How to Enable One-Handed Mode in Android’s Google Keyboard

We’ve all been in a situation where one hand or the other simple isn’t available for responding to a text message, and with the ever-increasing size of Android phones, that’s starting to become more of an issue. The good news is that Google Keyboard now has a much-needed feature: One-Handed Mode.

One-Handed Mode basically takes the normal keyboard, shrinks it down, and forces it over to one side or the other. This makes it much easier to, well, type with one hand. Or, probably more accurately, one thumb. But “One Thumb Mode” sounds silly, so it makes sense why they stayed away from that name.

But I digress. This is how you can check out One Handed Mode for yourself in the newest version of Google Keyboard.

First and foremost, you need version 5.0 of the keyboard installed. It’s fairly new, and Play Store updates generally roll out to users in stages, so you may already have it–but if you don’t, you can either wait a few days or get it directly from APK Mirror—a highly trusted and reliable site for downloading free Play Store apps (none of the content there is paid, so it’s not a pirate site). If you do this, make sure you grab the right version–there are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, so check your phone to see which you need.

Okay, stay with me here: once you’ve got the keyboard installed, you need to long-press on the comma key, then slide your thumb over to the left icon—the one that looks like a little hand over a square. Somehow, in GoogleLand, that means “make the keyboard smaller.”

It’s also worth noting that if you’re trying to do this by using Chrome’s Omnibar as the text input field, then this symbol will be a backslash, not a comma.

That’s pretty much it: the keyboard will be small and forced to one side now. To switch sides, just hit the arrow. To make it bigger again, hit the maximize icon. See? So easy.

Now for the challenge: can you type as quickly with one thumb on a small keyboard as you can with two on the full-size keyboard? And…go!
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