Reading text on smartphones can be problematic for the visually impaired. Because of this, electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets have accessibility features to help visually impaired users use them comfortably.
On Android, Google has a dedicated app that makes the reading experience much better if you’re having trouble reading text on your phone. It’s called Reading Mode, and here’s what it does and how you can use it.
What is reading mode in Android?
Reading mode is an accessibility feature in Android that helps visually impaired users easily consume text content. It removes all the junk from web pages (like website menus, ads, etc.) and only shows the main text and key images to make the content easier to navigate, read and listen to.
In addition to removing web pages to remove unnecessary additions, Reading mode allows you to customize the text size, line height, font family, font weight, background color, and text color for a comfortable reading experience. And if you want to hear the text read aloud, that can help too.
Even if you don’t have a visual impairment, you can still use reading mode for a distraction-free experience while reading articles on the web.
How to use reading mode
Reading Mode is available as an app on the Google Play Store that you can download for free. The only requirement is that your device must be running at least Android 9. So, check your Android version first if you don’t know it already.
Also, despite having a supported version of Android, the exact steps may vary depending on your device. With that in mind, follow these steps to start using reading mode on your Android phone:
- download and install reading mode from Play Store, then open it.
- Tap on the Continue on the home screen and select settings on the next page. This will take you to the Accessibility settings page in the Settings app on your device.
- Under downloaded appsfaucet reading mode.
- Then tap to turn on the Direct access to reading mode on the next page. A pop-up will appear allowing you to give the app full control of your device to make it work. In the popup window, select Allow to enable direct access.
- Right after that, a Reading mode accessibility button will appear on the side of the screen.
- To use reading mode, open your favorite Android browser and visit any website. Touch the shortcut to open the page in reading mode.
Once you’re viewing content in reading mode, you can customize your experience by selecting the settings (the gear icon) at the bottom left to change different options like font size and style.
If you want Reading Mode to read the text on your behalf, tap the Play icon in the bottom center. To exit reading mode, tap the down arrow at the top or swipe down from the top.
How to customize the reading mode shortcut
By default, you can activate reading mode using the dedicated accessibility button, but this may seem annoying to some. If you don’t like the way it looks, there are two other ways to enter reading mode. One, by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, and second, by simultaneously holding down the volume up and volume down keys.
This is how you can customize the activation of reading mode (steps may vary from device to device):
- Open the Settings app and select Accessibility > Reading mode.
- Faucet Direct access to reading mode to open the personalization menu.
- If you want to activate the reading mode with the volume keys, activate Hold down the volume keysthen play Save. With this enabled, you can safely disable Use accessibility gesture (or leave it on to have two ways to activate Reading Mode).
- If you want to use gestures instead of the button, touch More options under Touch the accessibility buttonselect Use button or gestureand set it to Gesture in the popup window. With Gesture enabled, swiping up and holding two fingers from the bottom of the screen activates reading mode.
Read text comfortably and without clutter on Android
Reading mode makes it much easier to read the text. You can customize various aspects to comfortably read long pages or let the app read the text aloud. With reading mode, you can read text on the web and in text-based apps like Gmail, The New York Times, and more. It also eliminates clutter to give you a distraction-free reading experience.