Google is working on adding a system-wide dark mode, revamped privacy permissions for apps and other minor UI tweaks to Android Q, the next version of their popular smartphone operating system. This information has been revealed thanks to a leaked Android Q AOSP build running on a Pixel 3 phone, obtained by XDA. Google usually unveils the upcoming version of Android in March as a work-in-progress developer beta, while the full release goes out to OEMs and Pixel users in August.
Android Q leak
The Android Q build demoed by XDA is the latest one from Google’s AOSP internal master. AOSP means Android Open Source Project, which is the base upon which Google and other OEMs build their own features. Google usually layers Google Play Store and their complete suite of apps like Gmail, YouTube and the likes on top of AOSP. These apps are also re-used by OEMs, along with their own tweaks, apps and customizations to the operating system. Since the leaked build is from the AOSP branch, it did not contain any Google apps or Pixel specific features.
Perhaps the most-wanted feature by Android and iOS users alike is dark mode. There are rumors that iOS 13 will ship with a dark mode. This leaks confirms that a dark mode is also being developed for Android Q. The option is available as a toggle in Display settings and can also be scheduled based on the time of the day.
When enabling dark mode, the feature switches all apps, including third-party apps, to dark mode too. As expected, third-party apps in the leaked build appeared broken after switching to dark mode. Developers will have to update their apps to work with the dark mode and can even over-ride the feature, in case they want their app to not be used with a dark theme.
Revamped Privacy Permissions
Android Q is finally bringing some iOS-like privacy toggles and notifications. Just like on iOS, Android Q will let users restrict apps to only use location when they are in use, and not when they are in the background. On first run, apps will also ask for permissions in a pop-up, similar to iOS, where users can decide to deny location access, allow access all the time or allow access only when the app is in use.
Permissions usage will also be tracked in a new screen in settings, allowing users to see how many times permissions were used by apps throughout the day.
Android Q will also show an icon in the status bar, when features like location or microphone access are in active use by apps. The number of apps using the feature will be shown, and tapping on the icon will show the name of the apps in a pop-up.
Other changes in the leaked build include updates to the lock screen, notification-dismiss gesture and icons, settings icons, new accessibility options, a “force desktop mode” toggle in developer options to enable freeform app windows and much more.
Here’s a detailed video by XDA which shows off all the different new features discovered in Android Q.
Android 9 Pie was released in August 2018, and has yet to reach most of the user base so don’t hold your breathe for these features to reach your current smartphone soon. Unless, you’re a Pixel user.