After nearly six months of public betas/developer previews, Google is releasing Android 10 today. This may not be too exciting to the enthusiasts who have been using near-final software for weeks, but the vast majority of people didn’t participate in the beta program and now they can experience everything Android 10 has to offer.
Dark theme, navigation gestures, privacy controls and Google Play system updates are all big changes.
As the company announced last month, there are no more dessert names for Android, so this is simply “Android 10”, without the letter Q being associated with it at all.
Now, it is rolling out to Pixel devices starting today, with other OEMs likely to announce their upgrade plans to Android 10 later today and this week.
The biggest visual changes come with a system-wide dark theme, which you can toggle on for your entire phone or a specific app — and Google’s working with developers to make sure more and more apps are properly designed to use it. The controversial new gesture navigation mode is also here, bringing edge gestures to replace the back button and new options for multitasking.
Android 10 brings system-wide dark mode
There aren’t a lot of game-changing features coming in Android 10, but the biggest feature for a lot of people is going to be that system-wide dark mode.
Android has hard a form of dark mode for a few releases now. Starting with the app drawer and notification panel going dark based on your wallpaper. Then with Pie, you could force it to be dark all the time. Now in Android 10, you can make the entire system UI dark, which is going to be great for battery life.
About the notification tray
New changes to notification controls let you more simply silence and change the priority of notifications, which has become increasingly important as we’re all constantly bombarded with notifications. Smart Reply is adding actions, saving you time from having to copy and paste text for things like addresses and links. Smart Reply for actual text replies is also going to be available across all of your messaging apps. The impressively demoed “Live Caption” feature that automatically captions videos, podcasts and any other audio across any app isn’t available just yet, though. Google says it’ll arrive “later this fall” starting with Pixel devices.
New Privacy Features are also here
With this latest version of Android, Google is also bringing in some new privacy features. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, given the fact that privacy has been a big topic among tech companies in the past few years.
Firstly, you can choose to only share location data with apps when you are using them. When you open an app for the first time and give it permission to use your location, it will ask you if you want that app to have access all the time, or only when open.
Secondly, there is now a Privacy section in the Settings app. This is where you’ll find controls like Web & App Activity and Ad Settings, all in one place.
Finally, Google is also sending some updates and important security and privacy fixes through the Google Play store, so they are sent to your device in the same way an app gets an update. This means that your device is going to stay up to date better and you won’t have to wait for your OEM (LG, Samsung, Nokia, etc) to send out an update to fix something.