The days of back button on Android may soon be over, like it or not

Gesture controls are not that new in the wider Android fraternity, but it is with Android 9 Pie that Google has natively integrated this feature into its popular OS, allowing users to swap the typical 3-button-based navigation for a 2-button gesture-based system.

With Android Pie still commanding a paltry market share (less than 1% as of October 2018, although by now the figure has definitely improved), it’s obvious that people are still getting accustomed to the new gestures for navigation. But even before they do, Google, in an attempt to fix the current navigation system that has faced some backlash, is reportedly planning further changes to the gesture system as you see it on Pie when the next version of Android arrives.

According to a report by XDA Developers, it seems the only surviving dedicated button – the back button – will be going away upon the arrival of Android Q, the successor to the current Pie. The arrival of Pie did away with the Recents button and turned the Home button into a pill. It is this pill that is always in action while the back button just chills around it waiting for that one thing to do.

In Android Q, XDA says the back button will be no more and in its place, a simple swipe to the left on the pill takes you back, which, IMO, is way more intuitive and also cleans up the UI.

Of course, it’s likely that the removal of the back button from a gesture-based system that has yet to mature will meet serious criticism. Even if Google believes the gestures in Q will be a finished product as opposed to Pie, it might still be too early for some, but hey, we don’t make the rules. The likely scenario is that the feature will still be available for those who want it, but they must manually enable it.

In fact, this is just an unfinished Android Q build, so we won’t be surprised if the final build comes out different. We’ll just have to wait and see what plans Google has in store.


Check out the XDA video below to see how Android Q gestures work.

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