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Tips and Tricks for Left-Handed Android Users

By Joe Levi June 16, 2010, 2:35 pm

I've been right-handed my entire life, but my brother is a Leftie. As such, I never even considered the challenges left-handed people have when using mobile phones. I'm sorry for not learning of these tips sooner, and sharing them with all my left-handed readers!

Orientation Awareness in the Phone App

When you make or take phone calls in Android, the OS (2+) uses your accelerometer and proximity sensor to figure out that you're holding the phone to your head. Once it knows this it can disable touch input and turn off the screen saving battery life and reducing the likelihood of pushing buttons with your face or ear. (This was one of the major hurdles to overcome when porting Android 2.x to older devices that didn't have the same type of sensors as newer phones). When you move the phone away from your face the screen and touch input are turned back on again.


Most left-handed people hold the phone to the other side of their head most of the time. This can throw off the logic coded into the phone and it doesn't work as well. Lucky for you cyt0wn has come to your rescue and added left-hand mode to his improved Phone app!

In my opinion, the easiest way to get this is in CyanogenMod ROM. Once you've got that on your phone head into the Call settings and scroll down to Left-hand mode. Check the box and reboot your Android, and you're set!

Using the Scroll Button Left-Handed

Most Android phones automatically rotate the screen from portrait to landscape when you turn the phone (again, using data from sensors inside the phone). This is especially helpful when entering text because the on-screen keyboard (IME) expands to fill the width of the screen, making the buttons bigger and easier two type with two thumbs.

Unfortunately, most phones only rotate 90-degrees which places the scroll-button/pad on the right side of the phone. While this is just fine for us righties, its awkward for left-handed users to scroll and select with their non-dominant hand.

To address this Cyanogen included an Orientation setting to the Sound and display settings. (I looked but could not find the source to attribute this hack. If you know who I should give credit to, please comment below!)

This setting lets you specify how much rotation you want on your phone — from 0 (none) to 360 degrees (upside down). This means that selecting 270 or 360 degree rotation will allow you to rotate the phone such that the scroll button/pad is on the left side — ideal for left-handed use!

What about you?

Are you a south-paw? Did you know about these tips and tricks? If not, have they helped make using your Android a little more "friendly"? Do you have any other left-handed tips and tricks?


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