Ten days have passed since we started digging into the Android P developer preview release, and while we’ve enjoyed many of the new changes and shared with you our five favorites, there are other modifications that left us scratching our heads a little. This is a developer preview, so things are expected to be buggy, some features could be experimental and could change with the next releases, but there are others that might be here to stay.
We’ve scoured our long, long list of Android P posts looking for those that we either don’t like or that many of you voiced disapproval for. So here are – so far, and with the caveat that everything might change – our five least favorite Android P features.
Time on the left of the status bar
Of all the changes we abhor about Android P, this has to be the tiniest but most annoying one. Android has had the time shown on the right of the status bar since time immemorial. Moving it to the left looks weird and breaks one constant we’ve been used to for years and years: we can’t glance at the left of our status bar to check notifications anymore, we have to move our eyes a little to check them. As someone who has a compulsive need to drop down the notifications each time I see anything on the top left of my display, this will take some getting used to.
Google, we realize this may have been done to accommodate those ignoble notches, but please, at least give us the option to move the time to the right when our phone’s display isn’t missing a bite.
Quick Settings toggles aren’t expandable
The Quick Settings toggle saga continues (Android 5.1, N, N again, then O). But for as long as Quick Settings have been a thing, there has been a way, whether hidden or not, to open a small menu that lets you quickly connect to a WiFi network or Bluetooth device, and change the DND mode. In P, that menu is gone and the toggles aren’t expandable anymore. So you can either tap the icon to toggle it or tap and hold to open the full settings page – no middle ground. Yes, it’s simpler, but the mini menu was handy and wasn’t getting in anyone’s way.
Left: Android 8.1 Oreo. Right: Android P.
More changes to volume and Do not disturb
Even worse than the Quick Settings saga is the Do not disturb saga. Every version of Android has thrown something different to the mix (Android L then Lollipop, M and M and then Marshmallow, N and N then Nougat) to a point where I have to take half an hour each time I move between versions to learn how/if I can silence my phone, how/if I can turn off vibrate, how/if I can set a schedule for certain profiles. It’s exhausting. If you ask me, the Oreo 8.1 version was super powerful and accounted for almost any scenario you wanted, but it was a pain to understand or explain to someone.
P brings back a proper mute mode, not just vibrate, and simplifies DND, which is a good thing. But it takes away the rules for the different DND modes so you can only schedule one type… and it is yet again one more time you have to dig into your phone’s volume settings to figure out how to get things set to your liking. This is a basic feature and I can’t understand how Google keeps changing it time and again. Just pick something and stick with it, or people will never know how to silence their phones anymore.
White, round, colors, and more white
Of all the items on the list, this is the one I agree with the least. But the council has spoken and many of you hate the look of Android P’s settings, its notification drop-down, and its move toward solid white instead of a shaded white overlay. Honestly, I love it. I think the new Settings page looks lively with its colorful rounded icons, but I’ve seen people compare it to a bad cartoon version of TouchWiz. I also like the new blue rounded icons in the Quick Settings and think they’re much easier to discern than the black/gray shading that was used in Oreo, but again, the consensus is that they look cartoonish too.
The only thing I do agree is horrid is that white shade behind the dock of the Pixel Launcher. For the nth time since O, I don’t understand who at Google thinks white transparency looks good. It’s cheap and obnoxiously faded. Black transparency or just solid colors, please.
System UI Tuner
System UI Tuner made its debut in Android M with Demo Mode in tow, and has since served many purposes: N color balance, N status bar options, N DND, O nav bar customization, O lockscreen shortcuts, then it lost many of its features in the DP3 of O. With P, System UI Tuner appears to be gone. We are not sure if it’s gone for good: some have reported being able to bring it back with adb and root, though it depends on who dirty-flashed P and who flashed a clean image, who had enabled the UI Tuner before flashing and who hadn’t.
So none of this tells us what the fate of the UI Tuner will be for real. Its removal might be an oversight, like that time in N DP2 when Demo Mode disappeared then came back in DP3, but who knows? We like the System UI Tuner and its customization options and we want it back, especially to take care of that horrid time in the upper left of the display.
There are a few other changes in Android P we’re not huge fans of, like the disappearance of the Force Stop icon (though that might be a glitch), the removal of battery saving mode in location settings, and the fact that the battery menu doesn’t show per-app usage (though it can be brought back with a flag). But those are a little minor compared to the ones cited above. What are your least favorite changes in P?