Google sets down ground rules for notch support on Android P

In the lead-up to the launch of its Pixel 3 smartphones (which allegedly include a notch-sporting Pixel 3 XL), Google has posted a Developers Blog entry detailing its rules for display cutouts, and how they'll be supported on its upcoming Android P operating system.

According to Android System UI product manager Megan Potoski, Google's rules for cutouts were drawn up in an effort to ensure that developers' apps would be cutout-ready, asking them to consider such things as how their "content is displayed relative to the cutout".

The good news for those developing for Android P is that by default "the status bar will be resized to be at least as tall as the cutout and your content will display in the window below". Google states that "the app's window is allowed to extend into the cutout area if the cutout is fully contained within a system bar".

For developers, this means all app windows "will be letterboxed so that none of your content is displayed in the cutout area", regardless of whether they're in landscape or full-screen mode.

Hard rules for hardware

In terms of hardware, Google has declared that "devices must ensure that their cutouts do not negatively affect apps", adding that "devices may only have up to one cutout on each short edge of the device". 

This will ensure that we "won't see multiple cutouts on a single edge, or more than two cutouts on a device", and that we "won't see a cutout on the left or right long edge of the device".

Another rule set by Google states that: "In portrait orientation, with no special flags set, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout."

Aside from these stipulations, Google has stated that hardware manufacturers "can place cutouts wherever they want" on their devices.

We’re sure most people would agree that multiple notches sounds horrible, so we’re quietly glad that Google is limiting the number that Android P will officially support.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.