One of the biggest gripes I’ve had about Android over the years is just how slow the sharing menu is. Not long ago, Google mentioned that fixing the menu was a “big job,” but a priority for the company. Now, the first beta for Android Q is delivering a whole new sharing menu which is both faster, and a bit more useful too.

The first big change you’ll see in the Android Q sharing menu is just how fast it is compared to previous versions of the OS. Even with plenty of apps installed, the menu loads up easily twice as fast as the one on Android Pie. It’s a very welcome improvement from that aspect alone.

Further, Android Q also improves the sharing menu by adding a copy button to the top of the menu when sharing links. If you share from Chrome or any application where a link is being sent, a copy button and URL preview will be shown at the top of the sharing menu. It’ll be nice to no longer have to dig into the sharing menu to find the “Copy to Clipboard” option that moves every time.

Android Q’s sharing menu is much faster

Google also detailed further in the original Android Q blog post how the update changes the sharing menu. Google has added a new “Sharing Shortcuts” API to Android Q which allows apps to send the sharing information over to the menu before a user goes to share something, allowing the menu itself to still load immediately.

Developers can publish share targets that launch a specific activity in their apps with content attached, and these are shown to users in the share UI. Because they’re published in advance, the share UI can load instantly when launched.

The new Sharing Shortcuts will replace Direct Share going forward, but the APIs will be backward compatible. Previous versions of Android will continue using Direct Share, but developers will need to update their apps to take advantage of Sharing Shortcuts on Q. The ShortcutInfo API allows for both features to be integrated into an app.

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Ben Schoon

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