Android P’s first developer preview has changed a lot of what we’ve come to know and love on the OS, and we’re still finding a lot more. One of the most notable changes Google has made so far regards the volume slider, as it’s been shifted from the top of the display to the side.
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A move like this isn’t unprecedented, as Google quietly shifted the power menu to this same location alongside the launch of its latest Pixel smartphones. However, there’s clear motivation for moving the volume sliders — better supporting notched displays.
Support for displays with a notch is clearly a focus in Android P, as we’ve seen evidenced multiple times already. By moving the volume slider from the top of the display to the side, Google certainly avoids the issue of the notch, which is good to see. However, there’s a lot more that’s new here beyond the new location and visual redesign.
First and foremost, there’s a new button underneath the volume slider itself which toggles between different ringer modes. It has options for ring, vibrate, and mute. The volume icon beneath the slider can also be used to quickly mute the volume.
What’s quite interesting, and possibly a little concerning, is how the ringer acts with this new design. By default, I could only change the media volume, requiring a trip to the settings (quickly accessible by long-pressing the ringer toggle) and change the volume from there. When the ringer was going off, I could also change the ringer volume. Presumably, this is meant to be contextually based on the app you’re in, but so far, it doesn’t seem to work very well.
The most notable feature here, however, is the new “media output” option. Using this, users have quick access to their wireless audio accessories. By tapping this button, you can connect or disconnect to paired Bluetooth devices without ever going into the settings menu. Worth noting is that, when you disconnect, that device still stays in this menu.