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Android 10: Everything you need to know!

Android 10 logo
Android 10 logo (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Android 10 is an incredibly powerful and capable bit of software. Released in September 2019, Android 10 brought about a few major changes to our favorite mobile OS that are still worth talking about to this very day — including the likes of revamped permissions, dark mode, and more.

Even with Android 11 on the horizon, last year's update continues to hold up strong as it keeps making its way to handsets around the world.

Whether you're interested in learning all about Android 10's many features, what devices it's available for, and much, much more, keep on reading below!

Is Android 10 available for my phone?

Following a public beta that started back in March 2019 and received six major updates, Android 10's final build was finally released to the masses on September 3, 2019.

Seeing as how it's been quite a few months since Android 10's release, it should come as no surprise that the update has been rolled out to a ton of different phones from various companies. Google's line of Pixel phones were the first to get the Android 10 goodness, but virtually every major phone from the last year or so is now running the software. Some of the highlights include:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 series
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series
  • LG G8
  • LG V50
  • Moto G7
  • Nokia 7.2
  • Nokia 4.2
  • OnePlus 7 Pro

For a full list of every phone that's received the Android 10 update, check out the link below!

What's the dessert name for Android 10?

Android 10 logo

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Leading up to its release, there was endless speculation regarding Android Q's name. Ever since Android 1.5 Cupcake, every version of Android has had a tasty dessert name to accompany it. With Android Q, however, things changed.

Google is officially done with dessert names and is instead shifting to a simpler numerical naming scheme. As such, Android Q's official name is simply "Android 10."

Yes, it's a bit boring, but it's all part of a bigger rebrand Google has for Android as a whole.

For the first time since 2014, Google refreshed the Android brand's look and feel, consisting of a redesigned logo that prominently features a green robot head. Whenever you see the Android logo text, you'll also see that little robot.

While it's cool to see that Google is putting such a big focus on Android's robot friend, its head is the only part that's sticking around — the rest of its body is gone for good.

Android as an operating system is the same, but its image is drastically different than before. The logo is cleaner and more playful, while dessert names are done for and being replaced by numbers. To get a more in-depth look at what's going on here, be sure to check out both of Andrew's articles on this subject.

How do I use Android 10's gesture navigation?

Android 10 gesture navigation

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The back button, a navigation staple of Android, officially went away with Android 10.

Following up on Pie's gesture-based navigation that kept the aging back button around, Android 10 features a fully gesture-based method of navigation. Swiping up goes home, a swipe up and hold reveals the multitasking menu, and a swipe from the left or right edge of your screen goes back.

That's a pretty big shift for Android navigation, but if you aren't ready to commit to 100% gestures quite yet, you don't have to.

In addition to the new gesture navigation, Android 10 also allows you to switch back to Android Pie's two-button system and the traditional three-button array — that is, if you're updating your Pie-based phone to Android 10. If you buy a phone with Android 10 available right out of the box (such as the Pixel 4), you can only switch back to the three-button layout.

Does Android 10 have dark mode?

Android 10 dark mode

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

HOOOORRRAAYYYY!!!

After years of begging and praying, Android 10 ships with a system-wide dark theme that can be turned on and off at any time via a Quick Settings toggle.

Even better, Google also created a new API that developers can use to have their apps go to a dark theme as well when the system-wide one is turned on.

This is one of those features we've been hoping for year after year, so its inclusion in Android 10 was (and continues to be) a big deal.

What are Live Captions in Android 10?

Live Caption for Android 10

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Closed captions are crucial for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to understand what's being said in a video, podcast, game, or any other form of media where words are spoken, and to make sure these are available virtually everywhere, Android 10 comes with a feature called "Live Caption."

Live Caption is able to provide real-time captions for just about anything on your phone where someone is talking, and the best part is that it happens locally on-device. In other words, no internet connection of any kind is required.

You can turn Live Caption on through Android 10's accessibility settings, and for a lot of users, this is a godsend.

How are permissions changed in Android 10?

Privacy is a bigger concern than ever before, and with Android 10, Google implements some new features for app permissions to help give you a better understanding and more control over what exactly apps on your phone have access to.

Android 10 permissions UI

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Apps that ask for your location reveal a new pop-up asking you if you want to grant location access all the time, only when the app's being used, or not at all.

Furthermore, Google notes that Android 10:

Gives users even more control over apps, controlling access to shared files. Users will be able to control apps' access to the Photos and Videos or the Audio collections via new runtime permissions. For Downloads, apps must use the system file picker, which allows the user to decide which Download files the app can access.

Android 10 app info page

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The "Permissions usage" page in Settings has been completely overhauled to show which permissions are being used by how many of your apps, there's the option to filter by permissions to see which apps are using certain ones, and a new UI for the "App info" page.

Did the share menu get upgraded in Android 10?

Android 10 sharing UI

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Android's share menu has been a hot mess for a while now. The core functionality is fine, but it's regularly slow to open no matter what phone you're using. Thankfully, Android 10 addresses this. In a blog post, Google noted that "the share UI can load instantly when it's launched" since the shortcuts are "published in advance."

