Changing standard Android navigation buttons


I’ve got a Fairphone 4 running Android 11 which is up to date in terms of software (it arrived today and the first thing I did was install updates for both the firmware and Android).

I’m using the standard three button navigation (“home” in the middle, “back” on the left, “current apps” on the right) and want to switch these around so that “back” is on the right and “current apps” is on the left.

This feels to me to be a fairly trival thing which should be easy enough to achieve (my previous phones have been HTCs which offer this as standard in the HTC launcher). However, there appear to be no settings which will allow me to change the order of the buttons on the Fairphone and internet searches haven’t turned anything up.

The app “Customize Navigation Bar” looked promising, but the Play Store says it is not compatible with the Fairphone 4/Android 11 (I suspect that it stopped being supported after Android 9).

In fairness, I fear that the issue I have is with Android itself, not Fairphone. However, I thought I’d ask just in case anyone has solved this issue (I couldn’t find anything on the Forum).

Many thanks,


Not possible

Hi and welcome to the community,
as mentioned thats not possible. You could send a feature request to support, in case its really trivial they might add it.

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Or changing to gesture navigation. Then you need the buttons any more

Thanks. I feared that would be the response.

Thanks. I have tried gesture navigation, but I disliked it even more than having the back button on the “wrong” side.

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yes, but not for a long time.
thought the same using it first time, but now, i cannot go back. buttons make me crazy… :wink:

Haha same, at first I tried gesture navigation and hated it and went back to navbar, then at some point I tried gesture again (and disabling it on the left…) and now I absolutely don’t want a navbar anymore.

About customizing navbar though if OP would still rather do that, the main reason why I bought a Fairphone is that they really let users install what they want, unlike a lot of manufacturers. So for example it is definitely possible to install Magisk then LSPosed then GravityBox and GravityBox has an option to invert navbar buttons.

Probably a lot of effort and risk if just for that but I’m just leaving that piece of information here for anyone who really wants that (also it doesn’t have to be just for that, you can also use the opportunity to do other things with the same requirements such as putting the clock on the right side of the status bar or blocking ads and trackers without wasting the VPN slot or whatever).


It used to be trivial and there used to be two different options on how to do that (system settings, which Navbar Customizer used, and hiding the original navbar using wm overscan and redrawing it with an app).

Both options were removed between Android 9 and 11.

Thanks Google -.-


navbar is oldschool gesture is state of the art

Thanks for making this thread!

I have the same issue and tried really hard to switch the three buttons of the navigation bar so that the “back button” fits on the right side. But I have been unsuccessful as well :confused:

I would like to have this feature, so I think I will write to support, hoping they will eventually do something :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers: Perhaps, if a few FP4 users report this, things may change.

I will also consider downloading GravityBox or changing to the “gesture” setting as proposed by other users, but currently my ideal scenario would be if the switching feature will be added to the settings :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:


Hi this has been a function of the default Android OS for years and I’m not sure Faiphone are going to want to change that, given the backlog of support queries that already run alongside OS updates, Even security patches don’t come out as quickly as some would like.

Two years ago went I got my FP3 I was a little annoyed but now it makes sense.

Back button the left, there’s no Forward button to the right as in a browser, but the 'Background apps button does a good job of revealing ‘background open apps’

So maybe the consensus is the current arrangement is fine.

Is it just that some users are used to the reverse layout and haven’t adapted ??

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For me it’s just a case of muscle memory: back equates to tapping in the right-hand corner with my right thumb. Now rewiring my brain to use the left-hand corner :slight_smile:

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I have bought a FP4 just recently and am now preparing to switch to from my current phone (S10, running stock). When I took a first look at my new FP4 last week I discovered the issue and went into the menu in order to switch the buttons as I have always done since my first smartphone. I was stunned not to find an option… Through time I have used CyanogenMod, LineageOS and currently Samsung stock Android and it has always been possible in these to redefine these buttons (even more in the custom ROMs)…
I would really appreciate if the maintainers could add this option :slight_smile:

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