Android 10 Released, Starts Rolling Out to All Google Pixel Phones: Here's What's New

Android 10 is now rolling out to Pixel phone users

  • Google’s Android 10 is ditching desert-naming tradition this year
  • The new update brings granular location settings control
  • It also brings bubbles notification, somewhat similar to Chat Heads
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  • Android 10: How to download, install
  • Android 10: Top new features
  • Dark Theme
  • Enhanced Privacy Controls
  • Location Controls
  • Focus mode
  • Live Caption
  • Enhanced Notifications
  • Bubble notifications
  • Smart Reply and Actions
  • Redesigned share sheets
  • Gesture navigation mode options
  • Native Support for Foldable Devices

Android 10 is now rolling out to all Pixel phones – namely, the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, and Pixel XL. Users can either wait for the over-the-air (OTA) update to roll out, or, they can sideload the OTA update files, apart from flashing factory images. To recall, Android 10 originally debuted in March this year as Android Q beta. For the latest software version, Google decided to break the 10-year history of naming Android releases after desserts, and call its next version as just Android 10. Google claims that it is changing the way it names the Android releases to make it clear and relatable for global users. And, now that Android 10 has finally released, we also take a look at all the new features the update brings along with it.

Android 10: How to download, install

As we mentioned, if you have a Pixel smartphone – you can either wait for the Android 10 OTA update to arrive, or check for new updates via Settings > System > System updates. Google has also published the Android 10 OTA update files for all the Pixel smartphones, and you can find them here. These files can be sideloaded once downloaded onto your Pixel phone. Despite this OTA method not erasing your data, we recommend users back up in any case before taking the plunge.

Finally, Pixel phone users can visit the Android 10 factory images pages if they want to flash the full ROM onto their phones. This method will erase data, and users should back up before starting the process of flashing. As we mentioned, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, and Pixel XL are the eligible devices. Google announced the rollout in a blog post by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) page has also received the Android 10 source code, Stephanie Cuthbertson, Senior Director of Product Management, Android, said in a developer-focused post.

Android 10: Top new features

Dark Theme

Announced at I/O 2019, Android 10 brings system-wide Dark Theme, which essentially will help in reducing eye strain as well as save battery life. Users will be able to activate system-wide dark theme from Settings > Display, the new Quick Settings tile, or by turning on Battery Saver. Apart from changing the system UI to dark, supporting apps will also show their new dark theme. If developers don’t want to build their own dark themes, they can opt-in to a new Force Dark feature that lets the OS create a dark version of their app. The feature can also be extended by developers to all versions of their app, including those meant for older versions of Android.

Enhanced Privacy Controls

In terms of privacy, Android 10 brings a brand new Privacy section within Settings, and this section includes Activity Controls, Location History, and Ad Settings, amongst other options. It also brings new features including options for when to grant an app location permission (i.e., All the time, Allow only while using the app), and Scoped Storage that gives users better control over their apps can access files on external storage like a microSD card, as well as limiting app access to sensitive user and app data.

Privacy features also include blocking unwanted app launches from the background, and in an effort to prevent tracking, Android 10 will limit access to “non-resettable device identifiers” apart from randomising MAC addresses

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