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Android 10 features and APIs

Android 10 introduces great features and capabilities for users and developers. This document highlights what's available for developers.

To learn about the APIs, read the API diff report or visit the Android API reference — look for APIs that were "added in API level 29". Also be sure to check out Android 10 behavior changes (for apps targeting API level 29 and for all apps), as well as privacy changes, to learn about areas where platform changes may affect your apps.

Security enhancements

Android 10 introduces a number of security features, which the following sections summarize.

Improved biometric authentication dialogs

Android 10 introduces the following improvements to biometric authentication support:

  • A check for the biometric authentication capability.
  • A fallback mechanism that allows a user to authenticate using their device PIN, pattern, or password if they cannot authenticate using their biometric input.
  • A hint that tells the system not to require user confirmation after the user has authenticated using an implicit biometric modality. For example, you could tell the system that no further confirmation should be required after a user has authenticated using face authentication.

Run embedded DEX code directly from APK

As of Android 10, you can tell the platform to run embedded DEX code directly from your app’s APK file. This option can help prevent an attack if an attacker ever managed to tamper with the locally compiled code on the device.

For more information, see Run embedded DEX code directly from APK.

TLS 1.3 support

Android 10 adds support for TLS 1.3. TLS 1.3 is a major revision to the TLS standard that includes performance benefits and enhanced security. Our benchmarks indicate that secure connections can be established as much as 40% faster with TLS 1.3 compared to TLS 1.2.

For more details about our implementation of TLS 1.3, see the TLS section within the behavior changes for all apps page.

Public Conscrypt API

As of Android 10, the Conscrypt security provider includes a public API for TLS functionality.

The collection of classes under android.net.ssl contain static methods to access functionality that isn't available from the generic javax.net.ssl APIs. The names for these classes can be inferred as the plural of the corresponding javax.net.ssl class. For example, code that operates on instances of javax.net.ssl.SSLSocket can instead use methods from SSLSockets.

Connectivity features

Android 10 includes several improvements related to networking and connectivity.

Wi-Fi network connection API

Android 10 adds support for peer-to-peer connections. This feature enables your app to prompt the user to change the access point that the device is connected to by using WifiNetworkSpecifier to describe properties of a requested network. The peer-to-peer connection is used for non-network-providing purposes, such as bootstrapping configuration for secondary devices like Chromecast and Google Home hardware.

For more information, see Wi-Fi Network Request API for peer-to-peer connectivity.

Wi-Fi network suggestion API

Android 10 adds support for your app to prompt the user to connect to a Wi-Fi access point. You can supply suggestions for which network to connect to. The platform will ultimately choose which access point to accept based on the input from your and other apps.

For more information about this feature, see Wi-Fi suggest.

Improvements to Wi-Fi high-performance and low-latency modes

Android 10 allows you to provide a hint to the underlying modem to minimize latency.

Android 10 extends the Wi-Fi lock API to effectively support high-performance mode and low-latency mode. Wi-Fi power save is disabled for high-performance and low-latency mode, and further latency optimization may be enabled in low-latency mode, depending on modem support.

Low-latency mode is only enabled when the application acquiring the lock is running in the foreground and the screen is on. The low-latency mode is especially helpful for real-time mobile gaming applications.

Specialized lookups in DNS resolver

Android 10 adds native support for specialized DNS lookups using both cleartext lookups and DNS-over-TLS mode. Previously, the platform DNS resolver supported only A and AAAA records, which allow looking up only the IP addresses associated with a name, but did not support any other record types. The DnsResolver API provides generic, asynchronous resolution, enabling you to look up SRV, NAPTR, and other record types. Note that parsing the response is left to the app to perform.

For NDK-based apps, see android_res_nsend.

Wi-Fi Easy Connect

Android 10 enables you to use Easy Connect to provision Wi-Fi credentials to a peer device, as a replacement of WPS which has been deprecated. Apps can integrate Easy Connect into their setup and provisioning flow by using the ACTION_PROCESS_WIFI_EASY_CONNECT_URI intent.

For more information on this feature, see Wi-Fi Easy Connect.

Wi-Fi Direct connection API

The WifiP2pConfig and WifiP2pManager API classes have updates in Android 10 to support fast connection establishment capabilities to Wi-Fi Direct using predetermined information. This information is shared via a side channel, such as Bluetooth or NFC.

The following code sample shows how to create a group using predetermined information:

Kotlin

val manager = getSystemService(Context.WIFI_P2P_SERVICE) as WifiP2pManager
val channel = manager.initialize(this, mainLooper, null)

// prefer 5G band for this group
val config = WifiP2pConfig.Builder()
    .setNetworkName("networkName")
    .setPassphrase("passphrase")
    .enablePersistentMode(false)
    .setGroupOperatingBand(WifiP2pConfig.GROUP_OWNER_BAND_5GHZ)
    .build()

// create a non-persistent group on 5GHz
manager.createGroup(channel, config, null)

Java

WifiP2pManager manager = (WifiP2pManager) getSystemService(Context.WIFI_P2P_SERVICE);
Channel channel = manager.initialize(this, getMainLooper(), null);

// prefer 5G band for this group
WifiP2pConfig config = new WifiP2pConfig.Builder()
.setNetworkName("networkName")
.setPassphrase("passphrase")
.enablePersistentMode(false)
.setGroupOperatingBand(WifiP2pConfig.GROUP_OWNER_BAND_5GHZ)
.build();

// create a non-persistent group on 5GHz
manager.createGroup(channel, config, null);

To join a group using credentials, replace manager.createGroup() with the following:

Kotlin

manager.connect(channel, config, null)

Java

manager.connect(channel, config, null);

Bluetooth LE Connection Oriented Channels (CoC)

Android 10 enables your app to use BLE CoC connections to transfer larger data streams between two BLE devices. This interface abstracts Bluetooth and connectivity mechanics to simplify implementation.

Telephony features

Android 10 includes several improvements related to telephony.

Call quality improvements

Android 10 adds the ability to collect information about the quality of ongoing IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) calls, including quality to and from the network, on devices that support the feature.

Call screening and caller ID

Android 10 provides your app with a means to identify calls not in the user's address book as potential spam calls, and to have spam calls silently rejected on behalf of the user. Information about these blocked calls is logged as blocked calls in the call log to provide greater transparency to the user when they are missing calls. Use of this API eliminates the requirement to obtain READ_CALL_LOG permissions from the user to provide call screening and caller ID functionality.

Call redirection service API

Android 10 changes how call intents are handled. The NEW_OUTGOING_CALL broadcast is deprecated and is replaced with the CallRedirectionService API. The CallRedirectionService API provides interfaces for you to modify outgoing calls made by the Android platform. For example, third-party apps might cancel calls and reroute them over VoIP.

Improvements in creating files on external storage

In addition to introducing scoped storage, Android 10 adds the following capabilities related to external storage:

  • You can use the IS_PENDING flag to give your app exclusive access to a media file as it's written to disk.
  • If you're aware of a specific location where files should be stored, you can provide the system a hint for where to store the newly-written files.
  • Each external storage device has a unique volume name.

Media and graphics

Android 10 introduces the following new media and graphics features and APIs:

Sharing audio input

Android 10 adds the ability for two apps to share the audio input simultaneously. For full information, see Sharing audio input.

Audio playback capture

Android 10 gives an app the ability to capture audio playback from other apps. For full information, see Playback capture.

Seekbar in MediaStyle notifications

Starting with Android 10, MediaStyle notifications display a seekbar. The seekbar shows the playback progress from PlaybackState.getPosition(), and in some cases the seekbar can be used to seek to a location in the playing program. The seekbar appearance and behavior is controlled by these rules:

  • The seekbar appears if there is an active MediaSession and its duration (specified by MediaMetadata.METADATA_KEY_DURATION) is greater than zero. This means that the bar does not appear for indeterminate streams like livestreams and radio broadcasts.
  • If the session implements ACTION_SEEK_TO the user can drag the seekbar to control the playback location.

