Nexus 7: How to Turn Off Text To Speech (aka Talkback)

I was playing around with the text to speech functions (aka TalkBack) on my new Google Nexus 7 by Asus, and quickly realized that it was going to be difficult to disable it.

The text to speech options are primarily built for people with sight issues, so it completely changes how you navigate the tablet entirely. If you skipped the tutorial completely, you will be completely lost right away.

First, activating any button requires a single tap to select it, then a double tap anywhere on the screen to activate it. For example, you may want to double tap the Apps button, but if you double tap it with another app selected, that app will open instead.

The main problem is that you can’t seem to access the Accessibility settings again, because it won’t scroll to the lower section of the Settings section, where the Accessibility options are.

Here’s how I turned off the TalkBack function. Remember, every time you want to activate a button, you have to tap it, then double-tap the screen.

1. Open up the Apps screen.

Google Nexus 7 - Apps Button

2. Open up the Settings screen.

Google Nexus 7 - Settings

3. Open the Apps section of Settings.

Google Nexus 7 - Settings - Apps

4. Select the Running tab at the top and select TalkBack.

Google Nexus 7 - Settings - Apps - TalkBack

5. Select the Settings button on the TalkBack screen.

Google Nexus 7 - TalkBack Settings

6. Select TalkBack from the list.

Google Nexus 7 - TalkBack

7. Select the On/Off radio button at the top, and select OK when prompted.

Google Nexus 7 - Turn off TalkBack

TalkBack should now be turned off, and your Google Nexus 7 tablet should be back to normal functionality.



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Comments

  1. amit sharma says

    Thanks a lot. I invested about one hour to change it but in vain. Your tutorial really saved me. Note also I have 2 logins ,2users can log into my nexus 7.in one user login I had a problem. In other login it was working fine. So there I search ur site for rescue. So advice everybody to create at least 2 users in ur device.in settings you can create users.

  2. Liane says

    Thanks you save my Nexus 7 from being thrown over the balcony. I can’t believe how user unfriendly that was. Where did their engineers go to school?

    I would never have figured that out on my own.

  3. alain says

    if the settings screen is on second or third screen and you can not scroll to it, use two or three fingers to scroll!!!
    Yipeee

  4. Precious says

    LORD have mercy!!! This was absolutely crazy! I turned this talk back function on last night and boom-chick-a-boom–I was in Android heII. My co-worker found this solution for me today–not me. I was in the forums looking for an answer.

    I do hope that the Developers, Documenter’s and the QA folk are looking at these comments that everyone is posting and plan to make some changes regarding this functionality. I tell ya, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a first time Android Tablet user. And when I wanted to show off my tablet, people laughed at it and said….”See, that is why I stick to IPad”! I was trying to stick up for Nexus but couldn’t as long as it was flaking out like it was.

    Embarrassing.

    This kind of function should be sent with a WARNING of some kind. “Enter This Mode at Your Own Risk!!”, or something to that affect. And/or the solution to get out of it should be made an app/widget itself and/or posted on the first page of Googles website. Something! Someplace where it is very visible. I truly don’t see how this can help the blind or those with low vision. I don’t see as well as I should, and it definitely didn’t help me. If there were instructions when I turned this on, I couldn’t see them! Seems to be more of a hindrance than anything for whoever sees it (or not sees it).

    Anywho, thank you to whoever was kind enough to post this TALK BACK remedy. You have soothed my savage soul and I love you (and my co-worker who found you) MADLY.

  5. Mapleson says

    You would think Google would let the visually challenged scroll. Thank goodness I still have an old laptop so I could see past step one of this tremendous tutorial!

  6. Kim says

    MAN…YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER!!!
    THANKS SO MUCH
    THIS IS THE MOST UNNERVING THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!!!
    GOOGLE SHOULD FIX THAT GLITCH QUICK…IT’S SERIOUS!!!
    P.S
    For those for whom Talkback is hidden in the Running Apps screen, here’s a tip: Force stop one of two programs …Talkback will appear and then you can force stop it

  7. gia says

    thank you so much I thought I was going to kill this machine,, thank you so much,, you are amazing this information has been so so helpful:)

  8. James McFerrin says

    Thank you thank you. My wife bought the book on how to work her new Nexus 7 and guess what she wanted to try. Talk back!!!! Then hands it to me to make it well again. Great step by step. Thanks again. I have my life back.

  9. says

    I use Google Nexus, where the settings are in the different page where I had to scroll. I struggled for 1 hour, then I received an update somehow went into the setting then to Running Apps. I faced the same problem as I have 142 apps in my phone….the “Talk Back” which starts with a ‘T’ is again not listed.

    I then got the brilliant idea to stop all runnings Apps (except Settings which i’m currently using) until the Talk Back comes up & stopped it.

  10. Roger says

    Thanks very much. I used the same technique on my new Nexus 4 phone. It had this a default when first I switched it on. I was about to throw it out the window as it was driving me crazy. So thanks – it works like a normal phone again :-)

  11. Michael says

    Thank you very very much :-) I just spent an hour trying to get out of accessibility mode and like another poster the solution you mentioned which did the trick was the tap and double tap

  12. Sandra says

    Thank goodness for this wonderful step by step info. Sooo glad you posted this. Many thanks. Was going round in circles til I found this.

  13. Jeremy says

    great info. I wish this was as easy to use as on my imac. Highlight text and push two keys to start and same two keys to stop.

