Useful Tips

Buttons and gestures, gesture control


With the beta version of Android P, Google offers a new navigation system: Gestures. They replace the Back-Home-Latest navigation scheme that Android has used for many years.

Mixed impressions are a good start, but much remains to be done.

It’s easy to adapt to gestures, so the transition will be quick. Some of the gestures are also faster than their similar action when a button is pressed.

On the other hand, some of these gestures are actually much more complicated than just using open-button buttons on a split screen, for example. Using the buttons, you simply press the button of the latest applications for a long time, and then select your applications. It's simple. Using gestures, you must open the menu of the latest application, long press the application icon, select "Split Screen", and then select the second application. This is not intuitive and takes about five times longer than before.

Let's take a closer look at these gestures, how they work now, and what we hope will change before the official release of Android P.

Note. Gestures are in beta and are not finished. This is nothing more than an early look at what Google is preparing. They can (and very well) change before gesture navigation becomes the main theme on Android.

How to enable gesture navigation

First of all, let's talk about how to enable this. To get started, lower the notification bar down two times to open the full quick settings menu. Click the gear icon to go to the settings menu.

In the "Settings" section, scroll down the entire list and tap the "System" menu. From there, click Gestures.

Tap the “Swipe up on Home button” button, and then turn it on.

Gesture navigation is now enabled.

Gesture navigation: better or worse

The first thing you will notice is that the Back and Forward buttons go away as soon as you return to the main screen. This is a bit annoying at first, but don’t worry - as soon as the application comes to the fore, the Back button will appear again.

But here the first weirdness / annoyance also appears: to open the "Recent" menu, you need to scroll up the "home" button. Thus, in order to open the application, you have to spend a second time, which makes this gesture slower than in previous versions of Android.

However, there is an advantage: you can easily access the list of applications from almost anywhere with just a few swipes. Thus, it is faster from applications, but slower from the home screen.

However, one thing that is really good in the new menu of the latest applications is that it offers quick access to the five most used applications. This is a sort of sorting in the Recent Applications menu, but instead of being configured, there are only five applications that you often used recently. This simplifies multitasking between multiple applications.

Otherwise, if you simply quickly switch between the two applications - what you could do by double-clicking the "Recent Applications" button - you can simply quickly move the "home" button to the right.

Therefore, if you haven’t noticed yet, in the current state, the “navigation” gesture actually just replaces the “Recent Applications” menu. The Home button is still present, and the Back button is present when the application is in the foreground. So, this only replaces the "Recent Applications" button.

But this is also a big problem. As I mentioned earlier, this completely disrupts the management of split-screen applications, adding a few steps that should not be. This is a problem that Google will have to solve before the final version is released, so I hope this is what is already in the works.

In the current Android P configuration, gesture navigation is interesting. It’s easy to get used to, but incompleteness is felt - because it is. In the end, I would like to see that swipe left replaces the "Back" button, as well as a more intuitive (and simpler) way to switch to a split screen.

Button and gesture functions

Using gestures, you can perform 8 actions on a smartphone. Let's consider each.

  1. Camera launch: a choice of 7 combinations of gestures and buttons on the phone.

Be careful when adjusting gestures so that the keyboard shortcuts do not overlap, otherwise you will not be able to use all the functions.

The following keyboard shortcuts + gestures are available to configure these 8 actions:

  • Double tap “Power”.
  • Long press “Home”.
  • Long press “Menu”.
  • Long press “Back”.
  • “Food” + “Home”.
  • “Power” + “Menu”.
  • “Power” + “Back”.
  • Gesture with three fingers down.

Button Control

Function “Auto off navigation buttons”Automatically disables the Home, Recent, Back buttons when using favorite applications. Double-clicking on any navigation button activates them again.

Just select the applications you need from the list:

I do not use this function and do not see the benefits of its use.

For Google Assistant Launch hold the power button for 0.5 seconds, release and speak.

If you hold the button for 3 seconds, the device shutdown and reboot menu will appear.

To force a reboot if the phone freezes, hold the power button until the device restarts.

