change language android phone

Maybe English isn’t your first language? Maybe you want to learn a new language and changing the active language on your phone will help?

Whatever the case, it’s always good to know how to change what language is displayed on your phone. It’s especially helpful if you change it by accident at some point and then need to change it back.

Here’s exactly how you do it, step-by-step, on an Android phone.

Change the Display Language

Settings Android

  1. Open the Android settings menu. You can do this by swiping down from the top of the screen to open the notifications tray. Then, tap the settings icon (gear) in the top right corner.

system general management

  1. Scroll down to System and tap on it. On Samsung phones and some of the newer devices, the menu you’re looking for is General Management. If you’re dealing with a language you don’t speak, instead look for the icon if the menu item is System, or the icon if the menu item is General Management.

language and input

  1. Tap on the Language & Input option. This step should be the same for all devices. Right at the very top, you should see the Language option. Below it will be the active language for the device. For example, if your phone is set to display English, it will say English (United States).Language
  2. Tap on your phone’s current language to change the language. You will be presented with another list of currently active languages installed on the device. If you only have one language installed, then you’ll only see one entry in the list.add language
  3. Tap Add Language to choose one different from the default. It’s right next to a + icon if you cannot read the text, so it should be easy to find. The next list is the available languages you can choose from.Choose another language
  4. Choose a new language from the list. If a particular language has multiple dialects, then you will be able to select the one you want (by region) after tapping on the primary language. The best part about this list is that the languages are all written properly. So, if you accidentally changed your language at an earlier time, you can find your native one in the list easily.

set language as default

  1. Set your new language as the new default. After setting your language, a prompt will appear giving you the option to keep the current language (before the change) as default. Obviously, you want to set the new language as default if you wish to keep it active.
  2. You will be returned to the original list of installed languages. You may need to move your new language to the top of the list, just to be sure.

Change the Input Language

The display language is what you see across many apps and services on your device. It doesn’t, however, affect what you see displayed on your keyboard or input method. You actually have to change this separately.

To change the input language (what you see on your keyboard) so it matches your display language, do the following:

Settings Android

  1. Open the Android settings menu. You can do this by swiping down from the top of the screen to open the notifications tray. Then, tap the settings icon (gear) in the top right corner.

system general management

  1. Tap System in the submenu. On Samsung phones and some of the newer devices, the menu you’re looking for is General Management.

language and input

  1. Tap on the Language & Input option. This step should be the same for all devices.

on-screen keyboard

  1. Tap on either Virtual Keyboard or On-screen Keyboard.

different on screen keyboards

  1. Select the default keyboard you use regularly. This will be in a list of keyboards on your device. 

languages and types

  1. Choose Languages and Types. These options can also be called Languages or Change Input Language. What you see will depend on the brand and Android version of your device. Samsung devices, for example, display Languages and Types.

Manage Input Languages

  1. Click Manage Input Languages. You’ll see a list of active languages, with a field below to add more or manage existing languages. Samsung devices, for example, say Manage Input Languages below the active language list.

Change input language

  1. Toggle On the input language you want to change it to. To change the language you’re using simply turn on or enable the toggle next to the correct field. Some languages may have to be downloaded to make use of.

Now that you have your language active, it’s time to use it. Open an app, message, or section of your phone where you need to keyboard and wait for it to pop-up.

Once available, select the Languages button, denoted by an icon on the keyboard.

You should be able to select the language you enabled in step 7. On other devices, you can long press the spacebar or select one of the arrow buttons to cycle through active languages.

Bottom Line

It may seem convoluted to have to change both the display and input settings, but this helps keep you in full control.

If you change the language by accident, somehow, you’ll at least be able to type properly and vice versa if you change the active language for your virtual keyboard.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.

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