Android Q Leaks in Early Build w/ System-Wide Dark Mode and Better Privacy

Google is gearing up to introduce its next version of Android later this year, and we’re getting a sneak peek thanks to XDA-Developers who obtained an early build of the OS and flashed it onto a Pixel 3 XL.

The build serves as a very early version of Android Q, Google’s next version of its mobile operating system. The software doesn’t specify what the Q will stand for (that news will come toward the end of summer), but it at least confirms a few suspicions many were having regarding the future of Android.

For one, Android Q will come with a system-wide dark mode. Visiting the Display section of the Settings app will reveal an item called “Set Dark mode.” This will allow you to turn it on, off, or on automatically based on the time of day. It’s a much better implementation than what we have with Android 9 Pie as with Q, you get dark mode in the settings app, launcher, launcher settings, Files app, the volume controls, Quick Settings, notifications, and more. Meanwhile, Android Pie only darkens the Quick Settings panel, the launcher, and the Google feed to the left of your home screen.

But that’s not all. In the developer options of Android Q, XDA points out an option called “override force-dark.” Basically, this will force some apps to show a dark theme even if they don’t have it built-in. XDA tested the feature on a few AOSP-based apps like a dialer and an email app and it seemed to work just fine. Of course, there were a few bugs with displaying information and tweaking the UI, but overall, the feature did what it was supposed to do. Therefore, it’s safe to assume Android Q will finally give users a dark mode throughout the entire OS.

There’s also new privacy improvements with Android Q, something Google is known to include in every new version of Android. In this leaked build, XDA has discovered Google will revamp the entire permissions panel within the Settings app to allow actions such as restricting certain permissions while apps are open, viewing active permissions, and quick actions to take on apps you might want to uninstall or force stop. Obviously, there are also under-the-hood security improvements to better safeguard you against malicious attacks.

In XDA‘s report, the author also notes the inclusion of new accessibility settings, a tweaked Always-On display mode, a possible screen recorder for gamers, a new UI for app installations, and even a potential desktop mode similar to DeX found on Samsung phones. Considering this is such an early build of Android Q, however, it’s hard to say how many of these features will actually ship to consumers.

This particular version of Android Q comes with the February 2019 security patch so there’s a good chance Google will issue an initial developer beta of the software for Pixel owners early next month. Be sure to stay tuned for future developments.