Operating SystemsSoftware

The Back Button is About To Pull a Disappearing Act in Android Q

Android Pie Navigation Buttons
Image Courtesy 9to5Google

One thing that Android gets to distinguish itself entirely with other operating systems like iOS is the presence of a back button for one to revisit previous open pages in apps or scroll back all the way to the home screen.

It’s actually one of the features that make many people prefer Android (sorry Apple). Ever since Apple rolled out the iPhoneX without a home button, we have been seeing many other companies trying to follow suit and even try and implement similar gesture controls and animations. Developers at Google have been doing the same it seems they have been trying to improve on the current navigation system in Android Pie.

If you are lucky enough to have a device that runs on Android 9.0, you know by now that one major change made was the three-button navigation system was replaced by two buttons; a pill button for navigation and a back button. The recent apps button was gotten rid of and the pill button replaced the home button.


This, however, did get some mixed reviews as more users got a taste of the new navigation gestures, despite Google intending it to be an improvement to the earlier flaky implementations of Android’s gestures and animations. But Google developers are not done with upgrading as some reports say that the back button may be soon done with.

The back button has been as old as Genesis, from the very beginning, but they never got rid of it in Android Pie, which might have been the reason for some uproar from reviewers. The team at Google might have grown attached to the dedicated button which is why they would have been confused erasing it all of a sudden.

But this might be the right time to do so. Leaks of the soon to be released upgrade, dubbed “Android Q”, indicate the absence of a back button. Experimental gestures of Android Q show the use of the pill to now fully move back and forth through apps.

The user will be able to go back by swiping the pill to the left. The swiping right to your previous app will still remain, similar to Android Pie. Another difference that might be in Android Q is once you have swiped the pill button to view the open apps, you can cycle through the recent apps by just swiping the pill to the right, moving you to the left of the recent apps list.

This will be quite similar to the iPhone gesture animation, which begs the question of whether they seem to be headed in that same direction. With only a few weeks to the expected release date of the very first Developer Android Q preview, we’ll find out whether those new gestures make it to the build or if there will be even more features. However, given the strong feedback from a big part of the users, it would be surprising to see Google not try and improve the navigation gestures.

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