Android Gesture Navigation not working? Check these solutions

Android 10 brought a lot of minor improvements and a few nifty features that some OEMs already had on previous iterations of Android. One of those is Gesture Navigation which allows you to hide 3 navigation buttons from the bottom and use side and bottom gestures to replicate 3 navigation buttons. However, it seems that the Android 10 gesture navigation is not working for some users.

How do I turn on gestures on Android 10?

Now, have in mind that some third-party launchers are not supported. So, if the problem occurs on the 3rd-party launcher, there are some steps below to help you out.

On the other hand, if gesture navigation is not working even on the stock launcher, we can recommend wiping the cache partition or resetting your device to factory settings.

Solution 1 – Check the settings

The first thing to do is to ensure that Navigation Gestures are enabled in System Settings. By default, most OEMs will stick to a 3-button navigation at the bottom. So, you’ll need to enable gestures before using them. On some devices, you have a choice between the Android 9 Pie gestures that come with the pill at the bottom and full-screen gestures that come with Android 10.

Follow these instructions to enable Gestures Navigation on Android 10:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose System.
  3. Select Gestures.
  4. Choose Gesture Navigation and configure the sensitivity.

Solution 2 – Wipe the cache partition

Moving on. If you have any third-party gesture apps installed, make sure to uninstall them. If the issues persist and gesture navigation is still not working, we recommend wiping the cache partition. The problem might lie in the transition from Android 9 to Android 10, which is why it is recommended to reset the device to factory settings after a major update.

If you are not sure how to wipe the cache partition from the Recovery menu, follow these steps:

  1. Power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button + Volume Up until the welcome screen appears. Let go of the Power button and keep holding the Volume Up button.
  3. Once you get into Recovery mode, use the Volume buttons to get to the Wipe Cache Partition option. Press the Power button to confirm the selection.

Solution 3 – Use the ADB command

For some reason, Google decided to limit the new Gesture Navigation to stock launchers. This means that gestures won’t work with 3rd-party launchers. This is, supposedly, mitigated later for a few major launchers, like Nova and Action launchers.

Now, if Gesture Navigation is still not working for you, some users on XDA found a workaround. There seems to be an ADB command that enables Gesture Navigation even on third-party launchers.

Follow these steps to utilize the command in ADB and enable Gesture Navigation with 3rd-party launchers:

  1. Enable Developer Options. Navigate to Settings > System or About phone > Software Information and tap 7 times on the Build number and enter PIN/password when prompted.
  2. In the Developer options menu, enable USB Debugging and all USB debugging-related features.
  3. Download and extract SDK Platform Tools for Android on your PC.
  4. Connect your smartphone to your PC via a USB and grant ADB access to your PC when the prompt appears. You should see the USB Debugging mode permanent notification in the Notification shade.
  5.  On your PC, open the extracted SDK Tools folder. Hold Shift and then right-click on an empty area within the folder.
  6. Select the “Open PowerShell window here” option from the contextual menu.
  7. Copy the line below, paste it into the PowerShell window, and press Enter:
    adb shell cmd overlay enable 10 Gesture Navigation not working
  8. Have in mind that you’ll need to follow through with this procedure after every reboot.

Solution 4 – Update your device

Like every year, OEMs try to reduce fragmentation and update their premium devices as soon as possible. Unsurprisingly, they tend to provide an OTA update for an unfinished and bug-riddled Android just for the sake of following forced timelines. And that has been an issue for some Samsung and Nokia users who got Android 10.

The “get the unfinished product, polish it later” approach is something Beta testers should expect, not end-users who want a stable OS on their daily drivers. Therefore, we suggest reporting the bug and keeping your device up to date.

On the other hand, make sure that your custom launcher is also up-to-date. Open Play Store > hamburger menu > My apps & games and ensure that the custom launcher (like Nova or Lawnchair) is up to date.

Solution 5 – Stick to the stock launcher or use a 3rd-party app

If Android 10 Gesture Navigation is still not working on your device, consider choosing between gestures and custom launchers. Whatever is your priority. You can use a 3rd-party app to simulate stock Gesture Navigation without problems.

You might need to use ADB again to grant it the necessary permissions but, in return, you get more customization and features.

Now, if Gesture Navigation is not working on the Android 10 stock launcher, the only remaining thing we can recommend is the factory reset.

Solution 6 – Reset the device to factory settings

As we already explained in the introduction, this article tackles two similar problems –Android 10 Gesture Navigation not working with custom launchers and Gesture Navigation not working at all. If you are bothered by the latter and the previous steps weren’t fruitful in resolving the issue, we recommend resetting the device to factory settings.

Follow these instructions to reset your Android 10-powered device to factory settings:

  1. Back up your data from the internal storage (photos can be saved to Google Photos, and other media can be saved to an external storage or a PC).
  2. Navigate to Settings > System > Reset.
  3. Select Factory data reset.gesture navigation not working
  4. Follow the instructions to reset your device to factory values.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and make sure to tell us you managed to fix the problem. The comments section is just below.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in February 2020. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

If you just learned something new about your phone, and want more of that, subscribe to our newsletter.

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your name/email address will never be shared.

Notify of
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments