Android Q Beta 2 reveals work on iPhone X-style gesture bar

Android Q Beta 2 reveals work on iPhone X-style gesture bar

Before Google I/O this May, we won’t know what form Google’s new navigation gestures for Android Q will take. We’ve spotted upcoming changes to the way gesture controls work not once but twice already. The first navigation gesture experiment we found did away with the back button and added a more fluid transition animation between tasks. The second set of changes were hidden in Android Q Beta 1’s Pixel Launcher, with the most notable changes happening to the home and recent app actions. Google published the second Android Q beta earlier today for the Google Pixels and any Project Treble-compatible smartphone. If you installed the beta, you may have noticed that the new recent app transition animation resembles what we found back in February. However, what you may not have found are additional under-the-hood changes to the way gestures work in Android Q.

I flashed the second Q beta on a Google Pixel 3 XL and found a hidden setting that gets rid of the back button and replaces the home button pill with a large gesture bar reminiscent of iOS’ gestures on the iPhone X onward. Here’s a short video that shows off the new gesture bar:

This is clearly a work-in-progress since the transition animation is buggy, the quick scrim animation to cycle through recent apps is missing, and there’s no way to go back, at least as far as I can tell. It’s unlikely that Google will entirely kill the back button action because that would lead to a drastic change in the way we interact with Android apps, but it’s possible that Google will add a back button gesture at some point in the future. It’s also possible that this is just one of many gesture control experiments that Google is working on which may never see the light of day. This is the third such change to gestures that we’ve seen, and there’s clearly no way all of them will make their way into the final Android Q release.

To enable this new gesture bar, simply enter the following ADB shell command:

adb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_showhandle 1

If we find more hidden changes in the latest Android Q release, we’ll let you know. Follow our Android Q tag for more news on the latest version of Android.

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