Android Q’s Gesture-Based Navigation Will Work a Lot Like the iPhone

Posted on February 18, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Android, Apple, Google, iOS with 15 Comments

Google introduced a major redesign for the navigation system on Android with Android 9 Pie. The gesture-based navigation system took a lot of influence from that of the iPhone X, where there was only a single home button that Apple used to introduce an effortlessly amazing navigation system on the newest iPhones. It was perfect.

And Google obviously tried to replicate that, but the company’s implementation simply wasn’t that good, at least in my experience.

Google seems to be aware of that, and it’s taking steps to improve the experience with Android Q. XDA Developers got their hands on an early build of Android Q that features an improved navigation system, and it works a lot as it does on Apple’s newest iPhones. This time around, the new navigation system seems to work a lot better than before.

First, Google is getting rid of the dedicated back button, meaning there is only a single, pill-shaped home button. Instead of the back button, you can now do a quick swipe to the left on the home button to go back on apps. That’s a much better solution than having a dedicated back button.

But more importantly, Google is improving the animation for switching between apps. Now when you swipe right on the pill, it lets you switch between apps easily and the transition for the entire experience seems so much better. It’s almost identical to Apple’s implementation on the iPhone, and to be honest that exact transition made me love the new gesture-based navigation on the iPhone. So it’s really nice to see Google doing the same on Android.

Here’s a demo and comparison of the improved navigation system:

Google will talk about Android Q sometime in May at Google I/O 2019. The update is expected to be a major one, introducing a new native system-wide dark mode and improved privacy controls.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Android Q’s Gesture-Based Navigation Will Work a Lot Like the iPhone”

  1. RonH

    I like having a back button, I don't see what is wrong with it

  2. unfalln

    Swipe left? I hate it. I'd prefer they keep it as is.

  3. SvenJ

    Why is a 'discovery required' feature a much better solution than having a dedicated back button, which is familiar and takes no room that is otherwise usable.

  4. jblank46

    This is why I dumped my Pixel 3 for a OnePlus 6. OnePlus gesture navigation is far superior to whatever that mess is on Android currently.

  5. nerocui

    I like this new system. This means the bottom bar height can finally be gone. No bottom bar needs to be reserved for hosting the back button and the pill, and pill can just float at the bottom of the apps like how it is in iPhone X.

  6. garethb

    I'm seriously unsure why the Pixel phones don't have lightning connectors.

    Google is so intent on copying Apple.

    Apple has this restriction, that restriction. Google: Hold my beer,

  7. codymesh

    Nope, still looks like a disaster. Having a dedicated, universal back button is literally one of Android's strengths over the iPhone.

  8. wright_is

    This is more or less how Oreo with EMUI 8.1 and Pie with EMUI 9 on the Hauwei phones have worked for half a year or so.

    Short press for back, press and hold for Home, swipe left or right for a list of apps.

  9. gelfer

    This is exactly how my motorola G6 has worked since I got it, running Android 8.0. I have always loved this, no need for an ugly seperate button-bar at the bottom. But it's not for everyone, my sister bought the same phone and doesn't like it.

  10. Pedro Vieira

    iOS multitasking is a slick, elegant italian sports car and Android's is a clunky, heavy oldsmobile.

    • bluvg

      In reply to PeteMiles:

      Just an aside... as my dad often told me about, people often forget Oldsmobile was the king of Nascar at one point (back when it truly was stock car racing). As he told me, it was between Oldsmobile and Hudson: Oldsmobile in the straights (Rocket 88 engine), Hudson on the turns (lower center of gravity).

  11. palmpre

    Mehedi, how old are you? You're not going back in time far enough. All those gestures you're seeing on the iPhone X and Android Q? They originated with Palm and its WebOS operating system 10 years ago. The new, horizontal, non-overalapping, cards for each app are from WebOS. So is tossing cards off the top. And now the back swipe. All WebOS. Once you learned the gestures, it was awesome. Especially one handed. Please, give credit where it is due.

  12. siddhant98098

    hey Mehedi!

    thats awesome post loved to read this awesome post

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