Android Q beta is available now with new features for Google Pixel

The new Android OS has major upgrades to privacy and security.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
Carrie was a managing editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She'd been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
Expertise Breaking News, Technology Credentials
  • Carrie has lived on both coasts and can definitively say that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are the best.
Patrick Holland
Carrie Mihalcik
3 min read

Google has released the first beta of Android Q, the next version of its popular mobile operating system. Early adopters can get started by enrolling any Pixel device, including the original Pixel and Pixel XL . The search giant said a preview software development kit (SDK) is also available Wednesday for developers. 

Android Q brings "a number of additional privacy and security features," Google said in a blog post, as well as new camera capabilities, faster app startup, enhancements for foldable devices, and more.

If you want help on how-to install the Android Q beta check out this story on CNET.

Foldable screen support

Android Q lets developers manage how their app is displayed on foldable and large screens. This includes everything from how apps are resized to how apps are muted when not active.


Android Q lets developer control how their apps behave on foldable screens.


JPEG + Dynamic Depth

Many phones have a portrait mode that blurs the background of a subject in a photo. The depth-mapping data used to create the effect is discarded after the photo is rendered. Dynamic Depth will allow apps to use that depth data to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options. Developers can also use Dynamic Depth data to create 3D images and AR photography. 


The new Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus were the first phones to feature HDR10+ a high dynamic range format for displays. Android Q has HDR10+ for phones and tablets that support it. Android Q will also be able to handle AV1 a video codec that allows for higher quality streaming video that uses less bandwidth.

Faster app launches

Since Nougat, opening apps has gotten faster as Android learned which parts of an apps code is used frequently. Now with Android Q, Google apps can launch immediately. Developers can use Android Q to process app data earlier and then move it to a security container, so it's ready to launch.

Improved connectivity

Android Q improves connections to IoT devices like smart  appliances and printers. This can be especially helpful when managing connected devices.

Setting panels for apps

There's no need for you to leave an to make adjustments. You can manage settings from a floating settings panel that offers up specific functions used by the app you're in. For example, Google Chrome's display panel might have connectivity settings like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi and data. 


You can use floating display windows to adjust settings while in an app. Developers can choose which settings to feature.


Privacy protections

You'll have more control over apps and their access to shared files. This is one of the biggest updates to Android. You can also control an app's access to the Photos and Videos. For Downloads, you can decide which Download files an app can access.

Limit location sharing

You have more control over location settings and permissions. When prompted to give apps permission to see your location you can choose: never, only when the app is running, or all the time -- even in the background. So if you are using a ride share app you can let it track your location while it's in use, but forbid the app accessing your location data when not.

Faster sharing shortcuts

Developers will be able to publish targets in the Sharing Shortcuts interface in advance, which allows them to load instantly when launched by a user.


Android Q lets developers publish targets for Sharing Shortcuts in advance. This will make it seem instantaneous when a users chooses one.


Wi-Fi performance mode

Android Q offers high-performance and low-latency modes for wireless connections. This will be a boon for real-time gaming and improved voice calls.

App security

Android Q provides more support for passive authentication like face ID. It also adds specific flows for implicit and explicit authentication. Android Q updates transport layer security to TLS 1.3, which Google claims can establish a secured connection 40 percent faster than TLS 1.2.

Up-to-date Android apps

To allow apps to have the most current security and performance features, Android Q will warn you when it installs a new app targeting Android Marshmallow or older. This summer the Google Play store will require all apps to have 64-bit support.

The company said it'll have more to share about Android Q at Google I/O in May.