Navigation Gestures updated with pill customization and many bug fixes
Android P‘s new gesture control interface has a lot of fans, but also a ton of critics. Google‘s take on gesture navigation is just another implementation on a trend first popularized by webOS way back in the day, but more recently brought into the public view thanks to the Apple iPhone X. OnePlus soon followed suit with the OnePlus 5T and the OnePlus 6, and other OEMs like Xiaomi with the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi Mix 2S also now have gesture controls. We thought we would jump in and offer our own take on gestures with the Navigation Gestures app—a gesture navigation app that was the first on the Play Store to completely hide the stock navigation bar and replace it with our pill bar. Now, we are ready to release a major update to the app that brings a ton of features and bug fixes that you’ve all been asking for.
When we first announced this app, we had no idea how much feedback and support we were about to get. We’ve read over 700 emails, 300 YouTube comments, 700 Reddit comments, 27 pages on our XDA support thread, and hundreds of Play Store reviews in the span of 10 days. The app, for which there are only 2 members working on it, clearly had a lot of work to be done on it based on the feedback we’ve received, so we got to work addressing the most common bug reports and feature requests that we were sent. After a lot of work, we’re happy to announce that the next major update for Navigation Gestures by XDA is now available.
We would like to thank all of our supporters who purchased the premium version of the application. Your support helps us continue development on the app. This first update doesn’t add any new features for premium users, but rest assured, we will be focusing our attention on adding new gesture actions for premium users once we’re sure the base application is stable! Expect many new actions to come!
Navigation Gestures v1.10
The changelog is massive, so I’m going to split up the changes into sections to keep things organized.
Bug Fixes and Behavior Changes
- Added foreground service to hopefully prevent the pill from disappearing randomly. (This adds a persistent notification in your notification area, but you can hide it if you want.)
- Fixed pill disappearing when unlocking the screen with fingerprint scanner.
- Added “Hide in Fullscreen Apps” toggle in Settings —> Behavior (enabled by default). This will make the pill enter “hide” mode and become more transparent in fullscreen apps and games.
- Added coloring to the navigation bar on many Samsung devices to hopefully hide the “white line” at the bottom of the screen issue.
- Fixed the delay with the single tap gesture (Note: Double tap gesture must be set to “None” to avoid the delay.)
- Added “Don’t Move Pill” option in Settings —> Behavior. This will stop the pill going above the keyboard.
- Tapping or swiping up on the pill when in “hide mode” should no longer trigger an action except unhiding it.
- Reduced the minimum width and height of the pill
- Fix crash on Gestures menu for Lollipop devices
- Fix crash when attempting to start Assistant
- Fix exiting Car Mode causing the app to activate even if it was off beforehand
- Fix reboot causing the app to activate even if it was off beforehand
- Added pill transparency (located in Settings –> Appearance as a part of the pill coloring option)
- Added pill coloring/border coloring (Settings –> Appearance)
- Added toggle for pill shadow (Settings –> Appearance)
- Added pill corner radius size (Settings –> Appearance)
- Added animation duration customization (Settings –> Behavior)
- Added horizontal (X) position customization (Settings –> Appearance)
- Added swipe left and hold + swipe right and hold gestures (Settings –> Gestures)
- Split-screen action has been moved to the free build (Settings –> Gestures)
Compatibility options (Settings —> Compatibility)
- “Hide original navbar in landscape” option. If the navigation bar is showing on your device when you turn to landscape mode, this will hopefully prevent that from happening.
- “Tablet mode” option. If you use a tablet and notice parts of the screen get cut off, try this out.
List of Features
For those of you who want to get into this app but are only just now hearing about it, here’s a feature list that accounts for the most recent update:
- Single tap
- Double tap
- Tap and hold (long press)
- Swipe up and hold
- Swipe left
- Swipe left and hold
- Swipe right
- Swipe right and hold
- Swipe up
- Swipe down
- Recent apps
- Toggle split-screen (requires Android Nougat+)
- Open previous app (requires Android Nougat+)
- Open Assistant
- Hide pill
- Pull down the notification shade
- Pull down quick setting tiles
- Open power menu
- Skip to previous media track*
- Skip to next media track*
- Play/pause current media track*
Appearance (all free)
- Toggle pill shadow
- Customize pill color
- Customize pill transparency
- Customize pill border color
- Customize pill corner radius
- Customize pill width/height
- Customize pill vertical/horizontal position
Behavior (all free)
- Hide in fullscreen apps
- Don’t move pill above keyboard
- Customize swipe and hold time
- Customize vibration duration
- Customize animation duration
Compatibility (all free)
- Hide original navigation bar in landscape
- Tablet mode fixes
- Help, I uninstalled the app and I can’t access my navigation bar anymore!
