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Android 12 announced: all-new design, Privacy Dashboard and more

Highlights

  • Google has announced Android 12 at its I/O developer conference
  • It offers a revamped design and robust privacy features
  • Android 12 Beta 1 is now available for Pixel smartphones and select third-party phones

Android 12 has been officially announced at the ongoing Google I/O 2021. At the event, Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Android, and Google Play said that Android 12 offers the biggest design change in Android history.

Also Read: Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro leaked renders reveal unique new design

Dubbed as “Material You”, the new design of Android 12 offers rounded buttons, shifting colours, and improved animations. Apart from the new Pixel phones, the Android 12 Beta 1 update is now available for Pixel phones, and smartphones from leading brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, Realme, Nokia, ASUS, Sharp, Tecno, TCL, and ZTE. Here are all the new features of the Android 12.

Android 12: top features

Android 12 wallpaper

Android 12 can automatically choose themes based on the colours of the wallpaper

Smartphones running Android 12 can be fully personalised by making use of its colour palette and redesigned widgets. It has a built-in colour extraction feature that can automatically choose dominant and complementary colours from a wallpaper automatically and applies it to the all the elements of OS like the lock screen, notification shade, buttons, and so on.

Android 12 brings smooth motion and animations throughout the OS. Thanks to the under-the-hood optimisations, the CPUT time required for core system services is reduced by 22 percent. This allows the OS to offer a more fluid and responsive experience. Smartphones running Android 12 will be able to last longer as it cuts down the use of big cores by the system server by up to 15 percent.

Android 12 OS

Android 12 offers a refreshed UI experience throughout the OS

The Quick Settings and the notification shade of Android 12 are more intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. Both offer fewer, but big buttons in collapsed and expanded views. Buttons for Google Pay and Home Controls are also available through Quick Settings. It also includes a Privacy toggle, which allows users to turn off the microphone and camera at the same time. The notification also gives a quick look at what is song or video is playing on the device. Apart from calling out for Google Assistant, Android 12 also allows users to access it by long-pressing the power button.

When it comes to privacy and security, Android 12 will let users know which apps are accessing the phone and data in a better way. There is a Privacy Dashboard feature that gives a pie chart view of how many times location, mic, and camera were used in the past 24 hours. It will also show what data is being accessed by which apps and how often.

Android 12 mic camera indicator

Android 12 shows a microphone/camera indicator in the status bar

A new indicator sits at the upper-right corner of the status to let users know when apps are accessing the mic or camera. As mentioned above, there is a quick toggle for killing microphone/camera access in the Quick Settings. In addition, apps like the Weather app that do not need the precise location of the user will use the approximate location.

The new OS also has another privacy feature called Private Compute Core, which offers a safe partition in the OS for machine learning features like Smart Reply, Now Playing, and Live Caption, isolated from the network for enhanced privacy. Other privacy features that are available on Android 12 include quick delete in Search, reminders for Location History in Maps, and a Locked Folder in Google Photos.

Lastly, the Android 12 offers other features like conversation widgets that bring frequent contacts to the home screen, scrolling screenshots, and better accessibility for people with impaired vision.

Android 12 Beta 1: eligible phones, how to install

The Android 12 Beta 1 update is now available for Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3 XL. To install the update, users of these Pixel smartphones need to signup on the Android Beta Program website using the same Google Account that is used on the phone. Then, users need to click on Opt-in and then click on Confirm and Enroll. Next, users need to navigate to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update > Check for update to install the Android 12 Beta 1.

The third-party smartphones are eligible to receive the Android 12 Beta 1include Xiaomi Mi 11, Xiaomi MI 11i (Mi 11X  / Redmi K40 Pro), Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro (China only), Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, OPPO Find X3 Pro, iQOO 7 Legend, Realme GT, Nokia X20, ASUS ZenFone 8, Tecno Camon 17, TCL 20 Pro 5G, and  ZTE Axon 30 5G Ultra.

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Anvinraj Valiyathara

Anvin is a self-proclaimed geek who has been writing about smartphones for nearly 10 years. After using phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note, Sony Xperia Mini, Lumia 730, Lumia 950, Honor 7, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Honor 8 Pro to name a few, he is now a happy user of the POCO F1. In his free time, he participates in church activities and likes to travel.