If you’re curious about what the Android Q experience will be like, but have been holding off on installing any Android Q betas, it might be time to try out the latest version, released today. Not only is this iteration of Android Q “very close” to what you’ll experience in Android Q’s full public release, as Google describes, moving up to Android Q is a great way to thwart annoying apps from harvesting data they shouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
What’s new in Android Q Beta 5
Aside from a new dark theme for the Pixel boot-up screen and the usual performance tweaks, Android Q Beta 5 makes some changes to gesture-based navigation controls—a defining feature of Android Q. These include:
A new “Peek” gesture, where users can tap the screen to summon a little tab for the navigation drawer, which then can then swipe to open. This should mitigate the chances of accidentally inputting a “back” gesture when you actually meant to open said drawer.
You can now access Google Assistant with a diagonal swipe up from the lower-left or -right corners of your screen.
A setting for adjusting the sensitivity of the “back” navigation gesture—the higher the sensitivity, the easier it will be to swipe the edge of the screen to go back. (The OS warns that higher sensitivities may conflict with some apps if you’re using a similar gesture to activate other functions.)
One disappointing change is Android Q Beta 5 dropping support for gesture nav on third-party launchers. While you can use PC-based commands to enable them (XDA has a guide to do so here), and Google has confirmed the final Android Q release will support gesture controls for third-party launcher post-launch, the option is inaccessible in the Android Q Beta 5’s settings menu if you’re using a non-Pixel launcher for now.
How to install Android Q Beta 5
The Android Q Beta 5 is currently available for all Pixel handsets, and the easiest way to try it out is to sign up for the Android Beta Program, which we’ve previously covered here. Once you’re in, installing the beta is as easy as performing a system update.
Now, since this is a beta, there’s always a chance something on your device won’t work properly due to bugs or lagging app support. If you install the beta, but want to undo the update, you can revert back to Android 9 Pie pretty easily.