Native MIDI API

The Android Native MIDI API (AMidi) gives application developers the ability to send and receive MIDI data with C/C++code, integrating more closely with their C/C++ audio/control logic and minimizing the need for JNI.

For more information, see Android Native MIDI API.

MediaCodecInfo improvements

Android 10 adds methods to MediaCodecInfo that reveal more information about a codec.

For more information, see Media codecs.

Thermal API

When devices get too warm, they may throttle the CPU and/or GPU, and this can affect apps and games in unexpected ways. Apps using complex graphics, heavy computation, or sustained network activity are more likely to hit issues, and those can vary across devices based on chipset and core frequencies, levels of integration, and also device packaging and form factor.

In Android 10, apps and games can use a thermal API to monitor changes on the device and take action to maintain lower power usage to restore normal temperature. Apps register a listener in PowerManager, through which the system reports ongoing thermal status ranging from light and moderate to severe, critical, emergency, and shutdown.

When the device reports thermal stress, apps and games can help by backing off ongoing activities to reduce power usage on various ways. For example, streaming apps could reduce resolution/bit rate or network traffic, a camera app could disable flash or intensive image enhancement, a game could reduce frame rate or polygon tesselation, a media app could reduce speaker volume, and a maps app could turn off GPS.

The thermal API requires a new device HAL layer—it's currently supported on Pixel devices running Android 10 and we’re working with our device-maker partners to bring broad support to the ecosystem as quickly as possible.

Camera and images

Android 10 introduces the following new camera- and image-related features:

Monochrome camera support

Android 9 (API level 28) first introduced monochrome camera capability. Android 10 adds several enhancements to monochrome camera support:

  • Y8 stream format support to improve memory efficiency.
  • Support for monochrome raw DNG capture.
  • Introduction of MONO and NIR CFA enumerations to distinguish between regular monochrome camera and near infrared cameras.

You may use this feature to capture a native monochrome image. A logical multi-camera device may use a monochrome camera as a physical sub-camera to achieve better low-light image quality.

Dynamic Depth Format

Starting in Android 10, cameras can store the depth data for an image in a separate file, using a new schema called Dynamic Depth Format (DDF). Apps can request both the JPG image and its depth metadata, using that information to apply any blur they want in post-processing without modifying the original image data.

To read the specification for this format, see Dynamic Depth Format.

High Efficiency Image File format

High Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format is a standard image and video format that introduces higher-quality encoding and smaller file size when compared to other file formats.

For more information about the file format, see HEIC.

Improvements in multi-camera

Android 10 improves the fusing of multiple cameras into a single logical camera, a feature introduced in Android 9 (API level 28). The following were added to the Camera2 API:

Accessibility services API

Android 10 introduces the following new accessibility service features and APIs:

AccessibilityNodeInfo entry key flag

As of Android 10, you can call isTextEntryKey() to determine whether a given AccessibilityNodeInfo represents a text entry key that's part of a keyboard or keypad.

Accessibility dialog spoken feedback

In case where users need to perform the accessibility shortcut to start an accessibility service, Android 10 allows the dialog to be accompanied by a text-to-speech prompt if the service requests it.

Accessibility shortcut when gesture navigation enabled

When the gesture navigation feature is enabled in Android 10, the accessibility button isn't visible or selectable. To access the accessibility services menu, users must perform one of the following gestures:

  • Two-finger swipe up.
  • Two-finger swipe up and hold.

Accessibility shortcut for physical keyboards

In Android 10, users can trigger the accessibility shortcut on a physical keyboard by pressing Control+Alt+Z.

Soft keyboard controller enhancement

In Android 10, accessibility services can request that the soft keyboard be displayed even when the device detects a hard keyboard attached. Users can override this behavior.

