Each year, Google releases a major platform update for Android. This year’s upgrade is Android P, and with it is an updated version of the popular stock Pixel Launcher. All Pixel devices run the Pixel Launcher out of the box, and while the latest version can already be ported to other Android devices, the next release could gain a demanded feature.
Pixel smartphones are kept up to date with the latest version of Google’s Pixel Launcher like it’s a regular app. This launcher took the place of the Google Now Launcher almost two years ago when Pixel came about. Though it hasn’t changed all that much, a future Android P beta release for the Pixel phones could bring a manual theme switch for toggling between dark and light themes. The topic was first spotted on the Google Issue Tracker by Android Police, where someone asked for the feature and a Google employee marked the request as fixed.
Currently, Pixel devices switch between dark and light themes based on the wallpaper set to the homescreen background. This feature was introduced in a prior update and is not new by itself. However, soon, users will be able to manually change the user interface elements to their preference regardless of wallpaper thanks to an included switch. This will be an option in settings that once adjusted, will set the theme of your preference.
For those of you enjoying the automatic theme function, it’s possible this option will remain. It’s also possible that other phones with other launchers might gain the functionality in the future. If the manual option is not available in the next beta release slated for July, it’ll appear in stable Android 9.0 after preview 5 this fall and on the upcoming Pixel 3 phones. Now all we need is a system-wide dark theme on Android, just like the one that appeared on Wear OS a few months back.