In Android 9 Pie, Google introduced a new navigation system that almost threw away years’ worth of refinement in favor of gestures. Naturally, it was compared a lot with Apple’s gestures that it introduced starting with the iPhone X. Depending on your preferences, Android’s version might either be too iPhone-like or not enough. For better or worse, Android Q might change that and by change, we mean making its gestures resemble Apple’s even more closely.
There have been equal amounts of resistance and acceptance when it came to Android’s adoption of gesture-based navigation. On the one hand, it throws away one of Android’s identifying features and requires a bit of thumb exercise to use. Its biggest draw, however, is that it makes it easier to operate the phone with just one hand. It can also be pretty habit forming if done correctly.
That last part is something some users have had problems with, at least in Android Pie’s case. Some find that the gestures themselves are difficult to use while others find the animations to be rough and unappealing. Some hidden developer options in Android Q suggest that Google is on the case.
Enabling those options will admittedly make Android Q behave almost like an iPhone. Swiping on the pill to the left returns you to the previous app used. Swiping up and holding bring you to the recent apps overview. In addition, the animations have been tuned to be smoother and more seamless.
Not everyone might like how Android will become more iPhone-like with these changes but some will also welcome it wholeheartedly. That said, it’s still not certain whether that will be the final form Android Q takes later this year. Whichever path Google chooses, though, it seems that the back button is at least here to stay.