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Back button not real back button - Won't open last application

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Spankth, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Spankth

    Spankth Lurker
    Thread Starter


    Got a new Desire Z last week, still am learning the ropes. Have come from a Blackberry, this is my first time posting here.

    I would like to ask why the back button doesn't work as a proper back button. When I open an application (say facebook for example) and press the home button, it returns to the home screen fine, but logic dictates that pressing back should go back to the last application open, so pressing back should open facebook again.

    Every other program / device I've used does this, even Microsoft can work this one out with their media centre!

    Is there anyway to fix this?

    (btw have tried to search google and this forum for answers, but I've had no luck)



  2. Harry2

    Harry2 Extreme Android User

    Long press on the Home button let you reopen the last applications.

  3. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    There is no fix because it's not broken. That's the way Android is designed. When you open an app the back button will take you back one screen at a time through that app until you reach the home screen. At that point the app is essentially closed. It will not take you to the previous app used.

    The reason why it was necessary in other Mobile OS's is because they were single tasking (or in "certain" OS's, advanced task switching). Android is multitasking. If you are in app A and you open app B, if you long press the home button you see the last 6 or 8 apps used (depending on Android version) and you can jump back to app A right where you left it. Then if you wanted to get to B you do the same thing and you are again back where you left it. If you used the back button to get to app A, B would be closed and you'd have to start over.
    ninja_reject likes this.
  4. beboyle

    beboyle Newbie

    What you're missing is that the "back" button on Android is more like a "cancel" or "exit" button than like the back button on a browser. It doesn't go back to the last activity, it backs out of whatever is currently open.
  5. Spankth

    Spankth Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thank you for your replies.

    Harry I noticed that already. But sadly it's not the same.

    But surely even if it is multi tasking, a back button is just going "back" to the last thing you were doing. Regardless if there are 17 programs running in the background. Theres only one program which I last had open.

    I am understanding the way it works more now, but there's still no logic behind it. It does work like a "cancel" or "exit" button but only some of the time. And if that were the main function of the button why not label it "cancel" or "back"?

    p.s. I have a few other questions / niggles shall I ask them here while I have your attention, or better to start a new thread?
  6. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert

    No, that's not how it works nor how it was intended to work. Stop assuming that Android works like the BB (though I don't recall the back button working as you describe on my 8310) or you'll be constantly frustrated. The back button just backs out (eventually to the home screen). It does not switch apps. Long press home to switch to a recently used app.

    It is the back button.

    Where did you read that it was the "last used app" button? I've never seen it describe as such anywhere.

    Same/similar topic? That's the general rule of thumb for threads.
  7. shawn1224

    shawn1224 Ex CEO-DNPSEA foundation

    Well in essence the back button does work as you assume it should, just not from the home screen. Let's say you open espn scorecenter and then you pull down the notification bar to reply to a gmail. After this you long-press home and switch to your sms messaging app. Well if you press the back button, you go back to the same apps in that same sequence except once you get to the home screen, the back button becomes more of a cancel feature.

    Even depending on what type of phone you have, you can view all your most recent apps when you swype down on the notification bar. It's far more intuitive than relying on backing out of every app.
  8. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert

    Welcome to Android Forums!

    The back button backs you out of an app to the home screen (the starting location), period. I don't understand what's so confusing about that.

    It would be FAR MORE confusing if the back button actually opened up prior apps. It should never do that.
    shawn1224 likes this.
  9. Spankth

    Spankth Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I said in my original post that logic says that a back button should go back through history of activities, not back to the home screen (I have a home button for that) I will of had applications open before that, so why can't I go back. It's a big ball ache if I have an application open quickly open another *Sometimes* it will go back to the last one used and *Sometimes* it won't.

    A perfect example of the former is opening a internet link from an application, pressing back will return me to the app I was last using. That makes sense.

    Maybe I'm not making myself clear enough. Take this example ->
    Im surfing the internet on opera, and I would like to tweet something or something stupid like that. I press home, open the apps list, open twitter, tweet something.

    If I press back I expect to return to maybe a home page in twitter, then to the apps list, then to the home page (and so far it does this) but if I press it once more I expect to return to my page in opera.

    Just seems silly to omit something so simple like that.

    AndroidSPCS Thanks for the welcome, hopefully I'll get settled with Android!

    shawn1224 I know I can swipe down the notifications bar and switch apps that way, I also know I can long press the home button. But to me when I do it its much more effort than pressing back 3-4 times. I mainly only use the phone one handed, and tapping all over the screen to do a simple thing like returning to the app I was last on shouldn't bee such a hassle.

    Thanks again for all of your replies.
  10. 28064212

    28064212 Well-Known Member

    See, you're treating the homescreen as "just another app", when it's not. The homescreen is more like the desktop in Windows. Say you have a couple of Windows applications open. Using the back button is similar to clicking the "minimise" button on each window. If you minimise all the windows, you're brought back to the desktop, but you can't then minimise the desktop.

    It might not be the way you want it to work, but it is the way it's intended to work.
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