The second Android 12 developer preview is available just a month after the first, and it includes a slew of updates. While we’ll likely have to wait for a consumer-friendly public beta for the juiciest new stuff, we’re already seeing some exciting new additions as Google’s next operating system takes shape.
One of the most notable new features is the built-in one-handed mode. Although the first preview of Android 12 includes this feature in its code, it was not easily accessible in settings, making it uncertain if this was a feature that Google was committing to. But as Android Police noted, the feature is now visible from the version’s gestures settings.
Here’s what the feature looked like in action in the developer’s first preview (via @MishaalRahman):
This is Android 12’s one-handed mode – fully functional. Unfortunately, it’s like Apple’s accessibility (vertical reduction) rather than OHM on most OEM software (horizontal and vertical reduction). pic.twitter.com/IznRVHTgPu
– Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
The feature is activated by swiping down to the bottom of your phone screen. On most Android phones with one-handed mode, the entire display tapers to the bottom left or right corner of the phone. With Android 12, Google instead mimics Apple’s “ Accessibility ” feature, where your screen is instead only vertically smooshed.
Personally, I prefer the approach taken by Samsung and others because it maintains the aspect ratio of your screen, and it’s more comfortable for big phones that are not only tall but also wide. Still, it’s better than nothing, and it’s good to know that future Android phones could all feature one-handed mode now that Google is making it an official feature of its operating system.
Keep in mind that this does not guarantee that the functionality will reach the final version of Android 12; Google previously removed the features available in preview builds from the final release. Still, it’s a welcome feature now that phones are typically a lot bigger than the average hand can reach.
You can read more about what’s new in the second developer preview in the Google article here (although oddly enough, they don’t actually mention 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 choppy to use on your primary device.
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Published March 17, 2021 – 20:32 UTC