Each version of Google’s Android operating system brings new tools to the table, evolving how you use your smartphone. Android 14 comes packed with its own selection of useful features, and in our essential guide we’ll take you through each one in detail across security, customisation and more.

If you’re on the hunt for a new phone, you can find a wide range of supported handsets in our contract and SIM-free collections.

What is the Android 14 release date?

Android 14 released on 4th October 2023.

Android 14 new features

Customisation

Monochrome themes

Android 14 introduces sleek and stylish monochrome themes to change up your phone’s appearance.

This colour styling is applied across the device’s menus, backgrounds and widgets, creating a consistent greyscale feel wherever you look. If vibrant colours can be overwhelming, the cool and muted monochrome aesthetic is the way to go.

AI-generated wallpapers

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are defined by their use of AI to improve efficiency and performance. This also extends to customisation; on Android 14 you can create completely unique wallpaper backgrounds with a simple description.

Want a picture of deep space, or a golden, sandy beach? Enter the prompt on your Android 14 phone and see what the AI comes up with.

AI Wallpaper feature

Customisable lock screens

Lock screens were previously quite limited when it came to customisation, but Android 14 changes things up in significant ways.

With a deeper suite of tools at your disposal, you can change fonts, colours and the layout of the lock screen, making it far more functional and useful. Shortcuts can also be added to each of the bottom corners to quickly access a range of features, such as the Wallet app or the camera; there’s no need to unlock your phone anymore when you want to take a picture.

Customisable lock screen feature

Regional preferences

It’s never fun to open an app and be greeted by metrics you don’t use. Android 14 enables users to set system-wide preferences for metrics, such as temperature and first day of the week, which carry across all apps on your phone.

Cameras

Ultra HDR support

This is a big one for photography fans: Android 14 introduces Ultra HDR support. HDR already plays a vital role in boosting colour and contrast levels on images, but this enhanced version of the technology takes it one step further.

Ultra HDR is also known as 10-bit HDR, meaning that any display that supports it can output over 1,000 different shades of red, yellow and blue. Compared to the 256 shades that 8-bit can produce, Ultra HDR is leagues ahead when it comes to capturing beautiful images, and so is hugely important in showcasing photos with the very best colour scaling and true-to-life contrasts.

Ulta HDR image quality

Security & safety

Improved data sharing transparency

When installing an app for the first time, you’re usually greeted by a pop-up that asks if and when you want it to access your data, such as location or photo gallery. However, if the app’s terms change, it’s unlikely you would know about it.

Android 14 changes this by showing a pop-up any time the app’s developers update their policies, granting a greater level of transparency.

Greater choice of what to share

With Android 14, you can also be more selective about what you want to share when prompted.

Let’s say you are using an app to chat with other people, and it asks you if you’re happy for the app to access your photos or not. On this screen in Android 14, you can also specify which photos you want to share, rather than issuing a blanket yes or no.

Enhanced PIN security

Sometimes, small changes can make a big difference. Android 14 includes tweaks to how PIN security works, offering more control than any previous version. This includes being able to turn off the animation that triggers when pressing a number, so nobody behind you can see what you’ve entered.

You can also automatically unlock your phone after entering six digits or more, without the need to press ‘OK’. If your phone’s PIN is less than six digits, you will still need to confirm by tapping ‘OK’ when ready.

Encrypted passcode feature

Protection against older app APIs

This is a change that has ramifications for older apps you might have on your phone. Any device that comes with Android 14 pre-installed will block any app that runs on Android 5.1 or older, stretching back to 2014.

Many of the most popular apps are regularly updated; the intent behind this change is to prevent harmful malware from being added to older versions of apps that don’t run newer iterations of Android.

Accessibility

Larger font sizes

Android 13 previously capped out at 130% if you needed to enlarge font when reading. This is increased to 200% on Android 14, and any areas of a page that are naturally larger, such as a header, are left untouched to ensure the scaling is far more consistent. No longer will the top of pages look huge compared to the rest of the enhanced text.

Increase font size by 200%

Notification flashes

Android 14 utilises the phone’s camera flash in an incredibly unique way to support users who are hard of hearing.

In the Settings menu, you can set your camera to flash when receiving a notification, as well as the display itself. The colour of the display flash can also be changed if a particular colour is easier for you to see.

Flash notification feature

Hearing aids page

Hearing aids are no longer grouped together with other Bluetooth devices. From a dedicated page you can easily pair your aide and tweak its settings, including which sounds should come through the hearing aid and via the speakers.

Health

Integrated Health app

The Health app on Android 14 is fully integrated into your phone’s settings menu, instead of existing as a separate app. It’s a simple adjustment on the surface, but it creates a more centralised space from which you can track your fitness stats across different apps.

Devices with Android 14 out-of-the-box have the Health Connect app pre-installed, so there’s no need to download it separately. Updates are also installed automatically for extra peace of mind.

Pre-installed Health App

Battery

Screen time stat

The ‘screen time since last full charge’ stat was hidden in Android 12, but it makes a return with Android 14.

This stat was especially useful if you wanted to get an accurate picture of how long your battery lasts after recharging it, so it’s great to see it back on Android devices.

There’s a lot to dive into on Android 14, with a deep features list to enjoy. For a detailed comparison between two of the top supported phones, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, take a look at our extensive rundown.

Android 14 FAQs

Which phones are compatible with Android 14?

Android 14 is supported by a wide range of phones, including:

• Pixel 4a
• Pixel 5
• Pixel 5a
• Pixel 6 & 6 Pro
Pixel 6a
Pixel 7 & 7 Pro
Pixel 7a
Pixel 8
Pixel 8 Pro
Pixel Fold
Galaxy S23 / S23+ / S23 Ultra
Galaxy S22 / S22+ / S22 Ultra
• Galaxy S21 / S21+ / S21 Ultra
Galaxy S21 FE
Galaxy Z Fold 5 / Z Flip 5
• Galaxy Z Fold 4 / Z Flip 4
• Galaxy Z Fold 3 / Z Flip 3

If you’re unsure whether a phone supports Android 14, head to the manufacturer’s website and check the specifications.

How do you do the Android 14 easter egg?

Hidden in the Android 14 ‘About Phone’ menu is a secret. Scroll to ‘Android version’ and repeatedly tap the number 14 until you see the screen go black.