Android 12 has reached a new significant milestone. Google has now made the second beta available to the public, giving us access to a whole new copy of the operating system. This is still a very early version of the software, as with previous betas and developer previews, and we wouldn’t recommend using it as your everyday driver.
We can affirm, however, that Google is upgrading and bringing a slew of new features in the newest version of Android. Tweaks to media handling and notification support, privacy and haptic feedback enhancements, and more refined notifications UI all make the cut. We’re only scratching the surface here.
If you own a recent Google Pixel, you can install Android 12 right now. It is also available for a limited number of devices from other OEMs. If you don’t have the necessary hardware or just want the details, we’ve broken down these verified Android 12 features and more below. Continue reading!
Android 12 features that have been confirmed
These features are expected to be included in the software’s stable release. You may be confident that these features will be there when Android 12 is released for your smartphone (unless, of course, Google changes its mind).
Visual overhaul and color extraction
The company revealed at Google I/O 2021 that the design of Android 12 will be its most significant aesthetic makeover in years. The redesign is part of the company’s Material You design language’s next generation. The idea behind Material You is that the users should be able to influence the design.
The Android 12 operating system will employ a color extraction methodology to extract design components from your installed wallpaper. This implies that the colors across the system will vary based on the backdrop of your home/lock screen. This will provide a simple and automated way for your phone to feel personalized to you.
Aside from color extraction, there is a slew of new design improvements, animations, space changes, and so on.
New Android 12 Quick Tiles
You’re undoubtedly used to seeing circular icons at the top of the panel when you pull down the notification shade. Those circular icons are no longer available in Android 12. We have rounded rectangles in their stead. These work in the same way that earlier Quick Tiles did (a tap turns them on or off; a long-press takes you to the settings page). However, they are now bigger and can hold more information.
Of course, the increased size implies that fewer tiles can be viewed at the same time. You’ll only see four tiles on your initial draw of the notification shade, rather to the normal six. The Quick Tiles will be themeable with the color extraction process, as seen by the image above.
Privacy and security improvements
Google unveiled new privacy features for Android 12 at I/O 2021 to make data gathering by applications more transparent. The new capabilities also provide users with more detailed control over app permissions, allowing them to better govern how and when applications access their data.
Android 12 has a new Privacy Dashboard that provides users with a thorough picture of how apps access personal data. When you open it, you’ll get a summary dashboard that displays how many applications have used your location, camera, and microphone in the last 24 hours.
Users will be able to change app permissions using the new Android 12 Privacy Dashboard. On the timeline view page, you’ll notice a Manage Permissions setting where you may remove a specific permission from an app.
Aside from the dashboard, there is a slew of other improvements in the works. For a complete list of all the new privacy-related features, see
The notification system in Android 12 will be overhauled to improve aesthetics, usability, and usefulness. Google is updating the drawer and controls, as well as the transitions and animations.
Google is likewise focusing on responsiveness. Developers will be encouraged to avoid using “trampolines” — middle-man broadcast receivers or services that bounce consumers from the notification to the app — in Android 12. Google wants notification taps in Android 12 to lead users directly to the app itself. In addition, the firm is “delaying the appearance of some foreground service alerts by up to 10 seconds,” giving small processes a brief time to finish before pinging the user.
Easier Wi-Fi sharing
If you wish to share your current Wi-Fi connection with someone, you may quickly create a QR code with Android 11. However, with Android 12, you may skip barcode scanning by simply tapping the “Nearby” option seen beneath the QR code in the image above. This will use Android’s Nearby Share feature to send your Wi-Fi credentials to anyone you choose.
While scanning a QR code is simple, this new function allows you to share the connection information with numerous people without having to pass your phone around for everyone to scan. That is unquestionably more convenient!
This feature debuted as a hidden item in the first DP but did not make its formal appearance until the second DP. It works similarly to iOS’s one-handed mode. To use the function, first enable it in Android settings, and then slide down anywhere at the bottom of the screen. This moves the top half of the display downward, allowing you to access any buttons, icons, or other things there more easily.
Because this is easily accessible under Settings, it is quite probable that it will make it to the stable launch. However, it is still early in the game, and Google may alter its mind.
When the Developer Preview of Android 11 was released, it had a handy double-tap functionality that could be enabled with some effort on the user’s part. It allowed Pixel phone owners to manage hardware or start applications with a double-tap on the phone’s rear. While it was not a necessary control technique, it was handy for accessing critical functions without having to touch the screen. Unfortunately, it was never included in the stable release of Android 11.
We can now confirm that this feature will be included in Android 12. However, it is quite probable that it will be limited to Pixel phones.
With a simple double-tap on the back of the smartphone, users may take screenshots, activate the notification shade, or start Google Assistant. Google also lets users modify the sensitivity of double-taps or deactivate them completely if they don’t like them.
Android 12 updates via Google Play
The Android Runtime (ART) will be introduced to Google’s Play system updates program, Project Mainline. This will allow the company to send critical upgrades to ART and other important Android 12 services via Google Play, eliminating the requirement for complete system updates to adjust these features. Google also mentions that further module changes, including the aforementioned transcoding enhancements, would be pushed out via Project Mainline in the near future.
