Google’s release of Android 9 Pie yesterday brought with it the final release of an update that has been seeing steady developer preview releases for months now and while it came earlier than many had expected, it’s great to see any big Android update arrive. Unfortunately, the very fact that it arrived what feels to us to be earlier than expected may explain one glaring omission – Digital Wellbeing, one of the features touted as the big improvement added to Android 9 Pie, is simply missing.
For those unfamiliar with Digital Wellbeing, this is a feature that allows users to keep tabs on how they are using their phones with graphs and statistics aimed at helping them have a better understanding of whether they are using their devices, or specific apps, too often. It’s a noble cause and one that the likes of Apple and Facebook are also trying to make headway in, and for whatever reason, Google didn’t manage to get it into Android 9 Pie ready for launch day.
Google does, however, have a beta version of the feature available for anyone who owns a Pixel or Pixel 2 device and is willing to sign up, and thanks to the folks over at XDA-Developers, there is also a way to ignore all that and get it running on other Android 9 Pie devices, too.
XDA-Developers explains that when people sign up to the beta, their Pixel downloads an app that replaces a placeholder app, making everything work just fine. Here’s what you need to have in place to get in on that even if you are using an Essential Phone or OnePlus 6, the two other devices capable of running Android 9 Pie at this time. Oh, and you’ll need to be rooted, too.
According to XDA-Developers, these are the requirements for Digital Wellbeing to work:
- Android Pie (Android 9)
- com.google.android.feature.WELLBEING defined as a platform feature (solved by adding an XML defining it in /system/etc/sysconfig)
- com.google.android.feature.PIXEL_EXPERIENCE defined as a platform feature (solved by adding an XML defining it in /system/etc/sysconfig)
- Installation as a privileged system app because of some of the permissions it requires (such as the new Android Pie permission android.permission.OBSERVE_APP_USAGE)
- Defining the privileged app permissions it requires due to restrictions introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo (solved by adding an XML defining them in /system/etc/permissions)
Be sure to check out the full post over on XDA-Developers to get the lowdown on the root requirements, achievable thanks to Magisk, and get started.
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