Android Q could finally remove the ‘back’ button from the navigational experience, judging by an early build of the operating system.
The intrepid folks at XDA developers have been playing around with a developer preview which shows the ‘back’ button has been replaced by a new swipe gesture.
As you can see in the animated GIF below, a swipe from right to left sends the user back to a previous screen. Should Google take this route, it’ll add a little more uniformity to the Android gesture experience.
Android Pie introduced a number of new gestures that replaced the functionality of the traditional virtual navigation ‘home,’ ‘back’ and ‘recents’ buttons that had been in place since the early versions. The trio made way for an all-powerful ‘home’ pill, with an occasional appearance from the ‘back’ button when required.
For example, a quick swipe up sends users to an overview screen which shows a search bar, recent apps and suggested apps. From there, a second swipe up takes users to the full launcher showcasing all apps.
Related: Android Q features
The loss of the ‘recents’ key was accounted for by a new swipe right gesture within Android Pie, and now it appears users will be able to swipe in the other direction to access the ‘back’ action in Android Q.
Of course, this is a very early build and its possible that Google will choose to save this feature for a later version. However, this is a feature that’s been on many Android users’ wishlists for a while now, and its introduction would make the gesture experience look and feel a little cleaner.
Elsewhere, Android Q is expected to introduce a system-wide dark mode, as well as a desktop mode to turn Android phones into a computer via the same tactic Samsung uses with its DeX displays.
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