Android 4.4 KitKat Downloads UI leaks, reveals Holo Light theme

Android Downloads UI
Normally, when new Android versions are released to the world, Android fans such as ourselves don’t head to the Downloads app to look for any new goodies. However, when the Downloads app is about to undergo a complete graphical redesign, we pay attention. As we continue towards the next batch of Nexus devices and the inevitable Android 4.4 KitKat release, the pace for leaks has quickened. Let’s take a look at what we have this time around.

  • Pictured above, you can see the side by side differences between the leaked UI and the current Jelly Bean UI.
  • New Holo Light theme instead of Holo Dark. A white, light theme matches other core Google apps and seems to fit quite nicely with other leaks depicting a whiter Android UI.
  • The Downloads icon is now much cleaner and flatter.
  • The action bar also includes two new icons. The icon with the three lines most likely contains sorting options for sorting by file size or by date. ┬áThe four square dots icon is most likely for changing the view from displaying files in a list to cards, or tile view, similar to how Google Drive currently looks and functions as shown below.

Do you like the new Holo Light theme with flatter icons that seem to be the theme with Android 4.4? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Android Police

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TAGS: Android 4.4 KitKat , leaks

  • mfalber

    I liked the black because I felt like it used less battery.

    • Chris Chavez

      Only in AMOLED. Even still, I keep my brightness on max with my HTC One running Google Play Edition 4.3 and battery life is stellar. I’m sure it’ll only be better on the Nexus 4 :)

      • Michael Lee

        I love my HTC One’s screen! It looks so good with the blue and black status bar. I’m going to be sad if they change the icon colors to white in 4.4.

      • feztheforeigner

        You mean Nexus 5? :p

    • Leonardo Leal

      On AMOLED Black is the battery saver because each black is the pixel turned Off, because every pixel is the light source of it’s own. On LCD, White is the battery saver cause behind the screen we have a white backlight and the screen has no opacity… for It to turn black, the screens uses battery from making the screen opaque black so you can’t see the white from the backlight.

  • scoter man1

    It doesn’t really matter either way to me. I think I prefer dark ui’s because it provides less eyestrain in dim settings.

    • Chris Chavez

      Yeah, sometimes I check my phone at night and my eyeballs jump into the back of my skull. Lol. Hurts :/

      • scoter man1

        Especially if you were in a lit room and then pull it out in a dark room before it adjusts. I speak from experience.

        • Chris Chavez

          For me, I keep my brightness on max. ALWAYS.

          I know, I know… I’m pretty reckless like that. A regular Android bad boy.

          Ladies? O_o


          • Max

            how do you have any battery life? i keep my brightness on zero or on auto if its sunny always.

          • Boris Breynin

            *looks around* slow night huh lol

          • Epic Tea

            i know some youtube reviewers who say they put their android devices on 80% Brightness and get all day battery, how is that even possible? when in Doors I put it on 40% which is plenty bright, especially at night. When I am out though I do have it on 60 – 80% sometimes even 90% but 100%?? Thats just crazy.

      • Unorthodox

        That’s what I experience every night when I open a Google’s app. Plus my kids wake up if I do it their room. Simple click on Gmail turns you into a damn Prometheus.
        This light theme is a step back for me, I really hope I’ll be able to choose. And make the Gmail black too!

      • asd

        You should use screen filter it helps loads

  • supremekizzle

    Attn: Chris Chavez, did I or did I not predict this? Actually, I recall betting my left nut that the next version of Android would reflect Google Now.

    • Chris Chavez

      Did you? I’ve been hoping for a long time Google would move to a lighter (read: whiter) Holo card-like UI.

      I know a lot of people actually prefer the current dark, Tron UI, so it’d be nice if there was a dark or light theme chooser. Although, probably unlikely. :/

      • Derek Ross

        You know… I’m down with the new cardified (woot new word) UI that’s been slowly coming to Google apps for a while. For it to creep into Android’s core is 100% alright with me. #HOLOYOLOCARDS

        • Chris Chavez


      • Epic Tea

        i love the dark but I agree I see it moving more toward a google now type look, which is really their trademark, and after doing a double take on the screenshot above I am starting to think I will like it more than the Dark Holo.

    • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

      Congrats on keeping your left nut.

      • Boris Breynin

        lets be realistic for a moment and say he lost his left nut in a bet who the hell will come and collect it anyways lmao!

  • Chris Chavez

    A small change, and from an app nobody really ever uses. Still nice.

    Anyone notice a lack of software nav buttons in the leaked screenshot? Strange.

    • Derek Ross

      I noticed that too. I assumed that it’s a photo taken and not an actual screenshot since the image is skewed to the side a bit. Maybe the leaker tried to show a little of the phone as possible or just missed it?

      • Montisaquadeis

        No notification bar either so yeah its been taken with a camera and not a screenshot from the device itself.

