Android 12 – Google’s Latest Android OS Version

Android 12, which launched on the Pixel 6 series, is one of Google’s most significant initiatives in recent years, with a slew of new capabilities and a major design overhaul. If you have a compatible phone, you should be able to install the update. You shouldn’t have any big bugs or issues because it’s a full release.

In addition to the official release, Google ran one of the largest beta programs in company history, with a dozen OEMs pitching in. You can download and install the update using this technique, or by checking for updates in the phone’s settings now that it’s a stable release.

In separate periods, each OEM will release their own versions of Android 12 with their own skins. Visit our update tracker for additional updates on when your phone will be updated.

When will Android 12 be available for your phone?

The big news is Android 12’s enormous overhaul. Material You, the new design, combines many aspects into a single, cohesive design language that operates across the OS. Let’s take a look at each element separately.

Colors

The new redesign’s foundation coat of paint is color extraction. In essence, the OS pulls the colors from your wallpaper and uses them to theme your operating system. In the screenshot above, you can see how it appears. In a nutshell, you set a wallpaper, Android 12 extracts the colors, and your operating system then gets color cues from it.

The color changes occur throughout the OS, including in the Settings, Quick Settings tiles, and any app that supports Material You. On Pixel devices, the dialer, contacts app, and calculator are all examples.As shown in the video at the top of the article, it also works with widgets. As developers continue to add support, we’ll see more.

If desired, users can override the color extraction and choose their own color. Even though the OS favors mild, pastel colors over bright colors, it looks rather lovely. To make room for all of these new features, the Styles & Wallpapers app on Pixel phones was changed.

Widgets

In comparison to earlier Android versions, Android 12 places a greater emphasis on widgets. The widget selector has been totally redesigned to make scrolling and viewing easier. Widgets also feature a few new APIs to increase efficiency, interact with Material Design themes, and even come with new widgets in Android 12.

The new APIs assist developers in improving the appearance and functionality of widgets. Hopefully, it will motivate developers to update their widgets, as many of them still look the same as they did years ago. Plus, with Material You theming, personalizing widgets and making them blend in with your home screen will be a breeze. Since the introduction of resizable widgets in Android Honeycomb, Google has placed greater emphasis on widgets.

Quick Options

The Quick Settings were also given a major makeover. Larger, rounded rectangle buttons have replaced the smaller toggles. These new tiles function similarly to earlier toggles, allowing you to turn them on and off by tapping them. Also, there are new tiles for the camera and microphone, Google Pay, alarms, and smart home features, as well as a few other things.

A handful of the tiles have diverse functions. For example, the Internet tile now always displays a prompt and stores both mobile and Wi-Fi data. In most cases, it’s merely a cosmetic adjustment. The larger tiles, on the other hand, are simpler to read and hold more information. That, of course, comes at a cost in terms of space. Users who often utilize toggles will almost certainly require many pages.

Settings

The Settings menu received a makeover as well as a few small tweaks. The revamp is heavily influenced by Samsung’s One UI, with huge headers that take up a lot of real estate. On taller phones, it makes the top settings on any given page simpler to grasp. Android 12 comes with a new home screen called Silky Home. In the early developer previews, ADB access was needed to use it, but now it’s standard.

The addition of Safety & Emergency to the main Settings page is the only other notable update. It allows you to define things like an emergency contact and other details without having to dig deeper into the settings.

Changes in notifications

A number of minor modifications have been made to Android 12. Animations to smooth things out, a new always-on display that changes depending on whether or not you get alerts, slightly modified notifications, and other minor tweaks to make the OS feel more fluid, alive, and responsive are all on the list.

These modifications can be found throughout the OS in a variety of ways. When you plug in your phone, there is also a new charging animation that looks rather great.

This year, Google paid attention to notifications. They received a slight design update to match Android 12’s aesthetics, as well as under-the-hood adjustments to help apps launch faster when opened via a notification, as well as other tweaks to make them appear and feel better.

New features

Android 12 comes with a slew of new features. There are no knockout blows, but the majority of the new features have improved our quality of life, which we welcome. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new in Android 12.

