Android 10 is now officially rolling out to Google Pixel devices. Although the update situation for most other Android smartphones remains pretty much the same. So Essential Phone, the company’s only phone, running stock Android, is expected to get the update in the coming days. OnePlus has released a new Oxygen OS Open Beta based on Android 10. Others… will follow. But here are 10 new Android 10 features that you can get excited about while you wait.
Android 10 Features – UI
Last year, Google decided to change things up a little by implementing gesture navigation on Android. It wasn’t quite as well-received like Apple’s implementation on iOS or even those by the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola, etc. Android 10 features complete gesture navigation without any buttons at all. Google went full-on Apple and even took a page from Xiaomi’s book. You still don’t get full-screen gestures like other Android OEMs offer.
Instead of a thick navigation bar, we now have a thin one and instead of a pill, there’s a home bar like the one on iOS. The gestures remain the same, i.e, swipe up to go home, swipe up and hold to get to recent apps. What’s changed is there’s no back button anymore. Instead, a swipe from the left or right edge of the display triggers the back action.
Not everyone’s a fan, understandably. As a consequence of the new gesture navigation, swiping from the left edge to reveal the side menu drawer in certain apps doesn’t work. For that, you’ll have to tap and hold on the left edge, then swipe in after the menu drawer is slightly revealed.
2. True Dark Mode
Android Pie brought a bit of dark mode to certain parts of the UI such as the quick settings, Settings, and a few other menus and places. Android 10 features a complete dark mode including every part of the System UI as well as apps that support it. For now, there are many Google apps on this list, except the Play Store, Chrome, and Gmail, the two most used Google apps, perhaps.
But there’s an override switch in Developer options that can take care of those. Besides, Gmail and Chrome are expected to get dark modes later this month. Plenty of other apps already have dark modes like Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, etc. We can expect these apps to respect Android 10’s dark mode switch.
3. Smart Reply
Remember the smart reply feature Google introduced earlier in 2017 for Gmail on Android? Just like with Android gesture navigation and dark mode, this feature is getting an update as well. Smart reply is now an Android 10 feature and it works across apps, not just Gmail. For the uninitiated, Smart reply will automatically suggest a quick reply in the notification, based on the content of the notification.
Android 10 Features – Accessibility
4. Live Captions
This feature doesn’t go live until a little later but it will be one of the most useful features of Android 10. Especially for those who can’t hear. This enables your phone to automatically caption videos, audio messages, and podcasts across apps. This happens locally, and also for media files that you record on your phone. Google is expecting it to be ready for Pixel smartphones by this fall. It should make its way to other Android 10 devices sometime next year.
5. Sound amplifier
Sound amplifier is another addition to Android’s accessibility features. This new Android 10 feature lets users boost sound, filter background noise and fine-tune the audio. This can be helpful in noisy environments.
Android 10 Features – Digital Wellbeing
6. Focus mode
As you can see, most of the new features in Android 10 are refinements of something that was there before. Focus mode is a new feature in the Digital Wellbeing suite. It lets users select and silence distracting apps until Focus mode is turned off. This is still in beta and users will have to sign up for the beta in order to try it.
7. Family Link
If you’re a parent, this new Android 10 feature is exactly for you. Family Link is a set of tools that parents can use to set daily screen time limits, device bedtime, time limits on specific apps, and more for their kids. They can also review the apps children install on their devices and see their usage.
Android 10 Features – Privacy & security
8. Privacy controls
Android 10 now allows users finer controls over how app permissions are allowed. For one, when you launch a new app, instead of bothering you with separate popups asking for separate permissions, you now get one screen listing all the permissions with toggles to allow or deny them.