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Google may replace the back button with gestures on Android Q

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After the button to display opened apps, also called the Recent button, now the Back button might disappear on Android Q. Google Pixel smartphones and devices with Android One, which are maintained by Google, will thus experience updated gesture controls. They are expected to give the home button a central role in controlling the smartphone. And the recent implementation is as intuitive as you would expect.

Will there be no turning back on Android soon? The recently leaked build of Android Q, which was analyzed by XDA developers, gives reason to fear this. However, this is good news rather than bad. This is the end of Google's design updates of the navigation bar at the bottom of devices with pure Android. If the Recent button to the right of Home disappeared in 2018 with Android Pie, the Back button to the left of it will probably soon be a thing of the past too.

The Home button will thus receive a new gesture that fulfills the function of the replaced Back button. A wipe to the left will take you back to the previous page in the app.

The first reactions are negative

Even if Google brings the redesign of the navigation bar to a predictable conclusion, the Reddit community, among others, is rebelling against the disappearance of the back button. They want at least one option in the settings that gives you the Back button (or the Recent button too). Yet, many users share the feeling that recently Google has been cutting out more choices than it is giving users.

With all the turmoil, it's important to note that the criticism really only applies to the Android variants on Google Pixel and Andorid One smartphones. Manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei or LG will continue to maintain their navigation systems and decide for themselves whether they want to take Google as an example.

Android Q is expected to be available in August 2019 at the earliest and as usual it will be ready for other manufacturers' equipment up to a year later. Until then, Google will further optimize the pure gesture navigation via the home button and possibly change its design fundamentally.

What do you think about the possible disappearance of the back button? Let us know in the comments.

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Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

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  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Feb 19, 2019 Link to comment

    Default it to the pill, BUT, allow the USERS to make the decision which one to use. The phone I currently use, has the OPTION on which one to use. THAT would be the way, but, Google is starting to make a "walled garden" with some of their things.


  • Ethan Grubbs 4
    Ethan Grubbs Feb 19, 2019 Link to comment

    This is a horrible choice. I am glad that manufacturers themselves may still stick with the back button. Its crucial to the Android experience. I do not like the idea of a gesture whatsoever.

    Deactivated Accountmarcus WilsonRusty H.