How to get Android Q beta 3 on compatible non-Pixel phones

It’s great to see Android Q beta 3 with so many new features, but it’s also great to see the beta open up to non-Pixel phones. Here’s how to get Android Q beta 3 for compatible non-Pixel phones.

Asus Zenfone 5Z

Zen UI

According to Asus, known issues include SD cards with exFAT format not being supported and no beep when the volume up or down buttons are pressed.

  1. Turn off your Zenfone 5Z.
  2. Hold down the Power and Volume Up buttons until your phone reboots.
  3. Connect your Zenfone 5Z to your PC.
  4. Download and decompress the Android Q’s image file.
  5. Double-click on “update_image.bat,” which starts the flash image command
  6. When the flash finishes, hit the Enter key to restart your Zenfone 5Z.

Essential Phone

Before we start, make sure to download the factory image. Also, download the fastboot tool from the Android SDK Platform-Tools package and add it to your path so the flash scripts can find it.

Finally, turn on OEM Unlocking and USB Debugging from within Developer options. To get to developer options, tap the build number multiple times until you see the “You are now a developer!” pop-up message.

  1. Connect your Essential Phone to your PC.
  2. Use the ADB tool to run the command adb reboot bootloader
  3. Reboot your phone while holding the Volume Down button.
  4. Unlock your bootloader.
    1. Run the command fastboot flashing unlock
    2. Use the Volume Down button to go to the YES option and press the Power button to confirm
    3. While your Essential Phone is rebooting, press and hold the Volume Down button to return to Fastboot mode.
  5. Flash your factory image.
    1. Unzip the previously-downloaded factory image and go to where you unzipped the files.
    2. On Windows, run the command flashall.bat
    3. On Linux and MacOS X, run the command flashall.sh
  6. Relock your bootloader
    1. You don’t have to re-lock your bootloader, though doing so improves security.
    2. Run the command fastboot flashing lock
    3. Go back to Fastboot mode and run the command fastboot flashing lock_critical

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The twilight back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Keep in mind that you must have released at least one app on the Google Play Store and use a Huawei Mate 20 Pro to qualify. Also, your Huawei ID must be registered with the same email address used for your Google Play Store developer account.

Finally, the beta is available from tomorrow, May 8 through June 30. After registration, the first version of Android Q beta 3 will be pushed out this Saturday, May 11. Following versions will be pushed out every Tuesday and Thursday.

You can go here to learn more about possible restrictions.

  1. Open this link on your Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
  2. Download and install the Beta app from the aforementioned link.
  3. Log in to the app with a Huawei ID registered with the Google Play Developer account’s email.
  4. Sign up for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro Developer project.

LG G8 ThinQ

LG G8 ThinQ Review display

Before installing Android Q beta 3, LG advises device owners to do a factory reset of their devices. Also, known issues include the camera with limited functionality, SD cards over 32GB not being recognized, Wi-Fi hotspot not working, voice calls over a Bluetooth headset not working, and some apps on the Google Play Store not working due to Q-OS compatibility issues.

Finally, you’ll have to use LG Beta Downloader every time there’s an update.

  1. Download and install LG Beta Downloader v1.0 or later (only works on Windows).
  2. Start LG Beta Downloader and follow the displayed instructions.

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 screen.

Note that the beta only supports models TA-1119, TA-1121, and TA-1128 and associated 00WW images. Also, you must go here to sign up for a Nokia account and add the Nokia 8.1 to your account. From there, you can request Android Q beta 3 for your device.

Nokia is cagey on exact instructions, so make sure to have a compatible Nokia 8.1 device and follow the on-screen instructions.

OnePlus 6/6T

Even though the OnePlus 7 series also supports Android Q beta 3, the phones aren’t out yet. We’ll update this section with any new steps once the OnePlus 7 phones launch.

  1. Download the latest ROM upgrade zip package from the specified server, which you’ll find below.
    1. OnePlus 6
    2. OnePlus 6T
  2. Copy the Rollback package to the phone storage.
  3. Go to Settings -> System -> System Updates.
  4. Tap the top right icon, then tap Local upgrade.
  5. Tap on the corresponding installation upgrade, then tap Upgrade -> System upgrade completed to 100%.
  6. After the upgrade is complete, tap Restart.
  7. Your phone will reboot into recovery mode to format user data, then reboot again after updating.

