Every day, many developers post new apps or games on our Apps and Games forum. We scour the XDA forums for interesting new Android apps that we think you might like, and some of our favorites have even received special attention from us. There are so many apps released each day that finding a truly unique and fascinating app can be like picking a needle out of a haystack, but that’s exactly what we’ve done today. A developer on our forums came up with an innovative solution to the problem of using tall Android phones with one hand. Called “Reachability Cursor,” the app creates an on-screen cursor that you can drag to perform taps, long presses, and drag gestures.
The easiest way to understand the brilliance of this app is by watching a quick demo:
You can see the full gallery of demo videos at this link.
Smartphones from Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi have built-in one-handed mode features, and at one point, Huawei even tried contributing their one-handed mode feature to AOSP. We made an app that uses Android’s built-in overscan function to try bringing one-handed mode to any device, but Reachability Cursor takes a different, and admittedly better, approach to solve the same problem.
Reachability Cursor Features
With the free version of the app, you can use Reachability Cursor just fine, but you’ll be missing out on all the customization options that I think are worth it. The Pro version costs $4.49, but if you find yourself frequently using this app on your tall phone, you won’t find it difficult to justify the cost.
How to use
You set up what are called “Swipe Pads” to trigger the Reachability Cursor. The Swipe Pad can either be on the Bottom, Left + Right, Left, or Right edges of the screen. (The Left and Right Swipe Pads all begin from the bottom half of the screen.) When you start your gesture from your selected screen edge, your finger will hover over the tracker. The tracker lets you move the cursor on the screen to the area where you want to perform a tap, long press, or swipe gesture. The cursor disappears automatically if you don’t make an action. It’s fairly simple and, in my opinion, really intuitive.
You can customize the width of the Swipe Pad, whether there’s haptic feedback, the inactivity timeout, cursor and tracking area, cursor size/color, and effect colors. You can also add what are called “Edge Actions.” These actions, such as opening notifications, Quick Settings, recent apps, etc., are performed by pushing the cursor against a selected screen edge.
Because of the way the app works (it uses an Accessibility Service), you might experience some micro stuttering or lag after enabling it. Fortunately, the developer was aware of this problem and has provided an experimental service that mostly gets rid of the lag. I can confirm that enabling the experimental “Privileged Mode” setting worked wonders on the OnePlus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The Privileged Mode works by automatically enabling the app’s Accessibility Service when needed and disabling it when it’s not needed. This requires that you grant the app the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission via the following ADB command:
adb shell pm grant com.niftyui.reachability android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
This then grants Reachability Cursor the permission to write to Settings.Secure.enabled_accessibility_services to toggle the app’s Accessibility Service, com.niftyui.reachability/com.niftyui.reachability.service.LiteService. Thus, the app can turn its own Accessibility Service on and off without user intervention. It’s a neat trick to get around the known performance problems that Accessibility Services can cause.
Download Reachability Cursor
You can download the application from the Google Play Store link below. You can use the app just fine without paying a dime, but after using it for a few days, you’ll be tempted to shell out the $4.49 for the premium version as I was.
I think this is a brilliant app that’s deserving of a spotlight. I have been using this app for over a week on my OnePlus 6, which lacks a one-handed mode in OxygenOS. Combined with our very own Navigation Gestures app, I can hide the navigation bar to use gesture controls without worrying about needing to reach the top of my phone anymore.