Android 9 Pie Gesture Based Navigation: How to Turn On, How to Use and Much More

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With the introduction of Google’s latest mobile phone operating system, the tech giant is planning another revolution in the Android interface. This new introduction comes in the form of gesture control. Users of Android have long stuck to the button-based method of navigation. However, Google plans to change that. Notably, the gesture-based method was first seen in phones with very minimal bezels and high screen real-estate. Now with more and more phones coming with such displays, the need for gesture-based navigation has increased. Along with announcing Android 9 Pie, Google has made it clear that this new method of navigation will accompany the latest Android version and has also hinted that it might be the only navigation method in the upcoming Pixel 3 phone. Below is a detailed take on how you can turn on gesture-based navigation and configure it to your liking.

android-pie-gesture -based-navigation

How to Turn On

Google seems to be adamant about the task of making the gesture-based navigation method mainstream. However, Google is not going to force Android users to adopt this method. Since the users are still used to tackling the navigation using the traditional arrow and home buttons, with the coming of Android 9 Pie, the tech giant will give the users option of choosing from traditional or new navigation method. With Android 9 Pie, smartphones users can head over to the Settings > System > Gestures > Swipe Up on Home Button to turn on the gesture-based navigation controls.

As soon as you turn on gesture navigation, the traditional arrow and home button are replaced by a single pill shaped icon in the lower middle section where the conventional home button rests. In this area, users will be able to use many options like swipe and tap to navigate using gestures in the new Android 9 Pie UI.

How to Use

Under the new method of navigation, the Android 9 Pie will allow for taps, wherein a single tap on the home button will take you to the home screen, a long press on the home button will summon Google Assistant like it has been the case with older versions, a swipe up gesture will bring up the multitasking or overview screen, whereas, a long swipe up will pull up the app drawer. A right flick from the overview screen will open up the last used app. Also, a right swipe will let you browse recently used applications. However, the left swipe option remains unassigned for now. Lastly, as you’d expect, the back button will bring you to the previous screen.

We know that getting to know so many gestures at once might be a little bit overwhelming, and there is an absolute truth to the fact that select users will face resistance while migrating to this navigation method. However, with constant use, everyone will be able to make use of this new navigation method.

Revamped Overview screen

The most significant change in the navigation system of Android 9 Pie is going to be in the overview screen which has been put through a drastic change. The entire orientation of the apps overview screen in Android 9 Pie looks nothing like the old one, which we get to see on Android Oreo. Instead of the vertical orientation for app screens, the apps are now displayed horizontally. So now to go through the applications, Android 9 Pie users will have to swipe left and right instead of up and down.

Another thing to note is that the app screens get bigger after this new revamp allowing the users to have a better look where they left the applications when they last used it. A search bar for applications and web has also been added to this new overview window. Using this, you will be able to search for apps, contacts or other things within your phone whereas, using the web search bar you will be quickly able to run searches on the internet, right through this panel.


Although the new gesture-based navigation method has garnered a lot of hype from Android fans, it remains a feature which might use some improvements. After doing a lot of beta tests and iterations, Google has finally settled with the pill-shaped home button. There is no denying, that while using the navigations, some undesired results are obtained. For example, the when trying to open multitasking interface, users might open the app drawer.

Google has also made some changes to the split-screen multitasking, and some users might not like it since now with gestures involved it becomes harder for users to invoke the feature. Although the new feature might seem intuitive, however, the older one remains faster. Other than that, the gesture-based navigation controls seem futuristic and are the perfect recipe to maintain large screen real estate with the smaller form factor. Interested users of gesture navigation should also try out the controls in OnePlus 6 which have been touted to be better than the stock android’s implementation of the same.

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Managing Editor

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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