Screenshots scrolling

Although scrolling screenshots have been there since before Android 12, having official support is a big plus. This feature was included in the third beta build and has remained ever since. It’s a straightforward task. To acquire a complete scrolling screenshot, take a screenshot as usual and then click the Capture More option. If you like, you can crop from there. It has also been made easier to add text and other things to screenshots.

AppSearch

AppSearch is a new feature that is quite useful. It basically allows you to look for things within apps. For years, it’s been a feature of other operating systems like Windows. In other words, the search engine may go within your apps and provide search results from within them. Searching for something you put in a note, for example, will take you to that note without requiring you to join the app.

The function is available offline and has a plethora of applications. You may even search for music, and the results will come from your preferred streaming app. AppSearch, according to Google, should be faster than in-device search and use less space.

Auto-rotation

For years, auto-rotation was determined by the accelerometer on your phone. When your phone is flipped on its side, it detects it, and the screen follows suit. Face detection for auto-rotation is now available in Android 12.

Basically, your phone looks at your face and rotates only if it detects that the phone’s orientation has changed. As a result, you may do things like sleep on your side in bed, and the phone will not rotate.

Wi-Fi sharing

This is a new feature that is rather small. The QR code approach is still available, as it was in prior Android versions. However, a little button has been added to the bottom of the screen that allows you to use Nearby Share to send your Wi-Fi credentials to someone else’s phone. When sharing with numerous people, it’s faster because you don’t have to hold your phone up for everyone to scan.

Mode for one-handed use.

One-handed mode is built into Android 12. It can be found by heading to System and then Gestures in the Settings menu. Everything is halved in size in this setting. It resembles multi-window mode, with the exception that the top half of the screen is blank. On taller phones, the one-handed mode makes it easier to access almost anything with one hand.

Shared media & content

This small but entertaining feature is new to Android 12. It’s a developer API that allows programs to share media across them. You’ll be able to copy and paste images from one app to another, for example.

It should also function with text that has been marked up (bold, italic, etc.), movies, and audio files, among other things. It would eliminate the need for a middleman when transferring photographs from one app to another.

Media player

You may easily change your audio source using the media player under Quick Settings. Simply press the button, and a list of all currently connected devices will appear. At the touch of a button, for example, you can switch from your Bluetooth speaker to your phone speaker.

Suggestions

It’s been a while since Google updated the recent apps area. This year, Google included suggestions for overviews. You’ll now receive ideas for things to do when you browse through the recent applications section. If you have a browser open, for example, your recent applications may recommend that you copy the URL of the page you’re seeing for easy sharing.

Other minor changes

A handful of new emoji, a screen dimming mode in the accessibility settings, updated gesture controls, and a rapid touch capability for some Pixel devices that lets you manage your phone from the back of your device were among the smaller updates. To learn more about those added features, click on the links above.

New features

There are so many changes under the hood in every version of Android that we can’t possibly describe them all. The under-the-hood updates largely consist of new APIs for developers that improve apps, but it’s mostly stuff you can’t see in the OS itself. Here are some of Android 12’s hidden features.

Combined auditory and haptic feedback

This feature is most likely familiar to you from gaming consoles. It’s noticeable when your controller shakes in response to a screen explosion. This capability is built-in to Android 12. When things happen on screen, game makers can make your phone vibrate. It can also be used for non-gaming purposes, such as synchronizing vibrations with personalized ringtones or watching movies.

Hibernation

Unused apps is a new feature in Android 12’s Settings menu.Apps that have been put to sleep because you haven’t used them in a certain amount of time have been moved to this new section.

All of the permissions for the apps in this section have been revoked, and they’re effectively doing nothing until you open them again. You can also disable this feature on an app-by-app basis if you choose.

APIs for Game Modes

For game developers, Android 12 offers new Game Mode APIs. For easier optimization, the new API allows developers to incorporate variable performance routines. For example, a developer can create a mode that reduces performance while preserving battery life, or a mode that maximizes performance while sacrificing battery life. The new API is also linked to Android’s planned Game Dashboard, which will provide a variety of gaming-related tools. Later this year, the Game Dashboard will be released.

