How to invert the navigation bar in Android 9 Pie

Android 9 Pie introduced a new navigation system called Gestures. This approach radically changes the way the navigation bar functions by cutting the Overview button and introducing the Pill.

When Gestures are enabled, the navigation bar only shows two buttons; the Back button, and the Pill. The Pill is used for performing all sorts of actions, like swiping through the apps, initiating Google Assistant, etc. While the Back button is still the back button, it takes you back to the previous window/app.

Now, combining gestures with buttons is a little bit controversial. Some people like the way new navigation works, some think it’s unnecessary complicated and that the bar takes too much space.

Regardless of what you think about Android Pie navigation, it’s a fact that the bar is not designed well for people with small hands. With the Back button on the left side, it’s kind of awkward for some people to reach it with their thumbs, especially on larger screens.

But that’s no reason to worry. Since we’re working with Android, almost anything you could think of is customizable, including the navigation bar. If the Back button is hard for you to reach, there’s an easy way to revert the navigation bar layout.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to System > Buttons.
  3. Toggle the Invert layout option on.

Now the back button will be on the left side, far easier for you to reach it. Keep in mind that the layout inversion also works for the regular navigation bar. Only for this mode, it will swap the positions of the Back and Overview buttons.

Whether you like the new navigation system or not, it’s nice knowing that there’s at least some degree of customization available. That’s, of course, until Google releases Android Q, which will completely revamp the navigation system once again.

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