In recent weeks, Android Messages has been redesigned with a Google Material Theme and dark mode, while also gaining a Messages for web client. Version 3.6 is now rolling out with advanced search and a new Material icon. Other new features include contact sharing and automatic previews.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

New Material icon

Like Google Contacts, Duo, and Phone, Android Messages now has an updated app icon to match the rest of its Material Theme. It sports a lighter shade of blue and more rounded messaging icon.

Android Messages

Advanced search

Announced earlier this week, the updated search functionality with filters is rolling out with version 3.6. Tapping the magnifying icon slides up a new page with your most frequently contacted “People” underneath a rounded search bar.

Users can still search by phrase, but tapping on a contact will show all active conversations with that person, grids of Photos and Videos, as well as shared Places and Links. A Categories carousel on the main search page also allows users to filter by content type.

Automatic previews

In the past, Android Messages would provide page previews for URLs in chat. The app can now provide similar automatic previews for street addresses in the form of a card that includes a cover image. Users have the option under “Automatic previews” to “Show only web link previews” or the new “Show all previews.”

People & options renamed

The first option in the overflow menu of every conversation has been renamed from “People & options” to “Details” or “Group details,” when appropriate. In practice, this is just a rebrand, though the menu itself adds an “App settings” shortcut to open in-app settings. The option to theme the color of messages is still absent.

Contact sharing

The ever-expanding list of content you can share in Android Messages now includes contacts. A new “Tap to share a contact” will open Google Contacts and lets you select an entry to share in your current conversation. We’ve managed to enable this feature, but it’s not yet rolled out.

<string name=”c2o_category_contact_view_description”>Tap to share a contact</string>

Android Messages

How to update?

Version 3.6 of Android Messages is rolling out now via the Play Store. We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model moving forward is perilous given Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

Dylan contributed to this article

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: