I watched Apple's iPhone 6S Expo on YouTube with my iPhone61, and noticed the new functionality to navigate between apps by swiping from the side of the screen, and as I tried this, I noticed something happened: YouTube was using swipe-from-left to navigate to the previous section of the app.

What happens now? Obviously YouTube loses that great UX navigation medium to iOS. So the question becomes: is there a mutually UX-Friendly solution to allow both the OS and the Application to swipe from the edge of the screen for navigation? What possibilities exist fundamentally in the study of UX to solve this conflict between OS and Application?

Edit: Yotube's control for navigation actually detects swipes anywhere within the screen, not just from the edge. However, the issue still exists in any application which might have the inner area of the screen handling horizontal swipes for other purposes.

1) still running pre-9.0.1 iOS

  • One primitive idea that I can think of, would be to build a zone into the device's surface just outside of the screen's edge to act as the domain of the OS, allowing software to use pulls directly at the edge. This isn't necessarily a good solution, I'm sure I can think of better ones, but I was interested to see what solutions the UX experts here might think up.
    – J.Todd
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 23:02
  • 1
    There's been an older but similar issue with mobile sites on iOS browser. The swipe gesture has been added for forward/back nav control. Suddenly a photo gallery can't use swipes anymore. We need to design around that. People end up putting actual nav buttons on the screen or use the lightbox approach of opening 1, then clicking to close, before opening another one, or displaying things in a continuous scrolling list. It's a grim thought, but I suspect the same thing will happen here.
    – nightning
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


Although this question is rather old, the problem has been solved reasonably well in the touch navigation which Android uses. The key is determining whether the swipe originated off the edge of the screen or not. If I swipe up from near the bottom of my screen on an Android device, it's interpreted as swiping within the current app. If the swipe comes from off the screen and moves onto the screen, it is taken as a system level swipe.

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