Android

Set up your Android phone for one-handed use in three easy steps

By installing two apps and making a few quick configuration changes, you can set up your Android phone for easy, one-handed use.

Most mobile users are on the go and sometimes having both hands free isn't always an option. Unfortunately, the default Android UI doesn't always make it easy to operate your phone with one hand. Luckily, you can change that. By in installing a pair of apps and making a few configuration changes, you can set up your Android device for easy, one-handed use.

Select a phone the fits your hand

Motorola Moto X

Before we get to the apps, it's important you have a device that can be easily used with one hand. For me, that's the Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X. It's small enough to be easily managed single-handedly, but offers a large enough screen to compete with most any smartphone.

1. Install Nova Launcher Prime

play_store_nova.png

The first app to install is a replacement home screen. The best for this purpose is Nova Launcher Prime. You can purchase this from the Google Play Store. The free version is good, but it doesn't offer gesture support, and you'll need that.

2. Install the Unity Launcher

play_store_unity.png

The next app is the Unity Launcher. This app mimics part of the function that will be found in the Ubuntu Touch interface. This is important because it ads an auto-hiding task bar on the left side of the phone, for easy app launching.

3. Configure the apps

The first piece of configuration will be to set up the App Drawer to open with an upward swipe. This is done in Nova Settings | Gestures and Buttons. Configure the Swipe up to open the App Drawer. You can also configure the Double Tap to open Toggle the Dock for even more available launchers.

nova_settings_1.png

Now it's time to add apps to the Unity Launcher. To do this, swipe right, from the left edge of the screen and then tap the large “+” button at the top. Select all the applications you want and then tap Save. Unity Launcher is now ready to use.

Adjustable for righties or lefties

That's it. At this point, your device should be incredibly easy to use with just one hand. If you happen to prefer right-handed usage, you can also configure the position of the Unity Launcher to the right-side of the screen.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

2 comments
nicki.baxter
nicki.baxter

This totally destroyed my home screen and I have been unable to restore many of my widgets, including Google Now.

pethers
pethers

Great simple tips for a common problem, thanks.