there’s a new window. Feel free to explore it, it has just 3 elements. A none clickable one and 2 clickable ones. This is a permission request, asking you if you’d want TalkBack to access phone state. This is required in Android13 right now. Denying will ask you to do it time and again, so find the none clickable element, swipe once to hear the clickable sound, then double tap it. This is the allow button you’ve just clicked.
It’s time we come to more wide open menus, but we’re about half way there.
This menu has quite a few things in it. A non-interactable element, 2 clickable elements, 2 elements with links. You’ll hear the specific link sound on the last 2 options. And we’ll take them from top to bottom:
- Welcome, non-interactable.
Now that we know the menu, it’s time to change language. So find the non-interactable element, then swipe once to find the language element and click it. Upon clicking it, a list will open up. We’re gonna do a bit of counting here, so please pay attention.
First of all, we need to make sure we’re at the top of the list. To get to the top, swipe down with 2 fingers. After the scrolling sound stopps, it means it has nowhere to scroll.
Swipe left until you hear the bumping sound that you’re on the last element. Don’t swipe more once you hear that bumping sound, as you’ll access something out of the list and you’ll have to repeat the process again.
As you bumped, your focus is on a non- interactable element reading “Select your language!”. You need to exactly swipe 18 times right to get the US English. Unfortunately, this and Brittish English are the only English installed voices and British English is perhaps the 15th or 16th element. We need to swipe 18 times though to find English US and click it. It is recommended to swipe slower, this menu is quite laggy and TalkBack scrolls hard, which may mess up your counting.
The last step. After you clicked the 18th item in the list, swipe back left until you bump in again. This time though, do swipe one time left after to find the ok button and press it.
After that you’re out of the menu and you should have speech after a few seconds.
Getting speech and your screen reader ready can now be possible, even without a sighted person. It’s very important to do everything right, but failing doesn’t hurt. If you see your TTS hasn’t changed or has changed to a different language, try again. Remember, you’re landed in “Welcome” after changing the language. It is recommended to reboot your device right as speech comes up, as some of the elements through out your phone will remain in your previous language until the first reboot.