What does it all mean? It implies that Google will be able to provide updates to you more quickly and efficiently by avoiding your carrier and phone’s OEM.
So far, Google has verified the existence of at least one new widget: the weather widget seen in the image above. There might, however, be more.
Mockups of the anticipated Conversation widget in Android 12 emerged weeks before the Developer Preview was published. Now, it appears that the feature has been incorporated into Android 12 and is operational. XDA verifies that the widget is functioning, but not yet available on the Pixel Launcher, thanks to some reverse engineering. Another issue is that, for the time being, the widget does not operate with apps other than Google’s suite
New widget organization
When you add a widget to the home screen, you can now see more widget categories at once. This will allow you to easily find the app you want a widget for and then add the specific widget. It’s a small change, but it will make widgets way easier!
Sick of apps occupying storage but don’t necessarily want to uninstall them? App Hibernation, or the expanded “Unused apps” feature, could play a pivotal role in how Android 12 manages the footprint of these apps. The feature’s already included in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and now Google has confirmed it’s on the way.
The feature will strip an unused app of its permissions and clear temporary files and cache claimed by that app. It may also restrict notifications for these apps. This will be available to Android users through a toggle in the “App Info” section of each app.
The features will benefit more those with lesser storage. However, it will likely be a huge addition to entry-level Android devices or older phones in line for the OS upgrade.
Brand new Emoji
Android 12 will eventually include over 389 updates to Emoji designs. You can see a selection of some in the infographic above.
Many of the Android 12 emoji changes are subtle ones, often geared toward practicality or adding depth. The syringe no longer has a blood-red liquid (presumably to encourage vaccination, like with Apple’s emoji). Others are more whimsical — check out the stylized sunrise or fun-loving snowman.
Google might have inadvertently rubbed a few people the wrong way, though. The “mobile phone” emoji that previously resembled an Android phone now looks like… well, an iPhone.
More confirmed Android 12 features
- Universal splash screens: To bring some cohesion to the app-launching experience, Android 12 will have a built-in splash screen for every app. The app screen will appear automatically for every app — even if that app’s developer didn’t build it. However, devs will have the ability to tweak the splash screen to fit their apps’ layouts/branding better.
- Internet panel: When you tap the new “Internet” Quick Tile, it won’t take you to the Wi-Fi section of Settings. Instead, a new window will pop up that gives you quick access to the most common networking options.
- Screenshot markups: If you capture a screenshot with a Pixel device, you can easily markup that shot with paintbrush-like tools. With Android 12, though, you can add text, Emoji, and stickers to your screenshots using the same tool. This isn’t a revolutionary change, but it might prevent folks from needing a third-party app to do the same thing.
- Slightly redesigned Settings pages: The Settings panel has seen a slight redesign with a smaller search bar with rounded corners. Some toggles littered throughout look a bit different as well. It is now much easier to tell if a setting is on or off.
- Rich content insertion: Google is giving users more control over rich media through the keyboard, clipboard, and drag and drop. A new API will let users insert and move media from any of these sources. Supported formats will include “plain and styled text to markup, images, videos, audio files, and more,” per Google. It should speed up the process of sharing files or styled text to others or across apps for users.
- Easy audio source selection: The media player that appears in your Quick Settings section in Android 11 is now more customizable. By long-pressing the notification and heading into its specific settings, you can turn on or off the apps with which the player should work. This would allow you to turn off YouTube, for example, so it doesn’t appear in that player — but Spotify will.
- Immersive mode tweaks: Gesture navigation within immersive mode will be “easier and more consistent” in Android 12.
More features mostly for developers
- Compatible media transcoding: Although HEVC is growing in popularity, the video compression standard isn’t supported by all apps. Now, Google is set to introduce a transcoding layer to Android 12 that will let unsupported apps also take advantage of video compression. Video capture apps that don’t support HEVC can now request Android 12 to transcode that file in AVC — a more available video compression format.
- AVIF image support: The days of JPEG as the de facto compressed image format on mobile are numbered. Android 12 introduces support for AVIF — an image format that promises improved image quality over JPEG without the penalty of larger file sizes. The format makes use of the open-source video codec AV1, which was first introduced to Android 10.
- Multi-channel audio: Android 12 is gaining support for MPEG-H in passthrough and offload modes, while audio mixers, resamplers, and effects can now support up to 24 channels.
- Foreground services: In Android 12, Google will block background apps from launching foreground services. Instead, a new expedited job in Android’s JobScheduler will allow developers elevated process priority for their apps.
- Restricted Netlink MAC: In Android 11, only privileged apps could access a device’s Netlink MAC address. Now, Google is restricting all apps from accessing it, regardless of privileges.
- System variability performance improvements: Google’s improving Android 12’s latency and workload distribution, which should yield performance improvements to key system processes.
- Optimizations to larger display devices: Google’s finally taking tablets, foldable, and TVs more seriously. Android 12 developer preview will be available for Android TVs, too.
- Toggleable changes for debugging: Google’s making it easier for developers to debug their apps by making opt-in changes toggleable. These options will be available from the Developer settings page within Android or via ADB.