Several days ago, I started a series of rumor posts on my personal Google+ account discussing some Android rumors I felt were interesting enough to share, but didn't feel confident enough yet to do so here on the site. The posts were heavily prefixed with disclaimers that none of them may turn out to be true but that I had a certain level of confidence to talk about them in public unofficially.

Today, I'd like to present rumor #5, which is going straight to Android Police because of the high confidence level.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.

We do not have possession of any APKs or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.

Confidence level

Based on everything I've seen so far, I'm assigning this rumor a score of 9 out of 10. I'm docking a point because I don't know if the final UI will change or not, but that's impossible to say until KitKat is out.

The rumor

The stock Downloads user interface, which has had a Holo Dark background and has been very obviously on the backburner for a while now is getting a long overdue fresh coat of paint.

We're getting:

  • A proper action bar with the Sort button making a jump from the bottom of the screen to the top.
  • Holo Light background color.
  • What looks the ability to select all downloads for easy cleanup which was impossible before - you had to select each download one by one. Actually, now that I've looked at it closer, there is no border that is present in the normal Select All button, so this is probably just a grid view toggle. Bummer.
  • A much cleaner icon you can see in the top left corner.

Unfortunately, at this point I don't know if new sorting options have been added to the two existing ones (size and date), but I can't think of any that would be really necessary here outside of maybe the sort direction.

As you can see, the new UI is consistent with the move to lighter, more easy-on-the-eye colors that we've been seeing from the Android team lately and looks better than ever.


We were sent a screenshot that supports the above rumor and shows the new UI. I'm including the old UI from a Nexus 4 running Android 4.3 for comparison purposes on the right.

wm_kitkat_downloads1 Screenshot_2013-10-08-13-38-38

Left: Android 4.4; right: Android 4.3

Release timeline

I'm expecting the updated UI to be available in Android 4.4 KitKat upon its release.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Mystery Man

    Lol the current downloads manager is such crap

  • dtraini30


    Please :)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    Android 4.4 tl;dr

    • Herman

      And I like it :)

      [disclaimer: your opinion may vary]

      • Matthew Fry

        And does :(

      • deadpenguins

        My OLED screen is not going to like it at all. I have to believe that there will be a light/dark UI theme toggle somewhere, or I'm going to cry.

        • omegavesko

          AOSP won't have it, but ROMs will just update their dark modes to include this app.

    • Jadephyre

      That, sadly, is all too true...

      • mobilemann

        what other company recently went to a white, flatter imagery... hrm...

        i kid i kid, everyone borrows from everyone, especially apple, don't get all mad:D

        • Jadephyre

          I'm not mad, I just find it a bit weird to go full brightness all of a sudden.
          The dark UI is better, and I hope that we get to choose between white and dark gray or something like that.
          I'd hate for Android to become visually almost indistinguishable to Applecrap.

          • mobilemann

            They will never be that close, and the apple stuff is pretty good man. Don't hate:D it's all mobile love and tech.

    • Joseph Cascio

      Serious thought, What if..Android included a toggle in the settings app the switches between Light UI and Dark UI. Several custom ROMs already have this but it switches from the Dark Holo Background to an all black solid background. The toggle effects pretty much every app that uses the default granites.

  • Lupe Fiasco

    Yessssssssssss. Hope this is just the beginning of Redesigns coming.

    • Fawoo

      *Still waiting for Google Finance to at least look like something from android 4.0*

      • Justin W

        ... There's a Finance app?

        • itrulia

          its not from google, its from vendors like htc

          • Lalit Mali
          • itrulia

            No one cares about non os apps....

          • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

            Really? So you only have the stock standards app installed on your phone?

          • itrulia

            what I wanted to say with that is that non OS apps are easly replaced

          • Eric Archer

            I use Google Now for this feature.

          • Nick V

            There is a Google Finance App.

          • itrulia

            No one cares about non os apps...

          • Nick V

            It was in response to the misinformation you presented in your answer. Whether you feel/believe, that Non OS apps matter or not, doesn't make it a fact. I like the Google Finance App, and I too hope they update it.

  • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

    Hope same Holo Light treatment is applied to all Holo Dark UIs.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Yeah, Holo Dark's gray gradient really sucks on my opinion. It should either be made fully black or they should use white for most apps.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        You got that right - either fix the gradient to be smooth or GTFO.

        • VZX

          The gradient is smooth. Something wrong with your screen?