    • Epic Tea

      No one uses Google Drive??? You have to be Kidding Google Drive is extremely useful I use it all the time, if you actually start to use Google’s Ecosystem you start to realize how far ahead of everyone else it is. Also the UI looks 10x better than stupid Dropbox’s ugly interface

    • bobfrea

      so its a photo, but has been cropped (not just a miss) to not show top/bottom. hmmm…

  • kashtrey

    Am I the only one that seems to prefer holo dark? I’m all for clean but you can be clean and sleek in black.

    • techlte

      Nope, you’re not.. Dark all the way for me too. I’m hopeful we’ll be given the choice between the two.

      • kashtrey

        Yeah, I wish it was a system setting.

    • Epic Tea

      same, i honestly like the Nexus UI as is, although after taking a second look it does seem more polished, so idk I think it’s too early to make judgements based on 1 or 2 screenshots.

  • gmaninvan

    I really hope they give us a choice on this. Dark is the way to go imo. I personally think that Google should offer dark and light themes for all of their apps. This is especially important on AMOLED screens where blacks save battery due to not utilizing pixels

    • ChristianMcC

      If the developer takes consideration to that fact, which many don’t :-(

      • gmaninvan

        Actually a lot of them do. Google is a notable exception. If they did it then I think the majority of holo apps would follow suit

  • ineptone

    I absolutely detest light themes. Not only is it less aesthetically appealing, but it’s harder on the eyes and the battery. Dark themes should definitely be the norm.

    • zourite

      Light colors are EASIER on battery life with LCD screens (not with AMOLED though).

      • EarlyMon

        Only marginally better on LCD – a few percent – but otherwise, yeah, it’s far bigger (and worse) difference on AMOLED.

  • AP

    Anybody else notice the Verizon like LTE symbol? Does that mean evil RED is getting a nexus as well?

    • Derek Ross

      That’s my screenshot showing “how Google Drive currently looks and functions”.

      • AP

        Thanks. Was wondering why the lack of cohesion with white and blue status bar icons. No disrespect to your preferences.

    • Epic Tea

      no but sprint is! :)

  • vcarvega

    I love the design language introduced with Google Now and further developed in the music, books, and movie apps. Even gmail is a lot cleaner now. I look forward to seeing Google further enhance their design language across the system.

    • VicVicVic

      I agree. I like how Google apps are starting to look like they are made by the same company that has the same design theme.

  • dasny97

    would be nice if there was a dark holo for when your in a darker setting and a lighter for a brighter setting kinda like the GPS

  • tom-e

    My god there had better be an option, otherwise my Gnex will have to last until the Nexus 6 or beyond… :(

  • CGS

    Much prefer darker Android look.

    • Daniel Walsh

      White is so better and it does not affect battery life.

      • Jason Farrell

        Yes, it does, for SAMOLED.

        • Lou_Sasshole

          That’s true but then everyone with a samoled phone is saying the sane thing about black themes lol

  • Barry D.

    There goes my battery life. What is Google thinking?

    • JasonWhite

      My first thought as well.

    • malcmilli

      i dont know, maybe only for amoled devices. My Evo LTE had a light theme on sense, and it didnt have any less battery than my nexus 4.

    • zourite

      Light themes means more battery life with LCD screens. Only LED displays consume more to produce white.
      Why do you think iOS gets lighter and lighter ?

      • Barry D.

        I have a S3 so it will definitely hurt my battery life.

        • malcmilli

          that’s if you s3 even gets this bad boy.

  • malcmilli

    i love change, my only issue with stock (besides camera) is the menus always look dull.

    • NYCHitman1

      Dull in what aspect though?

      • malcmilli

        i mean its fine, nothing is wrong with it, its simple and plain. But I wouldnt mind a little pizaz though. You know me. Always with the flair.

        •;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

          Sounds like you need a Bedazzler? jk… :-p

          • malcmilli

            lol maybe so. Its fine but i wouldnt be mad if it became a little more than just white text on a black background.

  • Mister5796

    I hope there is an option to change between Light Holo and Dark Holo

  • MITM

    All I read in the title was Android 4.4 Kit Kat Leaks DOWNLOAD


    Gonna take a cold shower now

    • VicVicVic

      That is exactly what I read. The title isn’t misleading, per se, but it is written in a way that is slightly confusing.

      • toomuchgame441

        Well it was written by Derek Ross

  • Peter Marino

    It’s about time they make their interface nice looking. They hire a nice design team with all the money they’re making from forcing website owners to use AdWords after their Hummingbird algo update! $_$

  • David Pat

    Google can’t do more than change some colors and icons. Most OEMs will never update their phones.

    • martin carlosena

      I hear you, but its going to have to happen at some point.

