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How to get started with Voice Access (Android)?

How to get started with Voice Access (Android)?

We are here with the second blog of the series, in the first blog post we learnt about How to get started with Voice Control in iOS device. Now let's delve into the basics of using built-in speech recognition on Android!  

Voice Access on Android 

Voice Access is used to navigate and interact with Android devices using voice commands. 

Basic Requirements 

  • Introduced in Android Version 7 and later. 
  • Working microphone in Android device for users to give commands. 
  • Download Voice Access from Google Play store. 
  • Google Assistant should be activated on the device such that users can switch on Voice Access even by giving the command “Turn on Voice Access”. 

Turn Voice Access On or Off 

  1. Go to Device Settings  
  2. Select Accessibility and then tap Voice Access
  3. To start using Voice Access, tap the Voice Access activation button

Tip: You can set up the activation button in Settings  > Accessibility > Voice Access > Settings > Activation button.

Interact using Voice Access 

Activate Voice Access 

After tapping on Voice Access activation button , the text “Voice Access on ” is displayed on screen to indicate that user can give voice commands to perform actions. They can use “Stop Listening” command to stop Voice Access. 

Accessibility settings screen of Android  device when users taps Voice Access activation button and it is displaying "Voice access on" in status bar.
Accessibility settings screen of Android  device when users gives "Stop Listening" command  and it is displaying "Stop Listening" in status bar.

Activate Elements 

We can activate elements using voice commands such as “Tap” followed by the name of the elements. 

Talk to our Accessibility Expert

Basic Commands to interact with Voice Access 

  • Show labels - This command displays an overlay with the name of the elements along with numbers. Users can say label name to activate the respective element. For Example, if users say, “Navigate Up" on Accessibility Settings screen, it will take users to the previous screen. 
Accessibility settings screen of Android device displaying the name of the respective elements above them as a tooltip wherever it is available.
  • Show numbers - This command displays an overlay with number tags for the elements. Users can say “Tap number” or just the number to activate with respective item. For Example, if users say, “Tap 10", it will activate the Accessibility Menu button on Accessibility Settings screen and take them to the Accessibility Menu screen. 

Tip:  Users can quickly find out the description of numbered element using “What is [number] ?” Command. 

Accessibility settings screen of Android device displaying the numbers as 1, 2, 3 and so on for the respective elements.
  • Show grid - This command displays numbered grid overlay and user can say “Tap number” on the grid to enlarge that area which will then present a new set of grid overlay. For Example, if users say "Tap 18" it will open an enlarged view of the grid that will display more numbers. Again, when users say, "Tap 8", the Display & brightness button on Settings screen will get activated and they will be taken to Display & brightness screen.    
Settings screen of Android device displaying numbered grid.
Settings screen of Android device displaying enlarged numbered grid.

Tip: More information on how to interact with Voice Access can be found on

Let’s explore opening the browser, to open the browser give the command “Open Chrome”. Now that we have opened the browser, let’s go ahead and open a website and say the following commands: 

  1. Use the "Tap Address" command to navigate to the Address Bar. 
  2. Dictate the Web address. (For example,
  3. Use the "Tap Go" command to activate the "Go" button to access the screen.

Now to navigate through the Image description screen, whether it is to a link, button or form controls, use the following commands. 

  • Tap element name  - To directly activate a link or button. 
  • Scroll Up or Scroll Down - To go up and down a screen. 
  • Go back – To navigate to previous screen.                
Barrierbreak's Image Description screen opened in Chrome browser and user is giving "Tap Send Message" command to activate "Send Message" button.

Don’t you feel speech recognition is fascinating? It has come a long way in recent years, and with the way it is being evolving will definitely only lead to more improvements. These features can make it easier for users with any disabilities to interact with their devices and perform a wide range of tasks using their voice. 

Utilizing Voice Access on your Android device can greatly enhance your experience and accessibility. By following the steps outlined in this blog, you can easily get started with voice access and enjoy its rich set of features.   

Hope this series of blogs helps you to get started with the speech recognition in Android and iOS. Feel free to drop in your comments and share your experiences of using Voice Access! 

Happy exploring !! 

Looking for a reliable digital accessibility partner that truly understands your commitment to inclusion and accessibility? Why settle for anything less than the best? Choose us as your accessibility vendor and take the first step towards a truly inclusive digital future. 

This article by Jayshree Sharma is a part of our BB Geek series where BarrierBreak team members share their expertise on accessibility and inclusion, drawing from their extensive experience in the field.

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