The lowdown on Android Q for all Pixel phones

The lowdown on Android Q for all Pixel phones
The lowdown on Android Q for all Pixel phones

Google officially launched its public beta for Android Q on March 13 after lots of leaks and rumours.

As with most software updates, there are small tweaks, changes and new features that might go unnoticed at first, but there will likely be more to come with the final release. This beta is only available for the Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 devices right now.

Notification Panel

A new feature in the notification panel is the battery indicator. The battery icon sits in the status bar with a percentage like always, but pulling down the status bar will now display the time remaining before the phone dies. Pulling down the status bar will show an estimated time based on your usage in either “1 day, 3 hr left” format or give an exact time like “until 8:00 PM.”

Notifications themselves have been impacted. In Android Q, notifications can only be dismissed by swiping from left to right. Swiping in the other direction prompts you to snooze the notification or access notification controls.

Apps that make a noise during a notification can now be identified in the notifications panel where it will be accompanied by a small bell icon to let you know why it beeped.

Smart action buttons are more intuitive.


According to Ars Technica’s hands-on of Android Q, it automatically masks screenshots with the shape of your display. This essentially means that screenshots will take the shape of your screen, so if your screen has rounded corners, the image will have rounded corners.

Native screen recording is a new feature. It has to be enabled through developer options and allows you to record both the screen and voiceover. To turn on screen recording:

  • Go to Settings
  • System
  • Developer options
  • In the Debugging sub-menu select the Feature flags setting
  • Toggle settings_screenrecord_long_press to on

To launch the feature, hold the power button to pull up the menu, and long press the screenshot button. This brings up a button that says Start Recording.

There is a new QR code option in the Wi-Fi settings. You can tap on a saved Wi-Fi network and hit “Share” to open a QR code that you can show to others.


There are even more enhancements to protect user privacy in Android Q. Previously, Google introduced features like file-based encryption, locking down camera/mic background access, lockdown mode, encrypted backups, and Google Play Protect to protect against malicious apps.

Users will have more control over location settings. Dave Burke, VP of Engineering for Android wrote in a Google blog post that Android Q enables users to give apps permission to see their location never, only when the app is in use (running), or all the time (when in the background).

Accent colours and themes

A new feature in Android Q gives users the ability to change accent colours, headline and body font, and icons. The only accent colours right now are black, green, and purple. Blue is also available as the default system colour. Icons can also be changed between circle, teardrop, squircle, and rounded rectangle.

If you’re interested in trying this beta for yourself:

  • Visit the Android Beta Program website
  • Log in with your Google account,
  • Choose the phone you want to enrol
  • Receive an update on your Pixel device
  • Download and install Q

By Daniëlle Kruger
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