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Your Android phone's keyboard could soon get a whole new (dark) look

Gboard
(Image credit: Google)

Although you use it all the time, you might not give a great deal of thought to your Android keyboard – but Google is certainly giving its Gboard keyboard the attention it deserves. The company is busy developing new features and options that will make the keyboard even greater.

With the impending release of Android 11, Google is testing new features in the beta version of Gboard, but a delve into the code of the app gives a greater insight into what's on the horizon for the keyboard.

For anyone running the Gboard 9.6 beta under the beta version of Android 11, Google has already enabled the new Emoji 13.0 characters which are yet to be fully supported. A deep dive into the code of the Gboard APK by 9to5Google also shows that there's good news in store for fans of dark mode.

To match the existing Default Light theme, version 9.6 of the app also features a new Default Dark theme. These two themes will be used in conjunction with a new toggle System Auto that will enable Gboard to match the systemwide colour scheme used by Android.

Dark lenses

There has also been a slight tweak to the font used on the keyboard, with the Google Sans typeface now being used in place of the current Roboto. The final new feature that's been spotted is the addition of a shortcut to Google Lens in Gboard's shortcut bar which functions as a quick way of accessing the app.

As these options are only available in the beta version of Gboard, it is possible that they will change before getting a full public release – and it's possible they will not even make it to the release version of the app.

If you would like to take part in the beta program for Gboard and get to try out new features before they are released to the general public, you can find out more and sign up here. The beta of Gboard is available to download from Google Play.

Via Android Police

Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fuelled by technology, music and nature.


Having written for websites and magazine since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.


Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy.