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This article was published on February 16, 2021

Android 12’s rumored one-handed mode could make big phones more usable

Android 12’s rumored one-handed mode could make big phones more usable
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

People love big phones, and companies oblige that demand by releasing devices with monster screens. Heck, even the “mid-sized” iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch screen.

Phones with big displays give you more screen estate to view content bigly, stack two apps in the splitscreen mode, and pack more icons on a page. But sometimes it’s really hard to reach across the screen with one hand.

Thankfully, iPhones have a one-handed mode which you can activate by swiping down on the bottom edge of the screen. Now, Android’s next version could get a similar option too.

iPhone’s reachability mode for one-handed usage

According to a report by XDA Developers, Google is set to include its own implementation of the one-handed mode in the open-source version of Android (AOSP). This means that any phone maker loading Android 12 on their devices will be able to use this out of the box.

The report notes that this feature will shrink the screen size to 40% of the original display to help you reach out to different areas easily. There will be a gesture setting that will let you configure how to trigger the one-handed mode.

Manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei already have their own version of this feature. But Google’s implementation might make it accessible to more people. A search on GSMArena tells me that more than 300 phones launched last year had a display larger than 6.5 inches. So, Google’s upcoming feature would be really handy for these devices.

We don’t have any visual reference to how Android 12’s one-handed mode might look. Hopefully, Google will release the first developer preview soon so we can try it ourselves.

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