Android’s New Gesture Controls: Everything You Need to Know to Master Them in Minutes
The new gesture controls in Android Pie are a great way to navigate your phone. It’s a simple, intuitive way to control an interface that can sometimes be frustratingly complex. But you might not be using them correctly. Here’s what you need to know about these handy features.
Pinch to zoom out
When you’re in an app or on the home screen, pinch with two fingers to zoom out and see more of your screen at once. This is especially helpful if you have a device with a big screen, like the Pixel 3 XL or Galaxy S10 Plus.
You can also use this gesture to create shortcuts on your home screen by pinching and dragging one finger over an icon or shortcut. Once you’ve created a shortcut, it will appear as an icon on your home screen or app drawer with the name of whatever it is you’re creating a shortcut for — “Google Photos,” “Netflix,” and so on.
Drag up to see the open apps
Drag up from the bottom center of your screen with one finger and hold until all of your open apps appear as thumbnails. Then drag up again and release when you see the app you want (it may take a few seconds).
Swipe up and hold to go home
Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home, swipe left or right to switch apps, tap and hold on an app icon to open its app drawer, and so on. As we all know by now, Android Pie (and its predecessor) has some gesture controls of its own: Swipe up and hold to go home; swipe up while holding down on an app icon to open its app drawer; swipe right or left to switch between apps in multi-window mode; and so on.
These gestures have changed a bit since their introduction in Android 9 Pie — which makes sense given that they were designed based on user testing with early prototypes of the operating system — but they’re still quite similar in concept and execution to those found on other platforms.