Hands-on: What’s new in Android Q

The Android Q beta is now stay, and after playing "spot the variations," we're right here to record our findings. For this first preview launch, Android Q is mostly a lot of small tweaks for customers and new APIs for developers.

A lot of factors are half of-applied, inconsistent, or broken, however this is just a beta. Hopefully the whole thing gets fixed in the destiny, however we're going to still point out problems in this launch. Compared to the leaked builds of Android Q that came out earlier than this launch, there are truly fewer capabilities here in a few instances. Google is protecting out on us.

First up, let's speak about that logo. That "Q" appears humorous does not it? That's due to the fact it is also a "10"—the circle of the Q is a zero and the tail is a one. The preceding version of Android changed into "Android 9 Pie," so the very last version of Q will be "Android 10 Q-something."

The notification panel

One of my favored functions in Android Q is a brand new battery indicator that appears inside the notification panel. Like normal, there is a battery percentage within the popularity bar, but while you pull down the notification panel, it'll now alternate to a battery-time-closing indicator so as to say things like "1 day, 3 hr left" or "till 8:00PM," meaning that in case your ordinary utilization continues, the phone will die at that point. It's simply an estimate, and positive, it'll change if my utilization drastically changes, but it's lots extra useful than a percent. More battery facts is always a plus.

A most important alternate to the capability of the notification panel has to do with the dismissal of notifications. In Android nine Pie, you could swipe in both path and the notification would depart, whilst a cautious "half swipe" could screen buttons for snoozing and a notification settings tools. In Android Q, simplest swiping from left to proper will disregard a notification. Swiping from right to left will best move the notification halfway across, and the snooze and settings button will pop up.

Android Q
Google launches the subsequent version of Android—Android Q—in beta
Leaked Android Q build shows off dark mode, progressed privacy controls
View extra memories For a person adjusting to Android Q, this new swiping conduct may be very hard to research. I had been swiping away dozens of notifications every day for several years, and within the preceding 9 variations of Android, either course would push aside a notification. This is deeply ingrained in my muscle memory, and to now best be capable of swipe to the left to dismiss is a dramatic exchange.
Do a non-disregarding swipe from proper to left and you will see that the two alternatives buttons have changed. It's still snooze and notification controls, but the notification manipulate is now a bell icon in place of a equipment. Tap on it and you'll now see 3 settings as opposed to two: besides controls to block a notification or preserve showing it, you could now display it silently. In the beyond, you've been able to installation silent notifications if you dig thru the settings, however now you have got quick get right of entry to to it.

Android nine Pie added Material Design 2 and the Google Material Theme for Pixel telephones and Google apps. Besides the white on white on white layout fashion, many interfaces brought a font transfer from Roboto to Google Sans, the same font used in Google's logo. This became often carried out as a half of-measure in Android nine Pie. The notification panel, as an instance, used Google Sans for the movement buttons and Roboto for the message text. In Android Q, this Google Sans has grow to be the only font in several interfaces. Notification panels are actually almost all Google Sans, and the settings converted, too. There are nevertheless some times of Roboto to be able to with a bit of luck be wiped clean up in destiny betas.

When a notification does come in, and if it makes a noise, Android will identify it with a small bell icon that appears subsequent to the app call. If you have got a large list of notifications and are wondering why your telephone beeped, that is a pleasant indicator.

A few times whilst using Android Q, I had smart action buttons pop up in my message notifications. Several instances I become sent a URL, and the URL became pulled out of the message and put in an action button above the standard "Reply" button. This might permit me load a hyperlink right from my notification panel while not having to open my messaging app first. The buttons even did things like show Chrome for a regular Web hyperlink or jump into the Twitter app for a tweet. Judging via the design, I think they were "App Actions" buttons, which would allow buttons deep link into an app. Today you notice them at the Google Assistant.

