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No, third-party launchers won't work as expected on Android Q, but it's OK

This is definitely a problem and will be annoying. However, it will be fixed -- we just don't know when.

Published onJuly 10, 2019

android q beta 3 three button navigation

The fifth beta version of Android Q dropped today. This is the second-to-last beta release for Q, which means we are incredibly close to the stable release that we expect to land in August.

Along with Android Q beta 5, though, comes a new problem: if you elect to use a third-party launcher, Q will automatically switch your navigation preferences to the old-school three-button system, as shown in the image above. You will not be able to use gesture navigation with any third-party launcher activated, which would include Nova, Lawnchair, Apex, etc.

For some, this won’t be an issue as there are many people out there who don’t like gesture navigation and prefer the three-button system. However, the fact that there won’t be a choice at all is certainly worrisome.

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Nova Launcher with gesture navigation

However, Chris Lacy, the lead developer for the popular Action Launcher, assures us that this navigation problem will be fixed. It won’t be fixed in time for the first stable launch of Android Q, but it will be fixed soon after.

In a blog post on the topic, Lacy explains how he was very worried when he first found out about this beta 5 issue. He reached out directly to the Android team and learned that this issue will get a fix. However, the Android team didn’t give any specific date other than “this year,” nor did they supply any firm reason as to why they made this decision in the first place.

What does this mean for you? This means that if you use any third-party launcher on any current or future version of Android Q — including the stable version that will likely land in August — you will be forced to use traditional three-button navigation. There is no way around it. However, you won’t need to do so forever as a future patch for Android Q will allow navigation gestures to come back.

NEXT: Android Q desktop mode looks incredible in this demo

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