Android Q Engineering AMA Tidbits: Time-based Dark Theme, Screen Recording, more


With the release of Android Q Beta 5, Google announced that they would be hosting a Reddit AMA to answer our burning questions about Android Q and almost all Android related problem. That AMA was held this afternoon, with the Android engineering team offering, among other things, fun and exciting stories about what can come with Android Q and Android R.

Screen recording

In the early releases of Android Q Beta, enabling the built-in screen recording UI as possible, with only minor settings changes. Unfortunately, this screen recorder was short-lived by ADB, disappearing into the third beta.

One Redditor asked when we should expect built-in screen recording, outside of “super sketchy apps.” For this, Al Lan Huang, product manager of the Android UI, shared that screen recording is just part of what should be expected of Android R.

Dark theme updates

One of the hottest topics on Android Q is Natick Dark Mode support. Naturally, it has come up many times in today’s Android Q AMA. More specifically, some radiators asked about the dark mode being able to be automatically triggered.

Google had previously thought of switching to a model and into dark mode based on sunset and sunrise time, but this was scrapped due to the need for proper location data. Consideration is being given to allow users to set the Dark mode on a day-to-day basis, but that obviously won’t be possible in stock Android Q.

Privacy Improvements

After being asked a question about the implementation of the Play Store policy, Charmin De Silva, product manager for privacy on Android, shared an interesting statistic. You may recall last year that Google made a significant change to the initial phone call or texting app on your device, limiting the approval of Android call only and text tags.

For example, last fall, we introduced SMS and Call Policy policies that limited the types of applications that could request such approvals. As a result, today, the number of applications with access to this sensitive information has decreased by more than 98%. Most developers were able to switch to alternatives or eliminate smaller functions.

Open Source Wear OS?

As you know, Google’s version of OS, once called Android Wear, is based on Android. However, unlike Android, Wear OS is not open source, meaning that OEMs and developers cannot read through the code to gain a keen understanding of the system or to make changes.

When asked if Ware OS will ever be open source. Jeff Bailey, the tech lead manager for the Android Open Source project, said, “There is nothing new to share at this time.”

Changes in the future development of Android

As you know, Google has a public bug/issue tracker where users and developers can share issues with Google and some other Google products more or less directly with Google. However, while some of the topics posted may have caught the attention of some, many have been ignored or embarrassingly rejected for months at a time. So this was the case for the original request to scroll screenshots earlier this year.

Relevant Redditors will be likely to take issues raised by Google developers and people more seriously in the future. Jeff Bailey highlighted the problem first, saying that there is a high probability of sinking the issue tracker, as more tech-savvy people become aware of it. But he didn’t close the door on the idea, saying that it’s possible that some teams could work directly with “external” errors in the future.