Android 10 makes Ambient Display inaccessible via 'double-tap to check phone' & 'Lift to check phone' on Pixel phones

Android 10 is upon us. The OS has just started rolling out to a handful of devices that include Google Pixels, Essential Phone and the Redmi K20 Pro in all of its stable glory.

The OS, as usual, brings a wealth of new features to these devices, changes to the UI compared to previous versions, improvements to existing features, and what not. But no, all that glitters isn’t gold folks!

Redmi-K20-Pro
The Redmi K20 Pro

Fresh from publishing a post about an issue users of the GoPro app are experiencing after upgrading their devices to Android 10, it’s now emerging that there are even more issues with the new OS.

Apparently, early adopters say the update to Android 10 not only adds many interesting features, but it also makes Ambient Display inaccessible via the usual options of ‘double-tap to check phone’ and ‘Lift to check phone’ on some Google Pixel phones.

Has anyone noticed that “double-tap to check phone” and “lift to check phone” no longer shows the ambient display in Android 10 update? In order to show it now, you have to enable “always on”. Both double tapping and lifting to check phone now only shows the lock screen display right away which is really unfortunate. I would think Google wouldn’t have changed this, but maybe they’re getting ready for Pixel 4’s Face ID.
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Yeah I noticed that. It sucks. If was nice to check the time at night by just lifting the phone.
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Prior to the update to Android 10, double-tapping on the screen would reveal the Ambient Display and its contents that include notifications, time, and battery percentage. This was also true with the lift to check phone option.

After the switch to Android 10, none of these options works as expected even when enabled. Instead, only the lock screen shows when one double-taps the screen or lifts up the phone. It’s unclear whether this is just how Google wants the feature to work or whether its actually a bug.

Ambient-Display-in-Android-10-broken
Android 10 Ambient Display is broken (Source)

Apparently, the update to Android 10 not only changes how Ambient Display works on Pixel phones but also breaks the Face Unlock feature on supported handsets, which is even more annoying for users who rely heavily on these features.

Some users also say the update has removed battery percentage that one could see in the pull-down menu. Not cool, Google.

Thoughts on Android 10 now that it’s released: 1) I hate that they removed pickup-to-wake ambient display, and 2) why did they remove battery percentage from the pull-down menu?
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After Update to Android 10: Ambient Display Gone, Face Unlock Gone.
Pixel XL and Pixel 2XL. Please Bring it back ??????
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Based on some reports from weeks ago, it seems this has been the case throughout Android Q beta program and Google has actually been notified about it. But as usual, many more need to submit their feedback on this to capture Google’s attention.

Could the fact that Google has done nothing about it imply that it’s actually how Ambient Display is supposed to work in Android 10? Well, your guess is as good as ours at this point.

There are many who have feedbacked to Google over the course of the Android 10 beta program to restore the Ambient Display behavior to what it was like in Pie. I seriously hope that they will at least give users a way to select the old behaviour, especially for OG Pixel users with no Always On Displays. Most of the entries on Google’s Issue Tracker list this as a bug but with rather low priorities. Now that Android 10 is official, if more people raise this issue we might have a chance to get their attention to. Thanks for submitting your feedback.
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Interestingly, though, some users prefer it this way, which is probably the group the search giant could be targeting with this minor tweak to the Ambient Display unless it’s a bug.

For me this is fine. Pixel 3 on Android 10
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Google hasn’t responded to this development, so, for now, we still haven’t determined whether it’s a bug or not. For the sake of the affected persons, though, we hope the search giant will revert the functioning of Ambient Display back to what it was with Android Pie.

We will keep an eye on it and update this post if and when it does, for now, your only options might be to stay off the feature or learn to live with it as it is.

NOTE: For more Android 10-related coverage, click here.

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Hillary Keverenge

A techy. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.