Touchscreen readers speak what is on the screen as the finger explores, allowing blind and partially sighted people to get information about the layout of the screen that would not otherwise be available. Once a user gets the hang of it, touchscreen reader navigation in many ways represents an advance in terms of effectiveness and use.
The screen reader can typically be found under Settings > Accessibility. Apple led the way with built-in accessibility and many blind and partially sighted people use Voiceover, the screen reader available on Apple devices. These days, most Android mobile devices come with some accessibility features as standard, such as the Android Accessibility Suite screen reader (formally called TalkBack). Popular Android device manufacturers and screen reader combinations include Samsung which has Voice Assistant, Amazon which has Voice View and Google Pixel which has the Android Accessibility Suite. We have included links below to various guides on using the main smartphone screen readers.
See our video offering a quick demonstration on how to turn on Voiceover. You can find a few other videos on how to use Voiceover on our Videos page.
How to turn on VoiceOver
The specialist phones such as Kapsys, Synaptic and In Your Pocket are set up to be fully accessible as soon as the phone is switched on. We recommend contacting retailers for more information and to check the phones have the functionality you need.
You might also find it useful to use a combination of personal assistants and screen readers. See our section on Smart speakers and personal assistants.
- Guide to Amazon VoiceView Screen Reader and Explore by Touch
- Get started on Android with TalkBack
- Use TalkBack gestures
- Apple Support: Use Accessibility features on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
- AppleVis: VoiceOver gestures
- Samsung Voice Assistant