Update to Android 12 broke Switch App Button (Square)

A reboot usually solves it, but it already showed 3 or 4 times

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Are you using a different launcher or the stock one?

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This was already discussed here Broke Switch App Button


Yes. However this is the first report I’ve seen of the problem on another ROM, so this is looking like a generic Android problem. I haven’t looked over at AOSP yet.

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Thank you all for the replies
I must have missed the topic that mentioned it already, but the common points seem to be

  • 3rd party launcher (for me microsoft launcher)
  • developer settings on with modification to animation speeds (I put them to 0.5, I’ll turn that off and see if it helps)

Here I am indeed on stock fairphone OS, but I did see the same issue for other phones following @AxelWe’s link, so it seems to be related to AOSP itself.

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This is a known bug with Android 12. In my case also sometimes only the launcher showed as “recent app” and nothing else and sometimes the button did not work at all.

According this thread in Reddit a possible workaround may be to enable the developer options and then set the “Animator duration scale” to “Animation off”. At least for me it seems to work so far. My theory is, that the recent apps will be shown using an animation and that animation sometimes crashes. By disabling animations completely, this can not happen any longer. Maybe you also need to restart device once or change from 3-button-navigation to gestures and back to 3-button-navigation once, so the recent apps button works again. But after that it should keep working with the animations turned off.

What is a bit worrying here - the bug seems to be known for at least one year(!). How can it be, that it is still not fixed?

Well, hardly a top priority, since there’s a work-around, some people (like me) turn off animations anyway (so I’ve never seen the problem), and maybe it’s already fixed in A13, for those who have already got there.

Even with the developer’s options off it seems to happen. I’ll try to put the animations to off.

Thank you all for the help

I did some more tests and it seems the problem only occurs when using a third party launcher.

As long as the default launcher “Quickstep” is used, even with animations turned on in the developer options, the “recent apps” button works without any problems. But as soon as I use another launcher, the recent apps crashes immediately when pressing the “recent apps” button quickly multiples times.

The issue seems to be, that the built in launcher - Quickstep - crashes. As soon as you force stop Quickstep in the app settings, the recent apps show again.

However there seems to be another workaround:

When I remove all data in Quickstep (Settings → Apps → All Apps → Quickstep → Storage and cache → Clear storage) “recent apps” now seems to work even with animtions turned on in the developer options. At least I can not get the thing to crash when I repeatetly press the “recent apps” button.

Edit: the problem returns when using Nova Launcher. However with “Ruthless Launcher” it seems to work - but only until you open the app drawer there :-(. So the launcher also affects this issue.

I remember a similar problem from my old Xiaomi phone with Android 11 - there it was the same: as soon as I used Nova launcher you may experience issues with the “recent apps” features and the symptoms where exactly identical. The same workaround was there also just to force stop the built-in launcher to make recent apps work again.

To me this looks like a deeper problem introduced at some point which is still present. Especially since this not only affects Fairphone 4 but also other devices and even older Android versions and other system launchers.

After I changed to the gesture navigation I finally come to the conclusion that the “classic” 3-button navigation is just broken since the gesture navigation was already introduced in Android 10 and is seen as the new standard for Android.

3-Button navigation:

  • Screen brightness slider is with with white symbols on a light blue slider - it still works this way but it looks somehow broken.
  • Recent apps only work if either you only use the built in launcher “Quickstep” or if you disable animations in the developer options.
  • Recent apps can be moved slightly upwards and stay there when animations are disabled. This seems to be a bug did not get fixed yet caused animations are usually not changed - because doing so is a developer options and not regular user setting.
  • The navigation buttons are sometimes displayed “white on white”, for example when opening the notification drawer which is displayed with a white background. You can still see the navigation buttons since they have a shadow, but this looks like a bug to me.

Gesture navigation:

  • Screen brightness slider is displayed properly with black symbols and not with white symbols on a light blue slider.
  • Activating the “recent apps” view always works, even with animations enabled in the developer options.
  • The buttom gesture bar is always display correctly and not “white on white” in some situation like the 3-button navigation. So when opening the notification drawer the navigation bar will turn dark as well as in apps which display a navigation bar with a white background like Vivaldi

It seems 3-button navigation is considered an outdated feature which is not really tested properly. I try to get used to the gesture navigation, at least it works much more reliable and predictable.

Does anyone know if the situation is better in Android 13? At least in Android 12 devices from other manufacturers seem to have the same issues with the navigation, so it’s not specific to the FP4 but more a problem of Android itself.


For completeness: this is a known bug and documented at Googles issue tracker:


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This issue has now appeared for the fourth time, prompting me to ask around if others can relate:
The multitasking button (“recent apps”) stops working. Until the phone is rebooted.
In the last case, the phone was in use but unresponsive for a few seconds. When working again, everything is fine apart from the multitasking button not doing its job.
I think I used the browser (Brave).
Anyone else experienced the same?

Yes see above its related to the launcher (when its not stock)

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Try changing the permanent choice for the launcher to the stock launcher and then back to your launcher.
This did work for me.

The link has moved to

Restarting my device works for me. I use Niagara Launcher.

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Thanks for detailing this. I’d been experiencing all of these, and due to their obviousness, assumed that Fairphone must have been the culprit. These bugs are really beginning to annoy me.


Ever since updating to FP4.SP25.B.058.20230318 i’ve had a weird bug with the Recent Apps button.
After some time using the phone, without taking any particular action, the button just stops working. When i press it, nothing happens at all.
When this occurs, naturally i reboot the phone, and it works again.
But after a few minutes of usage the problem happens again.

Any idea as to what might fix it ? :slight_smile:
Maybe it’s a known bug that i couldn’t find on the forum and an update is already planned for that bug ?

Best regards

Hi and welcome, assuming you use a different launcher I moved your post here…

I had the same issue and landed on the same conclusion. Switching to the gesture navigation solves the issue.
Probably as @askaaron said the 3-button navigation is a legacy thing.

Just to clarify:
This is not a Fairphone issue, but related to Android.
I have the same behaviour on a Samsung A52, and that’s my company provided work phone (Android 12 + Nova Launcher).

Yes, it is an Android bug and not specific to Fairphone 4. With LineageOS 20, which is based on Android 13, that bug is fixed.


Hi all,

I found this problem only appeared after the recent software update, though it could be coincident with a new app I’ve started using recently I doubt it. I haev been using a third party launcher since last year and didn’t have the problem until recently so I don’t think the cause is third party apps. My workaround was to force stop Quickstep every time the problem occurred, but then I found this thread and the XDA one so now I’m trying gesture navigation.

Cheers :slight_smile: