Android owners cry ‘you can’t be serious’ as Google removes beloved phone button in latest shake-up

GOOGLE has quietly removed a useful Android feature and it hasn’t gone down well with users.

The option is relatively small but was so “helpful” that Android fans have vented online.

Users are not pleased at all


Users are not pleased at allCredit: Getty

People thought the move might be an error that needs fixing but it turns out the change was deliberate.

It’s not the first time Google has annoyed users with changes recently, after people complained about the new Google Maps colours.

There was also uproar about Fitbit’s refreshed app, so much so the tech giant brought some features back.

This latest outrage has been sparked by tweaks to Android’s icon notifications.

Before, people could long press on an app’s icon on the home screen to show the latest notification.

A handy counter in the corner would also tell users if the app had other notifications waiting to be opened.

Tapping the notification would open it directly in the app – or you could swipe to dismiss it.

But fans have noticed in the latest version of Android, Android 14, the handy tool is gone.

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“Just to add my disappointment, this feature was so helpful!” one person wrote online.

“The removal of this feature was a bad move,” another commented.

“It improved notification visibility, and it was extremely intuitive.”

A third person complained: “You can’t be serious?! You guys DELIBERATELY removed this feature?! Are you stupid?!”

Some said the small but significant feature was so useful that they switched from iPhone to Android for it.

“This features is partly why I switched to Android,” a user said.

“It is the wrong move to remove this functionality.”

Google responded to users saying: “Thank you for reporting this issue.

“We have looked into the issue you have reported

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Google Drive declutters its home tab in latest redesign for Android


  • Google Drive’s new UI makes file search easier and faster by switching to a denser list view in the Suggested tab, displaying information like the file name and type more prominently.
  • The Notifications tab has been replaced by an Activity tab, which serves as a comprehensive hub for all document activities, including comments and access requests.
  • The new design is being rolled out for the Drive app on Android and iOS, but the availability will increase gradually because this is a phased rollout.

Google has spent the better part of 2023 giving Workspace products like Slides, Sheets, and Docs a healthy dose of AI-powered features. Now, the company has shifted its attention to Drive, another critical component at the center of its Workspace products. We recently reported about Google adding a new option to filter files by the mentioned collaborator using a new People drop-down. This addition to the UI is just one of the many changes Google had in store, because a new UI for the mobile app is rolling out now.

Google Drive’s Android app UI has remained fairly untouched for the last few months, with the only noteworthy changes being a tablet-friendly rearrangement of the buttons, and a Material You update for the web UI. Last week, we reported on a few quirky additions in the Android app, such as an odd floating action button (FAB) to launch the camera for document scanning stacked atop the New + button replacing the + FAB in the lower right corner. Google has now announced these changes officially alongside a few other tweaks, which should help people who use the app frequently.

Suggested documents are packed closer together

Source: Google 

Suggested documents are packed closer together

Google says its new UI is designed to make file search much easier and faster. To this effect,

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Create your own maps with the latest Google Earth update


  • Google Earth is an essential app for exploring our planet and outer space, now with new community features and creation tools for custom maps.
  • Mobile users will soon be able to create maps from their smartphones and tablets, with Android and iOS app updates rolling out progressively over the next week.
  • The new update focuses on the ease of sharing geospatial data, making it simpler for users to create and organize data, recognize new images, and share them.

Google Earth is one rare app we didn’t know we needed. It’s designed to give the curious among us a detailed look at the planet and outer space, and it works seamlessly on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge — perfect for binge-watching the fascinating, immersive views of our planet from above. You don’t have to splurge on this one to get started, even one of the cheapest Chromebooks would do. Now, Google is making its 3D cartography tool even better with new community features, on the web as well as mobile.

In its 18-year journey of greatness, the app has undergone a series of ramp-ups to enhance its robustness. In yet another feature addition, Google announced a landmark update to “facilitate easier collaboration and enhance user experience.” The update equips users, regardless of technology literacy level, with creation tools to make and share custom maps across web and mobile platforms.


Perhaps the biggest news here is the fact that mobile users will soon be able to create maps from their smartphones and tablets. Google says the updated Android and iOS apps with these capabilities will become available progressively through the next week.

Beyond that, the new update focuses on the ease of sharing geospatial data, which is in season since most companies have migrated most of their data to the cloud.

