The first developer preview (DP1) for Android 12 dropped this week, and it brings a few minor tweaks and changes. However, some of the most significant new features are included but not accessible without some extra effort.
Users can trigger one-handed mode by swiping down on the gesture navigation bar. Doing so ‘shrinks’ the display, pulling the top of the screen about halfway down the phone.
If you’ve ever tried the ‘Reachability‘ shortcut on an iPhone, this should feel familiar. iPhone users trigger Reachability in the same way, and it pulls everything on the screen lower so you can reach it with your thumb.
In the video, you can see that navigating the Android interface while in one-handed mode works as normal, just with half the screen in use. Text that appears in the unused portion of the screen notes that users can exit the one-handed mode by swiping up from the bottom of the screen or by tapping in the grey space above the app they’re using.
9to5 mentions that the mode also turns off if users don’t touch the screen for eight seconds.
As mentioned up top, the one-handed mode isn’t enabled by default in Android 12, and it requires some under the hood tweaks to work. Considering we’re still early in the Android 12 development cycle, a lot could change with this feature (or it could get scrapped entirely). I hope it does make it to release since it offers a useful, quick shortcut for reaching items at the top of the screen, especially useful on tall phones.
It’s worth noting that several Android manufacturers have implemented their own versions of one-hand modes. Check out MobileSyrup’s full guide to one-handed modes available on smartphones.