How to set up your Android smartphone using Google Voice Access

The original release of Android did not include accessibility fixes. But, Google has slowly added more and more accessibility features to its platform over the last decade. In 2018, Google launched Voice Access, a way to control your smartphone using just your voice. While it was awesome back then, it got even better with Android 11. Fortunately, thanks to these improvements, we can now set up an Android smartphone using Voice Access. To get started, on the initial setup screen, you’ll want to select the Support Options Menu and play Configure with your voice. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using a Google Pixel 6a, but the process should be similar to any Android device with Google Mobile Services.

On the next screen, you’ll explain Voice Access, which is an Android accessibility service that helps control your device by speaking. You can speak to type, scroll, and even touch buttons. In the bottom right corner, there will be a button, press it to activate Voice Access. Before you enable Voice Access, there will be a screen explaining how it works.

While the screen is on, there will be a blue microphone icon on the screen, which means the phone is listening to your commands. While Google recommends that Voice Access listen for commands while the screen is on, you can turn it off. When the feature is disabled, you will only hear commands for the first 30 seconds, after which it will turn off the microphone.

Once you get to the Voice Access Now Listening screen, you can start using commands. From here, say “next touch” to continue. In the future, you can give the phone a variety of commands. You can try different commands off the top of your head, or if you want more guidance, you can refer to the detailed list of commands below.

Basic voice commands and navigation

General commands

  • Open [app]
  • Came back
  • Go home
  • show notifications
  • show quick settings
  • Show recent apps

voice access help

  • What can I say?
  • show all commands
  • open walkthrough
  • show numbers
  • hide numbers
  • show labels
  • hide labels
  • What is [number]?
  • stop voice access
  • Post comments

Settings

  • activate bluetooth
  • Turn off bluetooth
  • Turn up the volume
  • Decrease the volume
  • Turn [media/alarm/phone] Turn up the volume
  • Turn [media/alarm/phone] volume down
  • Silence
  • Silence
  • don’t mute
  • Silence [media/alarm/phone] volume
  • don’t mute [media/alarm/phone] volume
  • turn off the device

Attendee

You can say commands to the Google Assistant, such as:

  • Ok Google, set the timer for [amount of time]
  • Hey Google, turn on the flashlight
  • Ok Google, when was the Empire State Building built?
  • Hello Google, who created Google?

voice access numbers

To display a number overlay next to all items on your screen, you can say “Show Numbers”. If you’re not sure about something, you can also say “Show Labels” to get suggestions about what’s on the screen.

Search in apps

You can quickly search an app as long as it has a search field by saying “Search [shoes]”.

Answer calls

When you receive a call from someone, you can answer the call by saying “Answer call”.

gesture commands

touch gestures

  • Play [OK]
  • [OK]
  • long press
  • Light
  • To turn off
  • Expand [notification]
  • Collapse [notification]

Swipe gestures

  • Commute [up, down, left, right]
  • Commute [up, down, left, right] in
  • Return to start
  • scroll down
  • swipe forward
  • swipe back

grid selection

Instead of selecting specific objects, there is also the option to navigate using a grid.

  1. To start the grid selection, say “Show Grid”.
  2. To make the grid larger or smaller, say “More squares” or “Less squares.”
  3. To interact with the grid, say a number or use commands. For example:
    • “3”
    • “Touch 7”
    • “Swipe Right” or “Swipe Left”
    • “Scroll up” or “Scroll down”
    • “swipe 5 up”
    • “Swipe left on 12”
    • “pinch inside”
    • “pinch”
  4. To hide the grid, say “Hide Grid”.

Increase

You can take advantage of these commands to zoom in or enlarge the screen on your Android device.

start expansion

  • start expansion
  • start zooming

Zoom in or out

  • Increase
  • Getting closer
  • To improve
  • zoom out

Scroll up, down, left, or right

  • Commute [up, down, left, right]
  • Skillet [up, down, left, right]
  • Move on [up, down, left, right]
  • Let’s go [up, down, left, right]

stop enlargement

  • stop enlargement
  • stop zooming
  • cancel zoom

text editing

Voice Access isn’t just for actions, you can also type, edit, and format text using your voice. When in use, the feature will display a blue border around text that can be edited. If a blue border is not available, you can move to a new text field by saying the number.

Tips:

  • Replace [word or phrase] with your own commands.
  • Featured Commands

work for characters, words, sentences, lines, paragraphs or pages.

  • type the text [word or phrase]
  • [word or phrase]
  • Write
  • Undo
  • Redo [word or phrase] Insert [word or phrase]
  • prior to [word or phrase] Insert [word or phrase]
  • after [word or phrase] Insert [word or phrase] Among [word or phrase]
  • Y
    • Format email[email protected]Note: This command formats the surrounding text as an email address, if possible. For example, to format the text “info at company dot com” as an email address (
  • ) say “format email”.

stop editing

  • replace text [word or phrase] Replace [word or phrase]
  • with [word or phrase] Replace all between [word or phrase] Y [word or phrase]
  • with [word or phrase]
  • Capitalize [word or phrase]
  • Capital letters [word or phrase]

lowercase

  • delete text
  • Erase
  • delete all [word or phrase]
  • Erase
  • Delete to the beginning
  • Delete to the end
  • Delete selected text [word or phrase] remove from [word or phrase]
  • a [3] Erase
  • words* [5] delete the next

prayers*

  • move the cursor
  • go to the beginning
  • go to the end [word or phrase]
  • move after [word or phrase]
  • move before [word or phrase] move between [word or phrase]
  • Y [4] Right
  • characters* [6] Left

words*

  • select text
  • Select all text
  • Deselect all text
  • select to the beginning
  • select to end [word or phrase]
  • Select [word or phrase] select from [word or phrase]
  • a [5] Select
  • prayers* [6] Select the next

lines*

Cut, copy and paste

  • Show or hide the keyboard
  • show keyboard

hide keyboard

stop voice access

  • If you want to stop Voice Access, you can do any of the following:
  • Tap anywhere on the screen.
  • Say, “Stop listening.”
  • Turn off the screen. To save battery power, Voice Access automatically stops when the screen is off. Open your notification shade, then taptap to pause
  • .
  • If you set a Bluetooth switch, you can press the switch to stop Voice Access.

If you enabled “Timeout after no talk” in the Voice Access settings, you can wait thirty seconds.


If you want to disable Voice Access entirely, you can head to the Settings menu, Accessibility, and then navigate to Voice Access.

As you can see, there are many commands that can help you with just about anything, and there are also many different options when it comes to navigation. If there are too many options available, since Voice Access can understand the context of the screen, you will be presented with placeholders to make navigation easier. You can see an example of this in the image to the right. From this point on, you can proceed through the menus, and once you reach the end, you will have set up your Android device using Voice Access.

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