- Android Q is getting a sleek dark mode
- Android Q is getting refined gesture controls
- Notifications, privacy and location tracking were also revamped
During its Google IO keynote, Google took the opportunity to give us new details about Android Q, its latest software version for Android devices. There is a bevy of new features coming to the new software, including dark mode, Focus Mode, enhanced privacy setting and revamped notifications. There's a lot to unpack, so let's start from the beginning.
We've heard for a while a new dark theme was coming to Android Q, and now it is official. The new system-wide dark theme will not just darkened the Quick Settings, it will also apply to apps and settings as well. This feature has been popular among user requests, but Google had yet to fully adopt it until now.
Users will be able to turn it on through the the Quick Settings and their phones will now turn black.
Last year Google introduced new gesture controls for Android P, but now it is fully realizing the feature with a new form that fully relies on complex gestures. Instead of the pill-shaped navigation bar, Android Q will use a slim, wide bar that looks like a miniaturized version of the iPhone gesture bar.
The controls themselves are pretty straightforward. Swipe up to go home, swipe across the navigation bar will enable multitasking and a short swipe across takes you back to the previous app you were using.
Permission and privacy
Google is putting a big importance on privacy with Android Q. And why not, it is a hot button issue that is very much on consumers' minds. With Android Q, Google is enhancing user control over their information like tracking. Taking a page from iOS, users will now have a section in the settings that will let users allow tracking while using the app. Google will also warn users when location tracking is on through a notification up at the top bar.
A new privacy section inside Android Q will display information like which apps have access the type of data they have access to like contacts, calendar, calls and location. If you want to cut some apps off, this is where you will have to go to do so.
As is the case every year, 2019 will also see another push into rolling out security updates in a more timely fashion with a strict cadence that should make the process easier. The new project is called "Project Mainline" and it aims to roll out security updates consistently to a lot of devices. It will use the Google Play Store to roll out the updates to devices.
We should note that this applies to the minor security updates, not the big ones like Android Q. OEMs may still take their sweet time rolling those out.
Digital Wellbeing and Focus Mode
Google is also placing high importance on metal health with an updated Digital Wellbeing and a new mode it calls Focus Mode. Digital Wellbeing is getting updated parental controls within its section in the settings. This was previously built in the Family Link app, but now it is built into the settings for easier access.
Focus Mode is aimed at getting you focused and less reliant on your . phone. It will mute apps you select, holding off on notifications allowing you to focus at the task at hand. It is an initiative by Google to allow users to put their phones down and focus more on the world around them. Who knows if it'll work any better than previous attempts on their part, but it is an extra tool users will have to curve off addiction to smartphones.
Android Q sees another yearly tweaking to Android notifications. Google has made it a goal to streamline notifications every year in hopes of perfecting them. It has not achieved that yet, but it did introduced a number of new features that will help users nonetheless.
The main change was introduced to auto-reply. Android Q will now offer custom replies recommended on the context of the conversation. It is part of new system it calls "Notification Assistant" that should help ease the interaction with notifications.
There's a lot more
If That's just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other features Google introduced with Android Q, but those are the main ones people will run into right from the get-go. If you want to try out Android Q, the beta is now available for 18 devices including the Pixel, Essential Phone and OnePlus 6T.
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