The next major update to the Android mobile OS is beginning to surface, and according to the leaks, it will include a system-wide dark mode.
To be clear, we've only seen a very early version of the software, dubbed Android Q.XDA Developers managed to spend some time with it on a Google Pixel 3 XL and noticed the biggest change it appears to bring is a system-wide dark mode. But there are other tantalising features in the code leaking out, including some not-so-cool changes, such as the ability for carriers to lock down your SIM.
Here's everything we know so far.
Android Q: Features
The latest version of Android might include a dark theme.
When enabled, it will darken colours for some parts of your phone's user interface. A leaked build of Android Q suggested users will be able to enable a dark mode to darken everything from notifications to the settings. This might even extend to apps even if there’s no dark mode to be found within the app. The leaked Android Q build has a developer setting that should allow apps to be controlled and forced to switch.
So, if you already love apps that have a dark mode (like Twitter), then you might be able to have your entire phone and your apps flushed with cool, dark blacks and blues instead of blinding-white backgrounds.
Another major change in Android Q concerns app permission requests. The idea behind this is to seemingly take some of the power away from the permissions users grant to applications. For instance, for an app you might give access to your location, under Android Q, you can set it so that app only has access to your location when it’s in use. It's a minor change, but one that gives you more authority over who has access to your data.
Screen recording is coming to Android, according to the early Android Q build. It’ll be accessed similarly to how you take screenshots: by holding the power button down. It might seem like no big deal, but imagine having this the next time your parents ask how to do something on their Android phones. Instead of trying to explain, you can just easily record your screen, show exactly how, and send the clip to them.
Mystery Desktop mode
The last notable bit of information from the leaked Android Q build is the appearance of something called "Desktop mode" embedded in the code. The people at XDA weren’t able to get it to function, but it will definitely raise a few eyebrows about what it could potentially entail.
Sim locking by networks
This doesn't sound like a welcomed feature. New code changes show that network carriers will be able to lock your phone to specific networks via your SIM card. 9to5Google noticed four commits were recently posted to Android’s Gerrit source code management. They were called “ network carriers will be getting more control.
They'll be allowed to designate a list of “allowed” and “excluded” carriers, deciding which will and won’t work on a particular phone. Restriction changes are also coming for dual-SIM devices. Right now, carriers can set individual restrictions for each SIM slot, but with Android Q, they can lock the second slot unless there’s an approved SIM card in the first slot.
Emergency calls will still work either way.
Android Q: Name
Months before the next major version of Android rolls out to devices with an official dessert-themed name, it's known by a codename. They've been teased in alphabetical order. For instance, Android 9 Pie was Android P. Before that, there was Android Oreo, or Android O. This year is Android Q. There are a few desserts that start with Q, but most of them are from outside the US.
- Android Qurabiya
- Android Quindim
- Android Queen of Puddings
- Android Qottab
- Android Quesito
- Android Queijadinha
- Android Quirks
Google could always bend the rules and do something less sweet, such as:
- Android Quinoa
- Android Quail
- Android Quesadilla
- Android Quiche
None of these are official, by the way. We're just guessing. What do you think Android Q will be called when it releases?
Android Q: Release date
We expect the first previews of Android Q to drop in March 2019. That’s when the developer previews for Android O and Android P were both released. Google usually doesn't officially release the update for consumers until later in the summer, however, around August 2019.
So, keep checking back around for the latest on the next Android OS update, as more information will likely leak out over the coming months.