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Android 10 is official! Hitting Pixel devices today, others soon.
There are quite a few firsts coming along with Android 10, including a new naming convention, new branding, and, of course, new features and upgrades to the operating system itself.
Below we’ve got a quick synopsis of what Android 10 has to offer, including the story behind the new name, a list of the biggest new features, and some information on when you can expect the upgrade to hit your current smartphone.
The Android 10 name
For years and years, the newest versions of Android have followed a very predictable naming convention: each new version of Android comes with a new number and a new treat name. However, this year Google is dropping the treat names from the official brand identity of Android.
Therefore, Android 10 is just that: not Android 10 Queen Cake, not Android 10 Quince, or even Android 10 Quaker Oatmeal Cookie. Just Android 10.
You can read more about why Google decided to drop treat names in our comprehensive overview of the rebranding. You can also read some dissenting opinions on the concept of treat names no longer being a part of Android: here’s one about how it’s sad to see them go, and here’s one about how it was inevitable and overall a good thing.
Along with the new name, the Android logo itself gets a bit of a shift. There’s a slightly different font and the “Bugdroid” character no longer has a body: the mascot is just the Android’s head now.
What’s new in Android 10?
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fun updates that will make the user experience better or allow you to tweak how Android works for you. Check out our highlights of the coolest new Android 10 features below.
A system-level dark mode — Android fans have been clamoring for it for years, and it’s finally here. With Android 10, you can turn on a dark mode right from Android settings that will help save your OLED-powered smartphone’s battery life as well as helping you reduce eye-strain.
Smart replies for all — If you use Google messaging apps such as Messages or even Gmail, you’re likely familiar with Smart Reply. The feature gives you suggested responses within the app so you don’t need to type as much. In Android 10, this feature is arriving for all messaging apps, not just those created by Google.
An overhauled sharing menu — At one point, even the vice president of Android engineering admitted that the sharing menu within the operating system is pretty bad. Luckily, the sharing menu in Android 10 is completely overhauled to be faster and more efficient.
New gesture navigation controls — Love ’em or hate ’em, gesture navigation controls are here to stay. In Android 10, the swipe gestures that help you navigate around modern phones with huge displays get some tweaks.
Better fine-tuned permissions — If you’ve ever granted an app permission to access your location data, that app gets that permission for good. With Android 10, though, you can grant app permission that only works when the app is open. There’s also a new Privacy section right in Android settings to give you easy control over all sorts of different functions.
Security updates from the Play Store — In many cases, a security update for Android could be very small — but very important. Why should you need to wait for a full OS update to get security patches of this kind? That’s why Android 10 will allow certain security updates to come through the Google Play Store, just like traditional app updates.
New Digital Wellbeing features — New features such as Focus Mode and Family Link are going to be more prevalent in Digital Wellbeing, which will give you more control about how much phone time you have in your life. Unfortunately, there’s still no word on a wider rollout of Digital Wellbeing outside of Pixel devices and select other smartphones.
When will your phone get Android 10?
Android One devices will likely begin to see the update within the next few months, and phones that participated in the Android 10 beta program should see it before the end of the year as well. This would include devices from OnePlus, LG, HUAWEI, and more.