Hand Heart Add Gesture Controls to Any Android Device

How to Add Gesture Controls to Any Android Device for Custom Control

There are plenty of reasons to want gesture controls on your Android. These reasons could range from necessity due to a misbehaving button, to ease-of-use, to wanting to feel like you are in Star Wars. That’s why this feature is becoming more and more common on newer devices. For instance, look at how to take a screenshot on the S7. But don’t you need a newer device, maybe a Samsung, in order for this to work?

Actually, you don’t. Instead, you can supplement with apps, launchers, even browsers. You can tie gestures such as a shake or swipe to open other apps, services, websites, settings, music, and bookmarks. With the help of some of these programs, you can interact by barely even touching your Android.

Method 1: All in one Gestures

Using All in one Gestures, you can swipe from device edges, press and hold hard keys, double-tap the status bar, or use a mouse or stylus to manipulate your device. The input and corresponding action is up to you. Once you have the app installed you can designate gestures to go Home, to Recent AppsBack, turn your screen off, or go into Immersive Mode. You can also choose gestures that will launch a shortcut or application.

Step 1: Install App

Download and install the All in one Gestures app from the Google Play store. You can get the app through the Google Play button below. You do need to have Android 4.1 or greater.

All in one Gestures

Google Play download button
All in One Gestures

Step 2: Launch App

Open the app. You will have to agree to terms and conditions. It will immediately want to tell you about what’s new.

All in One Gestures

Step 3: Choose Gesture

Select Hard Keys, Swipe, or Status Bar.

Choose Gesture

Step 4: Enable Service

Note that if you try to enable say, the Status Bar, the app will direct you to enable the service through Settings>Accessibility. Tap on the message itself for a shortcut. Toggle the app to ON and press OK.

Enable Service

Step 5: Check the Action

Within the section that pertains to your key, edge, or status bar, tick the box of the action you choose. Note that in the Hard Keys tab, a blue circle with a plus sign appears. This is to afford you some more key options.

Check Action

Step 6: Confirm

When you check the box a pop-up menu will appear, giving you even more possible combinations. Confirm your choice. Some actions, such as Screen Off, allow you to also associate a sound, or to otherwise fine-tune.

Screen Off

Method 2: Nova Launcher

Using a custom home screen launcher can dramatically change your entire user experience, and more importantly, give you access to gesture features. To take full advantage of all of the gestures, you should consider the Prime version of Nova, which currently costs 99 cents on sale. Here at the Joy of Android also has many launchers to try.

Step 1: Install Nova Launcher

Download and install the Nova Launcher app from the Google Play store. You can get the app through the Google Play button below.

Nova Launcher Prime

Google Play download button

Step 2: Open App Drawer

You are going here to find Nova’s Settings menu.

Nova Settings

Step 3: Open Launcher Settings

Step 4: Select Gestures & Inputs

The is about the seventh option towards the bottom.

Gestures Inputs

Step 5: Choose Gesture

Pick from about nine different options if you have Prime.

Nova Gestures

Step 6: Choose Action Category

Now a new menu should appear, from which you can select options like the launcher itself (Nova), Apps, or Shortcuts.

Step 7: Choose Action

For instance, if you chose Apps, now specify the app you want to open.

Step 8: Configure Remaining Gestures

The Shortcuts option can complete actions such as opening a specific text conversation and even creating a new spreadsheet.

Method 3: Dolphin – Best Web Browser

You can use gestures within this browser not only to launch websites, but also to carry out certain functions, like opening new tabs. To top it off, it’s really not a bad browser aside from the gestures, what with its quick speed, AdBlock, HTML5 video player, tab bar, incognito browsing, sidebars, and flash player.

Step 1: Install Browser

Download and install the Dolphin Browser app from the Google Play store. You can get the app through the Google Play button below.

Dolphin – Best Web Browser

Google Play download button
Dolphin Browser

Step 2: Launch Browser

Open the browser. If you would like, you can set the browser as your default by going to Menu>More>Settings>Set as Default Browser.

