Switching from iOS to Android: Help or hindrance?

Other Apple Chat

Hi everyone,

I would like the opinion of the AppleVis community on the following topic: "Switching from iOS to Android: Help or hindrance?". I'm thinking about purchasing the latest Samsung smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and I would like your most honest opinion before I make a final decision. I currently own an iPad Air and I would like to switch from iOS to Android. Should I switch from one Operating System to another or should I give up?



Submitted by Chris on Sunday, August 23, 2015

Here are my thoughts. Just be aware that you may get somebiased comments from others since this is an Apple website. I'll hopefully try not to be biased and make this as neutral as possible.

If you want an open ecosystem where you can choose your own text to speech engine, keyboard, home screen, web browser, etc, then go with Android. If you want to use removable storage, don't get the S6. I personally think both operating systems have perks and drawbacks. I would say that TalkBack is pretty close to the level that VoiceOver is at right now. The other thing you should keep in mind is that there are a lot of different Android devices out there. If you want better accessibility than the stock Android experience, get a Samsung device like the S6. However, keep in mind that Samsung no longer offers expandable storage via SD cards. If this is an issue for you, get something else. I prefer stock Android myself because it is mostly accessible.

This might sound odd, but keep your iPhone. If you get an unlocked Android phone or a phone that is locked to the same carrier as your iPhone, just swap the sim card to use the same service plan with both systems. Justm ake sure your carrier has GSM and not CDMA. AT&T and Team Mobile are GSM while Verizon and Sprint are CDMA.

I hope this helps you out. I honestly think having both iOS and Android at your fingertips gives you the best of both worlds, just like having Windows and OS X does.

Submitted by jack on Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chriss is absolutely right. Both systems have ups and downs, so it's good to have both systems. I for one have a nexus5 as well as my ipod5 whcih I don't use much because it's getting old, is slower on the ios8 and above, and is overall just not up to standards anymore. Selling it and then getting an ipod6 is a nice idea, but honestly at this point in time who in this world would take an ipod5 when we have the ipod6 out? But, just like running windows on my mac, I run both ios and android. With both systems having ups and downs, the best thing to do is to have both systems.

Submitted by André Silva on Sunday, August 23, 2015

In reply to by Chris

Hi Chris,

Thank you for enlightening me with your comments. However, I would like to ask you some questions. Just like before, I would like your nutral answers to these questions. Here they go:
1. What are the diferences between Google Talkback and Galaxy Talkback? What are the advantages between both screen readers? What are the drawbacks of both these screen readers?
2. What is Direct Access and how do I use it? What is the difference between Direct Access and the accessibility shortcut?
3. What are the default gestures of Galaxy Talkback and Google Talkback? Could you give me some tips for using the L-shaped gestures and their respective function, please?
4. What are the diferences between the Global Context Menu and the Local Context Menu?
I seriously hope I can count on your help. Once again, thank you very much for enlightening me with your comments.
All the best,
André Filipe Silva

Submitted by Chris on Sunday, August 23, 2015


Galaxy TalkBack is a custom version of TalkBack created by Samsung. From what I've read, it has more gestures than the standard Google Talkback including gestures to read battery life and play/pause media. I don't know too much about it since I don't have a Samsung device. Direct Access is exactly like the accessibility shortcut. When you select an accessibility feature like TalkBack, pressing the home key three times turns the feature on or off.

Now, let me talk about Google Talkback as I am far more familiar with it. TalkBack doesn't include some of the features and extra gestures that Galaxy Talkback has. The basic gestures for both screen readers are the same as iOS. Flicking left and right takes you to the previous and next item. Double tapping activates the item. You can drag your finger around the screen to move around. TalkBack allows you to scroll by moving 2 fingers up and down on the screen. I wouldn't recommend using the l-shaped gestures. You can customize what all the gestures do in TalkBack settings. I would also recommend that you set the context menus to list instead of the circle thing. The differenece between the global and local context menus is that the gobal menu shows you options like tts settings and TalkBack settings which are always available. The local context menu changes to reflect where you are. If you really want to use the l gestures, try to move your finger in a single continuous motion. For example, place your finger on the screen and move it down then right in 1 smooth motion to open the global context menu. Again, you can change what these gestures do in TB settings.

If you have a bluetooth keyboard, you can also use it to control TalkBack. There is a section in the settings that lets you customize keyboard commands. The basic keyboard commands are alt shift left and right arrow to move to the previous and next item, alt shift space to activate an item, alt shift r to activate the recent apps screen, alt shift n to activate notifications, and I believe alt shift h to go to the home screen. I may be missing a couple commands. Hope this helps. Someone more familiar with Galaxy TalkBack should describe it better than I can.

Hi Chris,

Once again, I would like your neutral answer to another set of questions. Here it goes:
1. What are the diferences between downloading apps from the Google PlayStore and using APK files?
2. I'm having some trouble playing Stem Stumper, a game for blind iOS and Android device users. To be more specific, I'm having trouble in the Desert 2 garden on levels 2 to 10. Could you give me some tips on how to obtain three curious carrots on these levels of this game, please?
All the best,

Submitted by Chris on Saturday, September 5, 2015


Installing apps from the play Store is much easier than installing APK files. In order to install APK files, you need to go into settings under security and check allow unknown sources for installing apps. I can't help you with Stemstumper as I never really liked that game.

Submitted by Usman on Sunday, September 6, 2015

I'm a little surprised and disappointed that the discussion is allowed to continue as this is an apple website. There is an android site like this one I believe that he could visit to ask these questions.

Submitted by André Silva on Sunday, September 6, 2015

In reply to by Usman

Hi Usman,

If this is the General Chat section of the AppleVis forum, I believe we, as users of this forum, have the right to write whatever we want. If this is the General Chat area, we can write about whichever topic comes into our mind at the moment. The purpose of the General Chat forum is, as its name suggests, to write just about anything concerning blindness and accessible technology for blind people other than Apple technology. Sorry if my comment is offensive but I would also like to share my own thoughts about other accessible technology for blind people other than Apple technology.
Best wishes,

Submitted by AppleVis on Sunday, September 6, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Just to clarify, this area of the forum is for Apple-related discussion which does not fall within the scope of the other areas of the forum. It is not intended for discussion of anything which does not fall within the general scope of AppleVis.

So, in relation to this specific thread, discussion of the relative merits of iOS and Android is completely on-topic. Seeking tips and suggestions for actually using an Android phone is not.


Sorry if my thread was off-topic. I made a terrible mistake when I wrote the thread about seeking help on how to use Android devices from a blindness perspective. As a result, I would like to ask you a question. Will my account be removed from AppleVis because of the abovementioned thread or not?
All the best,

Hello André,

Don’t worry, your account is most certainly not at risk of being removed because of this post (smile)

As we said, general discussion of the relative merits of iOS and Android is completely on-topic, and your original post loosely fell within that.

If the discussion moves to the specifics of actually using an Android phone, then that starts to take things off-topic. The reality is, also, that there are far better places available to ask those questions and where you are likely to get more informed answers.

Submitted by André Silva on Monday, September 7, 2015

In reply to by AppleVis

Hi everyone,

I'm unsure of a place in this forum where I can post questions about labeling unlabeled buttons with VoiceOver. Could anyone help me out, please?
All the best,

Submitted by Justin on Monday, September 7, 2015

Hi andre,
I think theres a link on the main page for adding content. you can select to add a forum topic or whatever you need to add from there.