Android Q's revamped gestures might ditch the back button

It's an acknowledgment that Pie needed some tweaks.

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Jon Fingas
February 19th, 2019
In this article: gear, google, mobile
Chris Velazco/Engadget
Chris Velazco/Engadget

Android Pie's gesture controls can feel clunky at times with its mix of newer concepts with legacy holdovers. However, Google might just restore some consistency. XDA has discovered that an early build of Android Q includes a revised navigation system. Instead of jumping back with a dedicated button, you swipe left on the "pill." The rough release also changes the experience of switching apps, providing a smooth transition between programs when you swipe to the right.

The same build also suggests that Google could drop an option to revert to the legacy three-button navigation method and its accompanying recent apps view. If you're not a fan of Pie's approach, you might just have to grin and bear it when using Google's stock experience.

Whether or not that's what you get is another story. You currently have to access these changes through an experimental toggle, and the polished Android Q is likely several months away. Google could axe these changes if it's not satisfied with the results. With that in mind, it would make sense to shake things up given both the reaction to Pie and the shift toward all-screen phones with minimal interfaces.

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