The complete guide to Android Pie's gesture navigation

Three-button navigation is so 2017. Gestures are where it's at in 2018.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
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With the release of Android Pie , Google added plenty of new features and improvements for users. Android Pie is now smarter, has slightly changed look, a new screenshot tool, and an option to ditch the onscreen navigation buttons.

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With Android Pie users have the option to use gestures for common tasks like opening the app drawer, switching between apps, and closing apps. Before you can use the new feature, you need to enable it by going to Settings > System > Gestures > Swipe up on Home button. Immediately after enabling the feature, you'll notice the three buttons along the bottom disappear, replaced by a pill-shaped button in the middle and a tiny back arrow.

The gestures take some getting used to, and they certainly aren't going to be for everyone, but if you want to try them out, let's take a look at how they work!

Get home or go back

You can get home from any screen with a single tap on the new Home button. A long-press opens Google Assistant. And, of course, the back button acts in the same fashion it always has on Android.

App Switcher

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View which apps you currently have open with a short swipe from the bottom of the screen. You only need to swipe up a small amount, and I mean small, for the gesture to work. In fact, I've found a quick flick of the thumb to work best. Otherwise, you risk going too far and triggering the app drawer.

You'll also find five apps along the bottom of the display that don't match the apps you have in your dock. Android Pie automatically places apps here based on your usage. 

App drawer 

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To access the app drawer from any screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, bringing your finger to roughly the middle of the display. As is the case with the previous gesture, you can swipe up from anywhere on the bottom of the display -- you don't have to begin on the home button.

Quickly switch between apps

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If you want to switch between two apps with little effort, place a finger on the Home button and quickly gesture to the right, lifting your finger as you do.

Scroll through recent apps

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Instead of vertically stacked card previews for recently used apps, Android Pie now displays cards horizontally. You can swipe through the cards two different ways. Either swipe to the right over the cards, or as shown here, you can pull the home button to the right side of the display. If you reach the edge of the screen, hold the Home button there to continue scrolling. If you want to go back, move the Home to the left.

Force-close apps

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Force close apps by opening the App Switcher, then swiping up on the cards.

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