Confusingly, even though, this selection labored for simplest about an hour once I started out the use of Q, after which it never labored again. I have not visible everyone else talking approximately the pop-united states of americaand can't mirror the capability anymore. Hopefully this is a actual feature because it turned into very handy to just bounce into a link right from the notification panel.

First of all, Android Q now mechanically masks screenshots with the form of your display. This means if your tool has rounded display corners, your screenshots now have rounded corners with black pixels inside the dead space. If your phone has a notch, you will now be sharing your cellphone's shameful, shameful notch design with the sector whenever you take a screenshot. It seems horrible and I'm a bit embarrassed on every occasion I show a Pixel 3 XL screenshot to a person. Google saves screenshots as PNGs, so I assume it would look plenty nicer to save the show mask as obvious in preference to black.

In the Wi-Fi settings, there's a new QR code choice subsequent to the "Add Network" button. You can generate these your self on line, or you could faucet on a stored Wi-Fi community and hit "Share," which will pop up a QR code you can show to others.

There are new "Privacy" and "Location" sections inside the settings, but they may be by and large complete of vintage alternatives for now. In a leaked Android Q construct from a few months ago, there has been a new "Privacy Dashboard" that allow you to attack your permission distributions with charts and graphs. That didn't make it into this primary public beta, however I might believe Google goes to position extra work into this display sooner or later.

New in Android Q is a "Settings Panel" that apps can pop up. Apps aren't allowed to change plenty of system settings, so they frequently have to ask the consumer to alternate matters for them which will paintings. Rather than asking customers to seek through the total settings app, there at the moment are simplified settings panels for the Internet, NFC, and extent. Seeing this is sort of difficult right now, on the grounds that no apps name them.

App information has been redesigned, as have lots of different settings pages. Previous variations of Android made a distinction among removable apps in the facts partition and permanent apps that have been burned into the device partition. Data partition apps, which might be normally downloaded from the Play Store, may be "uninstalled" and completely removed. System apps can't be eliminated because they're at the read-most effective device partition, but you can "Disable" them in preceding versions of Android, which didn't remove the app but did prevent it from running. Under the hood, Android Q still works this way, however it looks like "Disable" has been rebranded "Uninstall."

Saying you can "uninstall" the whole thing is less complicated for novice customers, however it's also misleading approximately what is definitely going on—the code for system apps is not certainly being removed. To make things even stranger, the "Uninstall" button modifications to "Install" on these gadget apps, and you can "Install" them again right from the app information web page.


If you permit Developer Options and scroll all of the way down to the bottom, there are new "Theme" alternatives. You can select an accessory color and replace a variety of gadget blue with black, red, or green. You can also trade from the default Google Sans/Roboto blend to a combination of serif fonts. You can alternate the shape of adaptive icons, but you've got been able to do this from the launcher at diverse times.

Google's flirtation with a dark mode on Android keeps in Android Q. While various settings and tweaks show progress in the direction of a system-huge darkish mode and a few OS-impartial Google apps have started to undertake a darkish mode, Google didn't come out and say that dark mode turned into an Android Q function. It's odd.

Android nine Pie would robotically allow a 1/2-applied darkish mode if you set a dark wallpaper, however that function appears to be long gone in Android Q. Instead, turning on battery saver will permit a dark mode. The darkish mode is greater complete than it became in Android 9; it now colors the settings, notifications, and lots of pop-up home windows. In phrases of the core OS, it appears pretty an awful lot whole, and you could now not wander into an OS display screen and get blasted with whiteness. It's additionally a lot darker than it changed into in Android 9, usually opting for natural black in place of darkish gray.

Tying the darkish mode to the battery saver is not a superb option for folks who just want to cut down on display screen brightness. Battery saver influences historical past app processing and a gaggle of other matters that must not be tied to a favored shade scheme. Plus the ever-gift query with these beta dark mode capabilities is "will it surely deliver?" Numerous instances now, Google has enabled some kind of darkish mode in beta most effective to disable it when the final model ships. Fingers crossed for this release.

