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Android Q Beta 5 brings stability improvements and new gesture controls
Update: If your Pixel phone is enrolled in the Android Beta Program, click that “system update” button — the Android Q Beta 5 OTA is rolling out now.
Unlike last month’s beta 4, this latest release candidate packs in a good number of user interface changes. Here’s what you should expect from Android Q Beta 5.
What’s new in Android Q Beta 5
One of the most significant problems with Android Q’s new gesture system is the back functionality. Swiping in from either edge of the phone is simple enough of an action to trigger the back button, but it messes with apps that include navigation drawers.
To remedy this problem, Google includes a new peek feature. Now, if a user wants to open the drawer instead of moving back, all they need to do is swipe in and hold for a second. After they see the menu peek in, they can continue dragging the window over.
A Googler gave us an early look at Android’s new peeking behavior earlier this month:
🚧 The drawer behavior is changing. Users will be able to open the drawer by peeking the drawer, and then swiping. Big benefit is that this works with existing apps with “old” DrawerLayout versions. pic.twitter.com/WVyOzQFzHO— Chris Banes (@chrisbanes) July 2, 2019
One area where Android Q’s new swipe gestures haven’t been working correctly is with third-party launchers. Because of this, Google is going to start automatically switching users using custom launchers back to the three button navigation controls. This change will be made later this year when Beta 6 is released.
As there’s no longer a Home button to long press, the Google Assistant can be launched by swiping inward from the bottom two corners of the display. This functionality was actually available in the fourth Android Q beta for some, but now the swipe gesture is available to all running the new beta build. The search giant has implemented UI elements that it calls “handles” to help users identify the new functionality.
Developers that haven’t updated their apps to be Android Q compatible can download the API 29 SDK and Android Studio 3.5 Beta. Instructions for setting up the development environment can be found here.
Installing Android Q Beta 5
If your Pixel is already enrolled in the Android Q beta program, Google should begin rolling out build 5 any time now. Users looking to test the beta can sign up here. Alternatively, you can download the latest system images via the button below and manually installing the firmware. Be warned that you won’t get future OTA updates if you choose this option.
We’re still waiting for confirmation, but this latest build should come with the July security patch. Let us know when the update hits your phone and what you think of the new features.
If you’re interested in learning more the Android Q beta, the Android engineering team will be hosting a Reddit AMA on r/androiddev. The team will announce the exact time and date of the Q&A on the subreddit later this month.