Other minor adjustments

The majority of under-the-hood adjustments are straightforward and don’t necessitate entire paragraphs. Here is a list of the most important Android 12 changes that don’t need to be explained in great detail.

Apps that don’t support HEVC can have Android 12 convert them to AVC, a more widely available video compression format.

Image support for AVIF: AVIF is an image codec similar to PNG or JPEG. It claims JPEG-like quality at a significantly reduced file size. It makes use of the AV1 codec, which was initially released in Android 10.

Multi-channel audio: In passthrough and offload modes, Android 12 now supports MPEG-H. Up to 24 channels are now supported by audio mixers, resamplers, and effects.

Large and unusual display optimizations: In general, Android 12 improves support for televisions, foldables, and tablets. Notably, Google is also working on Android 12L, a new version of the OS that focuses on this. This version is expected to be launched later this year.

Material for universal splash screens: The Android experience has a lot of cohesion thanks to you. A splash screen is included as part of this, regardless of whether the developer supports it or not. If developers choose, they can change the splash screen.

Other app optimizations include Google preventing background programs from launching foreground services. There are also changes in latency and task allocation that could increase performance.

Smoother transitions and enhanced controls, depending on what content is in the picture, are some of the improvements to picture-in-picture mode.

Improvements to Project Mainline: Google announced that ART would be included in Project Mainline and updated through the Play Store. Other modules are being added as well.

Believe it or not, the list is considerably longer than this. More information is available on the Android 12 developer page.

Improvements in security and privacy

With security and privacy improvements in Android 12, Google has slowed down a little. Google usually offers a slew of minor updates. In recent years, though, Google has opted for more significant and far-reaching reforms.

Dashboard for Personal Data Protection

At Google I/O 2021, the Privacy Dashboard was a big deal. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. The dashboard, which you can access via the settings, displays which apps utilize specific permissions, when, and how frequently. A real dashboard with a pie chart showing how many permissions were used may be found at the front of the dashboard. After that, you can choose any category to see a breakdown of which apps used the permission and when they did so.

You have a couple of options from there. You can simply be aware of the information rather than ignore it. Another alternative is to select an app from the dashboard and go to the section of the settings where you can block the app’s permissions. We don’t expect many users to do this, but being able to monitor how and when all of your apps use permissions is quite useful.

Microphone and camera

Indicators for camera and microphone use are also included in Android 12. When an app accesses one of those features, a small microphone or camera indicator displays in the upper right corner of your phone screen. After the initial indicator disappears, a green dot remains to indicate that an app is still using it. It’s a simple and quick way to let the user know when the microphone or camera is turned on.

For increased security, both the camera and the microphone can be turned off. Google specifically added new toggles to the Quick Settings for this purpose. To entirely disable the camera or microphone, simply turn one of them off. We tested it with the camera app, and when the camera permission is turned off, a prompt appears.

Location approximation

The approximate location permission was added to Android 12 by Google. Apps with approximate location permission can get a rough notion of where you are, but not a precise position. It protects the user’s precise location from apps that don’t require it. You should be allowed to choose which permissions you want in any program that asks for your location.

A weather app is an example of where this is useful. Weather apps do not require your actual street location to display the weather in your area. The weather forecast is the same whether you’re at home or at the neighborhood grocery store. There are plenty of such examples, but the approximate location will significantly minimize the number of apps that know your location.

Security patches

There were also some minor security upgrades. We’ll make a list of them here.

Only privileged apps were allowed to access a device’s Netlink MAC address in Android 11. Google currently prohibits all apps from reading it in Android 12.

Changes have been made to Bluetooth permissions. Apps can now check for Bluetooth devices without asking for your address.

Refresh limitations have been implemented for device sensors that detect motion or movement. An app can only ping your accelerometer a certain number of times before Android 12 warns it to wait a minute.

Android Compute Core: Android 12 introduces a new security feature called Android Compute Core. We aren’t sure how that works, but Google claims that when using features like Live Caption, it separates cloud and on-device data.

More security and privacy enhancements can be found in our roundup or on the Android developer website.

Android 12 represents a significant shift in Google’s mobile strategy. Remember to read our review for more information, and click here to see the Android 12 Easter egg!