Android 12 prepares double-tap back gesture for the Pixel 5

Android 12 prepares double-tap back gesture for the Pixel 5

The first Android 12 Developer Preview is officially out, and as always, Google’s own Pixel phones are the first in line to get a taste of the latest flavor. We have already gone over some of the major changes in our hands-on article. But there is still a lot to uncover, it seems. One of the things that flew under our radar is the Double-tap gesture. In true Google fashion, this feature was originally unveiled with the Android 11 Developer Preview 1 but never made it to the final version.

With the Android 12, Google is once again (via 9to5Google) bringing the double-tap gesture back, and this time around, it also has a user-facing setting. If you have a Pixel 5 running the latest preview build, you can find the new feature under Settings > System > Gestures. Double-tap gestures allow the user to tap on the back of their phones to perform/trigger a range of actions. These gestures don’t require any special hardware. They rely on the phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to determine the user tap.

Currently, the double-tap gesture gives you five options to choose from:

  • Open Assistant
  • Take screenshot
  • Play and pause media
  • See recent apps
  • Open notifications

Screenshots via Reddit user krishaks301029

You can also adjust the tap sensitivity with a simple toggle. But unfortunately, the feature doesn’t seem to work in its current implementation as it’s likely still rough around the edges. Moreover, going by user reports, it looks like the feature is only visible on the Pixel 5 at the time being as such an option doesn’t show up on other Google devices such as the Pixel 4, Pixel 4Xl, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 3XL. However, code analysis confirms there are TensorFlow Lite models available for the Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4a 5G, and the feature only requires basic sensors such as an accelerometer and gyroscope in order to function.

Although, in its current state, it remains to be seen whether Google will fully implement the double-tap functionality in the final release of Android 12 or if they will drop it once again. It’s also unclear if the feature will be exclusive to the Pixel 5 when it launches or will be officially made available to other Pixel phones as well.

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Kishan Vyas
Kishan Vyas

A loyal Android user since Android 2.1 Eclair. Direct inquiries to [email protected]