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The secrets of the navigation buttons on Android: what actions they allow to perform

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The navigation buttons have always been the main way to operate our mobile, although gestures are increasingly replacing them. Despite this, many users still prefer buttons over gestures, due to their ease of use and speed. The good thing about continuing to use them is that these virtual buttons offer some extra features.

We tell you what are the secrets of the android navigation buttons and what actions they hide if we make a special press, such as a long press or a double tap.

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Holding down the center or home button invokes the Google Assistant

Summon Assistant

The first secret, and the best known by users, It consists of invoking the Google assistant. The central or home button, normally marked with a circle, does the job of going to the main screen when you press it briefly.

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Nevertheless, if we hold it down for a few moments, we can interact with Google Assistant through its multiple commands. This shortcut to activate the voice assistant is also possible if we prefer activated gestures.

Quickly switch between recent apps

Double Tap Recent Apps

We now turn to the button located on the right side of the navigation bar: the square button that opens the multitasking or recent apps. With a simple press, the recent applications view will be displayed where we can see the last open apps and switch between them quickly.

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What you may not know is that this button hides another function. If we double tap, we will switch between the last two applications in a fast way. In this way, if we are using two applications at the same time, we can switch between them without having to go through the overview. This provides us with agility and productivity in equal parts.

The buttons also allow you to activate the one-handed mode, although it depends on the manufacturer

Activate One Handed Mode

While the above two tricks are valid on any brand that incorporates Android in their phones, this third option does not behave in the same way on all models.

One-handed mode reduces the size of the screen, or lowers the top of the screen so that it is possible to handle the mobile when we do not have both hands available. This setting is activated by the navigation buttons, although there are some exceptions:

  • On Google Pixel or pure Android phones (or rather, close to it) the one hand mode cannot be activated from the navigation buttons but when we use the gestures on the screen.

  • Samsung Galaxy Mobiles: In One UI, the personalization layer of the Korean firm, it is necessary to activate this function. To do this we will go to Settings> Advanced functions> Operation mode with one hand. Once enabled, we must press the start button three times to enter this mode.

  • Phones with MIUI like Redmi, Xiaomi or POCO: In MIUI there are some tricks and it is that it also has a one-handed mode. To use it, we must first activate it in Settings> Additional settings> One-handed mode. When using the navigation buttons, the shortcut is executed by slightly sliding from the center button to any of the other two.

  • On Huawei models: to activate it we will go to Settings> Accessibility functions> One-hand mode. Afterwards, the movement that enables it is the same as that of MIUI, slide your finger horizontally on the navigation bar.

We already know what else we can do with the navigation buttons in Android. If you are one of those who opt for this option instead of gestures, you can take advantage of them and perform some actions in an agile way.

Android has lots of useful features for users, but not everyone knows how to take advantage of them. Luckily, they are there to be discovered, increasing our productivity and making everyday use easier.

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