Google Is Finally Fixing Android’s Broken Navigation Gestures; Gets Accused of Ripping off iPhone X Gestures

Android Q

After the iPhone X was released by Apple in 2017, Android OEMs were in a race to implement gesture navigation system in their own devices. Google added native navigation gestures to Android a year later with Android 9.0 Pie. However, Google’s navigation gesture was poorly thought of and it was more of a hybrid between gestures and navigation bar. Another year later, Google is finally fixing its mistake by taking inspiration from the iPhone’s gesture system in Android 10 Q.

With Android Q, Google is doing away with the back button and the navigation bar entirely. Instead, it is replacing the back button with a swipe gesture which can be triggered by swiping from the left or right edge of the display. That’s the same manner in which one goes back on iPhone X and newer albeit one can only swipe from the left edge of the display. Other Android OEMs like Xiaomi and Huawei also offer a similar implementation with their own custom gestures.

Here’s what John Gruber of Daring Fireball had to say about Google’s gesture implementation in Android Q:

They should have called it Android R for “rip-off”. This is the iPhone X interface. The shamelessness of this rip-off is staggering. Does Google have no pride? No sense of shame?

For one-handed use, being able to trigger the back gesture from the left/right edge of the display is definitely a handy addition. However, this does clash with the hamburger menu in Android apps which are currently accessed by swiping from the left edge of a device. Forget third-party apps as even Google’s own set of apps have a hamburger menu which is triggered this way.

Google is solving this problem by treating the first swipe from the left as the one to open the hamburger menu, with the second one acting as a back gesture. While app developers have the option to override this, Google is intent on making sure that every OEM and app developer follows this new navigation system.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you agree with Gruber on this? Do you feel Google has completely ripped off the iPhone’s navigation gestures in Android Q?

[Via The Verge]