Master Android 10's new gestures with these tips – CNET

Android 10 adds more than just a dark theme. 

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Now that Android 10 is officially out, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with Google's new approach to gesture-based navigation. That's right, you now have the option to ditch the staple three-button navigation that we've had on Android for years. The new gestures are very iPhone-like, but we're not complaining.

For example, a swipe up will go to your homescreen, a quick swipe across the bottom switches between apps, and a swipe from either edge of the screen will go back. 

Gesture navigation in Android 10 is optional -- for now, at least -- so you'll have to purposely opt in to using it. Here's how to enable it, and then how to use all of the new gestures we can find right now, including how to master the new back gesture.

Master Android 10's new gestures with these tips     - CNET

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Enable gestures

The process will vary based on who makes your phone, but if you search the Settings app for "Gestures" you should be able to find it. As an example, here's how to enable gesture navigation on a Pixel 3 XL ($920 at Amazon):

Gesture navigation on Android 10 is just a few taps away. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

1. Open the Settings app 

2. Scroll to the bottom of the app and tap on System 

3. Select Gestures 

4.Tap on System navigation 

5. Select Gesture navigation

Your screen will flash, and a few seconds later the buttons that were just present along the bottom of your screen will be gone. In their place will be a single white line.

How to get to the home screen

A quick swipe up from the bottom of your phone's screen will take you back to your home screen.

Just swipe up to go home. 

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Get to the multitasking view

To view all open apps, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen but pause about a third of the way up the screen.

The trick here is to not go too far. 

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Quickly switch between apps

You can quickly switch between apps by swiping left over the small line at the bottom of the screen. After you start scrolling through open apps, you can swipe to the right in the same area to go back and forth between apps.

You can quickly move between apps from any screen with a flick. 

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Access the app drawer

Accessing the app drawer is simple. From the home screen, just swipe up. It's the same gesture you use to get back to the home screen from inside an app.

You can get to the app drawer with a swipe up on the homescreen. 

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Launch Google Assistant

You can still access Google Assistant in Android 10 without a wake phrase. 

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Without a home button to long-press and trigger Google Assistant, how do you access Assistant without using the wake phrase? Android 10 briefly displays a white line in each bottom corner of the screen. Those handles, if you will, are how you activate Google Assistant. Gesture up and towards the middle of the screen -- you'll know you're doing it right when you Google Assistant's blue, red, yellow and green colors race across the bottom of the screen -- and let go when you see Assistant show up. 

How do I go back?

The lack of a back button and the subsequent replacement Google is using in Android 10 is the most shocking change to navigating your Android phone. 

The biggest adjustment you'll have to make with Android 10's gestures is the lack of a back button. 

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To go back, swipe from the left or right edge of the screen. It's a quick gesture, and you'll know when you did it right because an arrow shows up on the screen. You don't have to do the gesture as slow as I did in the above GIF; it's just a quick swipe from the edge. 

If an app uses a slideout menu, swipe down at an angle to open it instead of going back. 

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The problem is that a lot of apps use a slide-out navigation drawer that's accessed by swiping from the left edge of the screen. With the same gesture now used by Android as a back command, that's clearly a problem. Google has been tweaking the back gesture and even added a sensitivity slider in the latest beta release of Android 10, but it's still very confusing to use. My advice? Instead of trying to get the sensitivity just right, use a diagonal swipe from the side of the display (as seen above) to pull out any navigation drawers. It's the most consistent method I've found, despite Google's efforts. 

Force-close apps

This hasn't changed, but it's worth mentioning again. When in multitasking view, swipe up on an app's card -- pushing it off the top of the screen --  to close out the app. 

Force-closing an app hasn't changed at all.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

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