Google is rolling out an improved user interface for the Android phone dialer

Google recently updated the Phone app to streamline the look of the Android dialer. As a phone app beta tester, this writer has been making these changes for a while now, but they are now rolling out to those who choose not to beta test apps on their phones. Of course, the advantage of being a beta tester is that you are the first to discover new features or new UI designs and more.

The old dialer UI would show the name and number you’re calling at the top of the screen with six options in the middle, arranged in two rows of three icons each. The top row contained Mute, Keypad and Phone. Directly below it were icons for Add Call, Video Call, and Hold. At the bottom center of the screen was a single button for calling or hanging up an active call. Pressing the keypad icon opens the numeric keypad on the bottom 40% of the screen.

Google is cleaning up the Android dialer UI in the Phone app

After the update there are only four icons when you call and they are all in the bottom third of the screen where they take up one row. In order, these icons are Keyboard, Mute, Phone, and More. You see, Google has brilliantly taken away three of the icons and put them in a button called “More” to save some space. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when they came up with that idea. Tap More and icons for Hold call, Video call and Add call appear.

And now, when you press the keypad button, the numeric keypad opens higher up on the screen, leaving the original four icons fully visible. This should now be available as long as you are using version 98.x of the Phone app. Go to to see which version your phone has Institutions > Applications > View all XXX apps and scroll down to Phone. Tap on Phone and scroll to the bottom of the screen and you will see the version number of the app. For the record, my phone is running version 100.0 and is in public beta.

The new and improved dialer removes the floating box that would obscure the content on the screen

And there is another big change. If you’re on a call but need to open an app or get online, swipe up from the bottom of the call screen to go to your home screen and open a floating box with options like Back to call, which returned you to the call screen; Mute, which speaks for itself; Telephone; and End call. But this floating box got in the way of the content you looked at during the conversation. So with the update, if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen during a call, a little pill with a phone icon appears next to the time in the top left corner of the screen.

The pill contains a timer that counts how long you have been talking. To end the call, mute the call, turn the speaker on or off, or add another caller, tap the pill and return to the conversation screen from where you can make any changes you want to the conversation. And by putting this pill in the right place, Google ensures that the content you’re viewing during a conversation isn’t obscured by a floating box. Sure it floats, but who wants to keep getting it out of the way?

It may not seem like these are earth-shattering changes, but they do save some screen space, they make the user interface look better, and they may even save you some time.

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