After many years and a longstanding tradition, Android 10 is not codenamed with a sweet treat like Android Jellybean, Marshmallow, Oreo or Pie – signalling that it may well be the end of a sweet era. Nonetheless, Android 10 is coming, along with some evolving and upcoming technologies like machine learning, 5G, and even foldables. There are also some more basic tools that Android users will find useful, like new privacy and security settings (there are 50 changes in this category), more features like smart reply, and digital wellbeing features like focused mode.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Android 10:
Google says it’s simpler, smarter, and more helpful
- Smart Reply now suggests actions. If you receive a message with a physical address or YouTube video, you can directly open the address in Google Maps, or the video in YouTube, eliminating the need to copy and paste. Smart Reply works across all your favourite messaging apps.
- You can enable Dark Theme for your device, or for specific apps like Photos and Calendar. Google says it’s easier on the eyes – and the device battery.
- Gesture navigation allows you to use swipes to go backwards, pull up the home screen, and fluidly move between tasks.
- Live Caption will automatically caption videos, podcasts and audio messages across any app with a single tap. It also works with content you record yourself.
Control your data with new privacy and security features
- If you only want to share location data with apps while you’re using them, you can now do so. Android 10 will also remind you when inactive apps are accessing location data so you can make a choice as to whether or not you want to continue sharing.
- There is a new Privacy section under Settings. It offers controls like Web & App Activity and Ad Settings.
- Google Play system updates will deliver security and privacy fixes to your device in the same way that Google Play updates apps. Fixes are now applied as soon as they’re available, rather than having to wait for your Android operating system to update.
More choices for digital wellbeing
- Notifications can be useful or a pain. Now you can control when and where they alert you. If you mark notifications as ‘silent’, they won’t make a noise or appear on your lock screen.
- Family Link is now on every Android 9 and 10 device, under Digital Wellbeing settings. Parents can use Family Link to set rules like daily screen time limits, device bedtime, time limits on specific apps, and other options. Parents can also review the apps children install on their devices, as well as their usage.
- Digital Wellbeing also offers Focus mode so you can silence the apps you find distracting, and then reactivate them when you’re ready. This is still in beta mode, Google says.