How to Use Gestures in Android 9 Pie

Ben Stegner 10-09-2018

Android 9 Pie brings some major changes 13 Best Android 9.0 Pie Features You Need to Try Android 9.0 Pie is here and it offers some awesome new features. Here's a tour of the most exciting improvements in Android Pie. Read More to navigation for the first time in years. Instead of the standard Back, Home, and Recent buttons, most of the navigation now comes through gestures (similar to the iPhone X).


If you’ve just upgraded to Pie or got a new phone with it, you might feel lost. We’re here to provide a quick reference guide to Android Pie’s gestures.

Toggling Gestures On and Off in Android 9 Pie

If your phone came with Android Pie, it likely has gestures enabled by default. But if you updated your phone from Oreo, it will still have the old navigation controls.

To toggle this, go to Settings > System > Gestures. Select the Swipe up on Home button entry, and enable the slider on the following screen. You’ll nice the classic three buttons turn into a single pill-shaped Home icon and a small Back arrow.

How to Use Gestures in Android 9 Pie

Once you have gestures enabled, you can use them anywhere to get around your phone. Here’s how they work:

  • Tap the Home button to return to your home screen.
  • Long-press Home to call up Google Assistant.
  • Swipe up on Home to open the new Overview screen, which replaces the old Recents menu. Inside Overview:
    • Move left and right to browse your recent apps.
    • Swipe up on an app to close it.
    • Tap an app’s icon and choose Split screen to send it to the top. Then select another app to put at the bottom of the screen. Drag the handle in the middle to the top or bottom to end split screen.
  • Swipe up twice on Home to open your app drawer.
  • Quickly flick right on Home to switch to your last-used app.
  • Slowly slide right on Home and you can move your finger back and forth to select an app.
  • When you’re in an app, tap the Back arrow to jump back one step, just like before.

To the right of the Home button, you’ll see context-sensitive buttons like a keyboard to switch keyboard apps or layouts. Hopefully you find these new gestures allow for more powerful navigation—check out Android browsers with gesture support for more The 5 Best Android Browsers With Powerful Gesture Support Gestures can help you get around the web more quickly on your phone. These Android browsers all feature gesture support for better navigation. Read More .

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  1. Dan
    September 10, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    I ran with the new gestures for a few weeks, since it rolled out to everyone, but have decided to turn them off. Despite having adjusted to their use, I found them cumbersome. The 'switch-back' gesture of "slide-right" would often wind up going to the wrong app in my intention. The 'fast-scroll' gesture of "slide-right and hold" would NEVER go to the the app I wanted; I always found myself going "left... right... left -whoops, too far again, right- nope, too far. Let go. $#%@$&% Reselect." Also, there seemed to be a bit of lag going on, and that's probably what caused all the problems in the first place.

    • Ben Stegner
      September 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      I agree with you. I turned them on as soon as I got the update to Pie, but I don't think they're a complete improvement over the old system. I like the quick swipe right to go back one app, but it feels like it never works right for me either.

  2. Tc
    September 10, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    The old ones are better and make much more sense. Most of the above is a waste of time and cumbersome.

  3. Ditto
    September 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Just wanted to add that swiping up on the home button does not require two swipes to access the app drawer. If you do a long swipe upwards rather than a short swipe you can access the app drawer directly.