With Android 13, Google began work on a predictive back gesture to “let users preview the destination or other result of a back gesture before fully completing it,” and you can now preview it with the Phone app on Pixel.

Original 9/28: You first need to enable Developer options (Settings > About phone > tap “Build number” — located at the bottom — seven times). Once done, use Settings search to find “Predictive back animations” and enable that toggle.

After that, make sure the Google Phone app is up-to-date and/or part of the beta channel. We’re seeing predictive back gesture support live on version 90.0.x.

Every time you use the back gesture (to exit) while on one of the main views/tabs (Favorites, Recents, Contacts, Voicemail), the app window will shrink down and you’ll see your homescreen in addition to the usual back arrow. The windowing animation used here is nice, and this works on both the left and right edges of the screen. 

That is the extent of this feature, and it’s meant to let people “decide whether to continue or stay in the current view.” For example, it prevents accidental app closures while you’re in the middle of a task and could be useful in stopping accidental app closures.

Google calls the predictive back gesture a “multi-year release” as it won’t be enabled by default until Android 14 (API level 34), with only the Pixel’s Phone dialer supporting it today among first-party apps. The preview is meant to spur developer support, and hopefully, there will be wide adoption in roughly a year.

Update 9/30: Google TV is another app that supports the predictive back gesture.

More on Google Phone:

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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Abner Li

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