Predictive back design

Predictive back is the result of a gesture navigation operation in which a user has swiped back to preview their destination of the back gesture before fully completing it. This lets the user decide whether to continue—in other words, to "commit" to the back gesture—or stay in the current view.

Predictive back provides a smoother, more intuitive navigation experience while using gesture navigation. It leverages built-in animations to inform users where their actions will take them to reduce unexpected outcomes.

Use the design guidance on this page if your app design calls for providing back navigation for custom transitions and animations for key moments. For most apps, you don't need to implement custom back navigation because built-in predictive back animations show the user where they will go.

Support for predictive back

Supporting predictive back is available whether using a default or custom back navigation. If you're using the default back navigation, you can easily opt-into the feature. Read more about supporting predictive back.

After you opt-in, your app has built in animations such as back-to-home, cross-activity, and cross-task.

You can also upgrade your Material component dependency to 1.10.0-alpha02 or above of MDC Android to receive the following Material component animations:

Design for gesture navigation

Ensure your app has edge-to-edge support

To help your users, predictive back navigation respects gesture insets defined in edge-to-edge features. Avoid adding touch gestures or drag targets under these gesture areas.

Figure 1: System gesture insets. Avoid placing touch targets completely under these areas

Full screen surfaces

If your app creates custom in-app transitions for full-screen surfaces, use this design guidance.

When a user makes a back gesture on a full-screen surface, the surface fully detaches from the edge of the screen during the back preview, and the user can directly manipulate it. However, the design shouldn't visually suggest to the user that completing a back gesture dismisses an item in the direction of the back gesture.

For example, you can use full screen surface transitions when dismissing detail screens back to vertical lists to visually hint to the user that they're undoing the previous action. In video 1, a calendar event is dismissed back to a day view. To improve tactility, the design adds a subtle overshoot to absorb some of the spring tension built up during the gesture.

Video 1. Adding a subtle overshoot to absorb spring tension built up during gesture

Back preview

Video 2. An example of back preview

When presenting predictive animations to the user, a pre-commit state maintained by your app measures when the user has performed an edge-to-edge back gesture but hasn't committed to it by letting go. You need to provide parameters that apply to this pre-commit state.

The amount of movement displayed is based on the furthest the user can move from the location at which the gesture began.

Motion specs

Full screen surfaces are directly affected by the x and y shift from the beginning of the gesture. This section describes specifications and values that govern the mechanics used for onscreen feedback.

The following figures show recommended motion specs for surface animations.

Figure 2: Surface shift, scale and margin parameters for swiping from the left edge"

1 Margins: 5% of the width on either side (related to the surface area described in 3)

2 Calculated shift if scaling window to the center. Calculate for required 8dp margin: ((screen width / 20) - 8) dp

3 Surface scales to 90% size, leaving 10% available for margins (see 1)

4 Leave an 8 dp gap from the screen edge

We recommend keeping the listed parameters for a consistent experience, but you can alter the specifications to create a custom animation.

In the preceding figure, the screen width is 1280, making the x-shift 56 dp. The formula for that is:

((1280/20)-8)= 56 dp x-shift

Figure 3: Y shift and scale parameters for swiping from the left edge. The full screen surface displays a back preview.

1 Space between edge and device margin available for y-shift

2 If the surface shifts off screen, scale the surface down by no more than 50%.

2 Surface starts off vertically centered, with y-shift defined as the following:

  • Limit y-shift so the surface never passes the 8 dp screen margin
  • To prevent the surface from abruptly stopping, use a decelerate interpolator and map to the y-shift limit

3 Preserve the 8 dp margin once the surface is short enough

For custom animation, you must define all of the following parameters.




X shift

((screen width / 20) - 8) dp

Maximum shift, leaves 8dp margin

Y shift

((available screen height / 20) -8) dp

Maximum shift, leaves 8dp margin



Minimum scale of window size

Developers implementing the custom animation using the Predictive Back Progress APIs use these parameters.

Commit to action

Video 3. An example of flinging to commit

When a user gestures past the commit point and releases, an animation is displayed which confirms the completion of the action.

When the users perform gestures swiftly, these are generally interpreted as flings. This kind of interaction can apply high velocities to on-screen elements, so in the context of back previews, the system absorbs that velocity by momentarily animating the surface toward its maximum preview state before running the commit animation.

The strength of the fling determines how much of the preview animation is displayed before running the commit animation. The kind of animation shown depends on the content being dismissed, as shown in video 2.

Cancel action

Video 4. An example of canceling an action

Video 4 shows an example of what happens when a user releases before the threshold, displaying an animation confirming that the action has been canceled. For full screen surfaces, the window swiftly moves and scales back to its original edge-to-edge state before the gesture began.