Oppo Reno

Oppo Reno Hands On rear glass panel

Oppo hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Oppo Reno. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Realme 3 Pro

Realme 3 Pro back of the phone

Realme hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Realme 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony notes that only versions H8416, H9436, and H9493 of the Xperia XZ3 support Android Q beta 3. Also, Sony advises that device owners factory reset their devices before flashing the software.

  1. Go here to download the latest version of the Xperia Companion app on your PC.
  2. Start the Xperia Companion app.
  3. Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click on Software Repair on the homescreen.
  4. Tick the checkbox My device cannot be detected or started, then click Next.
  5. Wait for the initialization to complete, then follow the on-screen instructions.

Every subsequent software update for Android Q will be an OTA update. As such, you don’t have to use the Xperia Companion app unless you want to return to factory settings.

Tecno Spark 3 Pro

Press render of the Tecno Spark 3 Pro.

Tecno hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Spark 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Vivo X27

Press render of the Vivo X27.

Vivo notes that the first version will be released this month, with the second version releasing in early July. Once Android Q is available to the public, Vivo will no longer release beta updates.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo X27.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex S

Vivo Nex

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex S.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex A

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex A.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Xiaomi Mi 9 hero shot

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi 9. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running when Gesture is selected in Settings.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch screen color in Settings.
  • Unable to add a fingerprint.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi 9.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi 9.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi 9 to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi 9.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi 9 in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G logo

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi Mix 3 5G. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Default print service stops after device connects to Wi-Fi to print photos from gallery.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running after user selects “Gestures”.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch color in settings.
  • Settings app crashes after Automatic brightness is selected.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi Mix 3 5G.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi Mix 3 5G to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi Mix 3 5G.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi Mix 3 5G in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.


And that’s it! Let us know in the comments if you have any of the devices listed here and plan to install Android Q beta 3.

Now that the Galaxy Fold is on hold, Samsung should wait for Android Q

Samsung Galaxy Fold ope side on table

Opinion post by
Justin Duino

After the events of last week, Samsung decided to push back the release of the Galaxy Fold for at least a month. While this delay is due to both user and mechanical issues, I’d suggest Samsung hold off on selling the device until it’s running Android Q.

When Samsung has shown off the Galaxy Fold in demos, the software experience has always appeared seamless. But those are controlled situations where the company has worked to make sure everything is nearly perfect. 

Now that we’ve been able to go hands-on with the foldable — hardware issues aside — it’s pretty clear that the software needs some more work. Before the phone was even in reviewer’s hands, we knew that apps not built with the new form factor in mind would launch with black bars on either side of the interface.

Editor’s Pick

What’s worse than that is the fact that most apps haven’t been updated to work with what Samsung is calling App Continuity. Instead of being able to flip open the Galaxy Fold and have the app that was open on the smaller screen instantly resize for the tablet display, users were stuck with the phone interface. To get the app to resize (if it even offered a tablet form factor), users would have to restart and relaunch the app.

And thus, the reason why the Galaxy Fold should be held until Android Q is available. With the release of the second beta build of the Android Q, Google made a foldable emulator within Android Studio. While developers can now start building their apps for the form factor, that won’t make them ready for a product that was destined to be released to the masses in a week.

Android Q Foldables App Development Google

Samsung has already stated it knows that the Galaxy Fold is a luxury product and plans to launch a concierge-like service to assist customers with problems. But despite the price tag, pre-orders of the device were already selling out. With that much demand, Samsung is selling this first-generation product to regular consumers, not just technical users who will be comfortable dealing with bugs and other issues.

Samsung is selling this first-generation product to regular consumers, not just technical users.

I’ll end this article as I started it: Samsung should hold off on releasing the Galaxy Fold until Android Q is released. Only at that time will developers be able to properly build apps for the device. If the app experience is solid even 80 percent of the time, the average owner would be more inclined not to view the foldable as a prototype or beta product.

What do you think? Is Samsung using early adopters as beta testers? Do you think Samsung is rushing the Galaxy Fold out the door to be first onto the market?

In Android Q you must give permission for unknown app installs every time

Android Q

In Android 8.1 Oreo as well as Android 9 Pie, if you want to install an app from outside the Google Play Store, you have to enable the “Install unknown apps” permission for any applications you’ll be using to install APKs. Once you’ve enabled that permission, it stays enabled until you disable it manually.

