Google testing new double-tap gesture on the back of Pixel phones in Android 11

Google is testing a new double-tap gesture for its Pixel phones that will allow users to easily dismiss incoming calls, timer, snooze alarms, launch the camera app, and more. Dubbed ‘’Columbus,’’ references to the new gesture have been found in the first Android 11 Developer Preview.

The new gesture requires users to double-tap at the rear of the device. Interestingly, Google is not relying on any special hardware for this gesture. Instead, it is simply using the gyroscope and the accelerometer.

References to the gesture in Android 11 points to Google informing and training users about it during the setup process. Users will also be able to customize the gesture and seemingly use it to launch an app of their choice or action they want. By default, the double-tap gesture will be used to trigger Google Assistant. Below is a list of all the actions that can be triggered by this new gesture on Pixel smartphones (via XDA):

  • Dismiss timer
  • Launch Camera
  • Launch Google Assistant
  • Play/pause media
  • Collapse status bar
  • Silence incoming phone calls
  • Snooze alarms
  • Unpin notifications
  • Perform a "user selected action"

The gesture does seem to work properly on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, but it is unclear if Google will bring this new double-tap gesture to older Pixel smartphones or not. The company could keep it exclusive to its upcoming Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 smartphones or just add it to all existing Pixel smartphones via a future feature drop.

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