Bring gesture controls to your Android phone with this XDA app

3 min read

If you’re jealous of the gesture controls in the new Android P beta or on the iPhone X, then this XDA app is what you’ve been waiting for. Thanks to some talented developers over at XDA, the Navigation Gestures app can add gesture controls to any Android phone on 5.0 or above (excluding Android P).

Once the app is installed, your navigation bar is replaced with a pill that you use to swipe and tap your way your phone. It is fully customizable but the defaults include swiping to the left to go back, swiping to the right for recent apps, tapping the pill for home, long pressing for Assistant, and double tapping for your last app with phones running Android 7.0 and above. When you go to type something the pill cleverly moves above the keyboard in order to avoid getting in the way.

Navigation Gestures also includes a premium version you can unlock with added options for pulling down your notification tray, entering split-screen mode, or media playback controls. So far I’ve only been using the free version but I’ll probably be coughing up the extra buck for premium soon for the split screen option alone.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just installing the app, there will be a couple of hoops to jump through. The app requires an ADB command in order to hide your navigation bar and will not run without this permission being granted. This requires enabling developer mode and USB debugging, as well as plugging it into your computer to issue the ADB command. If you are rooted then you can grant access without this command. You will also need to give it accessibility permissions in the settings. To make this a little easier I’ve left the code below so you can copy and paste.

adb shell pm grant com.xda.nobar android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS


A couple more drawbacks include the pill obstructing your icons and buttons at the bottom of the screen and covering the text field in messenger apps. However, there is an option to slide the pill down temporarily for when it gets in the way. Finally, if you want to uninstall it you will have to make sure to disable the app first and restore your navigation bar or else you’ll be left without one.

If none of these caveats scare you off and you’ve been excited about using gestures to navigate your phone, then Navigation Gestures is a fantastic addition to your phone. I’ve been using it this weekend and the gestures have really grown on me. Even better is that you have the ability to customize what the gestures do and you don’t have an ugly lopsided navigation bar to stare at like in Android P.

Download Navigation Gestures Source: XDA Developers