However, this does not appear to be the case in the first two betas of Android Q. In the most recent beta, you have to enable the “Install unknown apps” permission each and every time you want to install an APK.

To show you how this works, check out the GIF below:

As you can see, when I tried to install the Pulse SMS APK from Google Drive, Android Q asked me for permission to install the unknown software. I toggled that permission on and then the app installed as normal.

However, when I tried to install the same Pulse SMS APK from the same source (Google Drive), Android Q asked me again to enable the permission.

Editor’s Pick

In other words, if you install a lot of APKs from outside the Play Store, you’re going to have to do a lot of tapping within Android Q.

Of course, this is just a beta of Android Q and this could be a bug. It’s possible that the stable version of the OS won’t behave this way, and instead work more like current versions of Android.

That being said, this does seem like the kind of “feature” that would line up with Google’s emphasis on security and privacy with Android Q. It’s certainly possible that this feature will make it to the stable launch.

What do you think? Is this a welcome change or just annoying? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: Android Q could deliver better audio thanks to these microphone improvements

Rumored mid-range Pixel phones might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

While we’re still digging through the first Android Q beta releaseXDA-Developers noticed that a few lines of code in the new release might reference the two rumored mid-range Pixel smartphones.

Spotted in a class in the ConnectivityMonitor app, a few lines of code list available Pixel smartphones and their codenames. The code snippet also mentions two “B4S4” devices that have “sargo” and “bonito” codenames, which we’ve seen in previous reports.

Sargo also shows up within a library used by the camera app in Android Q, this time accompanied by the name “Pixel 3a XL.” That doesn’t confirm that “sargo” is this so-called Pixel 3a XL, but it might be safe to assume that the Pixel 3a XL is the name of the larger mid-range Pixel smartphone.

Editor’s Pick

If that’s the case, then the smaller mid-range Pixel smartphone is called the Pixel 3a. The naming seems a bit random, but it’s not as awkward to say as Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite are.

When we can expect the Pixel 3a and 3a XL is a different story. Both phones visited the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a few weeks back, a good sign that the phones will be announced in the near future. Then again, Google’s request for confidentiality on the FCC listings lifts August 24.

The good news is that we already have a good idea of what to expect from the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The two phones reportedly look like their higher-end cousins, save for a few hardware changes. We also expect the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor, 4GB of RAM, and at least 32GB of storage.

NEXT: Everything new in the first Android Q developer preview

Android Q’s ‘Notification Bell’ helps you find what’s new in your sea of notifs

Android Q

I’m really, really bad at notification management. Most of the time, I leave my notifications sitting in my tray for hours, days, even months on end, because I truely believe in my heart of hearts that I’ll get back to them at some point.

Android Pie Notification Shade

My extremely messy notificaion shade

Fortunately for me, Android is smart, and manages to keep notifications it deems important bubbled up to the top of my list. While this is important for my daily productivity output, it does make it so newer notifications of lower ‘priority’ are sometimes lost somewhere in my tray. I don’t always agree with the way Google manages priority, and every so often I’d prefer to watch that new YouTube video instead of responding to an email.

Now, with Android Q, Google has added a simple solution to this problem. When you get a notificaion, Android will display a little ‘Notification Bell’ icon next to the message, alerting you that it’s a brand new notification. This should help you find the new stuff in your sea of notifications, and can be pretty useful if you just want to know what’s new in your online life.

android q notification bell

The new, very useful notification bell

The icon should last little more than 30 seconds, but if you just need to quickly glance at what’s new instead of searching endlessly only to realize it’s a useless push notification, this change should be a welcome one.

What’s your favorite change so far in Android Q? We’re still digging through the developer preview to find out what’s new, so be sure to stay tuned for everything Q!

Android Q makes Wi-Fi sharing easier with QR codes

I miss the good old days when people left their Internet connections insecure and I didn’t have to spend money on the Internet… oh wait, I’ve said too much. Kidding (mostly)! Anyhow, in today’s landscape it’s important to have a strong Wi-Fi password in place to keep hackers (or poor college students as was once my case) at bay. Of course, that ultra-complicated password is also a pain to share with others. While there have been several methods over the years designed to make this process easier (like WPS), Android Q has a novel approach to the situation.

