Accessibility options are some of the most important features built into Android. Even if you don’t rely on them personally, they’re essential to making smartphones openly available to everyone. Timed with Android 12, Google is introducing an all-new option that allows for complete control of your phone just from facial expressions alone.
Android’s Accessibility Suite got a fresh beta version last week, adding one of the coolest control methods we’ve seen in a long time. There’s a new option available under Switch Access, adding support for facial gestures using your device’s built-in camera (via XDA Developers). The setup guide walks you through the process, with two switches recommended to support more than one gesture at a time. You can swap between linear scanning, row-column scanning, and group selection, though linear is selected by default.
After that process, all that’s left is to customize some of your actions. Assigning gestures only takes a couple of steps, and you can view all of your facial expression settings once the camera is enabled. You’ll know Switch Access has been activated when a blue face icon appears along the status bar.
Each gesture can also be customized and fine-tuned, allowing for larger or smaller gestures before it’s recognized, as well as specifically-timed durations. Assignments can also be changed from the test area, with more available actions than the default setup space.
As you can see in the GIF below, it actually works pretty well. After setting an eyebrow raise to “Home” and a smile to “Quick settings,” both were quick and responsive in action. The blue highlights along the side of the screen show exactly how long you need to hold each expression before the command takes hold.
It’s an excellent method for anyone looking to control a smartphone without relying on voice commands, and you don’t have to wait for Android 12 to use it. Though these options are limited to the latest Accessibility Suite beta, you can install the app on devices running Android 11 as well. If you want to test out these features, grab the APK from APK Mirror right now.