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Android 12 DP2 enables a one-handed mode

It offers more control than the iPhone's Reachability feature.

Published onMarch 17, 2021

Android 12 One Handed Mode 3
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

It didn’t take long for people to find “hidden” features in Android 12 Developer Preview 2. As 9to5Google reports (and Android Authority can confirm), DP2 enables a previously hinted-at one-handed mode that gives Android users a rough equivalent to the iPhone’s Reachability and thus an easier time using big-screen phones.

Toggle the one-handed feature in Android’s settings under the Gestures section and the visuals will “slide” when you swipe down at the bottom of the display. You don’t have to shift your hand or strain your fingers just to reach a button at the top of an app, in other words.

Unlike Apple’s approach, though, you apparently have more control over functionality. Android’s one-handed mode currently includes an option to leave the mode when you switch apps as well as a timeout that returns the screen to normal after as many as 12 seconds. That could be crucial for users who may need extra time to tap an item.

Related: Android 12 Developer Preview hands-on

There’s no guarantee the one-handed mode will reach the stable version of Android 12 when it arrives in August. Google could cut the feature if there are any problems. Given that it’s already usable in DP2, though, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the feature come to the final release expected late this summer.

The addition isn’t a complete surprise, even if it wasn’t guaranteed. Developer Previews are meant primarily for app creators that want to support new features or check for compatibility. If Google makes one-handed mode available now, it gives Android devs time to rethink their interfaces.

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