Android 12 features we love: A proper one-handed mode

One Handed Mode Pixel 5 Android
One Handed Mode Pixel 5 Android (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you are a lover of big beautiful phones, you probably have seen a one-handed mode in the settings or have even used it — unless you have something like the Pixel 4a 5G or the Pixel 4 XL. That's because Google hasn't developed a one-handed mode as part of Android. Until we see Android 12, that is.

Google needs a one size fits all solution for every phone.

Manufacturers like Samsung built a one-handed mode for its Ultra sized phones, and most companies that make the other best Android phones have done the same. These companies know that it's a feature we'll use because most people can't reach the whole way across a ginormous display to tap something.

The only issue with this is that each and every phone maker does it a little differently. That's because it's up to Google to build a proper one-handed mode as part of Android so it can work on every phone. That's a big ask; think about all the different models of phone and all the differences in the launchers of each and you can understand why making a one-size-fits-all solution isn't easy.

It is important, though, because unless everything works uniformly eventually someone will develop an app that doesn't work correctly across all devices because of all those different one-handed modes. Google really wants all apps to work on all phones running Google-fied Android.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central

This is one of those times that Google did it right. It took inspiration from other manufacturers like Samsung and made a simple but very effective way to reach everything on the screen. It's also easy to set up and use, which is how great software is supposed to be.

It's easy to set up and easy to use. We love that!

You'll find the way to enable it under the Gestures portion of the System settings on your Pixel if you're running the Android 12 Developer Preview. Once enabled, all you need to do is put your thumb or finger at the bottom edge of the display and swipe down.

Your full-screen display morphs into a half-sized rendition of the content, making it possible to reach everything with one thumb. It's super handy for typing or reaching an object that would normally be up high on the screen, and it's easy to turn on and off.

We're not sure if what we see in Android 12 DP 2 is the final product, but if it is, we have zero complaints. A simple solution to a universal problem is just perfect.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.