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Android Q leak reveals system-wide dark mode and bigger emphasis on privacy

If the usual cycle holds, it’s going to be a few months before Google is ready to share anything about Android Q. But XDA Developers apparently managed to spend some time with a very early version of Android’s next big update, and although it doesn’t offer the full view, it does provide a look at some of what Google might have planned.

The biggest visual change (for now) is a system-wide dark mode. Android 9 Pie’s “theme” can be changed from light to dark, but it only really applies to the notification shade and the app launcher. XDA’s screenshots suggest that Q will extend dark mode to more places including the settings menu, and it might have a setting to force dark mode even in apps that lack a built-in version of it.

Image: XDA Developers

Google is also continuing to bolster user privacy. After implementing stricter rules around things like camera / microphone access and background apps in recent Android releases, it looks like the company will add a new “allow only while the app is in use” permission. Currently, Android Pie offers just an on or off toggle for sensitive permissions like location, so adding more flexibility is a good move since some apps won’t work if a permission is disabled entirely.

Image: XDA Developers

Those are the major highlights, but XDA Developers also sees hints that Google is working on its own desktop / external display mode similar to Samsung’s DeX. There’s also a developer setting for built-in screen recording, but that’s not yet fully working in this early build of the OS.

Image: XDA Developers

Google unveiled some of Android 9 Pie’s major new features back in May of last year, so you can expect to hear more about Q and whatever new functionality it will bring around that time. Both Android Oreo and Android Pie were released in August after a few months of beta testing.

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