Google Might Completely Remove the Back Button From Android Q

Feb 19, 2019
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We got out first ever taste of Gesture Navigation in Android Pie that relied heavily on a pill-shaped icon at the centre of the screen. Once you switched Gesture Navigation on, the pill would double up as a back button, open the app drawer, and jump into multitasking. As a result, the Recents button went away forever, and Google might now be testing a way to remove the back button with Android Q.

We got our first look at Android Q courtesy XDA Developers. Today, they’ve found that Google is testing two new changes to the gesture navigation system with Android 10. The first one involves fully adopting the pill and gestures to navigate the operating system by getting rid of the “back” button. Similar to how swiping the home pill to the right now opens Recents, there is an option in the early Android Q build that allows users to swipe left on the pill to go back. The pill very quickly snaps back to the centre position, with there being very little vertical movement.

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The second change involves a smoother animation when using the quick multitasking gesture to move between your open applications. The short swipe move to the right no longer takes users into the full Recents menu. Instead, you are quickly moved from one app to the next via a card transition. This minimized movement results in a snappier user experience owing to the absence of the multitasking menu.  Here’s a video of both features in action, courtesy XDA:

Android has used the three-button navigation system for the longest time and forcing users to adopt to the newer, pill-based method might not go down well with a lot of people. In Android Pie, Google retained a “back” button that would only appear when needed, which could be confusing for people who’re used to a dedicated back button. Some people might argue that the new pill-based navigation is looks better, but is sacrificing an age-old feature for aesthetics really worth it?

Considering that this is a very early version of Android Q, it is likely that the new navigation gestures may go through several changes before making it to the final release. It is also possible that it may not make it to the final build at all.

Source: XDA developers

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