Screenshot shows new Android P navigation bar; multitasking button replaced by gesture?

A screenshot shared on the Android Developers Blog reveals what could be a new navigation bar for Android P. We know that this is something that Google didn't want the public to see just yet since the search giant has since cropped the photo from the Developers Blog. The new image removes the navigation bar from view. In addition, with the clock on the left side of the screen and the rounded corners of the pop-up box, you can see that this is not Android Oreo. Between the urgency to change the image on the Developers Blog, and the new look of the screen, you can safely assume that this is Android P.

The new navigation bar consists of two icons. Gone is the multitasking button that will be replaced by a swipe-up gesture. While the home button remains, it now is a pill or lozenge shaped icon. The back button remains the same, although it will reportedly disappear from view when it cannot be used. For example, you won't see it when viewing your home screen. While Google has not confirmed any of this, the pill-shaped home button does resemble something seen on the render of the Moto Z3 Play that we passed along earlier this year.

We should know for sure about the Android P navigation bar (and any associated gestures) next month at Google I/O. The annual developers conference will be held May 8th to the 10th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre at San Francisco, California. And by the way, it appears that Popsicle is the morning line favorite to be the next dessert used to name the next Android OS build.

source: AndroidDevelopersBlog via 9to5Google



1. mootu

Posts: 1541; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Well that looks a bit stupid, at least space them properly.

18. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

From a visual perspective, they are indeed kinda weird to look at but form a usability perspective, its fantastic! A gesture is miles better than hunting for a small little button tucked in a corner. And gestures are about the only thing I like about The iPhone X and Blackberry 10. Glad to see Google jumping in the bandwagon! I wish they also add a gesture for the back button. Oh well, G'Day!

29. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If you actually used Android then you would have known that many launchers for years have had gestures. Some even give you options to customize those gestures.

36. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

If you actually used android you’d know that launchers don’t add navigation gestures to the OS. Swipe down for quick settings isn’t navigation.

39. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

He totally missed my point. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I'm fully aware of apps and launchers that bring gesture support to Android but they tend to be unreliable at times and not to mention the fact that you need root access to get rid of the on screen navigation bar. Oh well...

44. Newguy

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 04, 2018

WRONG - check the Play Store. Plenty of apps that add that functionality - gestures for everything, and ability to customize literally every side/corner+gesture combo imaginable.

2. josephnero

Posts: 789; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

s**tty idea. Hope we get a choice to keep it. Tapping will always be easier than swiping


Posts: 153; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

Tell that to the people who use swipe/flow gesture keyboards on their phones lol.

22. josephnero

Posts: 789; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Typing is different

27. liamattard

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 14, 2018

I own the xiaomi mi mix 2, miui has an option to turn on gestures instead of buttons and the os feels much more flowy and faster that is if you hide the buttons so you dont have to always swipe up, reveal buttons and pressing home, recent or back.

28. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

Swiping on the keyboard is meant to replace numerous consecutive taps hence its appeal. However, to most a single tap is easier than swiping

3. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3168; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

After physical buttons were removed, swipe gestures remain as the only "look ma, no hands" way of navigating. I'm a webOS devotee so I'm all for it.

5. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Oh if you only you were alive today. R.I.P. webOS. Apple & Google are coping the best parts of you almost 10 years later. :'(

4. epdm2be

Posts: 827; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Djeez, this Android thing is really getting stupid and fugly. It's getting worse than Windows 10.

6. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Seems Google is having a bit of identity crisis with android, always changing the UI.

7. lyndon420

Posts: 6897; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

How's Touch ID treating you on your new iPhone X? Still as good as last year's model??? It was such a big deal and paved the way of the future... how's it holding up????

9. Foxgabanna unregistered

Face ID works very well. They replaced a top notch feature with another one and it helped with a smooth transition. Android on the other hand has always been janky and i have the S9+ a chance and decided it wasn’t for me.

