Put another away, the changes add another level of priority here; apps that generate silent notifications aren’t useless enough to be muted entirely, but not so crucial as to demand immediate attention. Android has needed this sort of middle ground for a while now. The real problem here is that the companies that make these apps presume they deserve our continued attention when that’s often just not true. Until we convince them otherwise, though, additions like silent notifications will remain sadly necessary.
In Android 10, you can also do more with the notifications you do let through. Thanks to some machine learning magic, notifications contain options for firing off contextually relevant Smart Replies and activating new shortcuts to perform actions inside other apps.
Let’s say your friend is trying to coordinate some after-work drinks and texts you the address of a nearby bar — Android 10 will recognize the address and create a shortcut to view the location using Google Maps. That’s the idea, anyway. The problem strikes when Android recognizes that an app action and some Smart Replies would both be relevant — sometimes, it works exactly the way it’s supposed, and I’m glad for the assist. Occasionally though, the notification flashes the app shortcut for just a split-second before displaying Smart Replies instead, leaving you out of luck if you actually did want to use that app. That… doesn’t seem right.
These are probably the biggest changes to how we’re meant to interact with Android phones, but they’re far from the only ones. Remember how slowly the sharing menu used to pop up in earlier versions of Android? It made the process of sharing a link or a Google Map location feel like a struggle sometimes, but it’s noticeably faster now, and features a sweet, Material Design makeover to boot. You can access your emergency information and Google Wallet from the power menu. Android Auto is baked into Android 10, too, so you don’t need to worry about downloading and keeping a separate app for when you get into your car. As always, the list goes on for miles.
Privacy and security
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the obvious changes we’ve already discussed, but Google’s updated approach to device privacy here shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, Google did its best to make sure you wouldn’t overlook some of Android 10’s new privacy features.
If you have a pre-Android 10 phone handy, indulge me for a moment and try to find all of the settings that deal with your privacy. I’m talking app permissions, password visibility, device behavior tracking, lock screen content controls, Google location history — the works. Seriously, I’ll wait.