How to Enable and Use Gesture Android Pie’s Gesture Navigation

Aug 6, 2018
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Gesture navigation is one of the most prominent changes brought on by Android Pie. However, it’s not enabled by default just yet. So, here’s how to turn on gesture navigation:

Step 1: Navigate to Settings

To enable Android Pie’s gesture navigation is to you need head over to the settings menu on your device. On a Google Pixel, you can either use the settings icon within the app drawer or press the settings icon in the quick settings menu.

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Step 2: Open System Settings & Open Gesture Toggles

Now you’ll need to head into the “System” section of the settings menu. In the latest version of Android, it is located towards the end of the settings menu. Once you are in system settings, select the “Gestures” section. Here, you should see a list of gestures which you can toggle on and off for actions such as swiping the fingerprint sensor and quickly opening the camera.

Step 3: Switch on “Swipe up on Home Button”

On the list of gestures, one will be entitled “Swipe up on Home Button. Tap on that option and toggle on the setting. Immediately, Android’s traditional navigation keys should swap out for the gesture “pill” and contextual back button. Now that you have it all set up let's take a look at how to use the gestures.

Navigate to the home screen

Thankfully, Google hasn’t changed how one navigates to the home screen. A tap of the pill button will bring you back to your home screen.

Access recent apps

One of the biggest things changed by these new gestures is how you’ll access the recent apps menu as the dedicated button for accessing your recent apps doesn't exist anymore. Now you have to perform a quick swipe up on the pill button.

Quickly switch between apps

On previous versions of Android, one had to quickly double-tap the recent button to switch between their two most recently used apps. With gesture navigation, a quick swipe on the pill button will do the same thing.

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Go back

One of the most commonly used functions in any smartphone is navigating back a page or a menu. For reasons best known to Google, they made it a lot trickier compared to earlier Android versions. The new gesture system only shows the back button contextually. The back button disappears and only reappears when it’s needed. For example, if you open the app drawer or notification shade, it appears. It’s also always available when you are within an application.

Access split-screen multitasking

Split-screen multitasking made its debut last year with Oreo. To access split screen, one had to long press the recent apps button which would then split the screen in two. In Android P, it's a bit different. You need to tap on the icon in the recent apps menu to reveals a list of options, including the multitasking button.

The gestures might be a bit difficult to get used to, but a few hours with it should get you up to speed.

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