Customising the New Talkback Gestures

Did you know

  • That with the release of Android 11, Android Accessibility Suite from Google and Voice Assistant were merged into a single product?
  • That the new Talkback gesture system was synced with that of Voice Assistant?
  • That as a result of this development, we now only have Talkback?
  • That you can customise the new gesture system to the extent of overriding the default configurations to your liking? For instance, if you’ve been comfortable with the Voice Assistant gestures, or you are from an iOS platform, you can configure the two-, three or four-finger gesture to simulate the behaviour you are used to.
  • That text selection menus are now also customisable.

My own gestures

Taking advantage of the above stated facts, I managed to have all the two-finger gestures set for reading while the three-fingers are to be used for text-selection and navigation. Thus, here is my own system:

Two-finger double tapPlay/Pause music, answer call
Two-finger double tap and holdRead from next item
Two-finger tap thriceBring Talkback menu
Three-finger single tap and holdStart/end text selection
Three-finger double tapCopy
Three-finger double tap and holdCut
Three-finger thrice tapPaste
Three-finger thrice tap and holdSelect all
Three-finger swipe upBack
Three-finger swipe downHome
Three-finger swipe leftOverview
Three-finger swipe rightNotification


The new gesture system has lots of options which you can customise in Talkback. While the screen-reader still has some rough edges, hopefully as Android 12 is on its way, we might see some improvements in these.

Ishe Chinyoka
Ishe Chinyoka
Access Technology Instructor

My research interests include operating systems, access technology, programming, and science fiction.