Android Ice Cream Sandwich was the first version of the operating system to introduce virtual navigation keys to phones, allowing manufacturers to dismiss physical ones. Although some decided to wait much longer to implement these, — I'm looking at you, Samsung — almost all Android devices nowadays have finally abandoned traditional buttons in favor of on-screen input. With the introduction of the iPhone X, Apple wanted to maximize screen space and therefore designed an ingenious swiping-based navigation system, that didn't require the need for buttons. With Pie, Google took its stab at it, but didn't quite make up its mind between using keys or gestures and instead went for a combination of both. Things are looking brighter, though: There's a good chance the Back Button is living its last moments, and the search giant appears to be moving towards more gestures to interact with the interface.

The new Pixel launcher in the Android Q beta software reveals the company is testing a more fluid way to navigate, which takes its inspiration from iOS. Indeed, new options buried in the APK let you use the below gestures for navigation:

  • Swiping left on the navigation bar allows you to switch back to the app you just left
  • Swiping up from the pill takes you to the launcher
  • Swiping up and holding from the pill brings up the task switcher
  • Swiping up from the navigation on the launcher bring up the app drawer
  • Swiping down on the home page bring down the notification panel

If you've already used an iPhone X, XS, or XR, you should already be familiar with some of these. The last two are already found on Samsung phones, and it seems Google has looked at its partner for ideas. We're not sure if these are simply being tested or whether Google is looking at implementing them in the final Android Q release, but it's encouraging the company is looking at improving a change many users didn't embrace.