User-defined accessibility timeouts

Android 10 introduces the getRecommendedTimeoutMillis() API. This method provides support for user-defined timeouts for interactive and non-interactive UI elements. The return value is influenced by both user preferences and accessibility service APIs.

Autofill improvements

Android 10 contains the following improvements to the autofill service.

Compatibility-related autofill requests

You can use the FillRequest.FLAG_COMPATIBILITY_MODE_REQUEST flag to determine whether an autofill request was generated via compatibility mode.

Save username and password simultaneously

You can support cases where an application uses multiple activities to display username, password, and other fields by using the SaveInfo.FLAG_DELAY_SAVE flag.

User interaction with the Save UI

You can show and hide a password field in a save dialog by setting an action listener on the dialog and changing the visibility of the corresponding password remote view.

Support for updating datasets

Autofill can update existing passwords. For example, if a user has already stored a password, and they save a new password, Autofill prompts the user to update the existing password instead of saving a new one.

Field Classification improvements

Android 10 contains the following improvements to the Field Classification API.

UserData.Builder constructor

The UserData.Builder constructor has changed to better align to the Builder pattern.

Allow a Value to be mapped to multiple types of Category IDs

When using UserData.Builder in Android 10, you can now map a value to multiple types of category IDs. In previous releases, an exception was thrown if a value was added more than once.

Improved support for credit card numbers

Field classification can now detect four-digit numbers as the last four digits of a credit card number.

Support for app-specific field classification

Android 10 adds FillResponse.setUserData(), which allows you to set app-specific user data for the duration of the session. This helps the autofill service detect types for fields with app-specific content.

UI and system controls

Android 10 provides the following user-interface improvements:

Support JVMTI PopFrame caps

Android 10 adds support for the can_pop_frames capability in the Android JVMTI implementation. When debugging, this feature allows you to re-run functions after pausing at a breakpoint and adjusting locals, globals, or implementation of a function. For more information, see Oracle's Pop Frame reference page.

Surface control API

Android 10 provides a SurfaceControl API for low-level access to the system-compositor (SurfaceFlinger). For most users, SurfaceView is the correct way to leverage the compositor. The SurfaceControl API can be useful in certain cases, for example:

  • Synchronization of multiple surfaces
  • Cross-process surface embedding
  • Lower-level lifetime management

The SurfaceControl API is available in both SDK and NDK bindings. The NDK implementation includes an API for manual exchange of buffers with the compositor. This provides an alternative for users who have run up against the limitations of BufferQueue.

WebView hung renderer detection

Android 10 introduces the WebViewRenderProcessClient abstract class, which apps can use to detect if a WebView has become unresponsive. To use this class:

  1. Define your own subclass and implement its onRenderProcessResponsive() and onRenderProcessUnresponsive() methods.
  2. Attach an instance of your WebViewRenderProcessClient to one or more WebView objects.
  3. If the WebView becomes unresponsive, the system calls the client's onRenderProcessUnresponsive() method, passing the WebView and WebViewRenderProcess. (If the WebView is single-process, the WebViewRenderProcess parameter is null.) Your app can take appropriate action, such as showing a dialog box to the user asking if they want to halt the rendering process.

If the WebView remains unresponsive, the system calls onRenderProcessUnresponsive() periodically (no more than once every five seconds), but takes no other action. If the WebView becomes responsive again, the system calls onRenderProcessResponsive() just once.

Settings panels

Android 10 introduces Settings Panels, an API which allows apps to show settings to users in the context of their app. This prevents users from needing to go into Settings to change things like NFC or Mobile data in order to use the app.

Figure 1. The user tries to open a web page while the device is not connected to the network. Chrome pops up the Internet Connectivity settings panel...

Figure 2. The user can turn on Wi-Fi and select a network without leaving the Chrome app.

