Google announced the Android 12 operating system– the next big Android version– at Google I/O 2021 event. The beta version was officially released on 18th, May 2021 and it is available for phones from 11 brands including Vivo, OnePlus, Oppo, OnePlus, Pixel and others. Note that some of the features are available only on Google Pixel phones and will arrive later this year. The new Android 12 version aims to offer a unique color theme, along with fast app loading times, better privacy features, and more. Here are some of the biggest features coming to your Android phone this year
Is there anything new in Android 12?
The short answer is: yes, a lot. Since the official release is available now, there’s a whole host of changes including a dramatic overhaul of the user interface, plus fresh customization and privacy capabilities. Here are some of the changes already present.
Android 12 comes with a new Privacy Dashboard to give you more control over apps
There’s a new Privacy Dashboard that offers a single view into your permissions settings as well as what data is being accessed, how often and by which apps. It also lets you easily revoke app permissions right from the dashboard.
Lock Screen Clock
The first thing you’ll likely notice the first time you power up a phone running Android 12 is the new lock screen clock. With your phone clear of notifications, a large digital clock takes up pride of place right in the center of the screen.
A new indicator to alert you the moment an app uses the camera and microphone
There’s a new indicator to the top right of the status bar to let you know when any of the apps are accessing your microphone or camera. And if you want to remove app access to these sensors for the entire system, you can easily do it in Quick Settings.
Android 12 will come with a remote app to let you control smart TVs from your phone using Android
TVs will be easier as Google has added remote support on Android phones.
Better Wi-Fi sharing with Nearby button
In Android 12, you can share a Wi-Fi connection with your phone by sharing a QR code which you find in the “Nearby” button.
It wasn’t included in the first preview, but there’s now a new one-handed mode that you can enable. It made its first appearance in the 2nd developer preview and could make using larger-screened phones a lot easier in the future.
Your Android phone will get a new look with ‘Material You’ interface design in Android 12
Android 12 is getting a refreshed design and a big part of that is customization. You’re able to create your own custom combinations of colors for accents, backgrounds, and so on. What’s more, it’ll be able to create one automatically for you based on your chosen wallpaper. You’ll even be able to choose the thickness of text and thickness of outlines around icons and buttons.
You can now provide approximate location to apps instead of accurate location
Android 12 also offers more control over how much location information you share with apps. With new approximate location permissions, apps can be limited to seeing just your approximate location instead of a precise one. For example, weather apps don’t need your precise location to offer an accurate forecast.
With colour extraction your phone will adjust to colour shades automatically
Beyond Light and Dark mode, Google is making Android phones look more personal with the kind of wallpaper you use. With Android 12 on Pixel devices, you will be able to completely personalize your phone with a custom color palette and redesigned widgets. With call colour extraction, you choose your wallpaper, and the system automatically determines which colors are dominant, which ones are complementary and which ones just look great. It then applies those colors across the entire OS: the notification shade, the lock screen, the volume controls, new widgets and more.
Android 12 quick tiles are larger and show more information
Notifications have undergone something of a design overhaul too. The style of notification windows has changed, and they’re automatically grouped per app, or separated out if they’re not conversational.
Also, there’s an easy new snooze control that you simply tap to snooze, rather than having to swipe on the notification. Then you can snooze specific notifications for a set amount of time.
Android 12 comes with Private Compute Core that keeps audio and language information on your device
Android 12 comes with Private Compute Core. Private Compute Core enables features like Live Caption, Now Playing and Smart Reply. All the audio and language processing happens on-device, isolated from the network to preserve your privacy.
Which phones can get Android 12?
- Pixel devices get Android 12 first
- Next Pixel flagship will launch with it
- Partner devices included in first public beta rollout
As is standard, the first phones to get the public beta were Pixel phones:
- Pixel 3 and 3 XL
- Pixel 3a and 3a XL
- Pixel 4 and 4 XL
- Pixel 4a and 4a (5G)
- Pixel 5
However, Android manufacturer partners have also been included in the initial rollout:
- Asus Zenfone 8
- OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro
- Oppo Find X3 Pro (specific regions only)
- Realme GT
- Sharp (update to come)
- Tecno Camon 17
- TCL 20 and TCL 20 Pro 5G
- Vivo iQOO 7 Legend
- Xiaomi Mi 11, Mi 11 Ultra, Mi 11i and Mi 11X Pro
- ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G
When the final, finished version of Android 12 releases this autumn, it’ll likely come first to the same list of selected devices, including Google’s own Pixel lineup.
How to Install the Beta version of Android 12
To install the beta release on your Pixel phone, you initially need to enroll your device from the Android 12 beta site. You will be required to enroll for the Android 12 beta release even if you previously enrolled in the Android 11 Beta Program.
Once enrolled, Android 12 Beta 1 will be available for download on your phone. You can also manually check for its availability by going to Settings > System > System Update > Check for update. It may take some time for the beta release to reach your device.