What our readers think of Android 13’s new gesture navigation bar

Last week we asked you about the possible change from Android 13 to a more prominent navigation bar with gestures – here’s what you had to say.

If you didn’t know or haven’t tried the recent preview builds on your own device, then you may have missed that the Android 13 Beta 3 changed the gesture navigation bar. This is the first change to this UI since gesture navigation was first added back on Android 10† There’s more than a passing resemblance to the thick navigation bar you’ll find on iOS devices that use gestures.

This is just a cosmetic change, as gestures work exactly the same as they always do with the new navigation bar in Android 13. While there’s still time for Google to make changes, it’s likely this is what will greet Pixel owners updating to Android 13 when it finally arrives in a stable form.

Most surprising, we expected our readers not to like the change. It basically falls into two camps mainly: those who love it and those who just don’t care. 32% of our readers love the change, quoting the “bigger bar” because it is more visible and it becomes clearer for features like one-handed mode. That said, the larger size doesn’t change the activation area.

android 13 gestures navigation bar results

31% of you said you don’t care, with some, like reader Spaha say they will continue to use three-button navigation instead of gestures. Some like reader Jitterry even claiming they “didn’t care” about the bigger, more powerful Android 13 motion navbar, going so far as to say they “never noticed if it’s there or not”. That seems pretty surprising considering the change is quite substantial – visually at least.

18% of our readers said they just tolerate the change. Fortunately, since there’s no effect on usability or functionality, it’s easy to just let these changes pass you by. However, reader destiny makes a good point about introducing a black border in certain applications because the gesture navbar is bigger in Android 13. It would be great to have a toggle to definitely adjust this in the Pixel system settings.

A pretty small 15% of our readers said they just plain hate the change here. Reader Mrd1 said they’d actually like to see a return of the two-button navigation bar, as it combines the best of gestures with the functionality of baked-in on-screen buttons. It’s hard to argue with, and it would be great to see Google reinstate the feature or at least allow some degree of customization.

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