If you want to use the fingerprint scanner gesture feature of the Pixel and Pixel XL, then you simply need to follow these steps to enable it.

Google has been advertising a fingerprint scanner gesture with the Pixel and Pixel XL, but it’s not something that is enabled by default. These two phones have 2 other gestures baked into the Android OS, and they are both enabled by default. I’m not sure of the exact reason why Google didn’t automatically enable the fingerprint gesture.

I can only imagine that they didn’t want to surprise users who were unfamiliar with the feature.

I can imagine that some people could think the software or the phone itself is broken if the notification panel extended because the person grazed their finger down the fingerprint scanner as they were holding it. The same can be said for it their finger accidentally swiped up on the scanner while they were trying to interact with a notification. This is only a guess on my part, but it certainly seems plausible.

I really enjoy this feature because of the size of the screen, so let me show you how to enable it, and then demonstrate how it works.

Pixel Fingerprint Gesture

  1. Launch the Settings application
  2. Scroll down and tap on the ‘Moves’ option
  3. Toggle the ‘Swipe for Notification’ option on
  4. Press the Home button and test out the feature


This feature has been used in Huawei phones for a while, and many were hoping that the Nexus 6P would have it since the device is manufactured by them. It didn’t turn out that way as the swipe gesture requires a certain type of fingerprint scanner. With Google having more control over the hardware of the Pixel and Pixel XL, it looks like they opted to go for the swipe gesture this year and I really enjoy it.

Since this feature is not enabled by default, and many won’t know about it unless they see an ad or hear about it from someone online, I thought it would be a good idea to write up a guide for it. To start, you will need to launch the Settings application and then scroll down until you get into the Device section. At the very bottom of the Device section you should see an option called Moves.

Tap on this option and you’ll see some gestures that are baked into the Android OS for the Pixel and Pixel XL. At the time of writing this, there are only three gestures to toggle on and off, but this could be expanded upon in the future. I’ll talk about the other gestures in a future tutorial, but today I just want to focus on the Pixel Fingerprint Gesture. The feature is labeled Swipe for Notifications, and it only takes a single tap to enable or disable it.

Once you have it turned on, you can tap on the Home button to go back to the Home Screen and then try it out. Swiping down on the fingerprint scanner once will expand the Notification panel. While the Notification panel is visible, swiping down on the fingerprint scanner again will expand it further and display the Quick Settings panel. With either of these panels visible, swiping up on the fingerprint scanner will condense both of them and make them go away.

We’ve seen LG include this type of option as a custom button for the Navigation Bar. It’s useful for a lot of people because it allows them to see the contents of the Notification panel or the Quick Settings panel without having to reach all the way up to the top of the screen (which can be difficult to do one-handed on the Pixel XL). I hope that Google will think about other way to enhance this feature in future updates, but as I said, I think the developer community might be able to fill this void with custom ROMs or root apps.

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  1. Motorola Z allows for screen off / phone lock with their fingerprint scanner. Is there some way to accomplish that with the Pixel?


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