Android Q beta 2: Bubbles, privacy settings and other exciting features – CNET

Google first launched the Android Q beta program for Pixel phones in March, and right on schedule, the company has released the second beta for beta participants. Naturally, each new beta includes bug fixes, but the second beta includes a new feature — Bubbles — that will change the way you interact with notifications on your Android device. 

If you’re interested in helping Google test Android Q, you can sign up right now. Just keep in mind that this is a very early beta release, and there are bugs. Some apps won’t work, and it’s possible you could lose photos or other important data.

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Android Q preview: What’s new in beta?


Because this is a beta, it’s entirely possible that features will change or be removed altogether. We will update this post as needed throughout the beta program.




Do you still use Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads feature? If so, then you’re going to love Android Q’s new Bubbles feature. Bubbles work just like Chat Heads, with a circular notification floating above whatever is on your screen. Google wants developers to be mindful of what types of apps use Bubbles simply because a stream of notifications that show up on your screen, regardless of what you’re doing, would get real annoying real fast.

I installed the second beta but have yet to see a Bubble popup quite yet. Hopefully Google will begin updating its core apps to demonstrate Bubbles for beta participants. 

Wi-Fi and QR Codes


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sharing your Wi-Fi network password with friends or asking for theirs can be awkward. Android Q has a new feature that lets you create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network, or scan a QR code to join a Wi-Fi network, directly in the device’s Wi-Fi settings.

Undo app removal


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Ever accidentally remove an app from your home screen, and then realize you can’t remember what app was there? I have.

With Android Q, you have a few seconds after an app has been removed to undo the change. You’ll find the undo button along the bottom of the screen. Press it and bam, the app is back where it belongs.

Location control

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android is finally getting more granular control over how an app can use location information. Currently, you can give an app access to your location either all the time or not all. With Android Q, you will gain the option of letting an app access your location information only while you’re actively using the app.

Not only is this a privacy matter, but it surely helps save on battery life.

Privacy settings


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Android Q, there’s now a dedicated Privacy section in the settings app. Opening it will reveal the various permissions apps can request for things like calendar, location, camera, contacts and microphone.

Android has lacked a clear-cut way to view what apps have access to what data on your device. The new section makes it easy to discover and revoke permissions for specific apps.

Better notification controls

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When you long-press an alert, you’re now given a few different options: Block, “Show silently” and “Keep alerting.”

This is a small but important feature because you no longer have to dig into the Settings app to figure out how to tailor an app’s alerts. You simply long-press, pick an option and you’re done.

Originally published March 14.
Update, April 3: Adds news about the release of the second beta and the Bubbles feature.