When Android Q, Google goes all in on . Even the back button disappears, despite Google keeping it around in Android Pie. The new gestures are , which isn't necessarily a bad thing.releases , you'll gain the ability to ditch the staple three-button navigation that we've had on Android for years. With
We know about Android Q and the included gestures thanks to Google's beta program, which you canif you're willing to deal with random bugs and issues. That said, it's entirely possible Google changes how the new gestures look or behave, and if that happens, we'll be sure to update this post.
Gesture navigation in Android Q is optional -- for now, at least -- so you'll have to purposely opt in to using it. Here's how to enable it, and then how to use all of the new gestures we can find right now, including how to master the new back gesture.
The process will vary based on who makes your phone, but if you search the Settings app for "Gestures," you shouldn't have any issue finding it. However, here's how to enable gesture navigation on a Pixel 3 XL ($479 at Walmart):
- Open the Settings app
- Scroll to the bottom of the app and tap on System
- Select Gestures
- Tap on System Navigation
- Select Fully gestural navigation
Your screen will flash, and a few seconds later the buttons that were just present along the bottom of your screen will be gone. In their place will be a single white line.
How to get to the home screen
A quick swipe up from the bottom of your phone's screen will take you back to your home screen.
Get to the multitasking view
To view all open apps, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen but pause about a third of the way up the screen.
Quickly switch between apps
You can quickly switch between apps by swiping left over the small line at the bottom of the screen. After you start scrolling through open apps, you can swipe to the right in the same area to go back and forth between apps.
Access the app drawer
Accessing the app drawer is simple. From the home screen, just swipe up. It's the same gesture you use to get back to the home screen from inside an app.
Access Google Assistant
Without a home button to long-press and trigger Google Assistant, how do you access Assistant without using the wake phrase? I couldn't figure it out at first, then someone on Twitter pointed it out to me. You'll need to swipe up, diagonally, from either corner at the bottom of the phone's display. It takes some practice getting it to work every time, and honestly, I'm still not there. Hopefully, this is one of those features that Google changes during the beta.
How do I go back?
The lack of a back button and the subsequent replacement Google is using as of Android Q beta 3 is the most shocking change to navigating your Android phone.
To go back, swipe from the left or right edge of the screen. It's a quick gesture, and you'll know when you did it right because an arrow shows up on the screen. As of Beta 4, Google made the arrow more prominent and easier to see when the back gesture has been triggered. You don't have to do the gesture as slow as I did in the above GIF; it's just a quick swipe from the edge.
The problem is that a lot of apps use a slide-out menu that's accessed by swiping from the left edge of the screen. With the same gesture now used by Android as a back command, it'll be interesting to see how Google and developers figure out the middle ground. Until then, you can swipe down and to the right from the edge of your phone's screen in order to pull out the menu drawer.
Force close apps
This hasn't changed, but it's worth mentioning again. When in multitasking view, swipe up on an app's card -- pushing it off the top of the screen -- to close out the app.
Originally published May 9, 2019.
Update, June 13, 2019: Updated information.