How to get rid of the small keyboard on Android

Last Updated on April 2, 2023 by Dave Farquhar

I was minding my own business, dictating a blog post into my phone while I took my evening walk. At some point I brushed against the screen with my sweaty hand, and next thing I knew, this sidebar showed up on my keyboard, shrinking the already small keys. I didn’t ask for a shrunken keyboard Android keyboard with a sidebar. So here’s how to get rid of the small keyboard on Android.

The small keyboard on Android with a sidebar is called one-handed mode

how to get rid of small keyboard on android
This small keyboard on Android with a sidebar is called one handed mode. To disable it, tap the three dots (next to the microphone) and toggle one handed mode from the menu. With the sidebar gone, the keys have about 10 percent more real estate.

It turns out the Android keyboard has something called one-handed mode. Normally, you enable or disable it from the menu that looks like three dots, in between the gear and the microphone. So it’s easy to get rid of the small keyboard on Android with the mystery Android sidebar once you know what to call it. Tap the three dots, find one-handed mode in the resulting menu, and tap it to deselect it. Of course I looked lots of other places first, but I eventually found it. I’ll share it with you so maybe you don’t have to look as many places.

I was afraid it was some non-optional system update. So I was glad to find the setting. Maybe this sounds curmudgeonly, but there’s not enough room on that tiny screen for a keyboard and a sidebar with a bunch of functions I’ll never use. And shifting the keys one position to the left or right (it’s configurable!) messed with my muscle memory.

I don’t know what problem one-handed mode solves, and how shrinking keys a good 10 percent makes it easier to type with one hand. But that’s probably me being a curmudgeon again. 30 seconds later, I got rid of the small keyboard on Android and could get back to whatever blog post I was working on.

How to accidentally enable one handed mode and the small Android keyboard with a sidebar

As best I can tell, I accidentally enabled this small keyboard with a sidebar when I held down the enter key for too long. Sometimes when I’m trying to hold down backspace to delete a word, I miss and accidentally hold down enter. This especially happens if my hands are a bit sweaty. And to turn off one-handed mode, it takes more than just holding down enter again. Maybe that’s because with the smaller keys it’s even easier to accidentally disable than it was to enable it? But at least I can share how to fix it.

But hey, while I’m airing Android grievances, it wasn’t long after that my phone hid my apps from me. Here’s how I found those. In the meantime, enjoy your less-small Android keyboard.

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One thought on “How to get rid of the small keyboard on Android

  • September 24, 2021 at 7:01 am

    I’ve done this more times than I can count on my current Android phone (Google Pixel 2 XL). It never seemed to happen on my previous Android phone (OnePlus 3).

    Much like you, I’ve no idea how I’ve gotten into one-hand mode.

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