The gesture controls in Android Q for Google Pixel phones may no longer have a Back button on the screen. That is what XDA-Developers claims, which has a build of Android Q in its hands. The Back button has been in Android since the beginning.
Instead, users must swipe left from the pill-shaped button at the bottom of the screen, XDA-Developers reports. The Back button is not visible in the launcher, but within apps it is still in the current Android 9.0 Pie. That button has been in Android since 1.0 as part of the interface. Gesture controls are an option on the Pixel 1 and 2, but a non-disableable standard on last fall’s Pixel 3 series.
A swipe to the right directs users to the previous app that was open. That is already the case, but the animation has been adjusted. The new way of controlling does not solve the biggest criticism of the gesture control, which is that there is still a bar at the bottom that might as well contain onscreen buttons.
The change probably won’t affect other smartphones much. Hardly any other Android smartphone manufacturer has the gesture control from Android Pie standard on its phones, and many smartphone makers have built in their own way of gesture control. Many of them don’t have a bar that takes up space. OnePlus, Huawei and Motorola, among others, have made their own way of gesture control.
The first public build of Android Q may be out next month; that happened with previous Android versions too. The chance that this change is already included in this seems small. That developer version is intended for app makers to prepare their software for the new Android version. Google usually shows many interface changes later in the year, for example at its own developer conference Google I/O or with the release of new Pixel phones. That could be this year at the same time, because there have been rumors for months about a ‘Pixel 3 Lite’ series that should be released this spring.
XDA has previously shown information from the Android Q build. For example, there is a dark mode and users can set that apps can only request the location in the foreground. There is also a desktop mode.