09
Oct
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Buried deep within the changelog of Android 4.1.2 that arrived today is a very welcomed change to the way expandable notifications are handled by the OS. Introduced in Jelly Bean, expanding and collapsing notifications originally required two fingers to operate. Not anymore! A handy gesture now allows easy expansion and collapsing with just one finger, making it easier to perform this task while holding a device in one hand.

Collapsing is a little tricky at first and requires first pulling down and then up. Once you figure it out, it becomes a no-brainer, but is a little confusing if you don't know what you're doing. I think it would have been much easier to collapse by pulling up on the left side of any given notification where its icon resides, but the Android team chose a different approach.

The new feature is best demonstrated on video - let's take a look:

If you want to dig through the commit and the relevant code, here it is: commit 40c6ae4 - Single finger notification expansion.

Thanks, Max!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Kindroid

    Really like the new approach to collapsible notification. Like a roll up/down window shade. Having to use a deliberate motion helps to avoid accidentally closing notifications.

  • Tíghearnán Carroll

    I was wondering when they'd add a feature like this. Nice.

  • John

    Mother of God, thank you Google! I thought I was the only one who thought it (albeit cool feature) was a pain in the ass expanding notifications.

  • Arsalan Afzal

    I remember one of you guys were complaining about the inability to do it with one finger. I guess some higher up google dev reads through your website. Makes you wonder what else they might do due to your suggestions.

  • Seth M

    I was actually complainging just today abotu two fingers being tough for one-handed use. Awesome!

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Wow, finally!

    I've shown the Nexus 7 and Jellybean to so many people, but the one thing I constantly have to complain about is that old gesture. Nobody thinks that a two-finger gesture makes any sense for a feature that should be quickly accessible and natural.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001235596936 Jason Wilkinson

    If there are enough notifications to scroll through them, wouldn't this get in the way? I realize that usually we check them the minute we get them and all, and usually that doesn't happen, Nevertheless, what happens when the bottom of a scrollable list of notifications is expandable. Does the gesture open it or scroll the list?

    Also, can you still use 2 fingers for them? Just curious as I don't own an Android device. x)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It keeps scrolling and opening them as it scrolls as you swipe down. I don't see it getting in the way, even if you're at the bottom trying to swipe back up.

      And yeah - the two-finger gestures are still there too.

  • Derek Duncan

    I don't see how this is confusing at all nor how it warrants a video, but it looks great!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The confusing part is collapsing - it doesn't work the way you might think at first, since you need to pull down first, then up.

      • Paul

        It's like a pulled down house window 'roll down' blind. In order to close it you have to pull down first then up :)

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

    One thing to note is that this only works when you've "snapped" to to the top/first page of the notifications. As soon as you scroll further down the list to notifications which are out of view, the gesture doesn't work anymore until you've snapped back to the top again.

    I don't know why someone would routinely keep that many notifications in the first place, but worth pointing out. :P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Makes sense since otherwise the gesture of scrolling up from the bottom of the list could get misconstrued for the gesture to expand the bottom notification.

  • Southrncomfortjm

    Hope Google patented these gestures.

    • DavidKeith

      lets take bets on when iOS will have this feature...

      • ari_free

        Then they'll patent it and ban Android devices that have it.

  • ConCal

    cool!

  • Kaero

    I've never had any problems with two fingers, not that difficult to put my middle finger on the screen together with my index finger :P Was actually rather thrilled that they had a two finger gesture, but I guess more alternatives are never a bad thing!

    • HansungKim

      Pro tip: use middle and ring finger.
      Dont pinch but pull up or down instead

  • Eye4Detail

    So, instead of dragging down then up on the header of the notification to collapse it, can you touch at the bottom of the expanded section and drag up?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No, you can't.

  • patapongirl

    Wow I didn't even know I could expand notifications with 2 fingers. LOL.

    • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

      It was added in Jelly Bean.

      • Nick281051

        no it was added with cm10/aokp

        • dumbass

          Cm10 IS jellybean you retard

          • Nick281051

            And they add features that are not in Jellybean already. Dumbass.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    This is an improvement for sure, but I still think an maximise / minimise button would be better.

  • Dave

    Thanks! What's the name of the weather widget?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's not a widget - it's part of Google Now.

    • http://jimeagle.com James Eagle

      It's part of Google Now, if you want to disable it.

  • HellG

    WTF Artem! you have great accent i thought you would sound like a guy from Red Alert 2 and say for mother russia :P
    oh steryotyping is bad xD

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
      • HellG

        oh great memories, sad that EA had to stick their nose in the game and buy Westwood studios and release that horrible Red Alert 3 :/

  • Dennis

    Lol, awesome, I didn't even know I could expand notifications at all.

  • stig

    I don't know why, but it isn't working on Xoom even after 4.1.2 update. There's only the two finger gesture.....

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