How to change the language in Android (or remove languages)

Many users purchase Android smartphones or tablets that come with the user interface in English, and they want to have it translated into their language, like Spanish, French, Chinese, German and so on. Luckily, most Android smartphones and tablets offer this feature straight out of the box, and all it takes is a couple of taps to change the display language. Here is what you have to do to change the language used for displaying the Android operating system:

IMPORTANT: This guide applies to Android 8 Oreo and Android 9 Pie. In this guide, we use two sets of screenshots and instructions: one that applies to Android 8 Oreo (on the left), and another that applies to Android 9 Pie (on the right). If you do not know what version of Android you have, read this guide and find out: What version of Android do I have? 3 ways of checking!.

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.

The Settings shortcut in Android

Step 2: Find the settings for languages and input

Look for the System entry in the Settings, and tap on it.

Go to System settings in Android

The list of settings that are loaded differs based on the Android version that you use.

However, both in Android 8 Oreo and Android 9 Pie, you have to tap on Language & input.

Android system settings: tap Languages & input

In Android 8 Oreo, tap the Languages entry, while in Android 9 Pie, tap Language.

Tap the Language settings in Android

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

Now you see the display language(s) that are installed on your Android smartphone or tablet. The first language in the list is the one used to display the operating system and your apps. To add a new display language, tap "Add a language" or "Add Language."

Add a language in Android

A list is shown with all the available display languages that you can 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. For this tutorial, we chose "Espanol (Estados Unidos)" because Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and many of our readers might be interested in using it. You can add any language you wish, from Hindi to Finnish, Japanese or Traditional Chinese.

Choose the language to add in Android

The language that you select is added to the list of installed display languages. You can repeat the steps in this section to add as many display languages as you wish.

IMPORTANT: The list of available display languages depends on your Android version, the specific smartphone (or tablet) that you use, its manufacturer, and the mobile operator. For example, if you have a locked smartphone bought from your local mobile operator, the firmware on it might give you access to a limited list of display languages.

Step 4: Activate the language that you want to use in Android

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, tap and hold the lines near the name of the language that you want to use, and drag it to the top of the list.

Change the language in Android

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

How to remove a display language in Android

If you do not need a particular display language, you can delete it. However, you should install and activate the display language that you want to keep. Once you do that, go to the Language preferences screen, by following the instructions shared in steps 1 and 2. Then, click the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen, near the text Language preferences. A menu is shown, with only one option: Remove or "Remove languages." Tap on it.

Remove languages in Android

Android displays a checkbox near the name of each installed language. Check the box near the name of the language(s) that you want to remove. Keep in mind that you can remove any number of languages, but you should keep one to be used by Android. :)

Then, tap the Remove button. Its position is different based on the Android version that you use.

Choose the language to remove in Android

You are asked to confirm that you want to delete the selected language(s). Tap OK, and you are done.

Confirm the removal of the selected language

You can close the Settings app.

Did you get to change the display language in Android?

Be advised though, that by choosing the primary display language of the device as a different language, you 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 Android smartphone or tablet may or may not follow or support the change you just made. If you have problems, do not hesitate to share them with others, below.