The Pixel 4 and 4 XL launched with gesture navigation as the default. For those who have ever used an Apple device you might not understand that Android for the longest time used virtual buttons. These buttons were at the bottom of the screen and allowed users to return to their home screen or act as a simple back button. With the introduction of Gesture Navigation and this being the default behavior a lot of users are confused to say the least. However, don’t be too concerned as you are easily able to restore your buttons to avoid having to use the new gesture navigation if you so wish.
How To Enable Back & Home Buttons On Pixel 4 & 4 XL
The steps are quite simple.
- Open up the settings menu.
- Go to system.
- Select Gesture Navigation.
- You should now be able to select an option to restore the buttons back at the bottom of the screen.
One small gripe I had when enabling this for testing was the lack of a way to move the back button to the right hand side of the screen. This is a minor annoyance because I am right handed and using the back button with it being on the left side of the screen was impossible for single handed use.
Some Thoughts On Gesture Navigation
Gesture navigation isn’t easy and at times its a bit counter intuitive for instance if you’re in Google Chrome and accidentally swipe and you “go back”. You have no way of then go forward unless you can tap the same option. It’s also quite weird that swiping to the left or right side of the screen acts as the back operation (when the common operation is back and forward once again).
However, the more I used gesture navigation the more I grew accustomed to it and frankly I recommend getting used to it. This is the direction (no pun intended) that the mobile phone industry is headed less buttons allows more information to be displayed on the screen and just provides a better user interface. After growing used to the gesture navigation I haven’t really ever wanted the buttons to go back on my own Pixel 4 XL. But let me know your thoughts below on whether or not you think gesture navigation should stay or not.