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How to Enable and Use Gesture Navigation System on Android P

By FonePaw | May 16 , 2018

Android P beta made its debut at Google I/O 2018 and comparing to the Developer Preview, several significant updates are added to the beta version. The new gesture navigation system, a replacement for navigation buttons (home/back/recent buttons), is one of the biggest changes.


At the first glance, you'll find Android P's gesture controls a lot like Apple's navigation system for iPhone X, especially the Apple-like pill-shaped button at the center of the screen. However, once you have tried the gestures on Android P, you'll notice that there are actually some unique designs on Android P's gesture navigation system. Here's how to enable gesture navigation on Android P and how to navigate your phone with gestures instead of virtual buttons.


Android P Gesture Navigation System


Enable Android P's Gesture Navigation System


Android P doesn't have the new gesture navigation system enabled by default. You'll need to activate gesture controls on Settings.


  • Go to Settings > System > Gestures;
  • Tap on "Swipe up on home button" and toggle it on;
  • The original navigation buttons on the bottom will disappear and in their places, there are a pill-
  • shaped icon and a back button.


Use Gesture Controls on Android P


With the new gesture naviagtion system on Android 9.0, there is a different way to come back to home screen, go back, open recent apps, open app drawer, enter multitasking view. If you are used to the home/back/recent buttons on the previous Android version, you get a grasp on the new transition with the steps below.


Go Back: Android P still keeps the back button on the left of the screen but the button doesn't show all the time, only in the apps that you need to go back.


Go Back to Home Screen: Home button is not completely killed off on Android 9.0. The pill-shape icon on the bottom can work as the virtual Home button. You can just tap the pill-shape button to return to Home.


Android P Pill Icon


Multitasking: There used to be a recent button with which you can open multitasking view with one tap. Now in Android P's new gesture navigation system, you can swipe up from the pill-shape bar to enter the multitasking view, where you can see all recent apps. And by swiping left and right on the pill-shape button, you can view the list of recent apps and once you see the app you are looking for, release the button and you'll enter the app.


Android P Multitasking


Another new change is that on multitasking view, you can now copy the texts from an recent app without opening it.


Open App Drawer: Swipe up once you'll open the multitasking view and swipe up again it will open app drawer.


Anddroid P App Drawer


Switch Between Recent Apps: On Android 7.0, you can double tap recent button to switch between the two recent apps. Now on Android 9.0, flick quickly on the pill-shape bar to switch to other recent apps.


Android P Switch Between Apps


Google Assistant: To bring out Google Assistant, just long press on the pill-shape button on the bottom.


To conclude, Android P's gesture navigation system is different from iPhone X's navigation. Even though home, back, recent buttons are removed, the old Android navigation system is not completely abandoned. To some extent, the pill-shape button still works as the old Home/Recent button. The new gesture navigation system and the old navigation bar, which one do you prefer?


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Samantha Jones
4 year before

Hi FonePaw,
It's an amazing blog on "Android P gesture Navigation." It will be very useful to many people who are currently working on android app development.. You have described it very well by giving in detail description. Thank You. Keep Updating us via new articles.

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