Google is finally rolling out Android Q Beta 4 bringing final developer APIs and more. The latest update is rolling out for all eligible devices in the Android Q beta program via OTA, and download links are also live on the official website. The new Android Q Beta 4 update includes the latest Android Q system images for Pixel devices and Android Emulator, along with the final Android Q developer APIs (API level 29), the official API 29 SDK, and updated build tools for Android Studio. All of these tools will enable developers to start testing and building apps for compatibility with Android Q and build with Android Q features and APIs. Additionally, the new beta brings changes to notification shade and Dynamic System Updates.
Notably, Android Q Beta 4 is causing some Pixel devices to enter a bootloop, but users report that a factory reset resolves the issue – more on this later.
Android Q Beta 4: Eligible devices, how to download, and more
Android Q Beta 4 will be available for all eligible devices, from 13 brands, starting with all the Pixel phones, from the first generation to the latest Pixel 3a series. Pixel smartphone users will need to enrol their devices onto the Android Beta programme to receive an OTA update with the new Android Q Beta build. OTA files and system image links are also available. The remaining, in alphabetical order, are Asus ZenFone 5Z, Essential Phone, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, LG G8 ThinQ, Nokia 8.1, OnePlus 6T, Oppo Reno, Realme 3 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ3, Tecno Spark 3 Pro, Vivo X27, Vivo Nex A, Vivo Nex S, Xiaomi Mi 9, and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G. So far, only the Essential Phone has received its Android Q Beta 4 update, shortly after the Pixel devices.
You can visit Android Q Beta page to learn how to download Android Q Beta 4 on any of the third-party smartphones listed above.
Android Q Beta 4 new features
While there aren’t many new features detailed for the latest Android Q beta instalment, it does bring the final APIs to set developers in motion. As mentioned, the update brings the final Android Q developer APIs (API level 29), the official API 29 SDK, and updated build tools for Android Studio. All of these allow developers to test and build their apps for Android Q. Users can download API 29 SDK and tools into the stable release of Android Studio 3.4. Google has released a guide to help developers get started.
Beta 4 also enables removal of notifications by swiping from any side. Earlier, Android allowed swiping only on one side, while the other allowed users to snooze and control the notification settings. This change of swiping on any side to remove notifications was first spotted by Android Police. The publication also spotted the reincarnation of the rotation lock button that was there in Pie, but wasn’t spotted in earlier Android Q Beta releases.
At Google I/O this year, the company teased the arrival of Dynamic System Updates (DSU), and now the feature has arrived with Android Q Beta 4. It essentially allows you to temporarily run a different version of Android on your device. First spotted by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, the new feature lets you install a Generic System Image (GSI) onto your device without unlocking the bootloader. This helps developers to freely switch between the current system image and the GSI so you can try GSI without risking corruption of the current system image. According to Google, it has enabled DSU only on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices. Google has published full instructions on how to install DSU. To return back to the old version, users simply need to restart their phones.
It is worth noting that this is a beta release and it is ridden with bugs and errors. Known issues include breaking of PiP mode for YouTube when gestures are enabled, broken metadata on videos in Google Photos, and incompatibility with several finance and banking apps.
Separately, as we mentioned, several Pixel 2 XL users are reporting bootlooping issues when attempting to update to Android Q Beta 4. Android Police reports that the issue is mostly prevalent to Pixel 2 XL units, but not all users are facing the issue. One user with a Pixel 3 unit also reported the same issue so it isn’t exclusive just to the Pixel 2 XL either. One Reddit user points out that a factory reset seems to solve the issue, but this means wiping all the data. There is also another reported method wherein users can go into recovery mode and reboot from there. This method seems to have worked for some, while for some the issue persisted.