13. cmdacos

Posts: 4334; Member since: Nov 01, 2016


23. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

The face unlock of the S9 works just as well, and it's actually a bit quicker, but that doesn't mean that you should have to live without the fingerprint scanner, as that is still an overall safer and more convenient in certain situatons. You should have a choice as a consumer, instead of being forced by a brand to use a singular feature instead of all the others out there. Having a choice and general control over the way you use your devices is one of the most important things as a consumer, and therefore i dislike when that is taken away from you.

34. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Touch ID is working well on my iPhone 8. But, not sure how Face ID is in anyway relevant to the subject...changing UI. Don’t leave feeling stupid. Just leave.

24. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

If Google is having an identity crisis as a result of them changing the UI, then that would also mean that Apple is having a bit of an identity crisis, as they also changed their UI from buttons to swipes recently. You can't only apply that kind of logic to one side of the equation. I didn't hear you say that Apple had an identity crisis. I think this is just Google experimenting behind closed doors, which i find to be a good thing. I think they're trying to weigh the pro and cons of buttons vs gestures, in order to find out what the best solution is. This could possibly be a combination of the two. I wouldn't really judge Google before you see the commercial product, as i imagine Apple also did some experimenting behind closed doors before implementing their gesture based controls.

35. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Bbbuut...but...b...bbbuut...what about...what about.... User interface != navigation.

37. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

The only significant changes that this shows is navigation changes, so i don't get why you're saying that UI isn't the same as navigation? Why is that relevant? I was refering to the fact that Google changing their navigation is exactly the same as what Apple did with the iPhone X. I don't think it's fair to say Google has an identity crisis from trying out new means of navigation, when you didn't claim the same when Apple did it. Be consistent.

41. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I took the removal of the navigation bar as a UI change that is part of the cumulative UI changes expected in P. Apple didn’t get rid of a navigation bar to add gestures, because there never was one. I made the comment as a general statement about android, and the apps always changing. They change a lot, at least a lot more than iOS. Seems to give a sense that Google is unsure of the direction they want to go with it.

42. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

This whole article is about navigation changes, look at the title of the article. The only UI we're talking about in the context of this article is the navigational changes, as that is the only significant thing that the picture really shows, and therefore i'm the article and myself is only really talking about navigational changes. That's the reason i'm saying that Google possibly changing their navigation a tiny bit doesn't mean they have no idea what direction they're going, because if that were the case, then you should be saying the same for Apple, as they also changed their navigation. I will agree that Google changes Android a lot more than Apple changes IOS, and it has been like that for a long time. That's why i actually prefer Google's active approach, as they keep making changes to improve it, while IOS just remains stagnant, as Apple never nearly makes any changes in comparison. It's the reason that Apple lost their lead a long time ago, as Android improved at a much faster rate, and it still does, as it has more changes (improvements) per generation than IOS, as you said. Lastly, Google does sometimes make a weird decision, as a result of making so many changes, which is seen in only specific areas, such as messaging, where they seem to make a new messaging app all the time. Other than that, i think Google has had a pretty clear and consistent path in the other areas.

43. rouyal

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I think we’ll have to disagree that Google makes improved changes. Sometimes they do, but not the majority of the time. Always changing their apps, changing app branding, removing features and adding them back. Or adding new features, then removing them. Even icons are inconsistent, and you shouldn’t need another launcher or icon pack to fix it (I admit, I’m going off course here) It’s just inconsistent and I don’t think for the best. To me, it still feels as though android (and Googles first party apps) is disjointed and still in a beta program.

8. gamehead unregistered

I cant even think of a new feature I want in Android P

10. pupkin

Posts: 150; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

It’s a welcome change! I use iPhone X and HTC U11 as my second phone. Because Apple only has a single Sim bummer! Gestures on iPhone X is really something else. You have to own one to really appreciate what it can do.

11. truthbetold

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 16, 2015

Considering the fact a dialog window is shown on the screen, it's possible that the task switcher button is just hidden temporarily. Besides, no self-respecting UI designer would leave vital system controls off-center like this.

12. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Ha ha haa. They had to do it. I knew it. Nice innovation

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless