How to Use the Back Button on a Pixel 4a

Use virtual buttons or gestures to go back

What to Know

  • Swipe inward from the edge of the screen if you're using gesture navigation.
  • Use the arrow on the bottom-left if you use 3-button navigation.

This article explains where to find the back button on Pixel 4a and how to change how the back button works to make it easiest for you.

Where Is the Back Button on Pixel 4a?

If it's not clear how to go back on your phone, it's probably because gesture navigation is on. Since the Pixel 4a doesn't have physical navigation buttons, the only alternative to the swipe gesture for going to a previous screen is a virtual back button, which is much easier to spot.

A setting on your phone determines whether there's a button or if you need to use a gesture. We'll learn how to choose one or the other below.

How Do You Use the Back Button on Pixel 4a?

Since there are two ways to move backward on this phone, there are two separate directions. If you're not sure which method is on, try both, or skip to the section further down this page to learn where in your phone's settings you can find out which one is selected.

Swipe Inward

If Gesture navigation is on, the "go back" action (and other forms of navigation) aren't apparent. It's how a brand-new Pixel 4a is set up, and it's what your phone is currently using if the back button appears to be missing.

Go back by swiping from the edge of the screen—either edge works. You'll see an arrow below, but only as you perform the swipe motion; it won't show up until you start the gesture. Swipe inward toward the middle of the screen. You can begin the swipe anywhere on the left or right edge.

Swipe motion to go back on Pixel 4a

Press the Back Button

If 3-button navigation is on, knowing how to go back is much more apparent: simply use the back arrow at the bottom-left of the phone.

Pixel 4a back button

Those options are valid for other Pixel phones, too. The Pixel 3 is one exception, where there's a 2-button navigation option.

How Do I Change the Back Button on Pixel 4a?

You can opt for the virtual back button to have an arrow present or the gesture-based method of moving around. The choice is yours, and you can swap back and forth however often you want.

Here's how to choose either type:

  1. Go to Settings > System > Gestures > System navigation.

    System, Gestures and System Navigation in Pixel 4a Settings

    If you're currently using the gesture technique, you might find navigation difficult. To go Home, swipe up from the bottom; to switch apps, swipe up the same way but hold for a second at the top; to go back, swipe from the left or right edge.

  2. Choose Gesture navigation or 3-button navigation.

    System navigation options on Pixel 4a
  3. If you chose the virtual button option, you're done.

    If you're going with gestures, tap the gear/settings button to the right if you want to adjust the back sensitivity setting. You might do this if you find that swiping from the left or right triggers the back action too easily or not easily enough.

    Pixel 4a gesture settings for back sensitivity
  • What are the three buttons at the bottom of Android called?

    The navigation buttons on Android are called Back (the back arrow), Home (the circle), and Overview/Recents (the square).

  • How do I hide the navigation buttons on my Google Pixel?

    If you want to get rid of the navigation buttons on your Google Pixel, go to Settings > System > Gestures > System navigation and choose Gesture navigation.

  • How do I take screenshots on Google Pixel without using buttons?

    You can take a Google Pixel screenshot using Google Voice Assistant. Just say, “Hey Google, take a screenshot.”

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