New Gesture-Based Navigation On Android P. It’s Not Great

At Google I/O today, Google has officially announced the Android P beta version and the next Android version of the company mobile OS looks quite fabulous. One of the biggest changes is the appearance of a new gesture-based navigation bar, which seems to be the similar one on the iPhone X.

Google is trying to get rid of its conventional three-button navigation bar on the previous Android versions. Instead, the company has added a pill-shaped home button in Android P.  It’s still a home button and tapping on it will return to the home screen from any app running on the screen.

Once the multitasking button disappears, you will have to swipe up on the home pill to view the recently running apps. They will no longer be stacked on top like in the recent stable Android versions. Instead, they will appear horizontal cards. Simply swipe left and right if you want to scroll through them.

However, if that feels like a hassle, the company has added a nifty ‘quick scrub’ gesture, which lets you hold the home button and swipe left to skim through the current app list. You can also use that gesture as a quick switch button and all you need is flicking it once to switch between apps.


You can see the image above, the return button hasn’t been completely deleted on Android P; instead, it just appears only when needed. There will be a home button on the home screen and the back button will display within apps.

What’s controversial is the implementation of the app drawer in the new system. It will no longer have a slide-up app drawer on the home screen; instead, you can only pull up by doing a long-swipe to the top from the pill, or by a double swipe. It’s a hugely contentious decision on Google’s part.

Also read: How to Set up Android Parental Controls And Content Filtering

Another thing that many users do not like the new navigation is when using apps in split screen mode. It’s a real difficulty without that trusted multitasking key. You will have to tap on the app icon locating at the top of the recent card of each app to open a hidden menu, which includes the ‘split-screen’ and ‘app info’ options. All you need is tapping on the split-screen option and then select the second app, which is an unpleasant alternative comparing to the current experience.

Google has finally decided to have adapted the changing times when taking inspiration from Apple iPhone X. According to Dave Burke, a Google’s VP of Android Engineering, Google had been developing the new navigation system for more than one year, and it will need a time before fans can warm up to it.

Do you like the new navigation bar on Android P? Let’s know your thoughts in the comments below.

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