Android 12 could fix the worst thing about big-screen phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
(Image credit: Future)

Android 12 draws ever closer, and we're starting to see more features, tweaks, and additions become public. Though Google has yet to announce anything yet, there's a lot of hubbub around the next version of its popular mobile operating system.

In recent years, Google has toned back the amount of new user-facing things in Android releases. We get a few things here and there, like Android 11's media controls moving to the Quick Settings panel.

However, Google might be finally looking to tackle a major issue with big phones. One-handing a large handset, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, can be difficult for a lot of people. Android 12 might address this by introducing a native one-hand mode.

Spotted by 9to5Google, this upcoming one-handed mode will integrate into Android itself rather well. Current versions of one-hand modes, like on the Galaxy S21, require you to go into the settings and enable it. According to the information that 9to5Google saw, users can enable the new one-handed mode with a gesture. 

But what will it look like? Most one-handed modes scale down the user interface to make it easier to reach. This usually leads to a smaller screen in the corner of the display that you chose depending on your dominant hand. However, Google might just squish things down vertically, making for a rather squat interface. Other phone manufacturers like Samsung might be able to customize what this looks like.

It seems that you can exit the one-handed mode easily, such as by touching the area outside the downscaled screen. 9to5Google also reports that there will be a timeout option, where the mode automatically deactivates when a certain amount of time has passed. Finally, switching apps or opening the keyboard might also disable the mode.

We're hoping that Google will release the first Developer Preview for Android 12 soon, so that we can dig into what's new. 

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.