An image, supplied by Google, of a smartphone's display mirrored in desktop mode with Android Q. YouTube

  • Android Q will have a desktop mode that will enable users to access Android via a desktop-style interface.
  • This desktop interface can be customized depending on the launcher installed on the Android device.
  • With third-party developers getting access to controlling desktop mode, the feature could have more legs than if Google alone controlled it.


Even before the first beta landed for Android Q, we already had heard rumors that Google would include a native desktop mode within the system. This new feature will enable users to connect their smartphone to a computer monitor and use it in a desktop-style interface.

However, at Google I/O 2019, lead Android developers went in-depth for the first time on how the desktop mode will work during a small event entitled “Build Apps for Foldable, Multi-Display, and Large-Screen Devices” (spotted by XDA Developers). You can watch the talk in full here.

Although the talk is fairly technical and geared mostly towards developers, there was one small nugget of info that will be interesting for users who enjoy third-party Android launchers such as Nova, Action, Apex, etc. According to Andrii Kulian, a software engineer at Google, the desktop mode within Android Q will support third-party launchers on both screens.

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In other words, if you have a third-party launcher installed on your Android device and then put that device into desktop mode, the interface on your second screen — likely a computer monitor — will also be controlled by that third-party launcher, assuming the launcher has a second-screen interface system in place.

This potentially opens up a whole new world for third-party launchers. For example, the popular Nova launcher could have a desktop interface that works better for certain users over the Apex launcher. Or, Action Launcher could not have a custom desktop interface at all, which would make it an inferior choice as compared to others.

The exciting thing is that this puts the desktop interface of Android in the hands of third-party developers, not just in the hands of Google. As most Android enthusiasts will gladly tell you, third-party launchers are perceived by many to be much better than most stock launchers. With different developers pushing the limits of what the desktop mode in Android Q can be, it has a better chance of becoming an integral feature of Android.

What do you think? Would you use the desktop mode in Android? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

NEXT: Download the new Android Q beta wallpaper here