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Redesign the Android "back" button or replace it with a swipe gesture...?

asked 2014-11-25 11:35:20 +0300

clouseau gravatar image

updated 2015-02-12 20:36:35 +0300

foss4ever gravatar image

The one thing that is getting on my nerves with Adroid phones generally is, how ridicilously it may sound - the silly, curvy "back" button. I just hate it ;) And now we still have it on Dalvik. How about redesigning it?

Or, even better: Can the back button be replaced with a gesture? That would make running adroid apps look like native ones, and there would be more space on the screen, with the button gone...?

Edit: For example, I could easily get used that swiping from the right edge is "back" and from the left one would still send the app to background, etc. I'm sure that some compromise coud be made

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100% with you on this. This arrow is unpractical, takes away screen estate and for the occasional stander by looking over my shoulder it looks like I am using a cheap Android phone. ;)

I could live with following option:

"swipe up gesture to replace Android back arrow when in full screen Android app"

This at the cost of direct access to Sailfish notifications window from Android apps (which I hardly ever use anyway)

vandersmash ( 2014-11-25 11:42:46 +0300 )edit

but some android apps have its own gestures...

fishegg ( 2014-11-25 11:48:02 +0300 )edit

At least hide it from the cover like it used to be in a previous version.

Wizah ( 2014-11-25 11:49:40 +0300 )edit

great Idea. Takes a lot of space with no real purpose.

luchmhor ( 2014-11-25 11:56:42 +0300 )edit

@fishegg yes, but not from the edge. I mean swiping from the edge. That would leave all the "internal" application guestures intact, but we would have to sacrifice either the notification screeen (from bottom), either one of the side guestures that sends the app into background. I'm cool with all, but personally still vote for one of the side guestures - this way we wouldn't lose the notification screen, neither the minimize feature

clouseau ( 2014-11-25 12:33:46 +0300 )edit

6 Answers

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answered 2014-11-25 20:35:52 +0300

chemist gravatar image

updated 2015-02-11 17:59:30 +0300

Sorry, we are out of gestures, in-screen gestures are also available in android apps. Android depends on at least a back button, hard- or software. Sailfish gestures already conflict with some android functions as you cannot open items hidden behind an edge swipe as you close/minimize an app instead (from comments below, you can trigger edge gestures within android by multitouching eg touch the screen-center then swipe from the sides).

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To open a "hidden item" in an Android App just hold one finger in the middle of the screen while swiping from the edge.

torcida ( 2014-11-25 20:52:24 +0300 )edit

No you're not, just be inventive :) A guesture from left edge to bottom edge or right edge to bottom edge is also quite easily usable for both left and right handed people and it's not "taken"

clouseau ( 2014-11-25 21:08:56 +0300 )edit

@torcida how exactly do I do that one-handed without dropping my phone?

@clouseau those gestures are already requested in other threads so in my opinion "unavailable" for alien-dalvik... and most importantly swipe from top is the ultimate back button for android apps ;)

chemist ( 2014-11-25 22:28:23 +0300 )edit

Depends on what are they requested for. I'd say - even better, there's the solution. Because, _basically_ you don't really need more than minimize, close, and nots to have all the time. Personally I could even do without the last one.

clouseau ( 2014-11-25 23:51:57 +0300 )edit

@torcida Thanks for the tip. I did not know it is possible to use android based swipes like that currently. :)

Manatus ( 2014-11-26 15:11:51 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-12 14:08:17 +0300

Tongamillo gravatar image

why not doing it like it is in Blackberry? there you can hide this stupid back button. and if you need to go back in the app you swipe from the bottom up and left with one swipe! don't think straight there is every time a solution right around the corner ;)

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and you end up on events screen - your way you could not access the events screen then...

chemist ( 2015-02-12 21:57:10 +0300 )edit

Are you sure? I thought it's from the bottom up.

clouseau ( 2015-02-12 22:06:58 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-10-26 14:06:09 +0300

jakibaki gravatar image

I'm a "bit" late to the party but I made a patch which adds a gesture to do exactly that.

Please read the description before applying it because there's some additional setup that needs to be done.

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I dont understand how it works.. swipe for go back?

