Often, sites with the right articles have a lot of ads that interfere with reading. And now Google has released an Android application for such a case – “Reading Mode”.
Google’s Reader Mode was released late last year and is designed to provide accessibility – it makes it easier to read content on your phone if you have low vision. You can adjust the font, font size, colors, and spacing to fine-tune the way text is presented. To read content aloud, you can also use Google’s built-in text-to-speech transcription, which you can customize with different voices and adjust the speed. The best part is that, unlike the reading modes built into some browsers, the Reading Mode app works with just about anything displayed on your phone, be it Chrome, the built-in browser, or the app itself.
Of course, like many other special features, reading mode can benefit anyone who uses their phone to read, and I would venture to guess that this is everyone who has a phone. It removes all non-text content – images, links, ads, pop-ups, videos, etc. – and leaves only the text in a modal tab that is easy to scroll and view. It even tells you how long it will take to read a particular article. When activated, “Reading Mode” will also disable notifications and other system pop-ups, giving you a brief respite from all the annoying messages from your phone while reading.
Once installed, there are several ways to launch Reader Mode. Here’s how to set it all up:
- Download the Reading Mode app from the Google Play Store. It’s compatible with Android 9 or later, which should cover the vast majority of devices in use today. You can use it with content in English, French, Spanish or Italian (hopefully more languages will be added soon).
- Once the app is installed and you open it, it will help you set it up on your phone. To enable it, go to your device accessibility settings. You will need to approve a request that allows the application to view what is displayed on the device screen.
- By default, the reading mode is activated by a virtual button that is always on the screen – tap it and the application will be activated. You can also launch it by pressing and holding both volume keys. If you click on the More Options link under Quick Access Options, you can switch the virtual button to a gesture by swiping up with two fingers from the bottom of the screen to turn it on.
- The first time you use Reading View, it will introduce you to the features and settings. Clicking on the gear in the bottom left corner opens the text and sound customization options, while the button in the bottom right corner gives quick access to adjusting the font size. Press the play button in the middle to activate audio playback. Tap above the Reading View bar, or simply swipe down on it, and it will hide, revealing the content below it.
And that’s pretty much it – you now have a system-wide Google way to make it easier to read on your phone.