Google Messages is set to get a bit more customizable in the near future, allowing you to choose what happens when you swipe a conversation to the left or right.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Earlier this year, Google Messages got a slight redesign to add a navigation drawer, a common element of Material Design apps, albeit one that has somewhat fallen out of favor since the introduction of gesture navigation to Android. As it stands today, swiping right from the left edge of the screen can, confusingly, do one of three things:

  • Perform Android’s “Back” gesture
  • Swipe open the navigation drawer
  • Archive a conversation

Which one happens can depend on how long you held down your tap before swiping and where precisely you began the tap/swipe. To help simplify things a bit and give Google Messages a bit more customization, the app will soon let you decide what happens when you swipe a conversation away to the left or right.

The feature will arrive in an upcoming section of Google Messages’ in-app settings, titled “Swipe Actions,” which we’ve forcibly enabled to demonstrate below.

  • Google Messages Customize "Swipe Actions"
  • Google Messages menu for customizing "Swipe Actions"
  • Google Messages dialog to change "Swipe right" action to "Archive" "Delete" or "Off"
  • Google Messages "Swipe actions" menu with "Swipe right" set to Delete and "Swipe left" set to Off

In the new menus for Google Messages, you’re able to individually customize what happens when you swipe a conversation to the left or right, opting to either delete or archive. Further, you can disable each direction’s swipe gesture altogether, which should alleviate the conflict with the navigation drawer and Android’s back gesture.

That said, in our testing, the customizations selected don’t seem to actually take effect yet. Instead, this currently seems to just be a demonstration of the interface. As such, it will likely be a few more weeks or months before “Swipe action” customization arrives for all Google Messages users.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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