Over the last few years, phones have steadily grown larger and more unwieldy, with the recent Galaxy S21 Ultra being a great example. To help make your oversized phone a bit more manageable, Android 12 could be bringing a dedicated “one-handed mode” that shrinks your phone screen’s contents.

As phones have gotten larger, various companies have heard the complaint that it can be difficult to use a phone with just one hand and addressed it in their own ways. Many OEMs offer a way to scale down your phone screen to better accommodate one-handed use, typically putting a smaller rectangle close to your dominant hand. Samsung even went a step further, creating One UI, which puts the majority of usable on-screen contents within reach of your thumb.

According to information viewed by 9to5Google, Google is preparing a dedicated one-handed mode for Android that may debut with Android 12. To enter one-handed mode, you can use either a gesture, such as a diagonal swipe from the bottom corner.

Most variations on one-handed mode for Android have involved scaling your screen down both vertically and horizontally. Instead, it seems Google may have something a bit different in mind for Android 12’s one-handed mode, only downsizing your phone vertically, giving it something of a squatty look. That said, individual phone makers may be able to customize this.

Interestingly, there should be quite a few ways to exit Android 12’s one-handed mode. There are simpler ones, like a similar diagonal swipe gesture or tapping outside of the shrunken display. You should also be able to set a timeout period, where Android will automatically exit one-handed mode after a number of seconds.

Optionally, one-handed mode should be able to exit when switching apps. Additionally, it should exit any time you open the keyboard, which makes sense as opening the keyboard shrinks the display upward while one-handed mode shrinks it downward.

As Android 12 seems to be closer than ever, we may not have long to wait before getting our hands on one-handed mode. In the meantime, what apps and phones would you use with one-handed mode? Let us know in the comments.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

More on Android 12:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw's favorite gear