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Not everyone can easily manipulate a smartphone or tablet touch screen, and there aren’t a lot of cheap or free ways to make it easier. Voice Access is a accessibility service for Android.
Voice Access helps anyone who has difficulty manipulating a touch screen (e.g. due to paralysis, tremor, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, spinal cord injury or temporary injury like broken arm or other reasons) use their Android device by voice. Voice Access can also provide value to people who don’t have a disability—people juggling with groceries or in the middle of cooking. Voice Access offers users a full suite of voice command options for:
- Basic navigation (e.g. “go back”, “go home”, “open Gmail”)
- Controlling the current screen (e.g. “tap next”, “scroll down”)
- Text editing and dictation (e.g. “type hello”, “replace coffee with tea”)
That’s why, Voice Access app climbed to more than a million downloads on the Play Store over the past two years. With its latest update to 3.0, it adds improvements to its integration with Google Assistant.
For instance, you can say “Go to Gmail,” then ask the app to open an email by saying one of the numbers that dots the screen — whichever is closest to the email you’d like to open, generally. Then you can ask the tool to “Scroll forward,” and it will ask which part of the screen you’d like to scroll. Once you’re finished reading the email, you can say “Go back,” or “Go home.” It provides more fine-grained controls than other voice commands you might use on your phone—for example, letting you use your voice to “click” buttons and controls within apps, or scroll and navigate app screens.
This update also adds new commands to help you get things done faster in your favorite apps. Instead of saying “tap search” and then “type kittens,” you can simply say “search for kittens” inside YouTube, Photos and many other apps where you’re looking for a kitten fix.
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When you first install or upgrade to the new version, you can choose to have Voice Access start whenever you use your phone Or if you like, you can just say “Hey Google, Voice Access” when you need it, this melds Google Assistant and Voice Access together in an intuitive way. Additionally, users can say Assistant voice commands like “Set a timer” without being kicked out of Voice Access. In fact, many people without disabilities will also be interested in using this app; it makes one-handed use an absolute breeze.
An updated version of Voice Access, is available in Beta, that is easier to use and available to more people. This version of Voice Access is now available globally to devices running Android 6.0 and above.