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Android Q beta 3 brings back the old school 3-button navigation bar
The third beta of Android Q is rolling out now to Pixel smartphones. It’s also rolling out to a bunch of other devices from 11 other OEMs — consult our full list here to see if you can install Android Q on your phone.
If you do decide to install Android Q’s third beta, you might be pleasantly surprised to find a new navigation option — and by “new” we mean “old,” since the option is the traditional three-button system that’s been a part of Android for years.
In previous Android Q builds, there was no option to use buttons, only gestures.
This will be good news to people who prefer buttons instead of gestures. It will also be good news specifically to people who own a Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL, as Android 9 Pie on those devices does not allow for buttons at all, even though the option is available on other Pie-enabled phones, even earlier Pixel devices.
Once you have Android Q beta 3 installed, pull up the Settings panel and search for “System Navigation.” You’ll see the info below:
The first option is the full gesture navigation, which is very reminiscent of the gestures on the latest iPhones. We discussed the potential for this feature to show up in Android Q here.
The second option is the default navigation for the Google Pixel 3, which has the “pill” icon in the middle and a back button that sometimes appears to the left of that icon.
The third option is the old school three-button system we all know and love, as seen at the top of this article.
Of course, it is unclear if this settings page and the three-button system will come with Android Q’s stable release. It’s possible Google is just testing this out in the betas and then will pull it before the full release. However, that does seem unlikely as this all looks too polished for Google to plan on taking it away.