Skip to main content

Android 12 beta 2 has landed — here's a look at all the new features!

Android 12 is the 'biggest design change in Android's history,' and you can install it right now.

Android 11 was an update that was greater than the sum of its parts. Smaller features like chat bubbles, conversation notifications, and a built-in screen recorder don't sound all that impressive on their own. Combined into one seamless package, however, Android 11 was a pretty great update for Google's mobile OS.

While it introduced a lot of under-the-hood changes, Android 11 didn't have many user-facing features. That's changing with Android 12; the second beta is now available, and it includes exciting new features in the form of overhauled customization options, useful privacy and security fixes, and fun animations throughout the animation.

Google calls Android 12 "the biggest design change in Android's history," and that's immediately evident once you take a look at the new interface. If you need a quick look at what the interface looks and feels like right now, you should head to our Android 12 beta 2 hands-on post. In this article, we'll talk about all the design changes, availability, and all the new features making their way to Android 12.

Android 12 Public beta is now live

Google released the first developer preview of Android 12 on February 18, 2021. The second Android 12 Developer Preview was released on March 17. As the name suggests, this version of Android 12 is intended specifically for developer use so apps can start being prepared for the new OS, and we've made an Android 12 Developer Preview hands-on for you to check out.

At I/O 2021 on May 18, Google kicked off the public Android 12 beta program. The first beta became available later that day, and our first Android 12 beta hands-on outlined the brand new features that went live with Material You's public debut. Android 12 beta 2 launched on June 9 and is available to all Pixels starting with the Pixel 3 series, as well as over a dozen third-party devices from 11 manufacturers. You can install the Android 12 beta on these devices right now:

  • Pixel 3 / 3 XL
  • Pixel 3a / 3a XL
  • Pixel 4 / 4 XL
  • Pixel 4a / 4a 5G
  • Pixel 5
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
  • Xiaomi Mi 11
  • Xiaomi Mi 11i (Mi 11X/Redmi K40 Pro)
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro (China-only)
  • OnePlus 9 Pro
  • OnePlus 9
  • OPPO Find X3 Pro
  • Vivo iQOO 7 Legend
  • Realme GT
  • Nokia X20
  • ASUS ZenFone 8
  • Sharp
  • Tecno Camon 17
  • TCL 20 Pro 5G
  • ZTE Axon 30 5G Ultra

Eager to give Android 12 a go on your Pixel? We've rounded up the best ways to install Android 12 on your device.

Android 12 Release date

While the timing of Android version releases has changed over the years, the past few have been pretty consistent. Here are the dates for the last four releases:

  • Android 8.0 — August 21, 2017
  • Android 9 — August 6, 2018
  • Android 10 — September 3, 2019
  • Android 11 — September 8, 2020

It looks like Google is committed to hitting a similar release window for Android 12. The company notes it will reach Platform Stability for Android 12 by August 2021, though as we saw last year, there could be delays.

There will be a total of four beta builds. Two of them are now live and Google will release new builds at a steady cadence over the coming weeks as it gets ready for the stable rollout.

Android 12 Interface

Google is calling the new visual paradigm Material You, which is an evolution of Material Design. The key highlight here is customization; Google is making it easier than ever to personalize your phone to your tastes. The "transformative" feature gives you a custom color palette, and you can easily change the interface colors.

There's also a color extraction feature that automatically picks the colors straight from your phone's wallpaper. These colors are then applied throughout the UI, including the notification shade, lock screen, widgets, volume controls, and more. This is the theming engine we've been waiting for, and it is exciting to see Google finally offer robust customization controls. We go over this new theming engine in our Android 12 beta 2 hands-on.

Google finally gave us the theming engine we've been asking for all these years.

Another major change is animations; Google has scattered fun animations throughout the interface as a way to make daily interactions that much more playful. Google says that it has overhauled interactions to make them more fluid and energy-efficient — noting that core system services use up to 22% fewer resources.

