After beta testing the latest version of Android for several months, Google has officially released Android 10. Even though most of the changes in the operating system are hidden, there are a few changes that the user may like.
What happened to desserts?
If you’re a longtime Android user, you probably know that Google usually gives new versions of Android a dessert name. This has changed this year. A few weeks ago, Google announced that it was updating the Android brand and its naming strategy.
With this change, the new version of Android is now called Android 10. This numbering strategy will be used in the future, but Google plans to keep the dessert names for future internal development builds.
Fun fact: Android 10 (formerly Android Q) was going to be publicly referred to as «Queen Cake» and internally referred to as «quince pie».
The end of dessert names doesn’t mean Google will stop making statues for new software releases. Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, tweeted a photo of the Android 10 statue.
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When will my phone update?
With the official release of Android 10, Google has started rolling out a firmware update for its Pixel phones. Day one releases have already begun for every generation of Pixel smartphones.
Pixels are not alone as the owners Essential Phone and Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro also received Android 10. OnePlus is not far behind as the company has announced an open beta for OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro users.
We hope that smartphones from manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola and others should start updating firmware in the next couple of months. If we knew anything from the past, it could be about a year before older phones get Android 10.
Gesture navigation is the biggest UI change to come with Android 10. This addition came after several Android manufacturers (OEMs) tried to add Apple gesture options and failed.
Now, instead of the standard three- or two-button Android navigation system, there is a gesture bar. Surprisingly, Google copied Apple’s implementation somewhat, as most of the controls are very similar. A quick swipe will take you home, a swipe and hold will open the Recents menu, and a long swipe from the home screen will open the app drawer.
But what about the back button? Don’t worry; The back gesture is now available by swiping in from either side of the display. As you can see from the figure below, when you hover over the icon, an icon will appear indicating the action.
The Google Assistant has also received a new gesture. Swipe diagonally towards the center of the display from one of the two bottom corners, and then a short animation will appear at the bottom of the device. Shortly thereafter, the virtual assistant will be ready to go.
If you have a Pixel or Essential Phone, you can change the navigation style by going to Settings > System > Gestures > System Navigation. Here you can switch between the new «gesture navigation», «2-button navigation» that was the default in Android 9 Pie, and the classic «3-button navigation».
OEMs will likely change the navigation options on their phones. Check your device’s settings menu to see what options you have when Android 10 becomes available for it.
Dark mode at the system level
Dark mode is one of the most requested features by Android users. After many developers added a dark theme to their apps, Google included a system-wide dark mode in Android 10.
Since the decision was announced at I/O 2019, Google and third-party services have been slowly adding dark themes to their apps. When properly implemented, every supported app will follow the Android behavior and enable a dark theme when the system is turned on.
You can turn on dark mode by going to Settings > Display > Dark Theme, or by tapping the quick settings bar in the Android notification shade.
Android 10 is getting smarter about notifications. While Digital Wellbeing is used to silence interrupting apps, Smart Reply will offer quick replies and actions for incoming messages. As shown in the animation above, you can easily send a one or two word reply to someone, or click on a link to open the corresponding app.
Google says the suggested actions work with YouTube links and addresses found on Google Maps. Plus, Android 10 can use Smart Reply with any of your favorite messaging apps.
Better permission control
Android may have lagged far behind the iPhone in terms of permission management. Google is quickly catching up with the release of Android 10 as it has added a new permissions manager with better controls.
There’s also an updated location permission dialog that appears when an app requests a device’s location. Instead of granting the app full or nothing access, there is a new option that allows permission only when the app is open. This change disables the app’s ability to check the device’s location in the background when the app is closed.
The updated permissions menu can be accessed by going to Settings > Privacy > Permissions Manager. Here you can see which apps have permission to perform certain types of actions and revoke access to each permission if necessary.
Security updates via Google Play
Instead of waiting for manufacturers and carriers to submit Android updates, Google can now submit security patches and bug fixes via Google Play. By regaining control, Google can ensure that any device running Android 10 or higher has the latest vulnerabilities patched as soon as an issue is discovered.
You can manually check for security patches by going to Settings > Security > Google Play System Update.
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Android 10’s Easter Egg
With the release of Android 10, Google has hidden a new Easter egg in the OS. Instead of the Flappy Bird clone found in previous versions of Android, there is now a puzzle game that offers hours of entertainment.
You can upgrade to Android 10 Easter Egg by going to Settings > About Phone > Android Version and then quickly tap on Android Version. You can then tap and hold on each of the items on the screen to move them around the screen.
To go to a real easter egg, you will need to press and hold «1» twice until it rotates and reads «Q» when placed on top of «0». Quickly tap «Android».
You will be taken to a non-standard puzzle game. You can solve this by following the numbers of the blocks surrounding the board and clicking on the individual squares. When completed, you will see an icon associated with Android.
The Android subreddit has already solved a number of non-gram puzzles if you need help.
You can learn more about Android 10 by visiting the Google announcement and the new Android 10 landing page.