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Guidelines for back buttons

The back button is a system-provided UI affordance that enables backward navigation through either the back stack or navigation history of the user.

The scope of the navigation history (whether in-app or global) depends on the device and device mode.

Example

The UI for the system back button is optimized for each device and input type, but the navigation experience is global and consistent across devices and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. These different experiences include:

Devices
PhoneSystem back on a phone
  • Always present.
  • A software or hardware button at the bottom of the device.
  • Global back navigation within the app and between apps.
TabletSystem back on a tablet (in tablet mode)
  • Always present in Tablet mode.

    Not available in Desktop mode. Title bar back button can be enabled, instead. See PC, Laptop, Tablet.

    Users can switch between running in Tablet mode and Desktop mode by going to Settings > System > Tablet mode and setting Make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet.

  • A software button in the navigation bar at the bottom of the device.
  • Global back navigation within the app and between apps.
PC, Laptop, TabletSystem back on a PC or laptop
  • Optional in Desktop mode.

    Not available in Tablet mode. See Tablet.

    Disabled by default. Must opt in to enable it.

    Users can switch between running in Tablet mode and Desktop mode by going to Settings > System > Tablet mode and setting Make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet.

  • A software button in the title bar of the app.
  • Back navigation within the app only. Does not support app-to-app navigation.
Surface HubSystem back on a Surface Hub
  • Always present.
  • A software button at the bottom of the device.
  • Back navigation within the app and between apps.

 

Recommendations

  • Enable back navigation.

    If back navigation is not enabled, your app is included on the global back stack, but in-app page navigation history is not maintained.

  • Enable the title bar back button in Desktop mode.

    In-app page navigation history is maintained, app-to-app back navigation is not supported.

    Note  In Tablet mode, the title bar is displayed when a user swipes down from the top of the device or moves a mouse pointer near the top of the device. To avoid duplication and confusion, the title bar back button is not displayed in Tablet mode.
     
  • Hide or disable the title bar back button in Desktop mode when in-app navigation history is depleted or unavailable.

    Provides a clear indication to the user that they have navigated back as far as possible.

  • Each back command should go back one page in the back stack, or, if not in Desktop mode, to the immediately preceding app.

    Users could get confused if back navigation is not intuitive, consistent, and predictable.

[This article contains information that is specific to UWP apps and Windows 10. For Windows 8.1 guidance, please download the Windows 8.1 guidelines PDF .]

Related topics

Navigation design basics for UWP apps
Developers (XAML)
Navigation

 

 

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