Predictive back gestures in Android 13 will preview your destination before you finish swiping

Apps will have to be updated to support this change, though

With the launch of Android 13 Beta 2 today, we’re finally getting a better idea as to what this year’s major upgrade is shaping up to be. One of the most confusing elements hidden in the code for Beta 1 last month was “predictive back gestures,” something subject to much speculation about the last couple of weeks. With Google I/O, we’ve finally got a better idea as to what these gestures will act like once they’re live.

As described by Google, these predictive gestures allow users to peek into your destination before actually finishing their swipe. That’s pretty close to what folks like Mishaal Rahman predicted last month, effectively making it easy for users to know where they’re headed before their finger crosses the screen. It’s very reminiscent of how swiping up to go home works, complete with a shot of your current background.

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In Google’s example — which, unfortunately, is currently inactive on the page describing the changes — the back gesture shows the home screen behind an active app, demonstrating to the user where they’ll land once the action is complete. Developers will need to update their app to support either the new OnBackInvokedCallback API or the updated OnBackPressedCallback AppCompat API. It’s unclear if these changes will cause issues with third-party launchers, as previously expected.

Google says it’ll work with phones, tablets, and foldables, so expect to see it in action on Pixels and other Android 13-supported devices sometime in the future. Although it’s not live on Android 13 Beta 2 just yet, installing it on your phone only takes a few minutes of your time.


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