How to use Android 9.0 Pie’s gesture navigation, and how to turn it off

how to use android 9 pie gesture navigation p app switcher leaning

Aside from the rumored notch on the upcoming Pixel 3, it seems Google has taken another page from Apple’s book — injecting iPhone X-like gestures into the latest version of its operating system, Android 9.0 Pie. The new Android gesture navigation consists of swipes rather than tapping on the traditional navigation icons.

While it may take some time getting used to it, we break down how to use the new gesture navigation system to help make the transition easier — and how to turn it on or off.

How to turn gesture controls on or off

For those upgrading from Android 8.0 Oreo to Android 9.0 Pie on an existing device, the new gesture navigation system isn’t necessarily turned on by default (it does automatically turn on for the Essential Phone). To turn the controls on, go to Settings > System > Gestures. Then, tap on Swipe on Home Button and toggle the feature on. The icons will then switch from three-button navigation to a pill-shaped icon. To turn off gesture navigation, follow the same steps to toggle the feature off.

EK Chung, user experience manager for Android handheld and Pixel at Google, confirmed to Android Central that future Google devices will ship with gesture-only navigation. That means we’ll most likely see the feature automatically turned on with the Google Pixel 3 — the company’s next flagship expected to launch in October.

How to use the new home button

how to use android 9 pie gesture navigation p home button
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Even though the home button is now a pill-shaped icon, it still works similarly to the old circle. Tap on it to go to the home screen, and a long-press will launch Google Assistant.

When in an app, a back arrow will automatically appear to the left of the home button, just like the old navigation system. Tap on it to go back to what was being viewed previously. It disappears on the home screen.

How to access the app drawer

To access the App Drawer, long-swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This will open the full App Drawer, showing every app installed on the phone. A short swipe does something different. A few new apps will appear on the bottom of the screen — these are apps you’re likely to tap on next — but above them is the new Recent apps menu.

How to access Recent apps

how to use android 9 pie gesture navigation p multitasking 2
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

For Recent apps, a short swipe up from the bottom of the screen is all you need. A carousel gallery will appear showing recently-opened apps, and you can scroll through left and right. Dragging the pill-shaped home all the way to the right enables a slider that automatically starts scrolling slowly through the apps. Once the desired app is in the center, release the button to open it.

To clear a specific app, swipe up on the specific app window. Scroll all the way to the left window and tap Clear all to exit all apps simultaneously.

How to access a previous app

Whether on the home screen or in another app, a quick swipe right on the home button will let you access the previous app. Continue to swipe right to flip back and forth between both apps.

How to enter split-screen view

how to use android 9 pie gesture navigation p split screen view
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

For split-screen view, tap on the app icon at the top when in Recents view. Tap on the Split screen option and scroll through the different apps available to choose a second app. There’s also the option to swipe up on the Home button to access the App Drawer and add in a different app instead.


What do golden retrievers and Samsung Note 9 owners have in common? Loyalty

Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Note 9, but rumors have spread it may be the last of its kind due to its similarity with the Galaxy S9 Plus. We spoke to Samsung about the productivity device's future.
Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture of your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand new TV so you can set it and forget it.

How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android devices

There's nothing worse than getting a new phone and realizing you don't have any of your old contacts listed. Luckily, it's an easy problem to solve. Here's how to transfer your contact list to your new device.

Looking to remove unwanted apps from your iPhone? Here's how

Have too many apps piled up on your iPhone? With all the games, apps, and bloatware out there, it is easy to run out of room on your phone. Here's how to delete apps on an iPhone, so you can free up some space for something new.

Here’s how App Actions in Android 9.0 Pie work, and how to control them

Google's latest operating system, Android 9.0 Pie, comes with App Actions -- a feature that suggests shortcuts based on your smartphone habits. Here, we break down how to use App Actions including how to turn the new feature on or off.

Master your Sony Xperia XZ2 with these handy tips and tricks

While new Samsung and Apple phones get the lion's share of attention, Sony released three new flagships, the Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Premium, and the XZ2 Compact. Here are some of our favorite Sony Xperia XZ2 tips and tricks.

Verizon Unlimited users can now sign up for 6 free months of Apple Music

Verizon's latest offer stands to benefit both Apple Music and its own subscribers, as the one-of-a-kind deal is likely to be compelling to both existing and potential new subscribers. .

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.

Here's how to use iTunes to make a customized ringtone for any iPhone

No one likes to pay for ringtones -- or anything else, for that matter. So hang on to your precious money and check out our comprehensive guide on how to make ringtones for an iPhone using iTunes.

Apple releases sixth public beta of iOS 12, sans Group FaceTime

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Android Army

Confused by this year's Motorola lineup? Here's the lowdown on what's to come

Struggling to figure out your E5 from your G6? No, it's not a weird chromatic scale -- it's just Motorola's new roster. But how do you know which is right for you? Find out with our guide to Motorola's 2018 phone lineup.

The Moto Z3 is now available but only for Verizon customers

Buckle up your Moto Mods and get ready -- the Motorola Moto Z3 is finally almost here. Boasting flagship specs and a classic Motorola design, the phone is set to be a serious contender for anyone looking for a flagship-like phone in 2018.