iOS & Android Screen Reader Gesture Reference Cheatsheet

Mobile Accessibility is critical to reaching all audiences.  A product is accessible when a person with a disability can have an experience equivalent to that of a person without a disability.  For example:

  • A person who is blind using a screen reader or a talking browser can navigate your information and interact with it.
  • A person with low-vision can magnify the screen and understand the content.
  • A person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing can read captions in multimedia presentations.
  • A person with a dexterity limitation can use the alternative input devices for all interaction, or can use speech recognition software.
  • A person with ADHD or dyslexia can use and understand the content and complete tasks.


Users who are blind will use a screen reader to navigate and access information on mobile devices.  The screen readers are included in the device operating system and can be turned on in the device settings.  When you turn on the screen reader, the gestures and keyboard shortcuts change.


On iOS, the screen reader is VoiceOver.  VoiceOver can be turned on by going to Settings, General, Accessibility, then VoiceOver.   The speech rate, rotor settings and other related setting to VoiceOver can be set from this screen.  When you turn on VoiceOver, there is an option for VoiceOver Practice.  This helps user learn the gestures for VoiceOver.


On Android, the screen reader is TalkBack.  Like iOS, the Android Talkback screen reader can be turned on in the Settings, Accessibility (under System heading), then TalkBack.  In the Talkback settings, there is an option to “Launch Explore by touch Tutorial”.   This will review the basic gestures available with Talkback.

Categories: Accessibility Strategy