- Please connect to your computer and run the following command:
adb shell wm overscan reset
- Please connect to your computer and run the following command:
- This app isn’t hiding the navigation bar at all on my device!
- Due to changes made in the Android framework by certain device manufacturers (I’m looking at you, LG and Asus), the method we used to detect the presence of a navigation bar wasn’t working on devices like the LG G6 and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. In our next release, we will make the navigation bar hiding a separate toggle so users can opt-in to hiding the navigation bar. This will hopefully fix that problem.
- There’s a “white line” at the bottom of the screen!
- This is NOT a bug. This is a side-effect of a change we intentionally made after version 1.0.0 because without it, many Samsung, Motorola, and Xiaomi devices were reporting major bugs (eg. black screen after unlocking which made the phone unusable.) The “white line” is caused by the navigation bar being hidden 99.99% but not 100% (ie. we hiding the navigation bar entirely except for 1 pixel.) So the “white line” is actually just your navigation bar that’s colored white. It’s noticed mostly by Samsung owners because Samsung aggressively colors the nav bar white. We are coloring in the nav bar to hide this white line.
- This app doesn’t work on Android P beta!
- We are using an API that does not work on Android P unless you use an obscure workaround. We are not sure if this obscure workaround will still work in the final release of Android P. To give us a higher chance of that workaround still working in P, we are choosing not to publicize this workaround. Please bear with us!
- Uninstalling the app doesn’t bring back my stock navigation bar!
- Do not uninstall the app unless you first disable the pill in the app. There is no way for our app to detect when it is being uninstalled, so we can’t revert the changes it makes if you uninstall it. Please first disable the pill and then uninstall it like normal.
- Pill doesn’t work with screen pinning.
- We have no way of simulating a long press on the back button without root. A tentative solution we are looking into is detecting when the phone enters a pinned screen state and disabling the pill to bring back the stock nav bar.
- The app hides the dock in Samsung DeX.
- Apparently, the dock in DeX is seen as a navigation bar. We’ll see if we can detect DeX and just disable the app when that happens.
- Can we add a feature where the pill is in its own separate area so it doesn’t overlap with certain UI elements?
- Very likely no, sorry. We are already pushing the screen content down to hide the nav bar. Adding this feature would require us to push the screen content up as well. We can’t have it both ways.
- Can we hide the pill when on the launcher?
- Yes, a future release will allow for hiding the pill when you are on your home screen.
- Can we have the pill open a certain app?
- Yes, that is planned for a future release.
- Can we have the pill open an app launcher?
- That is a bit more complicated since we have to consider caching the list, but it’s possible. It’s not a priority, but we’ll consider it!
- Can we lock the screen?
- There are 4 ways we know of to do this, and none of them are ideal. There isn’t a simple “lock screen” API (well, not until Android P) that we can use that doesn’t have its own share of problems. Nova Launcher’s approach is probably the best solution, though, so we’ll likely just do what they do. It’s planned, though!
- Can we take a screenshot?
- Pre-Android P, the only way to do this is with the MediaProjection API (the one that lets you do screen recordings.) It’s very performance intensive but possible to do.
- Can we add special root actions?
- Yes, we planned to have them for this release but had to push them back.
Feedback and Support
Feedback is very important for us. While we are blessed to have access to a large team that owns a wide variety of devices from several different device manufacturers, it’s difficult for us to ensure a bug-free experience on every device. If you are having trouble with our app, don’t hesitate to email us or post in the official XDA support thread.
We plan on adding additional features in coming releases to give users more options for swipe gestures and actions. We hope to provide an experience that can replace the navigation bar on your device. If you feel that we should add a feature or two to make that happen, then please reach out to us with your ideas!