Flutter 3.16: Enhanced Performance and Material 3 Embrace

Flutter 3.16, the latest release of Google’s cross-platform UI toolkit, brings a wave of exciting features and enhancements, empowering developers to create more performant, visually appealing, and accessible apps. Let’s delve into the key highlights of this groundbreaking update:

Material 3 Takes Center Stage

Material 3, Google’s latest design system, takes center stage in Flutter 3.16, becoming the default visual style for Flutter apps. This marks a significant shift towards a more modern and expressive design language, offering a refreshing aesthetic and enhanced user experience.

Impeller: Turbocharging Performance on Android

The introduction of Impeller, a new rendering engine for Android, marks a pivotal moment in Flutter’s performance journey. Impeller, designed with a Vulkan backend, significantly improves Flutter app performance on Vulkan-capable devices, delivering smoother animations, faster frame rates, and reduced rendering latency.

Accessibility Improvements

Flutter 3.16 places a strong emphasis on accessibility, ensuring that apps are inclusive and usable by everyone. The new Text Scaler class empowers developers to scale text sizes consistently across different screen sizes and device configurations, catering to users with varying visual needs.

Predictive Back Navigation for Android 14

Flutter 3.16 introduces support for Predictive Back Navigation for Android 14, enhancing the user experience by anticipating the user’s intent when navigating back through the app. This feature seamlessly integrates with Flutter’s navigation system, providing a more intuitive and consistent user experience.

Support Material 3 motion

Improvements to Material 3 motion include the addition of Easing and Durations classes. Material 2 curves have been renamed to include the word “legacy” and will eventually be deprecated and removed.

Add additional options in the edit menu

On native iOS, users can now select text and initiate a share menu that provides several standard services. In this release, we’ve added the look up, search, and share options.

SelectionArea updates

Flutter’s SelectionArea is updated to support native gestures associated with a single or double click using a mouse, and long pressing on a touch device. These new gestures are available by default with SelectionArea and SelectableRegion.

  • Single click: Sets the collapsed selection at the clicked position.
  • Double click: Select the word at the clicked position.
  • Double click + drag: Extends the selection in word blocks.
  • Long press + drag: Extends the selection in word blocks.

MatrixTransition animation

A new MatrixTransition widget allows transforms when creating animated transitions. Based on the current animation value, you can provide a matrix transformation that is applied to the child widget to create effects like the one in the following GIF.

Scrolling Updates

Flutter 3.16 brings further enhancements to the scrolling capabilities introduced in previous versions. The 2D scrolling foundation now supports KeepAlive widgets, providing developers with more flexibility in managing widget lifecycles within scrollable areas. These updates improve the performance and usability of scrollable interfaces in Flutter apps.


Flutter Games Toolkit

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing community around casual game development. Tens of thousands of games have been published using Flutter, from simple but fun puzzles to more complex arcade games.


Flutter timeline events on Chrome DevTools

Flutter Timeline events are now exposed in the performance panel of Chrome DevTools.


Mouse scroll wheel support

While optimizing Wonderous to meet Android’s large screen guidelines, one issue we discovered was that the mouse scroll wheel didn’t work well on tablets or foldables. It was well known that the user had to move the scroll wheel a significant amount for the screen to respond.


App extensions

Flutter can now be used to target some iOS app extensions. This means that you can draw the UI for certain types of iOS app extensions using Flutter widgets. This doesn’t work for all types of app extensions because there might be limitations to the API (for example, home screen widgets) or memory.

macOS Video Player

We have added macOS support to the video player plugin, allowing developers to play videos on a widget surface.


DevTools extensions

The new DevTools extensions framework enables:

  • Package authors to build custom tooling for their package that is surfaced directly in DevTools.
  • Package authors to write powerful tools that leverage existing frameworks and utilities from DevTools.
  • Dart and Flutter developers who are debugging an app with DevTools to get access to tools that are specific to their use cases (as determined by their app’s dependencies and which dependencies provide DevTools extensions).

Additional Enhancements

Flutter 3.16 also brings a range of additional enhancements, including:

  • First package ecosystem virtual summit
  • Cloud-based Google Maps styling
  • Camera X improvements
  • Expanded support for Material 3 and iOS app extensions
  • Updated dependencies, including Dart 3.2


Flutter 3.16 marks a significant step forward in the evolution of Flutter, delivering a compelling combination of performance improvements, design enhancements, and accessibility advancements. With Material 3 at the forefront, Impeller poised to revolutionize Android performance, and a renewed focus on accessibility, Flutter 3.16 empowers developers to create exceptional cross-platform apps that are both visually stunning and accessible to all.

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