          • nebula

            Have you ever seen it on a nexus 7 (2012)? It looks really strange.

          • pfmiller

            Looks good on my nexus 10.

          • andy_o

            I think it's a side effect of the Nexus 7 doing this. This can cause posterization, which apparently is visible in the dark gradients. I also saw it on my 2012 N7, but nowhere to be seen in the N10 and N4. It's also why I don't feel like calibrating my screens with the various kernel tweaks out there, but I haven't tested specifically for those, just don't care to bother.

      • Fabian Pineda

        Ah gradients... the pinnacle of design according to a now deceased CEO...

    • Phil Oakley

      Apart from Settings. Use the current grey Clock UI in Settings. Actually, make that the new holo dark.

      • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

        This. I like the Holo Dark used in the clock app. Nice colors, no stupid gradients, easy on the eye too. I'm all for making that new Holo dark.

  • Edward Smith

    Nice, but I can't even remember the last time I used that app. I always hide it, rather use a file manager to manage my internal memory.

    • Jondan Rothfus

      I think the real news here isn't so much that the Downloads app is getting an updated look, so much as that if the Downloads app is getting an overhaul, then that shows how much attention to detail they really are giving 4.4. In other words, we can probably expect to see a completely universal update to the newer light Holo design scheme. :)

      • Edward Smith

        Very true. If this follows the same trend Google has done in the past years, Kitkat should be a major overhaul.

    • shadowdude777

      It's there for non-enthusiasts. I can't really tell my dad to open up Solid Explorer, go to /sdcard1/Downloads and look for his file. I can tell him to go to the Downloads app where they're all sorted in date order. Personally, I never touch the app, but I do think it has a purpose.

      • Edward Smith

        Agree, if I had a penny for every time I helped my mom with her iPhone I would be rich.

  • Mike Dye

    Make everything Google Now style UI !!!!

    • Joseph Lee

      Need a new catchphrase to replace HOLO-YOLO for cards. Card UI 4 eva!

      • perfectlyreasonabletoo

        Or we could just stop sounding like douchebags.

        • Justin W

          That sounds perfectlyreasonabletoo

          • Joshua

            Which is why the internet will never get behind it.

  • Roberto Giunta

    I just don't like Holo Light. Why can't Google offer a switch for Holo Light and Dark? Yes, it may look better but a) it's a battery drain for AMOLED displays and b) I just prefer darker UIs, especially for surfing in darker environments.

    • Mastermind26


      • Paulo Loch


        • LOVEHATER


    • squiddy20

      Amen. Even with the brightness turned all the way down, I've sometimes temporarily blinded myself at night when met with an all white background.

      • Justin W

        Grab Lux from the play store. You can reduce brightness to less than 0% (sounds impossible, right?), and it really helps when I surf in the dark. You can even link different light levels to certain %'s to automatically reduce it to a certain level.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Google has to build an operating system intelligently in a way that it attracts more users, Holo white is the right way to go, AMOLED is indeed inefficient at displaying white but that's a problem with AMOLED screens not with the operating system (I'm sure no Nexus device will ever have an AMOLED screen again) and Samsung devices and others that use AMOLED usually skin the interface anyway.

      • thartist

        Smart thought, especially closing with the skinning point.

      • Roberto Giunta

        I guess Google plans its next devices with LCD in mind. AFAIK the transition to 4.0 brought a lot of blackish apps which was good for the Galaxy Nexus' SuperAMOLED screen.

      • iamjasonc

        I mean....Google owns Motorola and they just released the Moto X with an AMOLED screen...just sayin.

      • Someone on the internet

        Moto X's AMOLED wants to have a world with you.

        • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

          Sorry, I was under the impression that the Moto X wasn't a Nexus device.

          • Someone on the internet

            I was under the impression that Motorola isn't owned by google and there are phones that use amoled as well as not everyone likes to be blinded when using their phone during a time when the sun isn't up.

          • You’re an idiot

            Google bought Moto for it's patents. If they can help turn it around, great. If not, great. The money spent was for the patents. Every poll ever ask the question, usually for apps, light holo wins by a huge margin. It just looks MUCH better. I don't give a flying f*ck about your OLED screen and I wouldn't care if I had one. I'd rather have it look much better than saving a tiny bit of battery.

          • A Black UI is the best UI

            Holo light use never looked better, I don't mind having white in the Ui like in the notification shade but to make the entire Ui a blinding white is just plain stupid.

    • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

      Lux or any other screen dimmer is your only solution... applying it make the screen look washed out, but its the only solution to this problem, unless the Devs give you option to use Dark....

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      Don't worry, your Samsung AMOLED won't get 4.4 anyways.

      • Roberto Giunta

        Look at the leaked documents, those say something else. And besides that, although I'm using a SGS2 right now, I'm planning to get the Nexus 5 when it comes out. Still, for everybody who wants to use a ROM that is based on AOSP, they will have bad luck.

        Excuse me that I don't only think about myself.

      • Toss3

        I'm sorry but maybe you haven't heard about the S4 GE. It will receive 4.4 before most other phones.

        • Morten

          No it wont..

          • Toss3

            And you know that how? There's already at least one person running 4.4 on his S4 GE so it is definitely in the works. The S4 GE got 4.3 two weeks after the Nexus 4, so based on that you are in the wrong.

      • RajivSK

        How do you figure that? I've been running the latest google edition roms since they became available. Unless you own a nexus I'll be running 4.4 before you will. And even if you do, I won't be far behind.

        • Krzysztof Jozwik

          I guess I'm lucky I own a Nexus, I'll probably be picking up a N5 as well.

      • Alberto Blasi

        Isn't the moto x an oled too?

      • Luqmaan Mathee

        Well actually we might. Samsung has updated the S2 till 4.1.2

      • Someone on the internet

        The Moto X uses an AMOLED display so your point is both moot and stupid.

    • Max Thomas

      I could definately see this as a future option in 4.4 ROMs, and probably a good seller too.

      For me personally, I kinda like the white. Gives it a more clean feeling and has a more positive connotation to it and in a way makes the screen appear to have more space. Remember, 4.4 is about bringing Android to the masses and making it more accessible, and that's exactly what Holo Light is doing.

      • Toss3

        I definitely prefer the white as well, even though I am currently on an amoled device.

  • angel_spain

    I have been a fan of holo dark and inverted apps for months. But recently I have realized that lighter backgrounds help a lot when you are under direct sun light.

    I know AMOLED users will still preffer a dark UI, but go ahead Google.

  • Michael Fontenot

    I guess I'm one of the few people that likes holo dark. I'm theming everything.

    • QwietStorm

      No, you are not.

    • Lexster

      Nope, I prefer the dark look, myself.

  • Bleakvision

    Please have them revamp the settings with the new light theme too. They look horrible!

  • martin carlosena

    I think it looks fantastic!! :D

  • welp

    It better show DL speed in notifications

    • akshay7394

      Doesn't it already do this in 4.3?

      • undeadwolfy

        Nope. Only for apps from the Play Store.

        • akshay7394

          Oh shit, my bad. Mixed those up

  • Bleakvision

    You guys have access to a Nexus 5, don't you? We have played this piece by piece leaking game before. Was it the lead up to 4.2? I'm not sure anymore...

    • Bleakvision

      The photo of the screen looks like a 1080p panel, judging from the proportions of the UI...

  • Rovindra Singh

    I for one am loving the switch to Holo Light, so much more attractive and cleaner in my opinion. Downloads would be a welcomed addition to the list. Artem it definitely is a grid view button, you can find a similar design in the updated Google Drive app. I found it strange however that they updated the Google Wallet app yet they retained a "dark themed" slide out navigation bar, really wish they would change that along with the YouTube app. We definitely need some consistency here.

    • Someone on the internet

      Because everyone loves that blindingly white UI and android is definitely NOT about choice and customization.

      • Rovindra Singh

        I can see that people are torn between Holo Dark and Holo Light, the simplest way around this would be to give the user the option of choosing their preferred theme, guess that's not going to happen though.

  • brett77

    What I'd like to see is a day and night mode where Holo Dark is night and Holo Light is day. I think that'd be really nice, reduce eyestrain and make everything easier to read based on time of day.

    • squiddy20

      That's actually not a bad idea. Navigation already has this implemented (based on sunset/sunrise times I believe), so imagine it system wide and an option for this, light, or dark.

      • BAM1789

        I've had it switch on me when driving through a long tunnel during the day, so might also use the light sensor. But idk!

        • KoRRo

          i don't think it's only based on the light sensor, sometimes it changes even before entering the tunnel, so no light changes...

        • johnny

          Could be that maps knows it is a tunnel.

        • RajivSK

          Definitely not the light sensor. I tested this out immediately the first time it happened. It's maps tunnel data and sometimes even happens when driving over a tunnel ;)

        • eddie

          it even changed when passing under a bridge for 5 seconds.

