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Pixel 3 Embarks on Google’s Journey Toward a Gesture-Based Future

by Justin Herrick | October 10, 2018October 10, 2018 10:30 am PST

If you’re getting the Pixel 3, you better understand how its gesture-based navigation works. You can’t switch back to on-screen navigation buttons with this flagship.

Google made that clear when its latest version of Android was announced earlier this year, but the decision needs to be repeated since there are many people who still don’t believe the transition isn’t optional. In fact, a Google engineer did an interview with Android Central two months ago and confirmed the permanence of gesture-based navigation.

Other Pixel phones are able to switch between the two methods, though. It’s just that, starting with the Pixel 3, Google wants its mobile devices to rely on gestures rather than taps. Maybe that’s undesirable for users at the moment, but gestures are much quicker to navigate apps and menus.

Take a look at the pill-shaped icon that simplifies everything:

Getting to your home screen isn’t any different. You tap that icon, and you’ll see the traditional home screen. The same goes for returning to the previous menu. Android 9.0 Pie has a ‘Back’ button that appears as necessary. But the ‘Recent Apps’ button was eliminated this summer. Now you’re required to swipe up from the bottom of the screen for a view of active apps.

The gesture-based navigation also lets you swipe from the pill-shaped icon to the right for an immediate switch to the next app. Google offers another swipe-up action for the app drawer. See? You really are going to be swiping a lot if you get the Pixel 3.

Aside from previous Pixel phones, third-party devices are able to use on-screen navigation buttons as well.

Google’s serious about this, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the gesture-based navigation prior to the Pixel 3 arriving. It’s not hard to understand, but perhaps you’ll take some time to get acclimated with the new layout.

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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