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Interact with your devices using touch input!

Before we start learning how to navigate Android we’ll first cover some of the basics of using Android touch screen gestures to interact with your device.

As you may already know, most Smartphones and tablets come with touch screens which allow you to interact with the device by touching the screen. This is known as touch input, you can tap a button on your screen and the device is able to detect that you have touched the screen, your device will then send that signal to the relevant application.

There are a variety of different gestures available for various tasks such as zooming in on a photo, rotating a map, or moving an icon, the following are some of the most common ones you will come across.

Single finger gestures


A tap on the screen is where you touch the screen in a certain area for less than half a second, tapping the screen is a very common gesture that is used for opening applications, pressing buttons, and much more. You will use the tapping gesture a lot on your device.

Tap and hold

Tap and hold is where you touch the screen and keep your finger in contact for about a second, this gesture can be used to get additional options, or can be used to move icons around in which case it would be a tap, hold, and drag, your finger remains in contact with the screen for the entire process of dragging.


Swipe is a common gesture for looking through your photos, or reading a book. The swipe gesture can be used to turn pages and is another very common gesture. Similar to tap, hold, and drag the main difference with this gesture is that you don’t hold your finger down, you just tap, drag, and release.


This gesture isn’t used too much, it’s most commonly found in games where you have to throw something, you tap and hold and quickly move your finger in the direction you want to throw the item then release and watch the item fly. This gesture if very similar to a swipe but is done much quicker.

Multi-touch gestures

Pinch to zoom

When you have a photo of a website on your screen and you want to zoom in to see more details you can use the pinch to zoom gesture. This gesture works just how it sounds, you touch the screen with two fingers and “pinch” bringing your two fingers towards each other will zoom out and moving your two fingers away from each other will zoom in.

Rotate with two fingers

Sometimes you need to rotate something like a map to make the map face the way you want it, to rotate something you can use two fingers to touch the screen and then rotate, you rotate both fingers like you are drawing a circle, this gesture isn’t used a lot but can be useful for certain applications.


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