    • David Hart

      That's seriously a good idea. It might be kinda jarring when it actually happens though.

      It doesn't seem like a feature Google would implement, but I would like to see it in a custom ROM.

      It's probably already possible with tasker/scripts and the theme engine in most ROMS.

  • Jadephyre

    Is it just me or are others reminded of the brightness of iOS from these screenshots ?
    One reason I like Android better than iOS, is that it has a darker color-scheme, which is important for me as it reduces eye-strain.

  • Phantom

    As i posted in google plus:

    "Im afraid this means the app drawer will be white instead of black.

    Just think about it, look at the new download icon. If the app drawer is white...you would be able to see the ciclre and the arrow, just the "filler" space between them, al least on amoled screens (because if something is black, the leds dont turn on).

    So i think that the app drawer now has to be a color other than black, and based on the notification bar, white is my guess.

    It looks like android will become a black & white OS (more white than black) now. Wich personaly i dont think it will be a good idea.

    Based on the hangouts leak i can see that the google apps will still have color, but the AOSP ones wont"

    • Zargh

      Except there's no law that the Action bar icon has to match the Homescreen/App Drawer icon.

      Remember the 2013 Play store app does the 3D icon -> 2D monochrome Action bar icon too. It may just be a new convention.

  • mgamerz

    So no download progress indicator [speed/in app, not notification shade]? Is this 1991?

    • David Hart

      That's sort of yet to be found out..

      It's not like you can see an ongoing download.

  • George Av

    OMG OMG OMG -_- no one cares about the downloads app... i just use a third party one which allows me to download different kind of files.

  • whispy_snippet

    For a point update it's looking like Kit Kat is going to be pretty tasty. Every second day there seems to be a leak of something reasonably significant to user experience or functionality.

  • Alexei Watson

    When I hit a download link, I would love it if it if it could ask me where I wanted to save it to, with the option to rename.

    • Alvin Brinson

      The problem is, Android started with Apple's padadigm of having the user unaware there's even a thing called a "file" and having an app for everything. That sounds nice for 2 year olds and 88 year olds, but for the rest of us... yeah... being able to put the FILE where we want is vital. Android officially doesn't even include a file manager. So why would they let you pick where to put a file?

      • David Hart

        I hate that that's true. :|

      • Alexei Watson

        logical. annoying. At a minimum I'd like to be able to rename the entry of this mystery entry (file) under downloads.

  • Alvin Brinson

    yeah that's not a big change. Window dressing. What we need to see is better control over active and completed downloads. Support for HTTP resume something which sadly many websites don't even support, but it's great when it works. Pausing and queueing of downloads. Sometimes if you're on a mobile connection, downloads end up aborting for various network problems. I've had it happen multiple times on the same download. Or they simply download incomplete, and you have to resort to a desktop to get the full file.

    Holo light is nothing compared to having better functionality.

  • Jooyoung Hong

    Hm I wonder why your tipper is purposely not showing the status bar...

    • Justin W

      I'm thinking because the device is on AT&T, and he doesn't want that to get out. Just speculation though... I don't know why he would want to hide the carrier marking in the status bar though.

  • David Li

    i'm not a big fan of google shifting more towards holo light from holo dark, it uses more power on amoled and is more blinding in low light without being more legible

    • Dozi

      How much more power are we talking? this ridiculous claim has to stop.. its ****** stupid to think that your screen should always be dark..

      • Sam Hollis

        On Amoled? Infinitely more power. Amoled screens are composed of individual little lights, as opposed to LCD screens which is a pane of liquid crystals that has a current ran through it. When an Amoled screen displays black the lights aren't even turned on(0 nits), as opposed to LCD screens which just run as little power as possible through that portion of the screen, but still shine with a brightness greater than 0 nits.

        • iPodsMakeGraves

          But even a black screen on AMOLED has a very faint brightness in complete darkness so your claim of "zero" nits is inaccurate.

          On the energy saving side of things

          AMOLED BLACK (GNex) < Advanced IPS LCD WHITE (Nex4, Nex5)

      • Someone on the internet

        Because a extra bright white UI isn't blinding at all to use at night or in the dark or in the rest of the day that the sun isn't out.

  • tokuiten

    Just out of curiosity--is it possible to globally replace all Holo Light assets with Holo Dark assets on a device or to intercept all API requests for Holo Light and redirect them to Holo Dark instead?

