Google’s Pixel phones have a unique feature that other Android phones running Android 7.1 will not get; fingerprint gestures. The fingerprint gesture lets you use the fingerprint sensor on a Pixel phone as an input device instead of just a security lock. Now, Pixel phones aren’t the only Android phones in the market to have a fingerprint scanner. There are in fact lots of high end phones, including the Nexus 6P that have the scanner built in. Google is effectively locking them out of being able to use this particular feature. Fingerprint Quick Action and Fingerprint Gestures (Beta) are two Android apps that rectifythe problem; they add fingerprint gestures to all phones that have a fingerprint scanner. The do not require a rooted phone to work. Both are still in early stages of development but we found Fingerprint Gestures (Beta) to be far more superior. Depending on which phone you have, you might want to try them both out.
Install Fingerprint Quick Action and open the app. Tap ‘Enable Fingerprint Quick Action’ and allow it access to the necessary permissions needed for the app to work.
Once you’ve granted the app permission, return to it and scroll down to configure the gestures. At present you can configure two gestures; Quick tap and Fast Swipe. Both gestures can be associated with a list of fixed actions. Tap the gesture and select the action from the menu that appears.
Fingerprint Quick Action has its bugs. We tested it on a Nexus 6P and while it did register and execute the gesture correctly, the rate for repeated gestures was low. The app has one feature that requires root access but overall, it can work without it.
You must have Android 6.0 or above running on your phone in order to use this app.
Fingerprint Gestures (Beta) has more or less the same interface as Fingerprint Quick Action but it works far better. It also has support for three different gestures; single tap, double tap, and swipe. You have a more rich list of actions you can associate with a gesture though some require root access. The app also features ads.
The apps tells us a few things about the Fingerprint gestures feature. One, Google is trying to keep it exclusive for no real reason and two, just about any phone with a fingerprint scanner can support it.
iPhones 7 and 7 Plus have something similar and again, Apple is pushing planned obsolescence of devices by not allowing it on older models. Basically, both Apple and Google are doing the same thing but in different ways.
The good news for Android users is of course the fact that Android is a more open operating system. Fingerprint Quick Action might be clunky just now but it will improve. Already, there is another app that does the same thing but better. The only real obstacle here is where the fingerprint scanner on your phone is located. If it’s inconveniently placed on the device e.g. at the back as in the Nexus 6P, the gestures are difficult to execute.