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Android 12’s second developer preview finally adds a one-handed mode

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Android 12‘s second developer preview is out just a month after the first, and it includes a bevy of updates. While we’ll probably have to wait until a consumer-friendly public beta for the juiciest new bits, we’re already seeing some interesting new additions as Google’s next OS takes shape.

One of the most notable new features is a built-in one-handed mode. Although the first preview of Android 12 included this feature in its code, it wasn’t readily accessible in Settings, making it uncertain whether it was a feature Google was committing to. But as noted by Android Police, the feature is now visible right from the build’s gesture settings.

Here’s what the feature looked like in action in the first developer preview (via @MishaalRahman):

The feature is activated by swiping down near the bottom of your phone’s display. On most Android phones with a one-handed mode, the entire display shrinks towards the phone’s bottom left or right corner. With Android 12, Google is instead imitating Apple’s ‘Reachability’ feature, where your screen instead only gets smooshed vertically.

Personally, I prefer the approach Samsung and others take, as it maintains your screen’s aspect ratio, and it’s more comfortable for large phones which are not only tall but wide as well. Still, it’s better than nothing, and it’s nice to know future Android phones might all come with a one-handed mode now that Google is making it an official feature of its OS.

Credit: Android Police

Keep in mind this is no guarantee the feature will make it to the final version of Android 12; Google has previously removed features available in preview builds from the final release. Still, it’s a welcome feature now that phones are generally much larger than the average hand can reach across.

You can read more about what’s new in the second developer preview in Google’s post here (though oddly, they don’t actually mention the one-handed mode). The first public beta is expected to launch in a few months, so curious users should probably wait until then before installing, as developer previews are often too unstable for use on your primary device.

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Published March 17, 2021 — 20:32 UTC

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