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Android 10 beta's best new tricks from Google I/O 2019

The prerelease version of Android 10 previews a handful of interesting and useful changes.

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Clifford Colby
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Clifford Colby
Jessica Dolcourt
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Android 10 beta

Android 10 is the next version of Google's operating system. At Google I/O, the company announced the third version of its beta software, which you can download on 21 different phones.

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Android Q beta

With Android 10, which used to be Android Q, Google is focusing in large part on privacy, giving Android owners finer control over what data they share and creating stricter limits on what information apps can ask for. It also includes small but useful changes to its interface and controls.

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Live Captions

A really neat feature for Android 10, live captioning will transcribe the audio from any video into text.

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Turn on Live Captions

Touch the volume rocker up or down and tap the icon below the volume controls to toggle Live Captions on and off.

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Bye, bye, back button

One of our favorite new features gets rid of the dreaded back button from Android Pie. It felt out of place while the other controls focused on gestures. You can swipe either left or right to go back.

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Switching apps

If you swipe up and hold from the bottom, you can switch open apps.

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Dark theme expands

We had seen dark mode before, but now Dark Theme covers more of the OS. 

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Two ways to turn it on

One way to turn it on is to tap Battery Saver in the quick access controls.

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See? It works

Dark Theme forever.

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You can also turn it on through the Display settings.

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Dark mode

The Dark device theme from Android Pie seems to be gone in Android 10, but you can still turn on dark mode by tricking the system into using it through Battery Saver settings. Android 10 applies dark mode across more of the system, including in settings.

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Battery Saver based on your routine

Turn on Battery Saver based on your routine, and Android 10 switches to Battery Saver if your phone is likely to run out before you typically plug in.

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Battery level icon in status

Android 10 shows what's left in your battery as a percent to the right of the battery icon.

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Expanded battery level icon

When your phone's unplugged, swipe down from the status bar to view an estimate of how long your battery will last.

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Wi-Fi data usage

Android 10's Wi-Fi data usage window (right) has a different look than Android Pie (left).

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Hide silent notifications

Hate those silent notification icons cluttering your status bar? Me too. In Android 10 you can hide them.

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Long-press notifications

In Android 10, you can long-press a notification to see more descriptive choices for dealing with it.

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Swipe away notifications

Unlike in Pie, you can't swipe to either side to dismiss a notification to Android 10. Swipe to the right to dismiss it. To the left to view options for dealing with it.

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Notifications on lock screen

View more useful notifications on the lock screen, such an audio track playing or expected arrival time.

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Lockscreen has revamped enter key

It's a small thing, but the icon you press after entering your passcode is a blue arrow, not a check mark.

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Emergency info via power button

Press and hold the power button -- with the phone locked or unlocked -- to bring up an emergency shortcut below the Power off, Restart and Screenshot buttons.

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Undo button

You can already remove an app icon from the home screen by dragging it to the top. Now, a message appears at the bottom of the screen, asking if you want to undo that action.

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Rounded corners

For Android 10, recent windows have rounded corners (left). They are square in Android Pie (right).

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Shared items

Android 10 will ease make sharing easier, via shortcuts that offer a preview of content you want to share.

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Easy Connect with QR code sharing

Android 10 includes Wi-Fi Easy Connect, which lets you share and join Wi-Fi networks by scanning a QR code.

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Accessibility time to read

In Accessibility settings, you can set how much time you want to read and then take action on a message before it goes away.

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Greater control over location permissions

Android 10 gives you finer control over when an app can access your location. Allow all the time, Allow only when the app is in use, or Deny. The App info window also gets an Open button to go with the Uninstall/Disable and Force stop buttons.

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Android Q beta

Android Q's final shipping date is coming up soon!

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