- At Google’s I/O event on Tuesday, the company announced new features to expect in Android P, the next version of its mobile operating system.
- Unfortunately, Android P still doesn’t let you swipe down anywhere on the screen to pull down the Android notifications shade like other Android phones do.
- It’s a small gripe, but it’s also an incredibly useful feature on other Android phones.
Google announced several new features and improvements in its upcoming version of the Android mobile operating system – Android P – during the Google I/O event on Tuesday.
The majority of these new features actually look great, like the screen rotation button that lets you rotate the screen on individual apps, all while keeping screen rotation locked for the overall system.
But Google still hasn’t added one small but incredibly useful feature on Android P that will run on its own Pixel smartphones: swiping down anywhere on the display to pull down the Android notifications shade.
On Google’s Pixel 2 XL running the beta version of Android P, I still have to reach up to the top of the display with my thumb to swipe down the notifications shade. And there’s no sign of the feature in Android P’s settings. There’s only a setting to swipe down the notifications shade using the rear-facing fingerprint scanner, which was great at first, but I would constantly swipe down the notifications shade by mistake that it became frustrating.
Several Android phones like the Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 5T let you swipe down anywhere on the display to bring down the notifications shade, and it’s a lot easier than on Google’s Pixel phones. Other Android phones can have this feature because phone makers like Samsung and OnePlus add it into their own “skins,” or layers of software that run on top of Android. But it’s glaringly missing on Google’s latest pure and clean version of Android.
Funnily enough, other Android phones that already have this feature will likely retain it when they’re upgraded to Android P.
It’s a pretty insignificant gripe in the grand scheme of things, as Android P looks great, and Google’s Pixel 2 phones are fantastic. At the same time, it’s such an obviously useful feature. And once you use it on other Android phones, Google’s Pixel phones suddenly seem less thought-through.
The notifications shade is a huge part of what makes Android so great. It’s one of the main reasons I prefer Android over Apple’s iOS on iPhone. I use the notification shade several dozen times a day because it’s where my notifications live, and it acts as a shortcut to the settings I use the most so that I don’t have to go into the Settings menu whenever I want to change something quickly.
Considering how often I use the Android notifications shade, reaching up to the top of the screen on Google’s Pixel is an annoyance compared to the days when I use the Galaxy S9.
Google has been slow to add seemingly obvious features in the pure versions of Android in the past. For the longest time, Android running on its Nexus phones, which predated the Pixel phones, didn’t have an option to show the battery life percentage, for example. For the record, Google eventually added this option to the pure version of Android starting with the Nexus 5X and 6P in 2015, but other phones gave you that option for years.
There is hope that Google could slide this feature into the final version of Android P, as Android P is still in beta at the moment and it might not contain all the features that Google has in store. I’ve asked Google whether this feature will eventually make its way into Android P, but I haven’t received a response yet.
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