After some early peeks at features from leaks, Google has released its Android Q developer beta, which you can use if you own any Pixel phone, from the latest Google Pixel 3 all the way back to the first Pixel and Pixel XL.
This is the first Android Q beta of several before its full release, which will likely be in fall. As expected, it’s got a bunch of new features that will refine (and hopefully improve) the Android experience…but since this beta is for developers, a lot of the changes listed on the Android Developers Blog post explain all the new features and APIs for apps.
Those interested can enroll here to get Android Q beta updates over-the-air, but only on their Pixel phones (at least for now).
Features aimed at developers, not consumers just yet
This initial beta won’t have the fun new UI changes that will come in the eventual release, and more exciting features will likely be revealed at Google IO 2019 in May, as XDA Developers points out. That’s why we may not see the much-rumored system-wide dark mode until a later beta.
Instead, this beta has developer-focused tools and options. Some of these are obvious, like compatibility features for foldable phones. Others are more nuanced quality-of-life refinements, like improved shortcuts to make sharing content between apps easier and faster.
As rumors suggested, the Android team has refined privacy settings in Android Q, and we’re starting to see some. Users will have more control over app access to location info, shared files and repositories like Photos and Videos. Another helpful change: instead of apps automatically switching focus when they have an Activity in the background (like an alarm or call), appmakers and opt to send high-priority notifications first.
These might be some of the most onerous changes for developers in Android Q, which is why, As Google’s post reads: “We are bringing these changes to you early, so you can have as much time as possible to prepare.”