Google’s take on gesture navigation isn’t exactly loved by everyone, and it seems the company is preparing a huge overhaul. Alongside tweaks in recent beta releases of Android Q, new commands have been discovered which replace the back button entirely.
First highlighted by XDA-Developers, a new swipe gesture may be added to replace the back button in Android Q. It’s unclear if this is something that Google would implement in Q’s final release this year, but given it’s already showing up in beta releases, it very well could.
This new gesture works a lot like iOS’ swipe gesture for going back. Simply slide your finger from the left-most side of the display and it triggers the back action, just like the button does. From there, an arrow pops out from the side of the display to confirm the action.
Presumably, this new gesture would have some sort of limit built in. After all, if any swipe from that side of the display were to trigger the back action, it would be difficult to access menus in the vast majority of Android apps.
What’s interesting here, is that this would potentially allow for a much smaller navigation bar. Not long ago, other commands revealed a single line navigation bar which oddly lacked a back button. It seems very possible that Google intends for these two to be used together.
Regardless, this functionality is still in somewhat early days. You can enable it on your device, though. Running the ADB commands below on a device running Android Q should enable the new gestures.
Fair warning, enabling this messes with sensitivity around the edges significantly, and enabling the “showhandle” command also breaks some navigation features. I’d personally suggest skipping that step (#4). It can also break some warnings and pop-ups.
adb shell settings put global prototype_enabled 1
adb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_edge_width_sensitivity 48
adb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_gesture_match_map 172233
adb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_showhandle 1