How to Use Android 12 in One-Handed Mode

Android 12 makes it easier to navigate larger smartphone screens

What to Know

  • Enable through Settings > System > Gestures > One-Handed mode.
  • Activate with a downward swipe from the bottom of the screen.
  • Exit by locking the phone or tapping above the short screen.

This article explains how to use one-handed mode in Android 12, including how to enable the gesture, how to activate it when you need it, and how to exit out of one-handed mode.

How to Activate One-Handed Mode

One-handed mode works through a gesture enabled in your phone's settings. After it's enabled, using it is easy: just a simple swipe-down motion. The working area will instantly shorten to the bottom half of the screen so you can use just one finger to easily reach things at the top.

  1. Go to Settings > System > Gestures > One-Handed mode.

    Android 12 Settings with System, Gestures, and One-Handed mode highlighted
  2. Tap Use one-handed mode. You can take this time to also adjust the other options here, such as exiting one-handed mode when switching apps or to shorten or lengthen the timeout setting.

  3. Swipe down from the bottom of the screen to activate one-handed mode. Everything you do while in this mode will happen within the half-sized window.

    "Use One-handed mode" highlighted and One-handed mode enabled in Android 12

How to Turn Off One-Handed Mode

To completely disable this feature, return to step 2 above and turn off the gesture.

If you just want to exit one-handed mode, either wait for the timeout duration to be reached (if you've chosen one) or do one of these things:

  • Tap in the blank, dark space above the small screen.
  • Swipe upward, past the short screen.
  • Lock your phone.
  • Rotate to landscape mode.
  • Do Pixel phones have a one-handed mode?

    Yes. Pixel models from 3 to 5 are compatible with Android 12, and Google includes one-handed mode at the system level in Android 12.

  • How does one-handed mode work on a Samsung phone?

    Samsung has its own built-in one-handed mode that differs from Android 12's one-handed mode. One-handed mode on Samsung shrinks the entire screen to one side. On Samsung Galaxy devices running Samsung's One UI, access one-handed mode by going to Settings > Advanced Features. Tap Motions and gestures, then select One-handed mode and toggle on the feature.

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