What's new in the Android Q Beta 3 release

Android Q Beta 3 has been released. Find out what new and exciting features can be had with this iteration of the platform.

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If you've been anxiously awaiting the final release of Android Q, you might be interested in knowing that the Beta 3 version of the platform has officially been released, in conjunction with the Google I/O 2019 developer conference. The beta version of Android Q has been available to all Pixel phones, but this new release adds devices from Sony, OnePlus, Nokia, LG, Asus, Vivo, and Xiaomi to the mix.

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But what are the new features to be found in this latest release? Let's take a look at some of the more useful and/or exciting.

Improved notification control

One feature users will find to be quite helpful is the ability to better control notifications. With a long press of an alert, you can then select either Interruptive or Gentle reminders (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Better notification controls found here.

The biggest difference between Interruptive and Gentle is that Gentle alerts appear in the Notification Shade, but not on the lock screen. This is a handy way to prevent certain (read "sensitive") information from finding its way to the lockscreen, without having to set an all-or-none option.

Gesture-based navigation

Android is finally capable of full gesture navigation. By default (Figure B), the system is configured for 2-button navigation (where the Home button is still used, but gestures do come into play). However, you can opt to enable the Fully gestural navigation system, where swiping up from the bottom is like tapping the Home button and swiping from either the left or right edge serves as the back button.

Figure B

Figure B

Configuring the navigation option.

To get to this configuration, go to Settings | System | Gestures.

Dark Theme

You asked for it, you go it. The Dark Theme is official. Of course, not all apps have yet to support this new feature, but for those that do, users who prefer working with a darker theme will be thrilled. To enable the Dark Theme, either turn on Battery Saver or go to Settings | Display | Theme (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Enabling the Dark Theme on Android Q Beta 3.

Permissions and privacy

The subject of permissions has been a bit of a thorn in Android's side for some time. Slowly but surely, Google has made improvements over this system. With the release of Android Q Beta 3, those incremental improvements pay off. Now Android has a more iPhone-like approach to permissions, wherein you have the option to limit an app's location access to only when the app is open and in use.

By default, most apps will be location aware all the time. To configure an app to only be allowed to know your location when it is in use (or never), go to Settings | Privacy | Permission manager | Location. Next, find and tap the app you want to manage and then tap to enable the location option of your choice (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

Setting Facebook to only know my location when it's in use.

Live Captions

This feature should be a deal maker for many. How many times have you wanted to view a video or listen to an audio file, but found yourself in a situation where audio would be inappropriate. With Live Captions, Android will automatically caption the audio from a video or audio file (with only a slight delay). This means you can watch that file or stream, and read what's being said without interrupting that crucial meeting or waking those sleepers around you (who could also be in that crucial meeting).

It cannot be stressed enough how this feature will also be incredibly useful to those with hearing impairment. This is a great move on the part of Google.

To enable Live Captions, go to Settings | Accessibility | Captions and tap the On/Off slider (Figure E) so it's in the on position. Live Captions does not apply to all applications, so your mileage may vary.

Figure E

Figure E

Enabling Live Captions.

There's more to be found

This is just skimming the surface of what is new in the third beta preview of Android Q. If you've been a part of the beta program for this release, you will have seen solid growth with each release. Android Q Beta 3 marks the biggest improvement, with the largest amount of significant features. If you have a phone that supports the beta program (and you don't mind using beta software), I highly recommend you hopping on this particular bandwagon.

Android Q is going to be something seriously special.

If you aren't sufficiently convinced, learn more about why you should migrate to the Android Q Beta program, what to expect from Android Q, and how to pin and unpin apps in Android Q.

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Image: Jack Wallen