4 Steps to changing the display language used by Android devices

Many users purchase an Android smartphone or tablet that comes with the user interface in English and they want to have it translated into their local language, like Spanish, Chinese, German and so on. Luckily, most (if not all) Android smartphones and tablets offer this feature straight from the box and all it takes is a couple of taps to change the display language that is used on your device. Here’s what you have to do in order to change the language used for displaying the Android operating system:

NOTE: This guide applies to Android 7 Nougat and Android 6 Marshmallow. The procedure is similar on all Android powered devices, so you should be set even if you're running a different version on Android on your device. Our guide was created using a Google Nexus 6P smartphone, with a clean distribution of Android 7 Nougat.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your Android device

The first step is to open the Settings app on your Android smartphone or tablet. You can do that in many ways, including by tapping on its shortcut in the Apps drawer.

Step 2: Find the settings for languages and input

Scroll down the list of available settings until you find the Personal group of settings. There you will find an entry named Languages & Input , below which you can see the active display language used by the Android operating system.

Tap on Languages & Input.

Step 3: Add the display language(s) that you want to use on your Android device

Here, you will find all the settings related to language, from the display language of the device to the spell checker, the virtual keyboard input language or the voice-activated settings. For now, tap on the first option in this screen: Languages.

To add a new display language, tap “+ Add a language”.

A list is shown with all the available display languages that you can add and use on your Android device. Scroll down the list until you find the language that you are looking for and then tap on its name.

The language that you selected is now added to the list of active display languages. You can follow the instructions in this section to add as many display languages as you wish.

Step 4: Activate the display language that you want to use

Now you have added the display languages that you are interested in. However, the default display language is still the one that you have used so far: English. To change the active display language, drag the language that you want to use to the top of the list with installed display languages. Drag that language using the = sign on the right side of its name.

When a language is moved to the top of this list, Android immediately starts using it. When you are satisfied with the change, close the Settings app.

A word of advice

Be advised, though, that by choosing the main display language of the device as a different language, you have only changed the language in which the system menus, app drawer and the Google specific apps (Contacts, Maps, Phone, Photos, etc.) are displayed. The third-party apps you may have installed on your smartphone or tablet may or may not follow or even support the change you just made. Even if they support different languages, this setting may need to be made from within each specific app.