For example, suppose a user opens a web browser while their device is in airplane mode. Prior to Android 10, the app could only display a generic message asking the user to open Settings to restore connectivity. With Android 10, the browser app can display an inline panel showing key connectivity settings such as airplane mode, Wi-Fi (including nearby networks), and mobile data. With this panel, users can restore connectivity without leaving the app.

To display a settings panel, fire an intent with the one of the following Settings.Panel actions:

Kotlin

val panelIntent = Intent(Settings.Panel.settings_panel_type)
startActivityForResult(panelIntent)

Java

Intent panelIntent = new Intent(Settings.Panel.settings_panel_type);
startActivityForResult(panelIntent);

settings_panel_type can be one of:

ACTION_INTERNET_CONNECTIVITY
Shows settings related to internet connectivity, such as Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, and Mobile Data.
ACTION_WIFI
Shows Wi-Fi settings, but not the other connectivity settings. This is useful for apps that need a Wi-Fi connection to perform large uploads or downloads.
ACTION_NFC
Shows all settings related to near-field communication (NFC).
ACTION_VOLUME
Shows volume settings for all audio streams.

We are planning to introduce an AndroidX wrapper for this functionality. When called on devices running Android 9 (API level 28) or lower, the wrapper will open the most-appropriate page in the Settings app.

Sharing improvements

Android 10 provides a number of improvements to sharing:

Sharing Shortcuts API

The Sharing Shortcuts API replaces the Direct Share APIs.

Instead of retrieving results reactively on demand, the Sharing Shortcuts API lets apps publish direct share targets in advance. This is how the ShortcutManager works. Since the two APIs are similar, we have expanded the ShortcutInfo API to make using both features easier. With the Sharing Shortcuts API, you can directly assign categories or people to a share target. The share targets persist in the system until the same app updates them or the app is uninstalled.

The older Direct Share mechanism still works, but apps that use it have a lower priority than apps using the Sharing Shortcuts API.

ShortcutInfo.Builder adds and enhances methods to provide additional info about the share target.

Direct share targets

You can publish a dynamic shortcut as a Direct Share Target. See Publish direct share targets.

ShortcutManagerCompat is a new AndroidX API that provides backwards compatibility with the old DirectShare API. This is the preferred way to publish share targets.

Previewing text

When an app shares text content, it can show an optional preview of the content in the Sharesheet UI.

See Adding rich text previews

Learn more

For more information on how apps can share data, see Sending simple data to other apps and Receiving simple data from other apps

Dark theme

Android 10 offers a Dark theme that applies to both the Android system UI and apps running on the device. For full information, see Dark theme.

Foreground service types

Android 10 introduces the foregroundServiceType XML manifest attribute, which you include in the definition of several specific services. It's possible, though rarely appropriate, to assign multiple foreground service types to a particular service.

The following table shows the different foreground service types and the services where it's appropriate to declare a specific type:

Foreground service type Example use case for a service that should declare this type
connectedDevice Monitor a wearable fitness tracker
dataSync Download files from a network
location Continue a user-initiated action
mediaPlayback Play an audio book, podcast, or music
mediaProjection Record a video of the device's display over a short period of time
phoneCall Handle ongoing phone call

Kotlin

Android 10 includes the following updates for Kotlin development.

Nullability annotations for libcore APIs

Android 10 improves the coverage of nullability annotations in the SDK for libcore APIs. These annotations enable app developers who are using either Kotlin or Java nullability analysis in Android Studio to get nullness information when interacting with these APIs.

Normally, nullability contract violations in Kotlin result in compilation errors. To ensure compatibility with your existing code, only the @RecentlyNullable and @RecentlyNonNull annotations are added. This means that nullability violations result in warnings instead of errors.

In addition, any @RecentlyNullable or @RecentlyNonNull annotations that were added in Android 9 are changing to @Nullable and @NonNull, respectively. This means that, in Android 10 and higher, nullability violations lead to errors instead of warnings.

