The Google Pixel is definitely no Nexus. One of the sure signs of that are the features that won’t be provided to other Android smartphones, even Nexus ones. Like the fingerprint gestures, which Google initially claimed was hardware dependent. After Google more or less admitted that it’s really only an issue of firmware, the door was opened for developers to try and bring that feature to other devices, Nexus or otherwise. And now there’s an app for that and one that’s actually available on Google Play Store.
Truth be told, fingerprint swipe gestures are actually nothing new. It is one of those features where Chinese OEMs like Huawei have introduced before, like in the honor 7 from last year. With the Google Pixel, however, the feature has been vindicated and has actually become wanted. And Android developers aren’t going to let some lame hardware excuse prevent them from getting it.
The Fingerprint Gestures app pretty much does what its name says. It lets users associate swipe and tap gestures to certain Android actions. The most popular would be to swiped down on the fingerprint sensor to roll down the navigation shade. Taps, double taps, and fast taps are also recognized, and there are more than a dozen actions to be used, from launching an app (like a camera) to toggling settings.
If you were wondering if there’s a catch, you’d be pleased (or not) to know that there is. The most basic one is that the device must be running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher. Of course, it needs to have a fingerprint scanner, but things get a bit tricky here. The app says that only those that implement Google’s Fingerprint API are supported. Almost all Android devices running Marshmallow and above should, but you never know.
The app doesn’t require any root permissions to function, but there are a few bonuses if you do have a rooted device. Being able to put your phone to sleep, or to scroll up and down the screen, requires root privileges, though they are probably not deal breakers for most users.