TMavica ( 2017-10-27 04:28:59 +0300 )edit

Swipe up a small bit from the bottom edge while in an android-app -> back-button (the icon will be at maximum opacity)

Swipe up more from the bottom edge -> open launcher (as always)

jakibaki ( 2017-10-27 07:55:44 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-22 22:56:03 +0300

veeall gravatar image

updated 2015-02-23 00:56:56 +0300

I have been playing with few systembar and backbutton replacement apps for android lately, and finally found one fully working solution (Ultimate Dynamic Navbar Lite or Pro):

It is an autohiding systembar for android, fully working in Jolla.

The thing is, the app needs to be running on background for this to work. Anybody knows a way to make this apps service permanently running on Alien Dalvik?

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:) Let's not forget the "master plan": we're not Adnroid :)

clouseau ( 2015-02-22 23:56:43 +0300 )edit

I'm oki with that, at the same time annoyed to death by huge chunk of the screen lost to a back button in android apps, so this is fully working workaround for the problem, until android is phased out off of the planet (haha, no).

Just that, how to run the service permanently in Jollas dalvik?

Anyway, this is proper solution for swipe-deficit in SF. Autohiding systembar with tiny always-on trigger. Care to implement it, Jolla?

veeall ( 2015-02-23 00:54:46 +0300 )edit

Will try, thanks. My problem is that I don't want a trace of android on my phone (obviously). First thing tomorrow and You'll have my comment

clouseau ( 2015-02-23 01:46:20 +0300 )edit

Forgot to mention that i manually edited /opt/alien/system/build.prop to hide the original systembar with back button, then customized the systembar provided by UDN to display only a back button, and set additional function of 'show menu by long tapping' to the back button for older android apps that need it.

Now if there is an android app which needs back button functionality to navigate, i just launch UDN app, activate the service, minimize the app and restore the stuck previous app from multitasking view. A bearable workaround, imho.

veeall ( 2015-02-23 03:33:09 +0300 )edit

Thanks @veeall, nice workaround until we have something natively built into Sailfish OS for handling android buttons.

cuh7b5 ( 2015-03-02 15:59:07 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-13 09:21:51 +0300

Tongamillo gravatar image

I Just rechecked in on my Blackberry Z10. long time since i last used this function. anyway i was wrong it's not swipe from bottom up and left.

its':" Swipe from the bottom frame diagonally to the left or the right."

now as i tried it on the Jolla there isn't the Notification coming if you do it in a jolla app.

but if you do it in an android app an menu where i can choose my installed opera browser to open. as i'm still a newcomer on the jolla i'm asking is this a knowns feature? as i haven't seen it in any video or couldn't find any information about that.

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Swiping up from the button bar in Android is "open Google Now or some other registered activity". Opera seems to be a registered app on your Jolla. So deleting the bar would remove that feature, too (I would be ok with that).

yoktobit ( 2015-02-13 11:34:12 +0300 )edit

Swiping from left and right edge both produce the same effect. One can be sacrificed when an Android application is in focus and replace the back function with it. I think it would be quite acceptable for most.

clouseau ( 2015-02-16 17:34:01 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-10-27 02:18:37 +0300

olf gravatar image

updated 2017-11-22 01:40:42 +0300

  1. AlienDalvik control provides a Settings --> Events view --> Setting shortcuts --> Select shortcuts --> Toggle android navbar shortcut (among many other features).
  2. Schturman's "Hide/Unhide android navigation bar" (easily installable e.g. via Storeman or Warehouse) is nicely providing this feature (I have been using it for more than a year), but by a tap on its icon (which also displays the current state of the bar: hidden or not).

See also

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Is "Hide/Unhide android navigation bar" work well with SailfishOS X?

White ( 2017-10-30 09:16:09 +0300 )edit

Please try it and report your experiences here.

On first sight, I am not aware of any reason, why it shouldn't, as it runs well on all other devices with SailfishOS and AlienDalvik (Jolla 1, Jolla C, Jolla Tablet, Intex Aquqfish).

olf ( 2017-10-30 21:19:32 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2014-11-25 11:35:20 +0300

Seen: 3,208 times

Last updated: Nov 22 '17