Google might do away with back button with Android Q

“OEMs like OnePlus and Xiaomi have a much simpler intuitive gesture system compared to Google’s stock Android Pie.”

Navigation gestures started replacing buttons on Android starting early last year and while Android Pie also introduced its own version, it hasn’t been accepted widely with many people deeming its new manoeuvres counter-intuitive. Google did, however, retain the back button on stock Android Pie, letting it do its regular job while the recents button and home were replaced by a small pill. Many people also disliked the fact that Google didn’t move to a complete gesture system, instead went halfway and kept the Back button. Well, it seems that could change with Android Q.

While playing with a pre-release build of Android Q, the folks at XDA Developers found a revamped gesture system that completely removes the back button. As per those findings, Android Q will introduce a gesture in place of the back button. Also, Google might make the gesture system mandatory as the test build did not have any settings to revert to the three-button navigation system.

Google didn’t rid Android of the back button straight away presumably because it has been a key navigation button which had become second nature for many users. Hence, the company kept the partial gesture system to get users to be comfortable with the new system. At least that’s what XDA Developers’ Mishaal Rahmaan thinks is the reason Google had the back button in Android Pie.

As to when this new feature will be seen in Android Q, there are no guarantees but, if at all, it would appear at a later stage in the Developer Preview. Other previously reported features expected in Android Q include a system-wide dark mode, more control over permissions, and a few more features.