Another aesthetic change is around dark mode; Google seems intent on making it lighter with every preview. What was a true dark mode now has a distinctly grey tone, and it doesn't look all that great on AMOLED panels. While other manufacturers offering the ability to customize the intensity of dark mode — ColorOS 11 does this really well — Google is unlikely to do the same.

Google has been listening to feedback during the beta period and has already adjusted several visual changes to fall better in line with community expectations. Beta 2 debuted a taller, thinner volume slider when compared to beta 1, and it's expected that beta 3 will remove the "sparkle" animation that appears when clicking some UI elements. It's entirely possible that Google will offer more dark mode options going forward, if they follow suit with the rest of these alterations.

We already got a good look at the one-handed mode that debuted in preview 2. The one-handed mode pulls the screen down for easier access. It is a nifty addition, and if you're interested in seeing how it works in action, head to our Android 12 Developer Preview 2 hands-on.

Widgets are also getting a considerable makeover in Android 12. Widgets were a big focus for Apple last year with iOS 14, and for Android 12, Google could be taking a few notes from Apple's approach to give Android widgets a much-needed refresh. Google debuted some new widgets with Android 12 Beta 1, like the conversations widget, but they're not fully-baked just yet.

The new design features are debuting on Pixels later this year, and at this moment we don't know when — or if — they will be available on other devices.

Android 12 Privacy

Google always uses Android updates to introduce new privacy-focused features, and for Android 12, that's no different. Android 12 ushers in a significant overhaul to privacy at the OS level. The new Privacy Dashboard introduces a whole new way to view and control how apps use permissions to access your personal data. First up is an indicator that shows you when an app is using your location, microphone, or camera, ensuring no service will be able to use these in the background.

But the big change is that you can now disable camera or microphone directly from the notification pane; and this setting works system-wide. So even if you've given a service access to the camera, this particular toggle overrides access. This is a huge deal for privacy on Android and, when combined with the new notifications that let you know when an app is accessing said resources, make it easier to control your privacy on-the-fly.

Google says users will now have "more transparency and control over how cookies can be used across sites." Google is also improving the safety for how apps export certain activities, ensuring things that should remain in a specific app aren't being shared elsewhere.

Android 12 Notifications

Notifications got a lot of attention with Android 11, and in Android 12, that focus continues. There are a few notable updates for notifications, the first of which has to do with UI updates. The notification pane has been redesigned to include large text labels, and there's now a Google Pay toggle that lets you access saved cards with ease, as well as a new Device Controls toggle that replaces the smart home controls section found in Android 11's power menu.

Furthermore, Google goes on to say that it's "decorating notifications with custom content with icon and expand affordances to match all other notifications." Google introduced a new security measure for lock screen notifications, and developers can now configure notifications on the lock screen to always require user authentication.

Android 12 is also improving the performance of notifications. For apps targeting Android 12, Google's making behind-the-scenes changes that'll allow you to access an app even faster when tapping on its respective notification.

Android 12 Miscellaneous

Android 12 has a lot of smaller updates that are just as important to keep on your radar. An exciting new addition is a car key feature that will work with select Google Pixels and new cars from the likes of BMW and Volvo.

Another of these features has to do with files and media transcoding. HEVC is becoming increasingly popular in the mobile space, and in light of this, Android 12 introduces new media transcoding tools to help apps deal with HEVC content if they don't natively support it. Now, if an app can't handle HEVC files, those will automatically be transcoded to AVC.

While on the subject of files, Android 12 also introduces support for AVIF. Compared to a competing format like JPEG, AVIF offers much higher-quality images at small file sizes (as shown in the above image).

Something I'm personally excited about is the new "haptic-coupled audio effect" feature. That may sound like tech jargon, but what it essentially means is that apps can use the vibration motor in your phone to play custom vibrations — for example, a racing game could offer different vibrations for when you're driving on dirt, asphalt, etc.

