Android 12’s hidden swipe-down gesture lets you quickly access notification shade from any screen
The Android 12 season is officially upon us. The latest iteration of Android brings with it some fresh UI changes and many useful features. Some of the biggest highlights of Android 12 include a one-handed mode that shrinks the UI for better one-handed usage, a native scrolling screenshot functionality that finally lets stock Android users take long screenshots, new Material NEXT design, improved widgets, and a lot more.
One of the pre-dominant themes of Android 12 seems to be better one-hand usability, as along with a dedicated one-handed mode, we’re also seeing Google optimizing various aspects of the UI to make it easier to reach with your thumb. In line with this trend, Google has also added a new swipe-down gesture to spare your thumb from doing awkward gymnastics for pulling down the notification shade. Google Pixel owners are probably familiar with swiping down on the home screen to pull down the notification tray. This new gesture works the same way except that you’ll be able to use it in any app — instead of just on the home screen.
As you can see in the quick demo below, you can now simply swipe down from the bottom (from just above the gesture navigation bar) to bring down the notification shade instead of reaching all the way to the top.
I found another gesture – swipe down for notifications. You know how the Pixel Launcher lets you swipe down on the home screen to pull down the notification shade? Yeah, this does that – but in any app. pic.twitter.com/VpmRESJkkM
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 19, 2021
This is likely intended as a replacement for the fingerprint swipe-down gesture offered by Google Pixel phones — which doesn’t work without a physical fingerprint scanner. Moreover, this swipe-down gesture seems to be an alternative to Android 12’s native one-handed mode as we found that they’re not compatible with each other. Note that this new gesture is in development and is not live for users.