  • NexusMan


  • Jason Farrell

    Holo Light’s not bad – especially in daylight – but on AMOLED displays I still want the option to switch to battery-saving holo dark, else theme workarounds are needed.

    • VicVicVic

      Does a white background usually work better than a black background in direct sunlight? That was the initial question in my mind when I saw the images posted above. I saw your comment and thought I’d reply, as you likely have more experience than I do with using smartphones while under sunlight. Thanks.

      • Jason Farrell

        White does seem easier on the eyes in direct sunlight, yeah. The only two apps I’ve used in sunlight lately are both holo-light now: Maps and Music.

  • Wozn2

    Sounds like the KitKat announcement is going to be a pretty boring reveal – when it comes we’ll know pretty much everything.

    • VicVicVic

      I don’t expect major UI changes from KitKat. After all, it’s only a incremental versiom, so we’ll probably have to wait until Android 5.0 to see major UI overhauls. That said, I am happy with the current UI in Android and can’t imagine why I would want a major overhaul at the moment.

      From what I’m gathering, KitKat is mainly for under-the-hood changes and for Google to update services outside of the main OS so that older Android versions can receive software updates.

  • Mirko Schwamm

    New holo design is awesome!

  • Boris Breynin

    the white looks all stale and ghostly lol

  • martin carlosena

    It looks great to me. Nice and modern!

  • shmigga

    The white looks bad. Hopefully they give us the option to change this.

  • DDroid45

    it sjust seems so boring, it might make the OS run faster and smoother which is welcomed but dam, its so plaaah, dont even know what word to use

  • Epic Tea

    At first glance I was like “Gross!!” but after looking closer it looks much more professional, I think the human nature of hating change like most do is just nagging us, plus I am sure there will be roms for people that want the Dark Holo UI.

  • alexguitar

    Sucks for people with AMOLED screens… Sent from my awesome HTC One.

    • Han Cnx

      Ok, so apply a different theme.

      • alexguitar

        That might be easier said than done. Sometimes there isn’t an option to change the theme without some trickery. Hangouts for example, doesn’t have a dark theme.

  • IOS is for winners

    It is starting to look like iOS, good for Android!

    • Han Cnx

      Not really. iOS looks horrible.

    •;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

      Really? Hmmm… Maybe that’s because iOS is starting to look like Android? Pull down quick settings & a default theme eerily similar to Androids.

  • Han Cnx

    Much better. I’m really done with the dark techy-look of Android. Really love the design of all the major Google apps such as Now (the design, not what it does, of course), Maps, and the Play Store. (The design again, not the boneheaded way it treats the top left navigation to not back up to the previous screen (say, existing search results) but go all the way to the initial screen. Combined with the ‘never the same function’ of the actual back button, this remains a mess.

  • jpchopper

    I’d bet there’s a selection between dark and light themes; like Google maps perhaps where it’s dark theme at night but light theme during day

    • Gideon Waxfarb

      I hope so. I don’t care much about cosmetics, but I kinda think all that white would hurt my eyes after awhile.

      • No_Nickname90

        Yes. I would use the light theme during the day, then the dark theme during the night.

        Ooo!! I’m imagining some mod that changes the themes during certain times of the day.

  • uniquename72

    What I really want: List views with no icons at all. I’m tired of having to scroll to see anything at all. Wasted real estate on a screen as small as my S4 isn’t okay.

    G+ is really terrible thanks to this, and it looks like they’re going to expand it. :-(

  • SoniaMartins

    The stock album app needs an overhaul. Shouldn’t take a few seconds after first opening for my albums to finally show. For now I have to use another app, hoping that won’t be the case for much longer.

    • No_Nickname90

      You’re complaining how long it takes to open the app!? My gosh!! What about after the app opens!? It’s SO hideous. Like there is NO organization. It’s just squares of pictures that make no sense to me.

      Someone pointed me to using QuickPic. So I just use that when using a stock ROM.

      • SoniaMartins

        I agree it is ugly and completely disorganized. But there is no excuse for how long it takes for albums to load… I would expect this on older phones/OS’s but not the most recent of both. I’d assume if they’re going white in their default apps that the look of the gallery will change accordingly.

        I use QuickPic for my pictures, it’s a huge improvement. Only downside is if you want to edit pictures you either need to go back to the gallery app or have ANOTHER app for editing. But for general album app functionality it is fantastic.

        • No_Nickname90

          That is true with the editing. I have PicSay Pro. I just use that for all my editing needs.

          The only thing I use the stock Gallery for is viewing photos when you click on a link or something to view the photo. I’ve gotten used to the location of the share button.

          It’s hidden in my app drawer. =.3

  • Samuel Serafim

    I loved. I have some Androids with me and the most beautiful skin is my galaxy Note 8, because it is the only Holo white, while my asus and Sonys are holo dark.
    Anyway, its much better to let the owner to decide if he want dark or white.