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Useful gestures for your Android and iPhone devices

Android is the operating systems that allows its users the highest number of customization options. However, several of Android gestures are somewhat difficult to discover and they do not come with a guide to teach how to use them. So, here we display some of Android’s most useful shortcuts:

Two-finger swipe down

You can access the handy Quick Settings pane in Android by dragging down from the top of the screen to show your notifications, and then dragging down again. But if you use a two-finger swipe from the top of the screen, then the panel appears immediately, giving you instant access to switches for wi-fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode and the like.

Press and hold to select

In most Google apps, press and hold (or sometimes double-tap) somewhere on the screen to select a word, then drag out the handles on either side to highlight additional words.

Tap and hold for one-handed mode

This is a very useful tip if you don’t have both of your hands free to write. Tap and hold on the comma key, then slide up to the icon on the right to activate the keyboard’s new one-handed mode. Note that it only works if you’re in portrait mode.

Double-tap and hold to zoom

An older trick, but one that plenty of people still haven’t come across, and it often proves useful on the move. If you’re using your phone with one hand, you can double-tap and then hold and drag in the Google Maps app to zoom in and out (drag down to zoom in and up to zoom out). The same trick also works in Google Maps for iOS, by the way.

Configure your own gestures

You can install a few third-party apps to configure some gestures of your own if you’re not fully satisfied with the ones that come built into the OS. Draw an S on the screen to launch Settings, and so on.

We have learned a handful of useful tips for Android devices, but what about iPhones? One of their biggest appeals has been their intuitiveness, but again, there are some gestures that many people might not know:

Pinch-to-zoom on videos

You can pinch to zoom on photos and maps, and you can also use the same trick on videos being played from local storage, if they’ve been captured by your iPhone’s camera.

Tap and hold to bring up closed tabs in Safari

In the Safari app, you can open the tab view via the icon in the lower right-hand corner, then tap and hold on the new tab icon (a plus) to see your recently closed tabs.

Shake to undo

You can shake to undo your last action in a multitude of apps. The feature can be turned off via Accessibility under General in Settings.

Swipe down to save email drafts

Multiple drafts can be saved in this way, and can be recalled later by tapping and holding the compose button that appears in the lower-right corner.

Swipe down to hear text

This one requires some extra preparation, but it’s helpful to have available. In Settings, go to Accessibility in General, then choose Speech and Speak Screen. With the feature activated, you can drag down with two fingers on any screen to have the text read out to you. A floating control panel appears allowing you to adjust the speed of the reading.

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