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New Android accessibility feature lets you control your phone with your head

 

Android has a lot of accessibility features that help users with various disabilities use and interact with their phones. But now it looks like Google is bringing a new accessibility feature to Android. This comes in the form of Project Gameface.

 

Google announced Project Gameface at I/O 2023. It is a feature that basically allows computer users to control the mouse cursor on their screens using head movements and facial gestures. Now Google has brought the feature onto Android. This will work similarly in concept to the computer version.

 

 

Users will be able to use head movement along with facial gestures to control a virtual cursor on their Android smartphones. This means that users who are movement impaired will be able to interact with their phones in a new and hopefully improved way. Some of the gestures include raising eyebrows to click and drag. They can also open their mouths to move the cursor, and more.

 

Similar to the computer version of Project Gameface, Google is open sourcing more code. This will allow more Android developers to create apps that offer greater accessibility. We're not sure which apps will take advantage of it for now, but the code has been released on Github for those who are interested in checking it out.


Android 15 could force dark mode on apps

 

One of the changes to Android we've seen in the past few years is dark mode. This is where the overall UI takes on a darker look so it doesn't look so glaring at night. Developers have largely supported it, but there are some that haven't. Luckily, Android 15 will change that by forcing all apps to go dark even if they don't support it natively.

 

According to a report from Android Authority, a recent APK teardown has revealed that Google plans to introduce a feature in Android 15. This new feature will basically force all apps to have a dark mode. This comes in the form of a toggle called "Make all apps dark", although there is a bit of a catch.

 

Since some apps don't have a native dark mode, Google notes that toggling on this feature could result in some display issues. Android Authority tested it out and found that in some cases, it ended up reducing the contrast of some buttons. We suppose it will vary from app to app, but it could be a good way to make sure all your apps are dark when dark mode is toggled.

 

For the most part, a lot of apps out there do support dark mode. Hopefully this could force those holdouts to implement something native of their own, or risk ruining the user experience. Either way, we'll have to wait and see, but if you do like using dark mode, then this Android 15 feature could be something to look forward to.


Android 15 will tell you how long your phone's storage chip will last

 

A lot of us are probably concerned about the batteries on our phones and how long they will last. Thankfully, a lot of smartphone makers have since included software features that can tell us. But batteries aren't the only components that have a lifespan. Your phone's storage chip has one too, and Android 15 could help with that.

 

According to a report from Android Authority, it seems that Google is working on a new Android 15 feature that will provide users with information about their phone's storage chip's lifespan. While batteries are probably the most noticeable when it comes to detecting degradation in performance, storage can be affected as well.

 

In Android 15, Google is working on displaying that information to users. It will show them the remaining lifetime of a phone's internal storage before it potentially breaks down. This will be displayed in percentages. This might be useful for users who hold onto their devices for a longer period of time, say 4-5 years, and want to know how much longer they can potentially keep using their phones.

 

That being said, there is a chance not all devices will support this feature. As Android Authority notes, it is not required by OEMs to adopt this feature. If an OEM chooses not to, then users won't be able to access this information. It should be available for Pixel devices that can run Android 15, but other than that, we'll have to wait and see.


Android 15 Might Bring Back a Certain Design Feature

 

Google's occasional habit of injecting changes into its many software products and services is something that's usually hit or miss with a lot of users. This looks to be the case as seen with the Android 15 Developer Preview, which lets users install an "experimental" version of Android 15 onto their devices.

 

With that in mind, Google might be planning on switching things up again, with regards to Android's user interface. The folks over at Android Authority report that we might see changes to the status bar icon designs, at least according to the current Android 15 preview. Users who have been on Android since the days of version 5.0 might remember Google beginning to implement its "Material" design language, which eventually developed in "Material You."

 

As such, the status bar icons have since looked mostly the same, appearing as shapes without any segmentation. With the Android 15 preview however, Google has changed the icons to feature a segmented look, resembling their appearance on older versions of Android.

 

Earlier on, it was also reported that we might see changes to Android 15's on-screen volume slider, which will now shift to a horizontal layout across the screen. With all that being said, it looks like Android 15 will be arriving with a ton of changes to the UI.


Android 15 will offer users greater location privacy

 

It's not that hard for your carrier to know where you are at all times. This is because when you're hooked to one of their towers, they have an idea of where you are. If you're feeling a bit iffy about this, then you might be interested to learn that Android 15 could offer a greater degree of location privacy on your phone, even from your carriers.

 

According to a report from Android Authority, it seems that the upcoming Android 15 update will allow users to block your location from your device's cellular radio. If you're concerned about how this might impact emergency calls or text messages, don't worry. It seems that this feature will block your location for non-emergency use cases.

 

This means that in the event of an emergency, carriers will still be able to ping your location. Android already allows users to block location access from apps. This is possible because when it comes to location access on apps, developers will need to access Android's API to do so. It's a different story when it comes to your device's cellular radio.

 

This is why this change is important because it will give users a bit more control over it. It should be noted that this won't hide your phone from your carriers completely. Like we said, when you're connected to a cell tower, your carrier already knows roughly where you are. This is more to prevent very specific location tracking.

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