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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Android Q teardown hints at native screen recording, an emergency shortcut, more

Nokia 7.1 installing Android 9.0 Pie update

By the time Google gets around to releasing the Android Q Developer Preview, there likely won’t be many surprises. Thanks to a teardown of Android Q’s System UI by 9to5Google, we have a better idea of what new features the search giant might add to its mobile operating system later this year.

For some years now, Android has had a built-in screen recording feature, but it had to be initiated using an ADB command from a computer. Looking at several code strings, Android Q might introduce a system-level screen recording option similar to what’s available on iOS and offered by using third-party apps.

As it is implemented right now, the first time that the feature is used, Android will request access to the necessary permissions for recording the screen and saving video files. While in use, there will be an ongoing notification, controls to start, end, and share the recording, and an option to record an accompanying voiceover.

9to5Google also confirmed XDA-Developer’s report that Android Q will likely bring support for secure facial recognition. Users will probably use with the same “biometric_dialog” that Android Pie introduced for interacting with the fingerprint sensor to authenticate and authorize payments.

In Android Pie, Google added a screenshot button to the power menu. It appears that Android Q might add an emergency shortcut to the menu that will take users to the emergency dialer.

Android Q Teardown Emergency Shortcut 9to5Google

Some additions seem to be focused on privacy. The first of which includes a “Sensor Privacy” quick setting that will disable some of the phone’s sensors. It’s not known yet what this will be used for, but the option isn’t shown by default.

Android Q is likely also going to highlight when one or more apps are using the device’s location and microphone. This is another feature that has been implemented in iOS for a number of years now. Instead of being in the dark on what’s happening in the background, you’ll be fully aware of what apps are doing with options available for you to stop them.

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Lastly, Android Q looks to be preparing for 5G and WPA3. While we’ve already seen AT&T update some of its phones to display “5GE” icons, the new firmware officially includes 5G and 5G+ icons within the operating system. And over a year after WPA3 was announced, Android Q should bring support for the new Wi-Fi standard.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the System UI demo mode hints that Android Q will be version 10.

What other features do you want Google to bring to Android Q? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

  • A Google developer has hinted that early Android Q builds may reach more users next year thanks to prospective Generic System Image (GSI) developments.
  • The moves could allow any Project Treble-supported device, not just select handsets, to run previews ahead of the software’s full launch.
  • The developer said there may be a way to test Android Q without physically flashing the GSI in future, too.

A Google engineer has hinted that Android Q previews may be available on more devices than ever before ahead of its full-scale release in 2019. The engineer, Hung-ying Tyan of Google’s Project Treble team, made the comments during Android developer summit last week (via XDA Developers).

Hung-ying was holding a talk on Generic System Images (GSIs). A GSI is a pure version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code used to test compatibility on Android smartphones. In order to benefit from quick updates via Project Treble, for example, a hardware manufacturer must be able to boot a GSI and ensure it works correctly on their device.

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This is a key part of Project Treble, but it seems Google wants to diversify GSI use cases. Hung-ying said the team is “exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI.” This, according to Hung-ying, would be mutually beneficial, seeing as more users would get access to the software the team could receive earlier feedback.

What’s more, Hung-ying said that there might be a way to test out GSI, without flashing it, in the future — something which can be a tricky process.

What this would mean for Android fans is that more people could gain access to the early version of Android Q (the upcoming version of Android), sooner. With the Android P Developer Preview, Google allowed Pixel users (and later some other Android device owners) to test the software from March last year ahead of its full release in August. The implication of GSI becoming available earlier is that any Project Treble-equipped phone would be able to install the next Developer Previews — opening them up to many more users.

This is just a possibility for now, but Hung-ying said we should stay tuned for more information in the future. It seems like it could happen.