    • DarkStarr

      Yes, but it will require Xposed framework or Theme Engine.

      • Sahil Chaturvedi

        +1 for xposed

      • tokuiten

        Oh, I already use Xposed.

  • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

    Rip Android Tron Theme =(

  • Google

    Hmm.. a lot of mixed opinions here when it comes to Holo Light vs Dark. Well, to be honest, I don't like Holo Dark, looks horrible in my opinion, but that's just my opinion. To those that complain about it because they use Amoled Screens... welllllll Pure Android = Nexus Devices, Which = No Amoled screen soooo you get the point there, and the other fact being Google doesn't cater to just Amoled Users.

    • Rhizix

      Ever heard of the galaxy nexus....

      • Google

        Well, were talking about the future here & Nexus 4 doesn't have a Amoled Screen and the Nexus 5 most likely will not have one either.

        • h_f_m

          So true.. GNex is two generations behind come Nexus 5 announcement.

    • Phantom

      Or the moto x

      • h_f_m

        Google already said that Moto is running as a separate unit, Google is keeping out of it for the most part.

    • Dozi

      AMOLED is in the Moto X and GS4 So.. One is owned by Google the other is owned by Samsung.. One makes Android.. the other has the most popular Android phone... LG doesn't use AMOLED... LG is making the Nexus... thats it... thats all there will ever be to it...

  • hot_spare

    Already bored of the UI. Such small increments doesn't feel that good. Need something dramatic to fell interested.
    The whole 4.3 feels so last-year. From end-user perspective, I find hardly any change at all.

  • MrNinjaPanda

    I guess I won't need a separate flashlight app. I'll just open the Downloads app and my whole room will be illuminated.

  • CodingSquared

    They can just add an on/off switch 'dark android' in settings.

    • Someone on the internet

      We all know they won't since most of google's apps don't have that option and we are forced to use this stupid white ui.

  • CatheyBarrett

    By following this simple advices you can bring $15000 of income every month... All you need is a computer and a internet connection and you are ready to start... ℰ­x­i­t­3­5­.­c­o­ℳ

    • Gnex

      Who the FUCK upvoted this trash?

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        Paid accounts, which is quite common on pretty much every media and even in real life.

  • Gnex

    Yo Artem, can I get some APKs or unreleased devices?

    • Sam Hollis

      I don't even think Artem is getting leaked APKs, just screenshots. Even if he was though, he wouldn't release them. No source would ever leak anything to AP ever again.

      • Gnex

        I was just being a smart ass. Read the disclaimer at the beginning of the article lol.

      • Sahil Chaturvedi

        Why wouldn't any source leak anything to AP ever again? :O Sorry I think I missed something

  • RyanM

    Whos reading this on mobile, complaining about all white background and not getting the irony? Anyway.. Its not going to be your entire viewing experience, just the occasions when you're looking at the system side of Android.

    • A Black UI is the best UI

      Funny since using 4.3 there hasn't been an issue with the extra blindingly white Ui, good thing custom ROMs are going to allow people to not only theme but invert this ugly white shit and make it dark again.

  • Kevin Brown

    Em! Think you'll find that all Sony xperia line, already use this UI nothing new here,

  • george

    from all black google went to black and white , looks like google is afraid of colors, at least we should have the option to change colors !!!!!!!

  • Lexster

    I don't understand this. Android used to be pretty much all white colors. Then, they went to Holo, stating that it looks cleaner and helps battery life and was just all around better looking. And now...they're going back to white and colors. What gives? Just pick a color scheme and stick with it. They're making it difficult for developers to follow the design model when they change it every year.

  • Diaz1999

    ICS: HOLO Theme
    JELLYBEAN: HOLO Theme + Project Butter
    KITKAT: YOLO Theme

  • Luqmaan Mathee

    Oh well I'll just use this to mess my amoled...

  • Someone on the internet

    Too much fucking white in the UI.

    Good for nothing and even worse for battery life.

    • iPodsMakeGraves

      Actually on an LCD, displaying white saves more battery than black. I'd highly recommend anybody using a Galaxy Nexus to update.

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    Easy on the eyes for who?

    The only time this is easy on the eye is when you are already blinded by having bright lights shined in your eyes.

  • Diaz1999

    Please... Try to not use Holo Light, Holo Light Dark Action Bar is better instead of Holo Light Theme

  • shutUface

    ooo they are changing "Downloads" to "items"