Progress bars and sliders in Material You are changing in a big way

The new sliders in Material You.
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is continuing to update Material You with redesigned progress bars and sliders, which are starting to roll out now.
  • Sliders are thicker and now have a vertical line head for scrubbing content. Previously, they were thinner and featured circular heads.
  • Progress bars now have a gap between the current progress of something and the end of the bar. 

Google is changing the way progress bars and sliders appear and work in Material You, as detailed in updated Material 3 interface guidelines (via 9to5Google). They were first introduced late last year, and the new UI elements are starting to reach users now. 

Eventually, the new progress bars and sliders will extend throughout Material You on Android. For now, the progress bar is confirmed to work in the Google Play Store app (to show Play Points) and in the Photos app (to show available storage). We haven't seen the slider roll out publicly yet, but it could soon be coming.

The new progress bar in Material You.

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

So, what's different? It comes down to two main design tweaks: thickness and spacing. Previously, sliders in Android were extremely thin lines with large and circular scrubber heads. Now, the slider itself is much thicker and has an ovular shape. The scrubber head is now a thin line, instead of a circle, with gaps separating it from the timeline bar. 

It's reminiscent of older sliders, especially skeuomorphic ones used in early music apps in the late 2000s. Those sliders had thin scrubber heads that resembled the lines on physical radio tuners that would let you know what station you've landed on. The new Material You sliders look like a modern take on this old UI element, extending far beyond music and media. 

The spacing changes are also present in Material You's new progress bars. The updated bars are slightly more curved, but most will be too small for you to notice the subtle rounded corners.

The new progress bar guidelines for Material You.

(Image credit: Google)

You will notice how Google accentuates the current and end points of the progress bar. There's now a gap between your current progress and the remaining progress. Additionally, Google makes the endpoint of the progress bar a solid color point, which is the same opacity as your current progress. The space in between is a much lighter version of the same color. 

The changes are also reflected in circular versions of the progress bar. It's much less noticeable, but there will also be a gap between your current progress and the rest of the bar in the circular icon. 

We'll likely start to see the new design language for Material You roll out throughout sliders and progress bars in Android soon. The progress bars are available now, and sliders are probably on the way. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.