This story was originally published and last updated .
With over a decade under its belt, Android has built a long history as Google's mobile operating system. And in that history are dozens of little features, changes, and updates that have added, removed, or modified aspects of that OS in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But for every new option Google brings to Android, we're probably forgetting one that been in there for years that we've simply not bothered to use in a while. And in some cases, these are pretty genuinely useful things!
Remember you can use two fingers to swipe down for quick settings? Screen pinning? Lock screen messages?
Android may be more functional than iOS for most users when it comes to notifications, but you have to admit there's a level of polished elegance to Apple's panel and control center. Some users might even prefer the translucent design and separated notifications and quick toggle pages. If you're one of those people, or just interested in trying out iOS on your Android device, a new app from Treydev might be worth a look.
Gmail’s desktop interface has got a whole bunch of customization options — some from its early days and others that were introduced as part of the more recent Material facelift. But it has never been easy to find them in the complex maze that is Gmail's main settings. Thankfully, Google is fixing that somewhat with a new quick settings menu that's more accessible and brings all those scattered features together in one place.
Ever since the company's short-lived relationship with Cyanogen, Inc. collapsed, OnePlus has shipped a custom build of Android called OxygenOS on its phones. It's generally regarded as one of the best manufacturer skins, since it adds useful features on top of stock Android, while not modifying the core Android experience (which can sometimes break apps). However, there is one aspect of OxygenOS that is a clear regression compared to stock Android: dark mode.
The first Android 11 developer preview landed yesterday. We keep finding tons of new features in it, which you can check out in the widget above. There are also some hidden changes not activated out of the box, and our friends over at XDA Developers stumbled upon one of these. They've managed to put audio controls into the quick settings panel above the notifications, making media playback instantly accessible no matter how many messages you receive.
We've been using Android Q for a few months already, but we're still coming across some minor and unexpected changes in our favorite OS. Take for example the Quick Settings and notification area. It was redesigned from Oreo to Pie, then again from Pie to Q, and one of those changes involves a few invisible, but very confusing, shortcuts.
The Android Q Betas have had a ton of major changes, both in the interface and in the APIs that applications use. However, there are some changes so minor that they aren't quite important enough for a dedicated post. We already covered the little changes in Beta 1 and 2, so now it's time to take a close look at Beta 3.
If you're a developer testing different features in your app, you may want to emulate how it behaves in certain conditions, such as when all sensors are off. And if you're a curious user, you might be curious enough to toggle your device's sensors off or on, maybe if one of them is wonky or if you're just paranoid and don't want your phone to know anything at all, not even if its upside down or not. Well, with the latest Q Beta 3, you'll finally have control over that.
Android Wear, or Wear OS as it's now known, seems to have found renewed momentum lately with fresh efforts in fitness, updates to the interface, and new hardware coming on the horizon. The latest update brings one notable change the improves the interface for managing notifications, but also carries with it the signs of many other changes and additions to come.