Starting with Android Q, if your buddy asks you for your network’s Wi-F password you can head into Network & Internet > Wi-Fi and tap on your current network. Doing so gives you a new Share button that generates a QR code. Before it’ll make the code you’ll have to authenticate with a password, pin, or fingerprint. After that, it’s time to hand your phone to your friend.

Android Q Wifi sharing via QR code

To join your network your friend simply needs to go to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Where it says Add Network you’ll notice an icon on the right. Click that to open the QR scanner. Scan and profit.

This feature is pretty cool and I can see it as being one of the fastest ways to join a network. The big downside is it’s an Android Q feature, which you know.. not that many phones will have for quite a while. Here’s hoping that Google makes this feature compatible with older versions of the OS through an app or something — okay probably won’t happen, but it would be awesome of Google if they did add it to older versions of the OS somehow.

Want to try this and other new features for yourself? Here’s how to get Android Q for your Pixel device

Everything new in the first Android Q developer preview

The first Android Q developer preview is here!

While it might not seem like there are many user-facing changes in the first Android Q beta, we’ve actually found quite a few. Here are all the little (and big) changes we’ve found in Android Q so far.

Further reading: How to install Android Q on your phone right now

Accent colors and theming options




It’s been a long time coming, but Android Q finally (finally!) supports different accent colors. In the developer settings at the very bottom, you’ll find a new “theming” section with three options: Accent color, Headline / Body font, and Icon shape.

You now have the choice between four accent colors: default blue, green, black, and purple.

Choosing the Headline / Body font option in your settings menu will allow you to choose between the device default font (the one shown in the images above) and Noto Serif / Source Sans Pro. Here’s what it looks like:

Finally, the Icon shape option will look quite familiar. From here, you can change all your app icons to the device default (circle), teardrop, squircle, or rounded rectangle.

Battery icon on the always-on display

Google has moved the battery icon from its bottom-center position to the upper-right corner of the always-on display.

Estimated battery in quick settings

Android Q’s quick settings menu will now show you how long your battery is expected to last.

Sharing menu improvements

Google is bringing some much-needed improvements to Android’s sharing menu. Not only does the share menu look a bit different than it did before, the entire menu shows up way faster than it did in previous Android versions. Take a look at the GIF attached here to see what I mean.

Notches and rounded corners in screenshots

Android Q screenshots now feature notches

In previous versions of Android, the system would fill in the gaps if it noticed a notch cutout or rounded screen edges. Not anymore! Take a look at that glorious screenshot of the Pixel 3 XL to see what I mean.

Swiping right on notifications

Android Q notifications swiping to the right
Android Q notifications swiping to the left
Android Q notifications context menu

You can no longer swipe notifications away willy-nilly. A quick swipe right will still clear your notifications, while a swipe to the left will bring up the context menu — something you could only bring up with a half-swipe in previous Android builds. A swipe to the left will give you options to ‘snooze’ or ‘mute’ a notification, while expanding it gives you even more options, such as ‘block’, ‘show silently’, or ‘keep alerting’.

Android Q night mode is gone… but don’t worry!

In Android Pie, Google introduced a “device theme” section in the display settings menu. From here, you could either turn on Android’s dark mode at all times, or just when you set a dark wallpaper. Now that option is gone. If you didn’t have the dark theme enabled when you installed Android Q, you’re out of luck. If you did, you should have the option to turn on a system-wide dark theme that even expands into the settings menu.

Just keep in mind that this is a very early build of Android Q, and Google adds and removes things from developer previews all the time. There’s a good chance dark mode is coming back in a future build.

Bell next to notification timestamps

Have you ever wondered which one of your notifications made your phone actually ring? Google is clearing that up in Android Q. Now, if your phone rings from a notification, you’ll see a little notification bell right next to the notification’s timestamp. It’s a little change, but a welcome one for sure.

Sharing Wi-Fi with QR codes

If, by chance, you’d like to share your Wi-Fi network with a friend, you can now do so via QR code. Just select the network you want to share, click the Share icon, and verify your phone’s passcode. A unique QR code will show up that your friend can use to easily scan and join the Wi-Fi network.

Emergency button in the power menu

In Android Q, long-pressing the power button will display a new Emergency icon. Tap this icon and you’ll have quick access to an emergency dialer.