We should also mention that Android 12 continues Google's commitment to Project Mainline. With Android 12, Google is now adding the Android Runtime (also known as ART) module to the Project Mainline process. Per Google, this change:

Lets us push updates to the core runtime and libraries on devices running Android 12. We can improve runtime performance and correctness, manage memory more efficiently, and make Kotlin operations faster - all without requiring a full system update.

Android 12 Get it right now

Eager to try out all the new features in Android 12? You can install the Android 12 beta for your device right now. The beta initiative is also making its way to third-party phones, so if you don't have a Pixel, be sure to take a look at the Android 12 beta on Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, and other devices.



Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

How to watch England vs New Zealand: Live stream 2nd Test series cricket on

With the first Test ending in a draw, the series is on a knife edge at Edgbaston, as Joe Root's side look to put off the field controversies to one side and claim a much needed win against the Kiwis. Don't miss a single ball of the 2nd Test with our England vs New Zealand live stream guide below. The series has been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of offensive historic tweets posted by Ollie Robinson who made his debut in the opening Test but has since been suspended. With the controversy still brewing amid interventions from politicians and accusations leveled at other members of the team, Root has a battle on his hands to keep his side focused on the game ahead. One positive for Root coming into the game is that they'll be playing in front of a near capacity crowd at Egbaston, with the overwhelming majority of the expected 18,000 spectators set to be cheering on the home side. The tourists have been delivered a huge blow coming intot his final match, with s

6 things Apple stole from Android at WWDC— and one that Google should steal

Every year, Apple and Google trade ideas for their newest versions of iOS and Android, respectively. But this year, during Apple's WWDC 2021, it seems like Apple purloined more than a few ideas that Google's integrated into Android over the last few years. Millions of iOS users won't get their hands on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 until later this year, so until then, we don't know until then how the new features will fare in the real world. For now, here's a tongue-in-cheek look at six features Apple, um, borrowed from Android with its latest software releases. Jump to: iPad widgets and app drawer Live Text Apple Maps AR navigation iOS notifications New Siri capabilities Apple Photos Bonus: What Google needs to steal iPad widgets and app drawer iPad OS 15 introduced two big new updates for the iPad home screen today: widgets and the App Library. If you think this sounds awfully familiar, there's a good reason for that. 2020's iOS 14 introduced both

The Galaxy Watch 4 is coming soon — here's everything you need to know

Samsung's Galaxy-brain play: leaving Tizen behind for Wear OS. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, one of the best Android smartwatches , may have only just launched in November 2020, but the latest rumors out of South Korea suggest the company may already be developing its replacement — with some big changes and upgrades in the works meant to topple Apple from its smartwatch throne. There's no confirmation whether Samsung's 2021 smartwatch will be named the "Galaxy Watch 4" or adopt a new name entirely. However, we know that this new watch will run the new version of Wear OS, which would have a big impact on app support and Android phone connectivity. It could also feature a newer-faster chipset, which could put it leagues ahead of the best Wear OS watches . Details are fairly scarce so far, but we've scrounged up every known leak about specs, design leaks, and pricing, along with everything else we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung's bes

Every armor set in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Armor up Ratchet and Rivet before taking down their enemies. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart features several armor sets that both Ratchet and Rivet can wear throughout the game, giving them damage buffs and other benefits. Each armor set is comprised of three pieces; the helmet, chest, and boots. Without all three pieces of a complete set, you won't get their collection bonus buffs. Thankfully, each map tells you exactly where to find the armor you need. It's then all about exploring the area and picking it up. You'll find most pieces within optional dimensional rifts that feature platforming puzzles of some kind, and there are eight total sets to be found. Here's every armor set in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and the buffs that they offer: Galactic Ranger Description: The classic helmet of the Solana Galactic Rangers. The Galactic Rangers' chest armor is forged with justice and Raritarium. The Galactic Rangers' pants protect the galaxy... and your legs