Big Google Keyboard update brings one-handed mode, layout tweaks and more!

A pretty major update is now rolling out for the Google Keyboard, bringing a load of new tweaks and features, including one-handed mode. And it's that addition of one-handed mode that is probably the biggest change, allowing you to easily adjust the keyboard for left- or right-handed use in the keyboard's settings.

Google Keyboard One Handed Mode

Also new in this update is the ability to customize the keyboard height. Thanks to a new option in the settings menu, you can drag a slider to adjust the height of the keyboard from short to tall, which should make compensating for different hand sizes much easier. There are also some new gestures that can be enabled from the settings menu, including the ability to move the cursor by sliding across the space bar, or deleting words by sliding left from the delete key.

Keyboard Height

A more minor change — but cool nonetheless — is that there is now a number key to the left of the spacebar on the full keyboard. Tapping it will give you quick access to a three-by-three number pad layout with a selection of relevant symbols (plus, minus, etcetera) on each side. Another interface tweak places an emoji shortcut to the right side of the spacebar as well, offering quicker access to the colorful characters.

This rather large update is currently in the process of rolling out on Google Play, so it will likely take some time to reach everyone. However, there's plenty to like here, especially for those looking for easier one-handed typing.

Have you received the update yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster
70 Comments
  • I guess the number button is a improvement, but I'd still prefer a dedicated number row like SwiftKey. Also emoji predictions when entering text, come on Google these are simple things! Posted via my Nexus 6P.
  • You've been able to get a dedicated number row for awhile now. Google it.
  • The PC layout is crap, it should have a dedicated number row without that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't think the workaround is quite the same thing. It totally jacks your keyboard up. It should be a native feature with the app.
  • But when you do that you get some weird layout with your letters and random punctuations all over. I just want a number row, there's a 3rd party rip off of the Google keyboard I've seen before that has it. Posted via my Nexus 6P.
  • Does the update provide a dedicated number row? I read the article but I didn't see it mentioned. And I want a row, not a pad Posted via the Android Central App
  • nope
  • Until they do that I'll continue to switch between swiftkey&touchwiz Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just set my hold delay to very short and then use that to get numbers from the top row.
    Although a dedicated number row might help with stuff like ! and #. But short press on . takes care of that for me Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like the 3x3 munger pad more than the number row, if your dealing with a physical keypad, or cash register you'll easily like it more than a row of numbers, entering phone numbers in text is all the way across the screen& more that it's just not right imo.
  • Me too...I'm very glad to see the number pad addition (no pun intended)!
  • The new version also appears to have a nifty feature when you're logging into an app or website. When you highlight a password field, the suggestion bar becomes a number row. - AP. its something.
  • I actually quite rather prefer not to have a dedicated row. I don't mind long pressing for short numbers, or switching to "?1:)" for larger numbers Posted via the Android Central App
  • I want this update! Looks awesome! Posted via the Android Central App
  • APK from Android Police. i have it and it's awesome! AT&T Galaxy Note 4
  • Thanks! Got it. It's a huge improvement and a joy to type on. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Finally a number pad! That's gonna be SO useful! It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • Doesn't seem to be compatible with N Preview 2 yet, at least via direct APK install. It's says that the package appears to be corrupt.
  • Correct, we will have to wait. Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • Finally!!! I just can't type / swype anything proper on XPE unless I use both hands Moto XPE/VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Yep,with stock Posted via the Android Central App
  • good luck using the one handed mode.....how many phones out there can actually be used with one hand?? honestly.
  • I use (and type one handed) on my Note 4 no problem. I certainly don't have massive hands. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I one hand my Nexus 6 all the time as well, and U think I have normal size hands for the average male. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use my Nexus 6P one handed almost indefinitely. I do like the Google keyboard because of the numberroute row in pc mode, however, I couldn't shrink the keyboard to leftie one handed use. Totally sucked, Swype is still the best, however, there's no dedicated number row. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Will it make me switch from SwiftKey? I hope so. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Looking closer at the change log: "One handed mode on the Nexus 6 will now require 3 hands instead of 4. We are pleased to push out a 25% more efficient board for Nexus 6 users."
  • Lol
    So true Moto XPE/VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • I always used two hands when I had the 2013 Moto X. I find it more comfortable this way. Everyone is always complaining about one handed use. Don't get it. Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • The decider is if you prefer to Peck or swipe. I do both interchangeably, so I do prefer two hands. People who predominantly swipe like one handed operation. You must chronically Peck. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I always thought you were a pecker! J/k!!
  • Ex wife always called me the other "p" word. Think of word after pin. Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • Pr/ck? Lol. Wife calls me that everyday....