Where Android is going

In Android P, a gesture up opens a menu of recently launched search applications. In this case, a repeated swipe up calls up the menu of all applications. Noah believes that Google thus wants to give up the desktop in the future, and the menu of the latest applications should become the main window of the system. I agree with this position, and, in my opinion, such a decision will be the most correct, since it is the menu of the latest applications that allows, together with gestures, to make the process of using the device as convenient and fast as possible.

Android issue

In the case of gestures in Android P, Noah notes their confusion. Initially, it is not clear whether we have buttons or gesture control. Gestures in Android P can not be called full. We have a lower navigation bar, and gestures are used. What are gestures for when the bottom useful area of ​​the display is still used by the navigation buttons? This is the lack of organicity.

Why do I need a back button? After all, it was possible to come up with a gesture that would save the system from an extra and unnecessary button? The Home button is also not needed. The system does not need buttons at all - gestures do not imply the use of buttons.

As an example, Semus gives gestures in the iPhone X, while not considering them ideal, but believing that they are better than those in Android P. What is the significant difference between the gestures of iOS and Android? In Android, swipe up opens the menu of the most recently launched applications, and this is normal, but the problem is in the animation. In Android, animation happens linearly without any freedom. In the case of the iPhone, swipe up compresses the application window into a small icon that fits in its place on the desktop. From the point of view of psychology, such an implementation is more logical, it creates the feeling that the user controls the entire process of hiding the application with his gesture.

1. Double swipe down from the screen border - full extension of the settings panel

A standard swipe down from the top of the screen shows only notifications. To push the entire top panel and gain access to the quick settings of the system, you need to do another swipe. But you can replace these two gestures with one - exactly the same, but done with two fingers. Such a double swipe pushes the panel as a whole.

2. Long press on the notification - quick access to program settings

If one of the programs starts to constantly send notifications, there is an acute desire to reduce their number or simply disable it. To do this, you have to open the application and delve into it in search of the necessary settings. But you can simply click on the notification and hold your finger for a few seconds - a button will appear for quick access to the desired settings.

3. Horizontal swipes along the address bar - flipping tabs in Chrome

To switch between the Chrome tabs, you must first click on the number with the number of tabs, and then select the desired one. But there is an alternative way with which it is convenient to switch to neighboring tabs. It is enough to swipe right or left, sliding your finger along the address bar.

4. Long press the shutdown button - switch to safe mode

If the device starts to slow down, and rebooting does not help, it is appropriate to test its operation in safe mode. In this state, the device is not affected by third-party programs, so the problems caused by them are easier to eliminate. To enter safe mode, hold down the power key and hold until the “Power off” button appears on the display. Then hold the touch on it - in a second you will see a proposal to switch to safe mode.

5. Pinch and long press in Google Photos - convenient photo management

Gestures in Google Photos greatly simplify the use of a smartphone. For example, you can quickly change the display format of pictures with a pinch, without even going to the additional menu. It is enough to bring and spread two fingers on top of the list of photos, and the application will switch the view: normal, by day, by month, by year.

In addition, you can quickly highlight many images. To do this, hold the touch on one of the desired pictures and, without lifting your finger from the screen, swipe it over the rest.

6. Double tap on the map and vertical swipe - zoom in Google Maps

Scaling a map with a traditional gesture - a pinch - is not very convenient on the go when you hold your smartphone with one hand. The developers took this nuance into account and added an alternative method. To resize a card with one finger, quickly double-tap it and without lifting your finger, swipe it up or down. The scale will change.

7. Triple tap and swipe - scaling interface and images

If you want to quickly examine a small fragment of a picture or read a tiny font of a site on which standard scaling does not work, you can use a hidden gesture. To do this, you need to click three times on the screen and, without raising your finger, do swipe in different directions. But the method will work if you previously activate the option “Gestures for enlargement” in the “Accessibility” section of the smartphone’s settings.

8. Horizontal swipe along the space bar - cursor control in the Google keyboard

When a typo creeps into the typed text, you have to get your finger in the right place between the small letters to fix it. This, to put it mildly, is not very simple. Fortunately, you can control the cursor in a much more convenient way. Just slide your finger across the space and the cursor will move along the text.

Perhaps you know other not quite obvious gestures? Share in the comments!