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How stable is Android Q Beta 3? Should you install it?
Just as we suspected, a new Android Q developer preview was released at Google I/O — not just for Pixel phones, but also for 23 other smartphones from 12 OEMs. Google dropped the Android Q Beta 3 a little over a month after the Android Q Beta 2 was released. How much has Android Q improved over that time? Should you install it?
Read on to find out.
Further reading: How to install Android Q beta 3 on your phone right now
Android Q beta bugs, stability, and battery life
I’ve been running Android Q Beta 3 on my Google Pixel 2 XL since it launched at Google I/O. Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the stability and fluidity of the software, though I have run into a few bugs.
But first, some housecleaning. Just about all the issues I ran into with the second Android Q beta have been resolved. I can finally update apps through the Google Play Store!
Battery life has improved a bit too — I went from roughly two hours of screen-on time to three with this new build. That doesn’t sound like much, but it includes things like streaming podcasts and Hulu in the evenings.
I love Android’s new gesture navigation system, but it’s still a little buggy for me. Oftentimes I can’t access the app switcher from the home screen. Quickly switching back and forth between apps is jittery too. If you aren’t a fan of those new gestures, don’t worry — Google won’t force other OEMs to use the new navigation system, and there will even be an option to revert back to the traditional three-button navigation system.
A few other small bugs I’ve noticed: Casting from my phone to my Chromecast Ultra tends to drop connection more often than when I was running Android Pie. Double-tapping the power button to access the camera from sleep works about 60 percent of the time, and sometimes unlocking the phone from sleep results in a blank black screen.
Those problems are hardly bad enough to drive me away from using Android Q on my main smartphone.
Other known issues
Here are some other known issues in the third Android Q developer preview:
- Banking and finance apps might not work as expected.
- Some apps and games that depend on DRM or security libraries might crash due to a change to Bionic libraries and dynamic linker paths in Android Q.
- The Physical activity permission does not correctly control access to the user’s step count.
Should you give Android Q a shot?
Yes, but be cautious!
While my experience has been positive overall, your mileage will almost certainly vary. I haven’t run into any major issues with this build, but I also have a handful of other phones on my desk that I can switch to if something goes wrong. So, if you’re really itching to try it out but don’t have a backup phone, just be aware that you may run into some bugs that I didn’t.
If you’d rather wait, the good news is that you won’t have to wait long for the Android Q beta to be improved. Google is releasing a total of six beta updates between now and the final release in Q3 2019. We’ll update this article again when the third beta arrives in early May.
- Beta 1 (initial release, beta, March 13, 2019)
- Beta 2 (incremental update, beta, early April 2019)
- Surprise Beta 2 maintenance release (incremental update, beta, April 10, 2019)
- Beta 3 (incremental update, beta, early May 2019, likely coinciding with Google I/O)
- Beta 4 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta, early June 2019)
- Beta 5 (release candidate for testing Q3 2019)
- Beta 6 (release candidate for final testing Q3 2019)
- Final release to AOSP and ecosystem (Q3 2019)
I want to hear from you. How stable has the third Android Q developer preview been for you? Cast your vote in the poll below, and speak up in the comments if you’ve experienced any bugs or battery life issues.