How to Use Android Navigation Gestures


Use Android Navigation Gestures is one of Google’s native operating system features since Android 9.0 Pie version. With the option, you can browse the software without having to touch the interface buttons so much.

If this sounds familiar to newer iPhone users, it’s because gesture navigation works the same way, without relying on physical buttons. Therefore, anyone who is used to the traditional buttons at the bottom of the screen on Android may notice a certain awkwardness at first.

Enable Gesture Navigation on Android

The first thing to do is to enable the gesture navigation feature, as by default Android maintains the characteristic interface with action buttons at the bottom of the screen.

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For this example we are using an LG smartphone. The tutorial works on any smartphone running Android 9.0 Pie or higher, but keep in mind that the interface and option names may vary depending on your device manufacturer.

  1. In “Settings”, scroll down to the end and go to “System”;
  2. Select “Gestures” and then “System Navigation”;
  3. Tap “Gesture navigation”;
  4. Gesture navigation has been enabled;
  5. If you want to adjust the sensitivity, tap the gear icon and move the bar sideways.

Enable Gesture Navigation on Samsung Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy line phones have a different method to enable gesture navigation on Android. In this example, we use a Galaxy S21 Ultra running Android under the One UI 4.6 interface. Again, the interface may change based on your smartphone.

  1. In “Settings”, go to “Display”;
  2. Search for “Navigation Bar”;
  3. Choose the option “Sliding Gestures”;
  4. Gesture navigation has been enabled;
  5. Tap “More Options” to change the swipe gesture type.

How to enable gesture navigation on Xiaomi

Xiaomi cell phones also have a different way to enable gesture navigation.

  1. Under “Settings”, go to “Additional Settings”;
  2. Select “Infinite Screen”;
  3. Check the “Full Screen Gestures” option;
  4. At the end, the system suggests a quick tutorial on how to use gestures on the Xiaomi device. Tap “Learn” to view the tips or “Not now” to finish activating gesture navigation.

With gesture navigation enabled, the three virtual buttons that appeared at the bottom of the screen will be replaced by a single bar. From there, you can use your finger for the following navigation gestures:

  • Swipe up once (short flick): opens app multitasking;
  • Swipe up (long flick): opens the app list;
  • Swipe to the right (short): go back to the previous app;
  • Right swipe (long): Switches between recent apps;
  • Single tap on the single bar: go back to home screen.

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