Android Q: How Push Notifications Will Be Affected
Android’s OS upgrade, Android Q, is currently in beta mode for Pixel phones, and will go live for all users in August 2019. Beta testers are raving about the new features on offer, a few of which give users a new way to interact with and categorize their push notifications. Here is a summary of key push notification updates to keep an eye out for.
Long Press UI
The user interface when you long press on a notification has been updated, offering new options of how to treat notifications from a particular app.
As opposed to the Android 9.0 Pie feature, which only offered you the option to stop notifications or keep showing, Android Q takes a more nuanced approach. In addition to providing the user the option to “Block” or “Alert Me” for a particular app’s notifications, it also offers a middle ground of silent notifications.
This will be handy for users who want to keep receiving communications from an app, but want to address messages in their own time without being pinged throughout the day.
This is a new option that lets users manage their notifications and categorize them according to priority. Android Q offers new settings, which can be accessed in Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications, allowing users to sort notifications from different apps into Gentle vs. Priority.
Beneath this on the settings screen, there is an option to opt-in to hiding the icons of Gentle notifications from the status bar. And underneath that is the option for “Adaptive Notifications,” which uses Automatic Prioritization to assign low-priority notifications as Gentle. There is also an option to receive Suggested Replies & Actions for certain apps.
Android Q Bubbles
Bubbles have been introduced as an easy way to multitask on your device, and carry on a conversation without having to navigate between screens. When not in use, the conversation can be collapsed into a small circle on the edge of the screen showing the other person’s profile picture (think the Facebook Messenger conversation bubbles). Bubbles will then stay on top of other content as you use your device, unobtrusive but reminding you of any ongoing conversations or interactions you may wish to return to.
Bubbles are built into your notifications, and appear on your lock screen like notifications if your device is locked. If they wish to disable bubbles, users will have the ability to opt-out in settings – the bubble will then just appear like a regular notification. If you send a notification and want it to bubble, you need to attach an extra piece of code to it.
Swipe Away Notifications Either Direction
The first beta version of Android Q saw an update where you could only dismiss notifications by swiping to the right. In the latest beta (version 4), swiping in either direction has been re-implemented. A “Swipe Actions” toggle is still active, offering users the chance to switch to single-direction swiping to dismiss if they wish.
It’s interesting that they would switch to right-swipe-only, just to switch back a few stages later. The original change was implemented in an attempt to protect users from accidentally swiping away a notification when swiping left to access snooze and settings options, a function introduced by Android 8.0 (Oreo).
It seems as though enough people, accustomed to dual-direction swiping to dismiss notifications, were frustrated by the Android Q change that the OS decided to change back (unless it’s just a glitch).
Keep an eye out in July for beta 5 and beta 6, and for the complete version of Android Q set to launch in August. If you’re interested in testing the beta version of Android Q, click here to see the list of devices that are currently supported.