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Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1: Every new feature in Google’s latest update

Even though the stable release of Android 14 has yet to drop, Google went ahead and released the first beta of Android’s next release earlier this week. No, not Android 15, but rather Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1. QPR1 will be Android 14’s first quarterly platform release, an interim update that brings some new features and many bug fixes (but not any new APIs for developers). 

Android 14 QPR1 will likely be released for Pixel phones in December as part of that month’s Pixel Feature Drop, Google’s quarterly release of new Pixel-exclusive features. However, Android 14 QPR1 will also be incorporated into Android’s source code, so any OEM can pick the features they find appealing. Few, if any, device manufacturers will roll out software updates based on Android 14 QPR1, though, as they’ll instead choose to wait for Android 15, which will incorporate all changes from QPR1, QPR2, and QPR3.

That means if you want to experience what the upcoming update currently has to offer, you need to have a Pixel phone enrolled in the Android 14 QPR1 beta. If you’re curious about what’s new but don’t want to deal with any of the beta’s bugs, I’ve got a rundown of what to expect.

Note: this breakdown of features in Android 14 QPR1 is based on findings within the Beta 1 build. There will be additional betas, which could add, remove, or change some of these features.

Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1: Every new feature you can try

Reading something on the large screen of the Google Pixel Fold with a Dbrand leather skin

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

While not most new features are not explicitly highlighted by Google in its release notes, there are a number of user-facing features that are available for you to try with the QPR1 beta installed on your Pixel phone. Here’s what I found:

Overriding an app’s

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Latest Smart Launcher update brings themed icons to any Android phone

One of the major benefits of Android is extensive customization options. People on Android devices can change the default text, themes, or even the default launcher, by picking from some of the best in the business. While Nova Launcher often makes the news as the most popular third-party Android launcher, Smart Launcher has also emerged as a popular name in the segment. The developer’s latest update now adds a feature that even stock Android phones like the Pixel 7 don’t fully support yet — themed app icons for unsupported apps.

Google was found to be working on its own implementation of forced app icon theming with Android 13 QPR2 Beta 2 earlier this year. But as we found out a couple of months ago courtesy of Mishaal Rahman, this implementation is far from perfect right now. So if you’re still struggling to get all app icons to adapt to the system theme, Smart Launcher’s upcoming version 6.3 update is a decent option to check out.

The developers claim the new update will begin rolling out in Summer 2023, with no specific date provided. But since summer has technically begun, we shouldn’t be too far away from Smart Launcher version 6.3’s rollout. Among the notable features listed in the changelog is the launcher’s ability to apply a themed icon to any app icon on the device, even if the app’s developers haven’t enabled support yet.

Our favorite aspect here is that themed icons can come to practically any Android device using this custom launcher’s upcoming update. The Smart Launcher team shared a tweet to drive the point home, highlighting a Google Pixel 2 XL on Android 11 running themed app icons.

Smart Launch v6-3-Pixel 2XL

Here’s the entirety of the Smart Launcher v6.3 changelog:

  • Introducing the new Weather widget, a multi-page widget that displays forecasts
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Latest Google Play Store update gives you more reasons to spend money on games

Google’s Monthly System updates for Android are designed to improve user experience with the addition of new features. These updates are generally limited to routine patches for the Android system, Play Store, and Play Services. The July 2023 System Update, on the other hand, has contained more than just bug fixes, with an upcoming Google Wallet feature being detailed in the changelog and then disappearing mysteriously, only for a Google spokesperson to confirm its arrival later. Another addition has caught our eye among the list of changes, specifically related to the improved visibility of new offers and promos for games on the Play Store’s homepage.

We’ve spotted the mention of this promotional content feature within the July 2023 Google System Updates changelog, detailing how Android smartphones can now “see whether new events, updates, offers, and content are available within an app or game” from the Play Store’s home screen.

The feature already appears to have been live for some time on the web version of the Play Store, which also has the benefit of displaying more promotional content, whereas mobile users are restricted to single swipeable cards on top of the screen. Switching to landscape orientation offers a broader view of the available deals on games, however. These changes are part of the Google Play Store version 36.5 update, which began rolling out to devices on July 3.

These cards only appear on the Games tab in the Play Store (for now), with each card marked with “Special Event” on the top left. A bulk of these promos highlight some of the most popular mobile games in the business, including Roblox, Clash of Clans, Pokémon Go, etc. Meanwhile, navigating to the last card in the carousel takes you to a hub page containing all “offers & events.”


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