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Android 13 Is Getting A 'Predictable Back' Feature

Android 13 Predictable Back feature 1
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The Android back button is a multi-functional system key, with the ability to perform various actions depending on the app. Google is now announcing a new shift with Android 13, thanks to a feature called “Predictable Back,” which tweaks the behavior of the back gesture or button to avoid closing an app by accident.

As 9to5Google explains, initiating the back gesture on Android 12 can either close the keyboard or the app itself (if you’re on its home screen) or go back from menus or a browser page. These are fairly standard behaviors and have remained consistent throughout the last few Android releases.

But with Android 13, initiating the back gesture will preview what’s to come next. As you can see in the video below, trying the back gesture on an app’s homepage (Chrome, in this case) provides a zoomed-out view of the app, coupled with a glimpse of the home screen. This indicates to the user that initiating the back gesture again will take them back to the home screen, thus letting them reverse the action without losing sight of the app.

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Predictable Back will be enabled by default with Android 14

The feature adds a safeguard for when users accidentally initiate the back gesture on the screen. While this is a non-issue for seasoned Android users, it can be a legitimate annoyance for new customers.

App developers will have to opt-in to this new back gesture behavior. So it will likely take some time to reflect across all apps. However, the new function of the back gesture/button will be the default for apps targeting SDK 34 (Android 14) next year. This change may not get as much attention as some of the other Android 13 features. But it’s a good inclusion nonetheless.

The preview of this feature came on the first day of Google I/O, where the company detailed some features of Android 13. Google also announced the arrival of the Android 13 Beta 2, with the first beta arriving only last month. The aforementioned predictive back gesture feature is currently available with this new beta. Google also unveiled the affordable Pixel 6a with decent hardware and a $449 price tag.

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Android 13 Predictable Back
Android 13 Opt In Flag
Android 13 Predictable Back
Android 13 Opt In Flag