In Android 9 Pie, Google introduced a new navigation system. Naturally, it was compared with Apple’s gestures, introduced in the iPhone X. Android’s version might either be too iPhone-like or not enough. For better or worse, Android Q might change that and by change, we mean making its gestures resemble Apple’s even more closely.
There have been equal amounts of resistance and acceptance when it came to Android’s adoption of gesture-based navigation. On the one hand, it throws away one of Android’s identifying features by operating the phone with just one hand.
Some find that the gestures themselves are difficult to use while others find the animations to be rough and unappealing. Some hidden developer options in Android Q suggest that Google is enabling options that will make Android Q behave almost like an iPhone.
XDA was able to access the Developer Options menu on the Pixel Launcher using a Pixel 2 XL running the Android Q beta. Opening the menu revealed a number of gesture based options that when enabled, add new capabilities for those using gesture navigation on their Android Q powered Pixel handset. These changes include:
More seamless transition animation when swiping right on the “pill” when changing tasks.
You can return to the previous task by swiping left on the navigation bar.
Similar to gestures on certain iPhone models, swiping up on the “pill” will take you home (new animation is included with this gesture).
You can view your Recent Apps by swiping up on the “pill” and holding.
While in the launcher, swiping up on the navigation bar will show the app drawer only.
The notification panel will appear if you swipe down anywhere on the screen.
If all of these changes are implemented in Android Q, using gestures on the upcoming build of Google’s open source operating system will be very similar to how gestures work on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.
With all of the changes coming to the navigation system, it will most certainly affect the Accessibility Suite, TalkBack users are long overdue for upgrading gestures as the current gestures are lacking in comparison to VoiceOver gestures on iOS. Not everyone might like how Android will become more iPhone-like with these changes but some like myself will welcome it. That said, it’s still not certain whether that will be the final form Android Q takes later this year.
We should know more after Google’s I/O conference taking place between Tuesday, May 7 and Thursday, May 9.