  14. john says

    Tried it but itdidnt work. Talkback wasn’t running, but found it in “all” Even when disabled as an app it still talked back. But disabling Google text to speech engine has done the trick.
    I’m using Jellybean, by the way.
    John

    • john says

      I’m still having problems, but I’ve found another solution.
      Settings/Apps/All/Google text to speech/Clear cache.
      Don’t know why this works, but it does! Slight problem is that it is only temporary – it reverts to talking again after a week or so, but it is soon silenced as above.

  15. rosemarie o'reilly says

    thank you so much, it is 1.53am and i was just about to throw it out the window………. i owe you big time xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx my hero xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  16. says

    There are very good instructions. Yes, I was playing around with my Nexus and turned on the Text to Speech function. That was 2 days ago and I still can’t turn it off. The problem I am having is that my settings app is on the 2nd page of my apps screen and I am having a difficult of getting the screen to slide to the 2nd page. Can you please send me an email and tell me how I can access that? I am here with a laptop and a smartphone as well, so I should be able to receive your email.
    Kenneth Thomas.

  17. Cindy says

    Thanks so much for your help….I was ready to return it to the store for a refund as I couldn’t get anyone to help turn talkback off.

  18. Miyah says

    Thank you so much!! I decided to play around with the settings and thought I’d try the talkback feature..big mistake! This was very helpful.

  19. cyborgz says

    THANK YOU!!!! It was driving me crazy and by the time I found your website my google restore had already restored so many apps I could not get to the setting button.

    I managed to hit something that got me to settings and from there it was great. I was able to turn it off.

    THANKS !!!!

    cyborgz

  20. Naresh says

    Thanks a lot. With your detailed procedure, I could stop talkback. Talkback is very nuisance feature of Nexus 7.

  21. Dennis says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Great help. I got this for my wife for Christmas and somehow she turned this thing on. It drove me crazy trying to figure out how to get it off. That tap, double tap stuff was a real pain to get it to finally turn off. Many thanks again man.

  22. Leif says

    Thanks, man! This nearly drove me crazy! I tried for half an hour to disable the Talkback but failed miserably. Then I found this excellent tutorial! Kudos to you!

  23. Sean says

    Thanks! This was a rescue for me! The only difficulty was not being able to scroll the screen up to find the talkback app. I found that the suggested technique of tap and double tap elsewhere worked- I just had to slide up on the screen and then double tap. A shocking piece of software design- thanks for posting this to get me out!

  24. Ian says

    Or you could navigate as you’re meant to by single clicking on an icon, then double click anywhere to select it.

    Hold 2 fingers on the screen allows you to scroll if you want to, then you can get straight to the normal disable method.

  25. Sulem says

    Most important thing (at least is for me) is to use two fingers to scroll pages up and down
    I got driving crazy because my nesux got so many apps running at the same time

  26. Dupree says

    Finally! I am using the Nexus 7 with elementary students and thought this would be a great option for nonreaders…. Nope! I don’t think I’ll ever attempt it again… Ever! lol! Thank you so much for the directions, once I was actually able to access the settings, the steps were on point! Thank you! :)

  27. mae says

    THANK YOU!

    After several long hours I have finally turned off the Talkback feature and may never be brave enough to turn it back on again.

    That being said, I had one hiccup with your instructions in that my “settings” button was on the second page of apps which I could not get to from page one while stuck in circular Talkback hell.

    By accident and plenty of more random clicking alternating with swearing profusely in hour seven I moved one of the app icons to it’s own homepage and discovered I could then double-tap and long hold it. Next I slid it up to the top to “remove”.

    This enabled a space on the main apps page, and the settings icon was one icon closer to page one. Not every icon can be dealt with this way so although I am no expert I recommend only removing the add-ons that are the playful fun ones you can live without ever needing again.

    Eventually I was able to reach the Settings icon on that initial apps page and viola! I had regained control to the all powerful Nexus7. And yes I consider it all powerful as it is now 5 am and has stolen enough of my sleep.

    Your information was a sight for very sore eyes but crushing at the same time when I realized where my Settings were located. I hope this will assist some of your other readers find a way out of the seventh circle!

    Cheers, Mae

  28. sandy says

    i want to thank you so much for explaining how to turn off talk options …..i thought i was losing my mind!!! it was greatly appreciated…;)))

    • Cheryl says

      Many, many thanks! Restored, I had the same problem Mae had; and the two finger scroll worked! Yay, back to normal; life is good. No factory reset for me, after I learned the code to at least move & turn off; now back to normal. Will research settings before I go forward…

  29. Cecile saenz says

    I finally called support, I could not do anything with it, the tech. walked me thru it. I am staying away from this app.

  30. Alex says

    Apparently you didn’t actually deal with this problem firsthand. once Talk back is turned on, going to settings is virtually impossible because app buttons no longer function the way they should. I was actually able to finally access settings by using Google voice search and saying “settings”. It was only then that I was able to shut off the nightmare called “Talk back”.

    • says

      Actually I did deal with this first had, I turned it on and found it difficult to turn off.. hence the article.

      If you read carefully, navigating changes dramatically when “text to speech” is turned on. In order to activate an icon, you press it once to select it and then tap the screen again to “press” it. However you can’t get back to it directly, since you are unable to scroll down to get to the section you need to get to in order to turn it off, which is why I went through the apps section. That is a good suggestion however, using the google voice function to get back to it.

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