How to use “Peeking In” app navigation on Android 10


Android 10 brings an even more refined gesture system with the advent of “Peeking In” navigation.

How to use “Peeking In” app navigation on Android 10
Android 10 brings an even more refined gesture system with the advent of “Peeking In” navigation.

With the release of Android 10 (formerly known as Android Q) comes a few more refinements. One such improvement comes to assist in-app navigation. An issue with some of the later beta releases of Android 10 was when an app had a sidebar. Swiping right (from the left edge) would effectively send the app in question into the background. Why? Because a swipe from either the left or right edge acts as “back” action gesture. 

The fourth beta release improved on that by introducing the downward diagonal swipe. Instead of swiping horizontally, one could swipe down diagonally to open the sidebar in question. This, however, wasn’t quite as effective as the developers assumed it would be, so they introduced the “Peeking In” gesture for beta five. Fortunately, this feature remained for the official release of Android 10.

Let me show you how that works.

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic download)

How to use the Peeking In gesture on Android 10

The Peeking In gesture is quite simple, but does take some getting used to. Open an app that includes a sidebar (such as Google Drive). If you tap the left edge of the screen and hold your finger in place you should see the right edge of the sidebar “peek” into the screen (Figure A). When you see that, swipe right to fully open the sidebar.

Figure A


The Google Drive sidebar peeking in.

The first few times you try it, you’ll inadvertently go back. But once you get the hang of it, it’ll become second nature.

Utilizing the downward diagonal gesture

If you cannot get the hang of the Peeking In feature, the developers have left in the downward diagonal gesture to call up the sidebar. To make this gesture work, you simply swipe diagonally downward from the left edge of the screen to open the sidebar.

Both ways

For those who are curious: If the app you are using opens its sidebar from the right edge of the display, both gestures will work from that side as well. 

Hopefully, the idea of fully gestural navigation is starting to sound less and less intimidating to the average user. After working with it since its release in the Android 10 beta program, I have found the gesture navigation to be incredibly intuitive and simple. In fact, every time I go back to using a device without fully gestural navigation, I feel the Android interface is all of a sudden clunky and awkward. That’s a strong testament to what the developers have done to the UX in a very short time.

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Image: Jason Cipriani/CNET

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