Android 12, Google’s latest mobile operating system, arrived late last year. The update first came to Google’s Pixel phones, including the newand , and has since started to roll out to Samsung’s phones. Although not every Android phone has joined the party yet (here’s ), there are a number of buzzy new features that will give Android 11 users a reason (or two, or three) to upgrade.
Android 12 appears to be similar in many ways to, with a few big new features and some performance fixes aimed at helping your phone run more smoothly.
If you can’t wait for Google’s new OS to make its way to your device, you can. But be warned that, as the developer preview, it likely has some bugs, and isn’t meant for the average person to try out at this point — especially not on your primary device.
Here are three of the biggest new features we’ve seen in Android 12 so far, compared to Android 11.
Privacy features for apps
Google is adding several new privacy features to apps to give you more transparency and control. You can now see when an app is using your microphone or camera through an indicator on your phone’s status bar. You’re also given the option to completely disable any and all apps’ access to your microphone or camera in Quick Settings. Android 12 also lets you keep your exact location private by giving you an option to give apps your approximate location instead.
According to an Android Developers blog post, one Android 12 update gives you more information about how cookies can be used across sites, while another changes how apps export information to prevent them from accidentally exporting activities, services and receivers.
It’s worth noting that these policies are less strict than those previously seen in Apple’s iOS 14 software releases, which include new app “” that tell people what personal data their apps are collecting, and a change in that requires developers to across apps and websites. (And here are even more update.)
With Android 12, Google is changing up the design of notifications to make them more modern and functional. When you tap on a notification, it will take you directly to the app or action you want to take, instead of going through an intermediary service to start that action. This should make everything run faster, according to the Android Developers blog post.
Android 12 also gets a new button that lets you snooze unimportant notifications, and choose how long to do so. You can also turn on adaptive notifications ranking to let Android rearrange your notifications based on how you work with different apps, and reset the ranking if you don’t like it.
New one-handed mode
Android 12 also includes a few design changes that make it easier to operate Android phones with one hand and your thumb. XDA Developers noted that the updated settings UI moves the Search bar to the bottom of the display for easier one-handed access. It also uncovered a new feature called “silky home” that makes the entire interface more suitable for one-handed use.
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