[Update: Working] Google may be testing a new swipe back from the side gesture in Android Q
Android Q is bringing a ton of new user-facing features like floating bubble notifications, a system-wide dark theme, desktop mode, new privacy controls, and more. Google is also addressing the many complaints users have towards Android Pie’s gesture controls. We’ve seen multiple tweaks to the way gestures work, with one of the changes even making its way into the second Android Q beta release. Although we don’t know which gesture implementation Google will settle on for the final release, we have found yet another one of Google’s gesture experiments. This time, we found what appears to be a swipe back gesture.
Swipe Back Gestures
Gesture controls in Huawei’s EMUI and Xiaomi’s MIUI ditch the back button in favor of a swipe gesture that involves swiping from the left or right side to go back. I’m personally not a fan of this kind of gesture since it interferes with the navigation drawer of many Android apps that follow Material Design guidelines. Nonetheless, it seems that Google is at least experimenting with this form of gesture control, as first spotted by XDA Senior Member paphonb. He recorded the following video showing off the new gestures in the Android Q system image from Android Studio’s emulator. As you can see, the gesture is currently not functional, but the arrow that appears from the sides suggests it’ll perform the back action once the code is fully implemented.
We confirmed that this new gesture is present in Android Q beta 2 on the Google Pixel 2 XL. Enabling it requires a few simple ADB commands:
adb shell settings put global prototype_enabled 1\nadb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_edge_width_sensitivity 48\nadb reboot
Again, do note that the gesture currently doesn’t work even though you can see the animation. Also, the sensitivity of the gesture, in other words how far away from the sides you’re allowed to start the gesture from, may be dependent on the screen resolution and density. We’re just forcing a number here for demonstration purposes.
Lastly, the video shows the potential swipe back gesture along with the new iPhone X-style gesture bar we previously spotted. The iPhone X gesture bar lacks a swipe back gesture in its current form, so it’s possible that the new gesture bar will be paired with this new swipe back from the side gesture. We’re getting close to this year’s Google I/O where we may learn more about Android Q’s new gestures.
Navigation Bar Color Changes
Another tweak spotted by paphonb involves a subtle change in the way the gesture bar is colored. According to paphonb, the tweak makes the gesture bar “turn dark based on what’s actually behind it, instead of what the app tells.” He recorded the following video to show off the change, which is best shown during the transition between the home screen page and the app drawer.
Enabling it involves sending the following ADB command:
adb shell settings put global navbar_color_adapt_enable 1
We were aware of these ADB commands since we first got our hands on the Android Q leaked build back in January, but neither feature was implemented at the time so we couldn’t enable them to find out exactly what they did. Now that they’re at least partially working in the second Android Q beta, we can once again show off what Google has been experimenting on under-the-hood. If we spot any more changes like this ahead of Google I/O, we’ll let you know.
Update 1: How to get the swipe back gesture working
The swipe back gesture works if you also enter the following ADB command:
adb shell settings put global quickstepcontroller_gesture_match_map 172233
More details on how this works can be found here.