Android Q

Google today has released the final official version of Android Q along with beta 6. There is not a lot much in this version, except that Google has once again tweaked how the back gesture is going to work. They are also launching the final API 29 SDK, and other updated build tools for Android Studio as a part of this release.

Beta 6 follows changes to gesture navigation last month that added some much-needed polish. With the release of Android Q, it adds the sensitivity preference for the Back gesture that we previously spotted in a leaked build. “Back Sensitivity” can be accessed in Settings > System > Gestures > System navigation. It is definitely a feature that many users will end up playing around with. Despite Google’s best efforts, there is still a lot of confusion about how to deal with the lefthand side of the screen.

Lots of apps put a drawer there, and you’re supposed to be able to hold your finger down in that particular area to “peek” the drawer and pull it out, it’s still a super confusing gesture. Furthermore, it also comes with 200dp vertical app exclusion limit, which might sound a little tricky for you but here what it means, apps that want to opt-out of having the back gesture affect their app can do that. But they’re only allowed to stop the back gesture from working on 200 “density-independent pixels.

The idea behind it was to let you swipe through some apps, like slides in a gallery so excluding a portion of the screen makes it less likely that you’ll accidentally trigger the back button. Another example is a slider on a video, It sets an exclusion around that would make it easier to grab the slider and move it when it’s next to the edge of the screen.

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Google said that they are changing these gesture settings “based on user feedback,” which is a very diplomatic way of saying everybody has been freaking out about how confusing and overall bad this gesture is and so we needed to change it again. It looks like every beta has now a very different approach on how both the main gestures and back gestures will work. So hopefully this iteration will strike a happy balance for users. Because time has run out to make more changes before the official release on Pixel phones later this summer.

The company is trying to educate developers on how to deal with these gestures and Google promised to release explaining more about how they can “optimize” their apps for the new gestures. Meanwhile, the official schedule puts the final release sometime in Q3, and beta releases have been coming every month.

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