It might only feel like yesterday since Android 11 was released, but there's something new already on the way. At Google's annual developer conference - Google I/O 21 - Android 12 was announced: an upgrade that will take this well-loved operating system to the next level and make Android a more personal experience.
What can you expect from the new Android operating system? Find out what we know so far, and discover Android 12's most anticipated features, below.
A Bespoke Experience
Android 12 really will give you the chance to make your operating system your own, whether this be through installing icon packs, custom launchers or even just simple things like changing the colour scheme. A personalised phone doesn’t mean that you have to be a tech-wiz to enjoy a unique OS either. Android 12 will be user-friendly, with some customisation features activated automatically, so there’s nothing to worry about.
One of the most eye-catching updates coming to Android 12 will be Google’s Colour Extraction function, consisting of a new customisable colour palette and redesigned widgets. With Colour Extraction, you'll be able to select your own wallpaper and then the system will intelligently pick out dominant colours and complimentary colours to use across the entire interface. Your new palette will be applied to everything, including your lock screen, widgets, notification panel and volume controls. This new feature is a part of Google’s wider goal to add a humanistic approach to design to all Google products, and is being brought to life on Android phones thanks to the new ‘Material You’ user interface.
By now, we're all pretty used to the way our Android phones look with the innovative Always On Display (AOD), but the new Android 12 update marks quite a change. The first thing that you’ll notice when you install it is a clock in the centre of the screen, something that remains when you lock your phone.
Once you start getting notifications, the clock will then move up to the top left corner of the display, which means that you’ll instantly see something pop up on your screen.
Shifting between the locked screen and the AOD, you’ll also see an ‘aware animation’, which reacts to your touch when your phone is locked or unlocked. If you lift the phone off the table, you’ll notice the animation begins at the bottom, however if you go from the AOD to the lock screen by pressing the power button, it’ll start from the power button.
Before Android 12, whenever you pull down the notifications shade, the first thing you see is a wall of circular icons. Android 12 has made a few changes, and replaced them with rounded rectangles – the first major update to notifications in years.
The shape of the new Quick Tiles means that you can see more information across each tile – you can view four at once on the first pull down, and eight on the second, for convenience.
The notification shade continues Google’s unifying approach towards customisation, so you can choose from a range of new designs. The brightness slider also offers a new look, which matches the tiles.
For Android 12, transparency is everything. The upcoming update will include ‘Android Private Computer Core’ - a new feature that will give you the chance to see exactly which of your apps are accessing your data, putting the power in your hands as to how much you want each app knowing about you.
The new privacy dashboard will also provide you with clear insight into your permissions settings, outlining just what data is available to which app, and giving you the power to minimise or cut access for apps just from your dashboard.
Just to make things even easier, Android has included a quick access settings menu to help you see any features of your phone that an app is currently using. For example, if Instagram is using the microphone while you’re using another app, this part of the notification centre (located in the top right corner of your screen) will show Instagram's using your mic. If you press this, you’ll disable its use for that app - and any others - if you wish.
Android 12 will also give you more control in terms of choosing just how much you share with your apps. If you choose to, you can just provide apps such as weather with your approximate location, rather than a specific spot.
Up your Speed
Android 12 will make devices on the new OS faster and even more responsive. Google has announced that the update will reduce the CPU time needed for core system services by over 20%, and reduce the use of other cores by the system server by up to 15%. The updates should also improve the battery life of your phone.
Download Android 12
The fully finished Android 12 isn’t expected to go live until later in 2021, but the beta version is already compatible on some current mobiles. The beta system is likely to be different to the final version, however if you do choose to update early and go for the beta version, it’s recommended that you back your phone up before you perform the update.
When the Android 12 upgrade drops, make sure to be amongst the first to explore the new mobile OS experience, with a Google Pixel. Discover the best deals on phones that operate in tandem with Android 12 Beta here at Mobiles.co.uk.