Open Dolphin

Step 3: Tap Dolphin

At the bottom of your screen, press the dolphin icon.

Dolphin Icon

Step 4: Choose Settings

This looks like a tiny gear icon.

Step 5: Select Gestures & Sonar

Gestures Sonar

Step 6: Tap or Type Website

If you don’t see your favorite website on the list, enter it manually.

Step 7: Create or Use Recommended Gesture

If you want a heart, for example, draw a heart with your finger.

Create Gesture

Step 8: Test New Gesture

Especially if you didn’t create your own, make sure that you can replicate the symbol and that the browser is able to associate it with your website.

Test Gesture

Step 9: Visit More Actions

To set up gestures for navigational buttons, or for quick access, loading all images, data backup, and more, tap More Actions.

More Actions

Method 4: Gravity Gestures

Are you familiar with Moto Actions? Then this app will seem second nature to you. Even if you’ve never used Moto Actions, you should still try this app if you like the idea of being able to answer your phone, turn on your camera, open an app, turn on Wi-Fi, etc. with just a slight gesture. This app works on most Androids, but it does work best on those with a gyroscope and accelerometer.

Step 1: Install Gravity Gestures

Download and install the Gravity Gestures app from the Google Play store. You can get the app through the Google Play button below.

Gravity Gestures

Google Play download button
Install Gravity

Step 2: Open App

It’s quite helpful to go through the setup tutorial that is provided.

Open Gravity

Step 3: Enable Gravity Gestures

You’ll find the toggle in the top right-hand corner. Once activated, the app will automatically run when you turn on your device.

Activate Gestures

Step 4: Create Gesture

Locate the + sign icon at the bottom of your screen and tap on it. You can use this same icon to add as many gestures as you please.

Step 5: Select Gesture

The four gestures you can choose from are x-rotation, y-rotation, z-rotation, and shake.

3D Cartesian

Step 6: Choose Action

This is where you can designate which app to open or which operation to perform.

Step 7: Repeat as Needed

You can add the remaining gestures the same way. Delete with a swipe.

Step 8: Test New Gesture

Try out your new gestures.

Method 5: Google Gesture Search

Draw letters or numbers to save yourself some time and effort accessing apps, music, contacts, settings, and bookmarks. Google Gesture Search has actually been around since 2010, helping its users locate those hard-to-find things on their phones. And it harnesses Google’s search know-how to learn from your search history. The app supports more than 40 languages and recognizes both upper and lower case letters.

Step 1: Install App

Download and install the Google Gesture Search app from the Google Play store. You can get the app through the Google Play button below. Accept terms and conditions.

Google Gesture Search

Google Play download button
Google Search

Step 2: Open App

You will be prompted to accept even more terms and conditions—Mobile Terms of Service and Google Privacy Policy.

More Terms

Step 3: Select Searchable Items

Check the boxes next to items you want to give the app permission to search.


Step 4: Draw Character

Draw a number or letter.

Step 5: Further Refine (Optional)

If there are still too many options, you can continue writing the full word or sentence.

Step 6: Check Out Settings

This is where you can designate which app to open or which operation to perform.

Gesture Settings


Most of the time, battery consumption isn’t too terrible with these apps.  If that is still a concern, or you are experiencing more battery drain after downloading and using any of these apps, there are other ways that mitigate and help to extend the battery life on your device. If you still experience difficulties, consider uninstalling and trying out a different app.

All of this may seem like a lot of trouble when there are certainly other ways to achieve these same things on your phone. However, once you get past set-up, you may find that it saves you time and you are glad you went to the trouble. Smartphones didn’t really explode until touchscreens became a thing. We all like to interact with our devices on different levels and in different ways, but many people really enjoy the use of gestures with technology.

Tell us about your gestures setup on your phone in the comments below.

Featured Image Credit

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *