Android Update

Android 14 will let the predictive back gesture work inside apps

Android 13 began work on predictive back that reminds you when you’re exiting an app to your homescreen. Google revealed today that predictive back gesture in Android 14 can work within applications and preview the previous screen.

During the “Designing a High Quality App with the Latest Android Features” of the 2022 Android Developer Summit’s Platform Track, Google talked about “falsing,” or how the back gesture sometimes results in “people leaving the app by mistake,” thus impacting app usage metrics. 

User feedback like “I can’t see that I’m on the last screen prior to the home screen” was cited, but otherwise Google says gesture navigation is a “fast, natural, and ergonomic interaction model.”

The predictive back gesture is Google’s solution to show a sneak peek of the homescreen as you swipe and the app window shrinks. It can be tested for apps that have already added support — like Google Phone and TV — by enabling from Developer options.

Android 14 will enable predictive back by default, while the upcoming OS is set to offer a “similar experience when [users] swipe within the app. Letting users know where back is going to take them by leveraging default or custom animations.”

The early example we get today is of Google Calendar open to an event and then a person slowly swiping back. As that occurs, the fullscreen events page shrinks until you start to see the previous screen (Calendar’s Schedule list view). That is then coupled by an animation from Google Calendar that shows the inline event card contracting in the list. 

For comparison, swiping from the left edge on iOS shows your previous screen via a sliding pane metaphor that first reveals the left side of the previous screen. Android will have the current view shrink down as part of its preference for cards. 

This is officially “coming soon in Android 14,” which should enter preview early next year. 

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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