  • I know you are but what am I?! Sticks and stones may break...ah whatevs... You get it Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was never any good at swiping Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • I want to switch to the Google keyboard since SwiftKey wad purchased by Microsoft but it still feels limited. The auto correction can't keep up with my errors like SwiftKey does. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Swiftkey's greatest attraction is its prediction mode, but its ability to swipe words correctly is absolute garbage. Swype kills Swiftkey in that regard. Swiftkey just misinterpreted too many wrong words. You're constantly correcting with that app. Both the Google and Swype keyboards are better when it comes to typing my intended words. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, in English. Just English. Any language other than English and Google Keyboard COMPLETELY falls apart. SwiftKey STILL performs better in non native languages. This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • I know about the intended words. My issue is when I fat finger it and have a run on more times than none SwiftKey catches it. I also like how the auto correct adjusts automatically between languages. No need to switch from one to the other. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So far I haven't seen Microsoft ruin any Android software they have purchased. They made Accompli a lot better, even if Nine for Exchange is still better than what is now known as MS Outlook. They improved Sunrise Calendar. I understand the concern, but it's probably worth seeing if things actually change for the worse before switching to a different keyboard. It's a lot more likely to get better. MS is actually very good with keyboards. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A dark theme would be nice...... Posted via the Android Central App
  • settings...appearances and layout....and select themes, "Material Dark" theme. voila
  • Yeah it's under appearance and layout in the keyboard settings, unless he means they've removed it in this update... but u think that would've been mentioned. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • I'm surprised Google hasn't managed to get simultaneous language support. Swiftkey has had it since the beginning. This is a must for anyone who types 50/50 between languages and don't want to have to keep changing the language every time.
  • Am just annoyed that the pinyin (Chinese) keyboard for Google is a completely separate app, seemingly made by a different team, with different features. Has had size adjust FOREVER. Wish they would merge it Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've actually been using the BlackBerry keyboard, and really liking it. I can hammer out a bunch of gibberish, and it basically knows what I meant. Is the Google keyboard good at correcting that type of thing as well?
  • I love the Google keyboard, but once they update it with a number row, I'm using it for good
  • +1000 Oh it has been brought up only a few thousand times but will Google listen I wonder?! The people have spoken!
  • Anyone else get the space below the keyboard and soft keys when using one handed mode? Don't see it that way in any photos Posted via the Android Central App
  • bump....no one else??
  • Yeah I get it as well.
  • Any chance it allows you to change the case of the word by hitting the shift key like Swype without having to select the entire word? That's the one thing missing that I wish it had.
  • Since finding Chrooma I no longer have any need for Google Keyboard. It's like the same, but way better! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the recommendation, Chrooma is great. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've temporarily switched back to Google Keyboard. I'll return to using Chrooma once (/if) they implement Google Keyboard's latest features. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wasn't supposed to use my keyboard one-handed before?
  • Finally a height adjustment! :) Maybe I will finally switch from SwiftKey.
  • I like what I'm seeing, but I'm so used to Fleksy now I can't leave that app for anything. I mean, that's literally the only thing that made typing on my mum's iPhone 5S, 4 inches and all, bearable. Also, it made me type super fast on my Note 3, so there's that... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • This one Google VS Swype+Dragon ? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Cool update. I would like to try One-handed mode and the gesture typing. Awaiting the update.
  • I hope this update comes soon
  • Anyone get this update yet? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I got it a couple hours ago. It's amazing. Posted from my Nexus 6.
  • Finally brought back the key borders. Makes it easier to peck. Posted from my Nexus 6.
  • Has anyone received this update on a 6P? I figured it would update by now, it's been over a week.
  • Nope. 5x fi. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I haven't received this update yet. It's been over a week and still isn't live. I've never messed around with APKs and I don't want to change that.
  • Nothing to it really. It's just a different way of getting an app. You can't mess it up. The Android police app site is legit. That said... Waiting ain't no biggy either. But there are times when you would want to use apkmirror. Such as rolling back an update that breaks functionality/buggy, getting device specific apps, or getting an app/update that is not listed in the play store because you are using the N beta. I'm not trying to change your mind (I haven't used it for the keyboard update either)... Just discussing the benefits that some peeps might not think about. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like typing on my 6p a lot more now. My thumb had been cramping up. The ability to resize the keyboard should have been included always for such a large screen size. But I guess better late than never. Posted via Nexus 6P snitches
  • I got the latest update and its okay, but sucks mostly. I had it how I wanted it, including a dedicated number row, and now it's gone and I can't put it back on. You can't add or modify a language anymore which is how you were able to do it previously. So it sucks right now.