Here’s how to enable and use the new gesture navigation controls in the Android P beta. Google just unveiled a different way to control our Android phones, using some fancy swipes and gestures similar to the iPhone X. Our video will show you how to enable these controls, and how to use them.
The new Android P beta is available now for the Google Pixel family of devices, as well as seven other phones from Sony, OnePlus, Essential and more. If you’re running the beta you probably noticed the gesture controls are disabled.
This is a major change to how we interact with our Android phones, which is why Google left it disabled on the beta. If you want to try them, you have to manually enable Android P gesture controls. Here’s how to get started.
How to Enable Android P Gesture Navigation Controls
Once you opt-in for the Android P beta, or flash it to your smartphone, you’re all set. Once you’re already enjoying Android P, follow these instructions.
- Head to Settings in the app tray or tap the gear-shaped settings button in the notification bar
- Scroll down and tap on System
- Now select Gestures
- Tap on the 4th row labeled Swipe up on Home button
- Flip the switch to ON
In here you’ll see a few different gesture control options, and most of them aren’t anything new. You can swipe on the fingerprint scanner to open the notification bar and do a few other things.
However, the “swipe up on home button” is new and once you enable that you’ll instantly see a difference. You’ll lose the back, home, and recents button on the bottom of your phone. Now, there’s a single “pill-shaped” icon that controls everything.
How to Use Gesture Controls
This is the new gesture navigation controls on the Android P beta, and what will likely be the default navigation system when Android 9.0 arrives later this year. So, you might as well get used to it now, while you’re testing Android P.
Swipe up from the button about halfway up the screen to enter your recent apps list. This is how you can easily multitask and switch between running apps or Google Chrome tabs. Swipe up faster (or further) and you’ll open the application tray just like you do on Android 8.0 Oreo.
Did you notice the back button is missing too? The back button only appears when it’s necessary. That way there’s not a useless button on the screen wasting space or causing screen burn-in.
You can push and hold the button to open Google Assistant, or hold and slide to the right to scroll through your running apps. That way you can quickly open a different app with one-hand, without taking your finger off the screen. Making it easier and faster to use and navigate Android.
As a bonus tip, you can instantly switch back to your last used app by swiping to the right quickly. Say you’re writing an email and you leave the message to check the date or reply to a text message. From the home screen or any screen, quickly swipe the button to the right. It will immediately open the last app you were using.
If you don’t like these new Android P navigation gesture controls simply go back to settings and turn them off. For those still debating on trying the beta, here are a few reasons you should, or shouldn’t, download it today.
Install Android P If You Dare
Google's developer preview betas are exactly that, an early developer preview. They aren't intended for anyone and everyone. Even though anyone that wants to try it can.
In fact, you will run into bugs, there's no question about that. Especially on devices like the Essential phone or the brand new OnePlus 6. Google themselves confirmed more than a few are present in the software when they released it back in March, and most of those are in the second version too.
We're running the Android P Developer Preview 2 beta on our Pixel XL and Pixel 2, and so far it's very stable. All I had to do was join the beta, click ok, and wait for the update to hit my phone.
If you have a phone from someone else aside from Google, it's not that easy. However, go to the beta program device page for more help, or click the links below for the phone you own to get started.
Those links will tell you everything you need to know. Either way, you should only install it if you like living on the edge and dare to handle any issues. Yes, it has some benefits, but also a few cons. So far the software runs pretty smooth, and battery life seems decent. Don't say we didn't warn you though.