What's new in Android Q beta 3: Dark mode, new gestures, stronger privacy and security controls

The Android Q Beta 3 is going live today, and the build will be making its way to 21 phones from 13 OEMs. We already got a look at some of the new features in Android Q, and with Beta 3 Google is introducing a few new features. Here's what you need to know about the latest Android Q beta build.

There's a system-wide dark theme

We've asked, and Google has listened. Android Q is getting a system-wide dark theme that can be toggled via the quick settings pane. Enabling battery saver mode will also automatically engage the dark theme.

Google is also making it easier for developers to add a dark theme in their own apps. A new API will let apps know when dark theme is enabled, and devs have the option to invert colors in their own apps.

The back button is going away

Google has confirmed that the back button is going away with Android Q. You'll now have to use a swipe gesture from either side of the screen to go back within an app.

Google is working with developers to make a few design guidelines so that the swipe gesture doesn't trigger the side menu. To that effect, the first swipe in from the left will be used for launching the menu, with a double swipe taking you back in an app.

Live Caption lets you caption just about anything

With Live Caption, Google is making it incredibly easy to caption media playing on your phone. With just a single tap, the feature will be able to caption any media that's playing audio on your phone, including videos, podcasts and audio messages, across any app.

Best of all, the feature works entirely on-device, so you don't need to be on a Wi-Fi network or use cellular data to access the service. The captions don't leave your device either.

More transparent privacy and security controls

Android Q has 50 changes focused on security and privacy, and there's now a Privacy section in the Settings menu. You get granular controls for things like location access, and get reminders when an app is accessing location data in the background.

Google is also changing the way it rolls out security updates. It will start updating important OS components in the background, which means you don't have to restart your phone to install a security patch.

Focus mode lets you eliminate distractions

Google is expanding Digital Wellbeing with a new feature called Focus mode that lets you tune out distractions. Select the apps that you find distracting, and they'll be silenced as soon as you enable Focus mode.

Google is also integrating Family Link as a part of Digital Wellbeing, allowing parents to set app-specific time limits and more.

Our first look at screen continuity

Google says multiple foldable phones are launching this year, and it showed off how screen continuity — where an app adapting to different screen dimensions as you unfold or fold the device.

Available today

The new features are going live in Android Q Beta 3, and the builds should go live shortly. With 15 third-party phones now eligible to install the beta build, there are going to be a lot more phones running Android Q.

What new features are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.