Permissions and privacy are a piece in progress
Google is talking lots about privacy upgrades to Android Q, but much of the actual implementation doesn't appear to be included but. A huge function we saw inside the leaks that failed to make it into this construct is a actual-time notification showing while apps are the use of sensitive permissions. In the early leaks, a region icon might pop up inside the popularity bar, and you could tap on it to peer which apps were using your location. It regarded very handy, and optimistically it'll make it into a future build. There turned into additionally a privateness dashboard within the leaked build that hasn't made it into the OS yet. With "Privacy" as a top-degree settings alternative, it seems that Google has massive plans for the segment in the future.

Privacy controls get a new pop-up with an extra new option. As typical, you may block or deny a permission, however for some things, you may now best allow them while the apps are in the foreground. This approach that something like Facebook or Google Maps cannot just begin pinging your place from the background.

Speaking of history regulations, apps will not be capable of launch sports from the background—in other words, apps may not be able to bounce into the foreground by means of themselves. For now, this nevertheless happens in this first build of Android Q, but a message pops up warning that it will likely be shut off within the future. This will in the main affect clock apps and contact apps, at the side of malware. An easy way to peer this message right now could be to drag up the Google Assistant with "OK Google" or through long-pressing the home button. Google has some paintings to do!

Storage get admission to has greater granular controls; you could now grant access to just "pix" or "music" in preference to the entire inner garage. Google has remodeled a number of the mainly privileged default apps into a function known as "Roles." Mostly the whole lot works the identical way it did before. You can set a default SMS app that receives the unique privilege of receiving incoming messages or set a default browser that gets the special privilege of establishing links system-huge. Besides a default telephone app and home app, the brand new roles are a default track participant, which receives access to the complete music directory, and a default photograph app, which routinely gets get right of entry to for your pictures.

For now, there is a "Default apps" display screen with a link to "Roles" at the bottom that links to... A second "Default apps" screen. Roles and default apps are the same issue, and those monitors clearly want to be merged.

The new Share menu
The left image indicates what pops up immediately. After a second or two, the proportion menu still moves round and will become the right photograph.
Enlarge / The left image shows what pops up immediately. After a 2nd or two, the share menu nonetheless actions around and turns into the proper photograph.
Ron Amadeo
Android's percentage menu has been pretty lousy for a long time. When you pull up the proportion menu to, say, ship a photo to a messaging app, Android pings each single app for your device to populate the listing of apps that would like to receive a image. It does this on the identical time that it is presenting the UI to the person, so as it hundreds up icons and queries doubtlessly loads of apps, the list jumps all around the location. Naturally, this makes it very tough to faucet on something at the start. In Android Q, things are better, however not perfect.

As a part of Android Q, developers can publish "Sharing Shortcuts" for the listing, on the way to all be compiled ahead of time. Even though no one is definitely doing this yet, the app icons in the percentage listing now appear immediately, which is a large development. Still, not the whole lot appears right away—the share menu still queries a random app for specific contacts, and these contacts take several seconds to load. At the top of the percentage menu, there is often a huge "copy link" section, and the contacts load among this segment and the app icons, pushing the copy link upward when it loads.

I experience like this is a quite primary UI idea to need to reiterate, but on account that Android Q nevertheless is not following it: the UI shouldn't move around while a person is trying to faucet on things.

We have an extended street to move
Google's legit launch timeline.
Enlarge / Google's legitimate launch timeline.
Google posted an reliable release timeline for Android Q, so we know this is the first beta launch of a planned six-beta launch. The very last version of Android 10 (it's surely going to be known as "Android 10"—simply examine the emblem) releases someday in Q3.

I could consider there is nonetheless a lot extra for us to see. If this launch is something like last year's, Google will keep a few of the large capabilities for the beta that receives launched during Google I/O. We're additionally only getting a take a look at the OS side of Android; as common, there may be nonetheless a whole suite of Google apps and special Pixel functions so one can probably be released along the final launch.


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