Privacy section in Settings


Privacy is front and center in Android Q, and that starts with a new section in the settings menu. This new privacy section will give you access to your app permissions, lock screen content settings, preferred autofill service, location history, and usage and diagnostics settings.

Revised Material Theme throughout the whole OS


Google has streamlined many areas that looked “off” in some of the menus around Android. In Android Q, things like the wallpapers app, app info pages, and more have been tweaked with Google’s new Material theme.


That’s it for now. We’ll update this list as we find more changes in Android Q. Have you found any that aren’t listed here? Let us know in the comments, and check out even more Android Q coverage below:

Android isn’t perfect: 5 improvements we’d like to see from Google

samsung galaxy s9 one ui review android pie logo easter egg

Android has evolved considerably over the years, introducing new UI redesign and gaining plenty of unique features and optimizations along the way. However, as refined as the modern Android experience is, a lot could still improve or change. With the anticipated release of Android Q this year we thought it’d be good to talk about a few things we’d like to see Google address in its next major OS release.

Better gesture navigations

OEMs such as Apple, Motorola, and OnePlus have all implemented their own takes on gesture navigation and Google followed suit soon after them. The introduction of Android Pie brought gesture navigation natively to the Android OS. It sounded great at first, but if you’ve used Google’s gesture navigation you’ll know it’s pretty awful.

First and foremost, Pie’s gesture navigation doesn’t actually free up any screen real estate, defeating the purpose of gesture controls entirely.

There’s also still a navigation bar at the bottom, so it isn’t even all gestures. The home button is pill-shaped instead of a circle and there’s still a back button, but it only shows up when you’re in an app or essentially anything other than the launcher. The overview or recent apps button is the only button that’s truly gone. This was replaced with a short swipe up from the bottom to launch recent apps and swiping right on the navigation bar became the new way of swapping back and forth between your last two apps.

Android gesture navigation could use a lot of work — a lot of the UI elements just don’t make sense right now

Another reason why Android Pie’s gesture navigations are so bad is some of the gestures and UI elements don’t make sense. I like that I can swipe up to get to my recent apps but I don’t like that I have to perform a long swipe to get straight to my app drawer or swipe up a second time if I only did a short swipe. Despite using it all the time, I still haven’t gotten used to it. Putting the swipe up for recent apps on the right side of the navigation bar and swiping up from the middle to open up the app drawer would be an easy fix for this. This would negate the need for a long swipe to get to the app drawer entirely.

My final big issue is the placement of the “clear all” button on the recent apps screen. Many OEM Android skins give you a clear all button that is accessible no matter where you are within your recent apps. That isn’t the case with Google’s implementation. The clear all button for recent apps isn’t static, and the more apps you have open, the further it moves to the left of the list. It just doesn’t feel intuitive and can be cumbersome if you have a laundry list of recent apps.

Long screenshot and screen recording

Google’s done a great job improving and adding new features to Android over the years. Many features that you used to have to root, flash custom ROMs, or use an OEM skin for are now natively baked into Android. Back in the early days of Android, I would root my device just to get a flashlight toggle and a restart option in the power menu. Nowadays I no longer feel the need to do that, but some are essentials are still missing.

Google has yet to implement the ability to take long screenshots or create screen recordings into Android. OEMs like OnePlus, Huawei, and Samsung have one or both of these features baked in. If you’re on pure Android you’ll have to resort to third-party apps or rooting if you really want them. These are fine options, but having the features built directly into the OS is always a better experience.

Override OEM left-panels with Google feed

HTC’s Blinkfeed and Samsung’s Bixby Home are two well-known examples of left home panels set in place by OEMs. These panels are meant to provide quick information at a glance, but are often bloated and clunky. Most OEMs let you disable the feed if you don’t like it, but you can’t replace it with a different feed of your choice.

I personally enjoy Google’s own feed. It’s clean, provides the information I need, and doesn’t feel clunky or bloated like ones I mentioned. This is one of the main reasons why I prefer using Pixel devices, but it would be great if you could substitute an Android OEMs feed with Google’s.

Improved app permissions

Google’s done a great job of giving users more control over app permissions on Android over the years, but we’re still hoping for more. According to some early leaked builds, Android Q could give us god-like powers over app permissions.

