It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when we were all clamoring for smaller cell phones. With the advent of smartphones, screen real estate became one of the most important features. Soon, consumers were begging for bigger screens, and manufacturers were happy to oblige. As a result, our smartphones are getting bigger and bigger.
Unfortunately, larger phones can have an impact on usability. Attempting to operate a large device with only one hand can often lead to screen shattering drops or unintentional commands. Luckily, manufacturers have noticed this growing problem and attempted to remedy the situation.
Apple has “Reachability mode” for one-handed operation of iOS devices, and companies like Samsung and LG have similar settings you can enable for certain Android devices.
However, if you happen to use an Android device that doesn’t have a “one-handed” mode, don’t worry. There are various apps to help you operate your large device easily with only one hand.
1. Omni Swipe
Phones with larger screens simply require bigger hands. Unfortunately, if you have smaller hands, this can pose a problem. Simple things like launching apps or pulling down your notification bar can be a chore.
Omni Swipe is an easy way to access your favorite apps, contacts, settings and notifications, all with a single flick. Users simply swipe from the bottom left or right corner of a device to open a fully customizable radial menu that houses all of your most used shortcuts. In addition to being easy to use, the app is tiny at just over 1MB and completely disappears from view when not in use.
2. Simple Control
Reaching down to the bottom of your device to tap your Home, Back or Overview buttons can require some serious dexterity. Users of bigger phones often have to awkwardly adjust their grip on their device in order to reach these buttons. This can increase the risk of dropping the phone.
Fortunately, Simple Control places virtual Home, Back and Overview buttons on the edge of either side of your screen. This enables users to access these functions without having to stretch their thumb to the bottom of the phone. Furthermore, the buttons disappear from view when not in use, so they won’t obstruct your homescreen!
3. Circle Sidebar
With a large device, simple tasks like opening your app drawer can be a dangerous balancing act. Luckily, Circle SideBar allows users to organize and access apps easily via a radial menu. After installation, users can determine what action opens Circle SideBar, like a swipe from the left edge of the screen. Once open, users can scroll through a customizable list of apps and settings using a single thumb. There are numerous customization options, including the size of the wheel and app icons. While Circle SideBar is a free app, there is a premium version that boasts additional features.
4. Google Keyboard
The keyboard from Google is one of the best available, with speedy performance and accurate text prediction. In addition, it supports swipe typing. Unfortunately, large screen devices typically have to be held with both hands, rendering the user unable to reach all of the keys to make use of the swipe typing feature.
Fortunately, Google Keyboard has a one-handed mode that makes typing with one hand easy. To activate one-handed mode, simply hold down the comma key for a few seconds. The keyboard will shrink and shift to one side of the screen, enabling users to reach all keys with a single thumb.
5. Assistive Touch
Assistive Touch places a small button icon anywhere on the device’s screen. Tapping on this button opens a floating panel that allows users to access their favorite apps, settings and toggles. The button is fully customizable and can open your notification bar, adjust the brightness and much more. In addition, you can assign commands for double tapping or holding down the button.
For example, you can make it so that double tapping the button opens your camera, and holding it down shuts off the power to your device. This gives the user access to a wide variety of controls all in a single spot, with no more reaching.
Do you own a large screen device? Do you use apps like the ones mentioned above to help you operate your device? Are there any apps that we didn’t mention that you think deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments!