Circular navigation

A clear example of where you need to pop back to a destination is when your navigation is circular. This document outlines that use case.


Imagine your app has three destinations: A, B, and C. It also has actions that lead from A to B, B to C, and C back to A. The corresponding navigation graph appears as follows:

a demonstration of circular navigation
Figure 1. A circular navigation graph with three destinations: A, B, and C.

With each navigation action, the NavController adds the new destination to the back stack. As such, repeatedly navigating through the flow in the diagram would cause your back stack would to contain multiple sets of each destination: A, B, C, A, B, C, A, B, C.


To avoid repetition in your back stack, specify popUpTo() and inclusive in your call to NavController.navigate() or in your navigation action.

Consider a case where after reaching destination C, the back stack contains one instance of each destination: A, B, C. You need to ensure that you have defined popUpTo() and inclusive in the action or call to navigate() that takes the user from destination C to destination A.

In this case, when the user navigates from destination C back to destination A, the NavController also pops up to A. This means that it removes B and C from the stack. With inclusive = true, it also pops the first A, effectively clearing the stack.

Compose implementation

The following is the implementation of the solution for circular popUpTo() in Compose:

// When creating your `NavGraph` in your `NavHost`.
composable("c") {
        onNavigateToA = {
          navController.navigate("a") {
            popUpTo("a") {
              inclusive = true

Views implementation

The following is the implementation of the solution for circular popUpTo in Views: