9 Tips for Using Your Big Android Phone With Just One Hand
Phone screens are getting larger and larger , whether you like it or not. Funnily enough, there was a time when we used to swear by smaller-sized phones. But as more and more people started to use smartphones as their primary computing devices , manufacturers responded to the trend with larger screens.
While big screens are a great fit for media consumption, they can hamper one-hand usability. This, in turn, can lead to accidental drops or unintentional ghost touches .
It doesn’t seem like manufacturers are going to slow-down with the large-screen trend. So, let’s check out a few software-related tips on how to make it easier to handle your giant Android phone.
Configure Gestures in Nova Launcher
Nova has been the go-to Android launcher for quite a while now. Its vast number of features coupled with the number of customization options it brings to the table easily makes it a top choice.
However, here we will only stick with how you can use Nova Gestures to make your Android device easier to navigate.
First things first: you’ll need the Prime version of Nova to access Gestures. Once you install it, find and open Nova Settings from the app drawer. Tap Gestures and inputs. Now, let’s configure various homescreen gestures that make one-handed operation easier.
1. One-Handed Access to Notifications
- Tap Swipe down.
- Select Expand notifications.
Now you can swipe down with your thumb from anywhere on the home screen to access your notifications.
2. Search Through Installed Apps Quickly
- Tap Swipe up.
- Select App search.
Now, you can swipe up with your thumb from anywhere on the home screen to quickly search for an app. You can also set the gesture to Expand quick settings or access Recent apps.
3. Lock Your Device With a Gesture
- Tap Double tap.
- Select Screen lock.
If the power button placement on your device is such that it is inaccessible one-handedly, this gesture lets you quickly lock your device with a gesture.
There are numerous other two-finger gestures you can set up, but we’ll skip them for now as our motive is just to make one-handed operation easier.
Make One-Hand Typing Easier
Generally speaking, larger screens help you type more accurately on a smartphone. But what if you need to type with one hand while sipping a coffee with the other?
Fortunately enough, most Android keyboards feature some sort of special mode that shrinks down the keyboard to make one-handed typing easier.
Perhaps everyone’s favorite keyboard , Gboard comes with a One-Handed Mode. To access it, long-tap the emoji icon on Gboard and select the one-handed mode icon. The keyboard should now shrink down along one side. You can tap the popout icon move it around according to your needs.
To return to the normal full-screen mode, tap the expand arrow icon.
Download: Gboard (Free)
5. SwiftKey Keyboard
SwiftKey is yet another favorite keyboard of many Android users out there. It also lets you resize your keyboard as per your typing needs. To do so, open SwiftKey Keyboard from the app drawer. Tap Typing > Resize. Here, you can select between five different keyboard sizes.
Similarly, most other popular Android keyboards offer some kind-of one-handed mode. Take a look at the settings to find out if your favorite keyboard has one.
Download: SwiftKey (Free)
6. Move Chrome’s Address Bar to Bottom
By default, Chrome’s address bar is located at the top of the screen. It can be a little difficult to reach, especially if you have small hands or a larger screen.
Thankfully, the latest version of Chrome for Android lets you move this address bar to the bottom. Here’s how to do it.
- Type chrome://flags into the address bar
- Find and enable Chrome Home
- Tap Relaunch Now to restart Chrome
Voila! The address bar should now be moved to the bottom of the screen, making it easier to reach than ever.
Note that it doesn’t work right away sometimes. In that case, you can force close and restart Chrome for this to work.
Apps That Facilitate One-Hand Navigation
Let’s check out a few apps that aid one-handed navigation on your Android device.
7. Simple Navbar Puts Navigation Bar Anywhere
If you’re operating your phone single-handedly, it can be a bit of hassle to reach the buttons at the bottom. In such a case, Simple Control can come in handy. It lets you put on-screen navigation buttons anywhere around the screen. It works on non-rooted devices too.
For instance, if you are left-handed, you can move the on-screen navigation buttons to the left side of the screen. This way, you can reach them all easily.
Simple Control lets you configure the position, height, and width of the navigation bar. You can also change the icons or the trigger area and size.
Download: Simple Control (Free with ads and in-app purchases)
8. Omniswipe Puts Your Apps Within Thumb’s Reach
Omni Swipe lets you conveniently access your apps, contacts, etc with just one hand. To use it, simply swipe from your screen’s corner, and Omni Swipe will present you with your favorite apps .
It organizes and lists the apps based upon your past usage behavior to help you get to the required app quickly. It also offers a wide range of customization options, including commonly used shortcuts and a variety of themes.
Download: Omni Swipe (Free with ads)
9. Use XDA’s One-Handed Mode App
One-Handed Mode by XDA is perhaps the first Android app that successfully replicates iOS’s Reachability feature . It accomplishes this by sliding down the entire screen to the bottom, so you can easily reach the top of the screen with your thumb. You can toggle One-Handed Mode through a Launcher Shortcut or a Quick Settings tile.
The app works even on non-rooted phones, but it requires you to grant a special permission via Android Debug Bridge (ADB) for it to work. Here are the official instructions on how to grant the permission.
Note that not all apps are compatible with One-Handed Mode, and hence some of them may appear broken. But the majority should work just fine.
Download: One-Handed Mode (Free with in-app purchases)
Handle Your Giant Phone With Ease
We hope that these above tips help you handle your giant Android device with ease. Most manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola also offer some sort of one-handed mode, so it’s worth taking a dive into your phone’s settings to check it out.
What do you think about the large-screen trend in smartphones? Did the above tips make it any easier to use your device? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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