Before the schedule, we have Android Q for Google Pixel 3 XL. What we have is not the same software that Google will release as the first Android Q Developer Preview, but it's still our first look at what Google has been working behind the scenes. The early Android Q leaked build was created this week with the security patches for February 2019 and is up to date with Google's internal AOSP master. This means that there are a lot of new features for Android platforms that You will not find it anywhere public. However, there are no adjustments for the software of Google Pixel. In addition, there are no pre-installed Google Play apps or services, so I can not provide any new information on those fronts. Still, there's a lot to digest here, so we've updated the Pixel 3 XL to find out what's new - both on the surface and under the hood. This article focuses on all the surface-level changes we found in Android Q.

The system-wide Dark Theme is finally here

On January 6, Android Police discovered a comment on the Chromium Gerrit, suggesting that the dark mode would be pending for Android Q. The Googler comment was made on October 31, 2018. So there was no way to tell if Google had given up access or continued to work on it. However, the Android Q build we received has a full-featured, system-wide, dark mode in the display settings. We are confident that Google will continue to work on the feature. Most of the screenshots you see in this article are actually enabled with the dark theme.

To turn on the dark theme, tap the "Set dark mode" option in the display settings. You can set the dark theme to be always on or automatically enabled depending on the time of day. Once activated, the Settings, Launcher, Launcher settings, and Files app will be given a dark gray tone. The volume box, the Quick Settings window, and notifications turn black. Even third-party notifications such as download notifications from Google Chrome are black under the slogan. Google Phone app, Google Contacts, News, Google News, Google Play Games, YouTube, and more already have native dark themes, but we do not know how these Google apps interact with the dark themes of Android Q.

We know that Google has a developer option called "Override Force-Dark" which "overrides force-dark feature to always be on the go." It seems to enable dark mode apps that do not have a built-in feature Dark mode option. I have tested this in the AOSP dialer, messages, and the email app (see below). I've also tested it with Kiwi Browser, a fork made from Chromium by XDA Senior Member arnaud42, and Google Chrome beta, and can confirm that parts of these apps are dark. It also works for third-party apps like Facebook, though Facebook is partially broken in parts with white text on a white background.

This is by far one of the most requested features of users, as dark topics are known to extend the life of smart phones with OLED displays. We're pleased that Google is finally implementing a built-in dark mode. You no longer need Substratum to get a dark theme, as you did with Android Oreo and Android Pie.

Renewal of permissions

If you think that Android P is for privacy, wait until you see what Google plans for Android Q. There's a major override of permissions in the Settings app, which gives you an overview of permissions access for apps and specific permissions, z The app is being used. The permissions page for each app has also been redesigned, and you can quickly see which apps have been granted or denied access to or access to a specific permission (such as the microphone). The info window for apps has also been redesigned so you can quickly open the app. Uninstall the app or quit the app.

The updated permissions dialog box in the fifth screenshot from the left also applies to all approval requests, such as memory access in Google Chrome. Finally, you can see when an app is actively using location permissions by dragging the status bar down and tapping the location icon at the top right. When you do this, a dialog box appears informing you which apps are accessing the location of your device. If no apps access the location, the location bar will not show a location icon.

Samsung DeX-like desktop mode?

I do not have much to show here, but I found a very interesting new developer option called Force Desktop Mode. The description is "Force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays" Samsung DeX or EMUI Easy Projection feature, but I could not test it because nothing happened when I connected my USB Type-C to HDMI adapter. For some reason I could not connect to Wi-Fi, so I could not test if this experimental desktop mode works through the cast option.

Developer Options

There are a lot of new developer options in Android Q. As mentioned earlier, there is a new "Force Desktop Mode" option that I can not work with. Feel back support to enable freeform window. Once the option is enabled, you can launch Freeform Multi-Windows by long pressing an app icon in the recent apps overview. Freeform Multi-Windows is possible to work with Android Pie. However, this version of Android has changed access.

I found a new Game Update Package Preferences that prompts you to choose a video driver. I do not have enough information yet about what this will do, but as soon as I did that, I will post an update. There are many new feature flags, only some of which actually work. One of these provides a link to a built-in display recorder provided by the SystemUI. This screen recorder can be accessed by a long press on the screenshot button in the Power menu, but the user interface is not yet complete. (The Power menu also has a new shortcut to start the emergency call selector.) Another feature flag allows the current background to be displayed on the always-on display. This is a feature of Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, which is now available in AOSP for any device with the Always On Display feature.

When talking about the Always on Display, the setting has been moved to Display -> Lock screen display. The battery icon in the Always-in display also appears to have moved from the center of the screen to the top right.


Two new settings have been added to the Accessibility page: time to intervene and time to read. If you take action, you can choose how long you want to see messages that prompt you to take action but are only temporarily visible. On the other hand, with the Read feature, you can choose how much time you want to read and respond to messages that disappear automatically. "The latter seems to be related to the Android 5.0 Lollipop introduced heads-up notifications, while the former refers to snack bars. The pictures shown in the functional description are clearly only placeholders.

Various findings in Android Q

Finally, a few things we found in this early leaked build:

  • There is a new quick "Sensors off" setting that seems to disable all radios and enable the flight mode. It could be set up to do more in the future, but I've found that out so far. It is possible that this is an aluminum foil hat mode to disable all sensors of the device that can not normally be turned off (accelerometer, gyroscope, etc.).
  • The screen lock setting offers two new options: "Smartlock only unlocks" and "Lock screen if you lose trust." The first option allows a trusted device to keep your phone awake longer, but the device can not even unlock it was closed. The latter option locks the smartphone if the last trusted device is no longer trusted.
  • The built-in file app now lets you filter images, documents, audio, video, and more, as you browse directories.
  • The installation dialog of the app is no longer displayed as a full screen. Instead, it's a popup like tablets.

That's all I've found from my short time with this Android Q build for Google Pixel 3 XL. There were no customizations for Google Pixel or pre-installed Google apps on this build. So there is much more to discover. I'll go through the SystemUI and the Framework to learn more about the new Android Q platform and follow up on my findings. Stay tuned.

Update 1: Added more details about the dark topic regarding third-party notifications and apps. Added a little bit about the updated permissions dialog. In addition, information has been added to the installation screen of the app.

Update 2: Added details about the location icon that will be displayed in the status bar when your location is used.

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