Using Gestures to Quickly Launch Apps on Android

To open apps in Android, the typical way is to go to the app drawer and select the app you want to run. This may not be an efficient method. Using gestures to quickly launch your favorite app is perhaps one of the better way to be productive.

Some apps have gesture options. Browsers, searches and even apps that call and text can all be activated through gestures on Android. Trigger is one of the newer apps to the Google Play Store, but is really making some waves. While other apps are geared towards a specific task (e.g. dialling or searching), Trigger is all about launching Android apps and actions. The free version of Trigger will let you make up to six gesture actions so it is a good way to try it out before you buy it.

Using Trigger

Using Trigger is not difficult. Right after you have installed it, you can start to add apps or other actions.


Starting out with the tabs across the top, you have six different parts of the phone or tablet you can control by gestures. Start by taking a look through all of the different options to get a feel for what you might want to have easier access to. Remember, the free version only lets you set up six different gestures. Most of the time you need fast access to an app or a setting, so that’s where we will be focusing.


With the Apps tab opn, you will see a fairly empty screen. To add an app, press the “+” at the top right. When you do, you will see a scrollable list of your apps and a spot to draw the gesture. Adding gestures to settings or other options is done the same way.


In this tutorial, I’m setting up a gesture for Dropbox. The gesture needs to be a single motion. So drawing an “=” or multiple letters will not work.


Once you have the gesture decided on, you will be asked to test it out. If the gesture is difficult to repeat with ease every time, you may want to try a different gesture.


When you have a few apps and settings added to Trigger, you can start to use it. You may have noticed the floating blue teardrop shape on your screen. This is how you open the Trigger screen to draw the gesture. You can also set up apps to be activated by dragging this little icon in a direction. To hide and show this icon, go to the notification bar and tap the Trigger Toggle tab.


Now that the HOW part is all done, let’s take a look at what you can really do with Trigger.

Uses for Gestures

As I mentioned earlier, the most common things most people are interested in having fast access to are apps and settings. Here are some possible uses:

  • Toggle Google Voice call settings.
  • Opening the compose window for a SMS to a specific person.
  • Dialling a specific contact.
  • Turn WiFi on or off.
  • Toggle Bluetooth on or off.
  • Start Google Maps with a predetermined location entered.
  • Open any app on your phone or tablet.
  • Go to a bookmark in your browser.
  • Create a shortcut to something stored in Google Drive.
  • Open a feed in Google Reader.

As you can see, there are a lot of possible uses and what I listed here is a really small portion of all the choices.

Final words

Whatever the reason you are getting into using gestures, Trigger is one of the most full-featured gesture launchers I have come across. If you are using some gestures in Dolphin HD or another browser and like how handy they are, Trigger would be a great addition to your phone or tablet.

How are you using gestures on Android?

Trevor Dobrygoski
Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world's greatest game... Soccer.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox