5 awesome gestures to improve your Android user experience


Contrary to popular belief Android is a system full of hidden gems. Some can be found by performing a few tricks, while others work with a couple of simple and easy actions.

Use your phone’s fingerprint reader to navigate Android:

If you are using EMUI installed on a phone with a fingerprint sensor, you can opt to use a cool navigation system to replace the Android buttons for back, home and to show all currently open apps. I first got into this on my Huawei P10 and have not looked back since. A simple tap on the fingerprint sensor is used for back, a long press returns you to the home screen and a swipe from right to left on the fingerprint sensor, not the display opens your recent apps drawer.

You can toggle this gesture system on or off from the settings menu. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll really appreciate the cleaner screen now that the stock Android buttons are removed from the bottom of your display.

Long press on notifications to access the app’s settings:

Many of you may know that if you slide a notification message to one side, it will disappear. However, you can do other things if you hold your finger down and select one of the buttons that appear on the right. This can be done both in the lock screen and in the notification bar. You will see the ‘all categories’ option, which will bring you to the notification settings for the app in question. However, some manufacturer user interfaces don’t allow this, like EMUI, Huawei UI. Older versions of Android may instead show the cog icon for settings.

Slide two fingers down to directly access the quick settings:

This trick has existed since Jelly Bean, but it’s well worth being reminded of. To avoid having to go through the notifications and access the quick shortcuts menu, just slide two fingers from the top of the screen downwards. Instead of doing the conventional motion twice, meaning the one finger swipe, and needing to go through the app notifications, you will quickly access the shortcuts to the basic settings of Android.

Long press to select words for more options:

Since Android came onto the scene, the usual copy and paste function has had an upgrade. You can select a word, phrase or text and long press the selected contents. You will get  several options depending on the context i.e. if this is a website, editable document, phone number, etc. such as to copy and share, search for the selected text on the web, save to contacts, or active Google Assistant and translate it, all without leaving the screen.

Easily access safe mode:

In a few words, this mode boots the Android system without showing the applications that you have installed, as if you had formatted the phone. This option is ideal if you are experiencing problems with a specific app. Furthermore, it’s easy to access. Press the power button of your device for a few seconds. As soon as the turn-off options appears, do a long press on it. A new window will ask you if you want to restart the phone in safe mode.


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