Guide To Smartphone screen readers - Vital Tech

Smartphone screen readers

Last modified: 4th May 2022

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Most smartphones and tablets come with built-in screen readers capable of providing efficient touchscreen access for blind and partially sighted people. Many screen readers on touchscreen devices track and announce content as it is touched, often requiring a double-tap to activate the selected item. This established convention helps screen reader users find out what they are touching and avoid activating apps, icons and buttons by accident.


Mainstream products

Screen reader functions and settings can be found on most devices through Settings -> Accessibility. Examples include:

  • VoiceOver on Apple devices,
  • TalkBack on Android devices,
  • Narrator on Windows devices,
  • VoiceView on Amazon devices.

There are links below to various guides on using the main smartphone screen readers.

See our videos offering a quick demonstration on how to turn on Voiceover and TalkBack.  You can find a few other videos on how to use Voiceover and TalkBack on our Videos page.

How to turn on VoiceOver

How to turn on TALKBACK or Voice Assistant


Specialist products

The specialist phones such as BlindShell Classic 2, devices running Synapptic and In Your Pocket are set up to be fully accessible from the moment the phone is switched on.  We recommend contacting retailers for more information and to check the phones have the functionality you need.


Handy hints

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.


Useful links