I’ve been playing with the iOS 7 beta for the past few hours and the “Back” gesture is easily my favourite thing about iOS 7.
The translucency is nice. The buttons not looking like buttons is for the most part not even an issue when you’re actually using the thing, because, you know, there’s other ways to highlight that like colour, weight, and people still read labels. The structure and placement is also obviously similar to previous iOS versions. It does feel cramped at times for sure in the Navigation Bar. I will say the Game Center log in button is horrendous.
Back to it.
It’s always jarring for a moment when I come from my Galaxy Nexus to my iPod Touch and realise there’s no dedicated Back button. It’s incredibly useful, trust me. This new gesture that’s in all the stock iOS 7 apps is one I’d forgotten reading about. The first time I moved down the hierarchy in Settings, the transition hinted at it. Three hours later and it’s the only way I’ve been going “Back”.
Android still does this a lot better. Sure, every now and then it can lead to some level of unpredictability if you’re multitasking. But, it dismisses dialogs, works as effectively on the equivalent of Modal Views, and is easier to action.
How some applications deal with the conflict of going “Back” when they have sliding navs that are accessible (by swiping from the left) throughout all levels of the app will be interesting. Foursquare, Rdio and G+ are three that come to mind. Do they give up access to navigation drawer at lower levels via the gesture to ensure consistency across the platform? I can’t see how there’s space for both gestures to work effectively.