For more information about annotation changes, see Android Pie SDK is now more Kotlin-friendly on the Android Developers Blog.

NDK

Android 10 includes the following NDK changes.

Improved debugging of file descriptor ownership

Android 10 adds fdsan, which helps you find and fix file descriptor ownership issues more easily.

Bugs related to mishandling of file descriptor ownership, which tend to manifest as use-after-close and double-close, are analogous to the memory allocation use-after-free and double-free bugs, but tend to be much more difficult to diagnose and fix. fdsan attempts to detect and/or prevent file descriptor mismanagement by enforcing file descriptor ownership.

For more information about crashes related to these issues, see Error detected by fdsan. For more information about fdsan, see the Googlesource page on fdsan.

ELF TLS

Applications built using the NDK with a minimum API level 29 can use ELF TLS instead of emutls. Dynamic and static linker support has been added to support this method of handling thread-local variables.

For apps built for API level 28 and lower, improvements have been implemented for libgcc/compiler-rt to work around some emutls issues.

For more information, see Android changes for NDK developers.

Runtime

Android 10 includes the following runtime change.

Mallinfo-based garbage collection triggering

When small platform Java objects reference huge objects in the C++ heap, the C++ objects can often be reclaimed only when the Java object is collected and, for example, finalized. In previous releases, the platform estimated the sizes of many C++ objects associated with Java objects. This estimation was not always accurate and occasionally resulted in greatly increased memory usage, as the platform failed to garbage collect when it should have.

In Android 10, the garbage collector (GC) tracks the total size of the heap allocated by system malloc(), ensuring that large malloc() allocations are always included in GC-triggering calculations. Apps interleaving large numbers of C++ allocations with Java execution might see an increase in garbage collection frequency as a result. Other apps might see a small decrease.

Testing and debugging

Android 10 includes the following improvements for testing and debugging.

Improvements for on-device system tracing

As of Android 10, you can specify limits for the size and duration of a trace when you perform an on-device system trace. When you specify either value, the system performs a long trace, periodically copying the trace buffer to the destination file while the trace is recorded. The trace completes when the size or duration limits that you specified are reached.

Use these additional parameters to test different use cases than you would test with a standard trace. For example, you might be diagnosing a performance bug that only occurs after your app has been running for a long period of time. In this case, you could record a long trace over an entire day, and then analyze the CPU scheduler, disk activity, app threads, and other data in the report to help you determine the cause of the bug.

In Android 10 and higher, trace files are saved in a format that can be opened with Perfetto, an open-source project for performance instrumentation and tracing. You can convert Perfetto trace files to the Systrace format.

TextClassifier improvements

Android 10 provides additional text classification functionality in the TextClassifier interface.

Language detection

The detectLanguage() method works similarly to previously-existing classification methods. It receives a TextLanguage.Request object and returns a TextLanguage object.

TextLanguage objects consist of a list of ordered pairs. Each pair contains a locale and a corresponding confidence score for the classification.

Suggested conversation actions

The suggestConversationActions() method works similarly to existing classification methods. It receives a ConversationActions.Request object and returns a ConversationActions object.

ConversationActions objects consist of a list of ConversationAction objects. Each ConversationAction object includes a potential suggested action and its confidence score.

Smart replies/actions in notifications

Android 9 introduced the ability to display suggested replies within a notification. Android 10 expands on this with the ability to include suggested intent-based actions. Furthermore, the platform is able to generate these suggestions automatically. Apps can still provide their own suggestions, or opt out of system-generated suggestions.

The API used to generate these replies is part of TextClassifier, and has also been directly exposed to developers in Android 10. Please read the section on TextClassifier improvements for more information.

If your app provides its own suggestions, the platform doesn't generate any automatic suggestions. If you don't want your app's notifications to display any suggested replies or actions, you can opt out of system-generated replies and actions by using setAllowGeneratedReplies() and setAllowSystemGeneratedContextualActions().