Google might give Android 15's desktop mode a much-needed overhaul

Android 15 logo on Pixel 8
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest Android 14 beta contains information regarding Google's development of a desktop mode overhaul for Android 15.
  • The overhaul would fully revamp its freeform mode, giving users more agency over how to manage multiple windows.
  • Other Android 15 news involves additional features for its "Private Spaces" and a potential new status bar later this year.

More of what Android 15 could have in store surfaces as a discovery shows Google is preparing some long-awaited improvements to desktop mode.

As detailed by Mishaal Rahman with Android Authority, Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2.1 shows that Google plans to implement a new multi-window experience. From the demonstration video, apps in full-screen now feature a navigation bar-style tab at the top. Tapping it produces a drop menu featuring the app's name and a few options: full-screen, split-screen, and freeform mode.

Split-screen functions like any other Android device. It places the app on half the display, giving users a chance to open another. Freeform mode lets users decide the window's size by dragging its rounded corners.

Moreover, testing showed that the apps gain a thick title bar featuring the app's name, a maximize button, and a close button. Tapping its name will produce the previously mentioned menu full of window options.

Rahman adds that users can drag a window in freeform mode to either side of the display to "snap it" into split-screen mode.

This desktop mode revamp is likely for Android 15; however, it's not clear exactly when it will roll out. The changes seem to make Android's OS seem a little more refined, but as Rahman noted, it still doesn't support keyboard shortcuts for window management or offer a polished launcher.

It seems that Google has been mulling over improving its Android desktop mode for a while, even during the early days of the Pixel 8. It was then discovered that the Pixel 8 series launched with full display output support. Despite Google disabling its functionality on the software side, its hardware hid nothing, as users could attach a USB-C to HDMI cable to get things started.

The discovery was on functionality alone, as the Pixel 8 didn't showcase a proper desktop mode. The device's display was mirrored vertically onto a desktop monitor, but it was a positive sign of more to come — even more so now with the latest discovery.

These discoveries stem from Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2.1, which started rolling out on Monday (Apr. 1). The beta contains a host of bug fixes for some severe problems, and it features information about Google's continued development of Android 15's "Private Spaces." This feature would be a profile where users could download or lock previously installed apps behind.

Similar to Samsung's Secure Folder, users could safeguard sensitive data by locking certain apps behind a PIN or other password method.

Elsewhere, Google is seemingly working on a status bar revamp for Android 15. Haptic feedback could arrive for Quick Settings alongside a new battery icon.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.