Google decouples some Android accessibility features from OS updates

We’ve split some accessibility features into separate apps. Switch Access has graduated from the Android Accessibility Suite and is now available on the Play Store. Providing Switch Access functionality through a separate app allows Google to roll out updates more frequently instead of doing it at the OS level.

This move could allow Google to offer Switch Access functionality on older devices as well. This app is available starting with Android 8 (aka Android Oreo) in 2017.

Switch Access allows users to interact with their phones and tablets using means other than touchscreens. Note. You can use the front-facing camera to use external devices such as keyboards and buttons connected via USB or Bluetooth. You can also control other aspects of the phone using the onboard volume buttons.

Users can set one or more switches (such as front-facing cameras or other devices) through the app. You can define how your app scans the screen to find actions it can take. The app can move through all items one at a time, scan one line at a time, or use a moving line to select a location on the screen.

Switch Access also allows you to assign groups of actions to different switches. Hit the switch corresponding to the color around the action you want to access, then keep narrowing things down until you reach the correct element.As As you point out, selecting an item makes several interaction options available such as select, scroll, copy and paste. Menus at the top of the screen provide access to system-wide settings, notifications, home screens, and a way to record shortcuts for frequent and more complex actions.

To get started with Switch Access, go to the title menu of your device’s accessibility settings. The Switch Access app is free.

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