Until the update is official we won’t really know for sure what improvements will be implemented, but one thing we would like to see Google change with app permissions is the ability to grant app permissions temporarily or only while the app is in use. This is great if you only want an app to know your location or use your camera temporarily and would put users with privacy concerns at ease. An app called Bouncer on the Google Play Store does exactly this, but having it built in natively to Android is always better.

 

 

Better sharing interface

If you’ve ever shared anything on Android, you know it’s quite a messy system. Many things about sharing on Android need improvement. I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible and touch on just a few points.

One of the most obvious problems you’ll notice with the sharing UI is that it’s very slow, especially if you have a lot of apps installed. The direct sharing items also don’t load in at the same time as the rest of your apps and the suggested direct share shortcuts seem completely random at times. The options you get for direct share varies from app to app. Sometimes simply reloading the sharing UI can change who or what you can share to.



Another major issue is the inconsistency of the sharing UI across apps. It doesn’t always look the same, because developers can make the UI look however they want. However, even across Google’s own apps the sharing UI isn’t the same. In the examples below you can see how YouTube and the Play Store have a vertical scrolling UI, which is the most common sharing UI you’ll see across Android, but apps like Google Photos and Maps have horizontal scrolling.




Google also needs to have a standard look and placement for the share button. Most of the time it’s that familiar three-dot triangle, but sometimes it can be an arrow, plain text, or a combination of text and a share icon. The share button can pop up at the top of the app, in the middle, on the bottom, or buried in a three-dot menu. You can see some examples down below. Having a standard placement and look for the share button across all apps would make the experience feel more intuitive, especially for users that aren’t as well versed in the Android ecosystem.




This certainly isn’t a be-all-end-all list of everything Google should improve with Android. These are some of the top things we’d like to see addressed. Hopefully with Android Q, Google will straighten some of these things out. The update isn’t too far away, so we’ll find out pretty soon what the company decides to change. Are there any other features or UI changes you desperately want to see come to Android in the future? Let us know about them in the comments. 

Android Q gestures might rely only on pill icon, no back button

The gesture navigation tools introduced with Android 9 Pie eliminated the need for the recent apps button. Now, the default gesture navigation configuration is down to two buttons: the home “pill” icon and the back button, which appears when needed.

However, according to some early Android Q code obtained by XDA Developers, the back button might not be around for the next iteration of Android.

Editor’s Pick

According to XDA’s research, the home button will act as the back button and the recent apps button all in one. Users will be able to slide the button to the left when they want to input a back action. The button slides slightly to the left and then snaps back, giving the user a kind of tactile feedback that the input was registered correctly.

Check it out here:

Additionally, a quick swipe of the pill icon to the right will swap you from the app you currently have open to the next-most-recent app on your list. Another swipe to the right will go to the app before that, and so on. If you perform this gesture while on the home screen (i.e., with no app in the foreground), the new recent apps screen will be shown, which will allow you to scroll through all your apps.

If this new navigation method is, in fact, what Android Q will eventually have, it will represent another major shift in how users navigate through Android. However, it could be that this is just early testing and the navigation system we saw in Android 9 Pie will end up in Android Q — it’s far too early to say this new method will be finalized.

What do you think? Do you use gestures in Android Pie? Do you think you could get used to the back button being gone? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: Android Q: The top features we know about so far

Android Q might open up RCS to third-party apps

Much has been made about Rich Communication Services (RCS), but the reality hasn’t yet matched up to the hype. Thanks to several RCS-specific APIs for Android Q that Android Police found, that reality could finally change for the better.

Here’s the thing — as great as RCS is, carriers and manufacturers have done a great job of fumbling its usefulness. Google teamed up with several device makers to roll out RCS through its Messages app, while Samsung uses RCS for its stock messaging app. However, U.S. carriers have been incredibly slow with their RCS support and have very specific hoops that you must clear if you want to use RCS.

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All of that’s to say that RCS is only available through a small subset of messaging apps for a small subset of devices on a small subset of networks.

As much of a mess as RCS is right now, Android Q could remedy that somewhat. According to the APIs that Android Police found on the AOSP Gerrit, Android Q could open up RCS to messaging apps. So long as your carrier supports RCS, you could message folks with the protocol on third-party apps like Pulse SMS and Textra.

This is great news for those that want to see faster RCS adoption. Let’s just hope that carriers get their acts together and properly realize the dream of an inter-operable messaging service that works out of the box.