Speaking of sharing, Android 10 also introduces something called "Sharing Shortcuts."

A Sharing Shortcut allows developers to create a new option in the share menu that will share a file/photo/etc. in a specific part of another app much faster than before.

Does Android 10 support folding phones?

2019 was the year that foldable phones finally hit the market, and to ensure the experience of these new devices were as good as can be, Google's optimized Android 10 with foldable-specific features and experiences.

According to Google:

To help your apps to take advantage of these and other large-screen devices, we've made a number of improvements in Android Q, including changes to onResume and onPause to support multi-resume and notify your app when it has focus. We've also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens.

These changes were obviously meant for developers, but in the end, it helped Android 10 be optimized correctly for foldables of all shapes and sizes.

What do I need to know about Android 11?

Android 11 Hero

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Whether you've been rocking Android 10 since day one, just recently got the update on your phone, or are still waiting for it to arrive, we need to address the elephant in the room — Android 11 is a thing and it's coming soon.

Android 11 currently exists as a developer preview, but come June, Google will open the public beta for more people to test out the new software. Then, at some point in Q3, the final build will launch.

There's likely more to Android 11 than what we've seen so far, but at this point in time, it's looking like a pretty modest update. Google's updating permissions yet again, there's a built-in screen recorder, and there are more efforts to adapt Android to various kinds of folding phones.

Android 11: Everything you need to know!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

19 Comments
  • Live caption is great addition. Not something I'd use but I like that it may be beneficial to those less fortunate. Otherwise it really doesn't enhance the experience all that much. I don't really see all the excitement about Dark Mode and that's maybe just me. The gestures feature although helpful in possibly speeding up your experience won't make or break my experience. I have a moto X4 so I may or may not even see A10 on my phone.
  • Don't knock it cuz you don't have it. The dark mode is huge.. less blinding white + battery. The new sharing feature is super fast. Gestures are an option so nothing forced here... I'm sticking with the pill setup. Tons of little settings tweaks here & there like the volume control from power button & settings suggestions. Notifications are better + bubbles.
  • Generally, those in the Deaf community don't consider themselves to be any less fortunate than those in the Hearing community.
  • Context is King....
  • The Clips app on iOS has had live captioning for ages.
  • I'm so not happy with this new update. I delayed installing it till today and now wish I didn't do it. My battery won't stay charge. You can't tell me it doesn't have anything to do with this update
  • You will have to pry the 3 button navigation from my cold, dead hands!
  • So, "the back button, a navigation staple of Android, is officially going away with Android 10." But it's still there if you want to keep using it. So it's not really going anywhere, is it.
  • Dark Mode = Good, about time.
    Gesture nav = Bad, I don't want an iPhone
  • Not sure about how well that "swipe from edge of screen" is going to work with curved Samsung phones... And I suspect it's never going to feel like it did on the Pre. Which was awesome.
  • There is still no swipe-down-anywhere-for-notifications! I thought they added this feature already in the Beta, now it's gone in the final release. So lame. I'm keeping my Lawnchair. Eff Pixel launcher and that lame new gesture sht.
  • Just updated my Pixel 3 this morning to Android 10, and can't recover AOL email access via the chrome browser. Keep getting an AOL "Sorry" error notice with system requirements links, which my device meets. Anyone got a fix for this? Thanks.
  • Stuck on Android 8.0.0, on my just less than two yr old flagship $900 Sprint LG V30 +.
    Love the phone, hate Android update system.
  • That's why I got rid of LG phone myself. LG sucks at updating phones operating system. I had the LG V30 and got myself a note 9. Samsung isn't fast with updates but at least I'll get one.
  • To be honest, the LG V30+ did get a Pie update, that one is on Sprint (and other scummy providers) for not updating the phones they sell laden with their ads and services, and that they block you from reselling... EDIT : Just to clarify, the pie update only rolled out this month.
  • Really android 10 features are very Interesting and expected to fetch more user engagement. Thanks for sharing such a Informative blog keep sharing like this.I also recommend visiting: http://www.appsquadz.ae
  • I installed Android 10 on my original version of pixel (pixel 1, I guess). A complete disaster. I did a factory reset, only applied the original apps (only apps from the original re-install - so no Outlook email account). Prior to resetting with the original Google apps I could not make or receive a phone call because the screen would freeze. After resetting to just the stock apps, I could make a call and talk about 3 minutes before it would drop the call and freeze the screen. I swear I have no apps that don't come with the factory operating system. Maybe its my old Pixel but a flip phone would be better.
  • I am not a tech or gadget guy, so I was hoping that somebody might know about an easy fix to this;
    When I downloaded this new thing that everybody is all excited about, (I was under the impression that I had to),
    I was congratulated by Android and then locked out of my phone because, suddenly, my phone didn't recognize the swipe code I've been using for years to get into it.
    Does anybody know how I can fix this? As it is now, I can get in through a series of steps, which involves restarting it every time I want to use it. Not super convenient.
    Thanks for any help you can offer.
  • Wow I am so used to having Android 10 on my phone that I'm already looking forward to see what Android 11 is going to bring. I guess I should be so fortunate that not that many Android users out there are currently running the latest OS.