Skip to main content

Google might finally be adding a one-handed mode with Android 12

One-handed mode on the Galaxy S21
One-handed mode on the Galaxy S21 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google might be adding a one-handed mode to Android with Android 12.
  • This will largely benefit phones from Google and Nokia as Android OEMs with their own skins have implemented a one-handed mode of their own.
  • Android 12 should make its first appearance in a matter of weeks, but consumer-facing features are not expected to show up till Google I/O.

Google is set to launch Android 12 in just a matter of weeks if past patterns are being followed, a new leak from the folks over at XDA Developers reveals a potential new feature. The company may finally be adding one-handed mode, an accessibility feature that makes using large phones easier. In most incarnations of this feature, the screen is '"shrunken" such that all touchable elements are now placed within reach of one's thumb.

XDA reported on Monday:

We do know that Google's current implementation in Android 12 involves shrinking the screen size down to 40% of its max size. We also know that there will be a way to trigger one-handed mode using the traditional 3-button mode as well as the newer gestural navigation mode. Currently, it's planned for one-handed mode to be added to Settings > System > Gesture > One-Handed, which makes sense since it's triggered using a gesture (likely swiping left/right on the navigation bar).

Most Android users should not see a substantial change when this rolls out. This is because phone makers like Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung, and even Motorola already have a one-handed mode on their phones. With most phones now running between 5.5 to 7 inches, this has become a necessity in place of making small phones. Rather, the benefit of this is that Google's implementation can now be used universally by OEMs if they so choose. Anyone who wants to use Android One or Stock Android will also get this as a "free" feature, meaning that less work needs to be done.

Android 12 is also expected to come with an advanced theming option, a revamped interface with softer edges and more white-space, and a double-tap feature for Pixels. As with all features in development (even those that are officially announced), not all may make it to the finish line.

Are you interested in a one-handed mode on your phone or do you already have one? Let us know in the comments below.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
5 Comments
  • Had no idea stock Android was still missing this, Samsung had it in 2012!
  • LG had had it for quite a while too
  • Yep, when I had my Pixel 3XL a few years ago I honestly couldn't believe there was no One Handed Mode either especially on such a big, unweildly phone. Samsung, Huawei, LG etc etc all had it forever in fact even Apple 🤷🏻‍♂️
  • Can we get a Google messages app for tablets and smartwatchs? Can Android Auto finally work again like it did with Android 10? To smartphone and tablet makers, can we have wide angle front facing cameras? I wish they make things we can actually use.
  • not sure this is something that people will use, personally I really want Chrome address bar and all other buttons weighted to the bottom