Google released the third beta for Android 13 this week, and we’re still finding some rather subtle changes with this new version of Android. Even as it hits platform stability – with only one beta left. One of those subtle changes is the gesture navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
While many Android OEMs opt to allow you to hide that bar, the Pixel does not have that option. And now, it’s a bit thicker than it used to be. It’s not super super thick, so thicc with only two c’s here. But the reason for this, is likely to copy iOS. As much as we Android users like to say Apple copies Android, Android also copies iOS.
In the gallery below, you can compare what the bar looks like on Android 13 Beta 3 (on Pixel 6 Pro) versus iOS 15.5 (on iPhone 13 Pro Max).
The gesture navigation bar is now more prominent
Those of us that are tech nerds are going to be annoyed by this feature, or change. But Google isn’t really looking to target that audience. They are looking to target those that might switch from the iPhone. Which is a hard thing to do, seeing as Apple’s walled garden is pretty hard to get out of. But since the Pixel 1, Google has been really targeting the iPhone, and it’s pretty clear that is what they are doing here.
Luckily, the gesture navigation bar is not mandatory on other Android smartphones. It’s really only a feature on the Pixel. As Samsung, OnePlus and others all offer a feature that let you disable the bar, which is pretty nice.
Now this is beta 3, so we could see this change reverted in the fourth beta and even the final version later this year. While it could stick around, it could also disappear, as Google does tend to test things out in the betas.