Google came out swinging at I/O 2021, and that’s especially apparent with Android 12. The latest version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system brings some pretty serious changes to your smartphone, and we’re here to keep you in the loop. Now that the Android 12 update is in full swing with OEMs such as Samsung leading the way, we thought you might want to take a look at its new features and also learn how to perform some basic and not-so-basic functions on your newly upgraded phone.
Read on to see everything going on with Android 12.
There’s quite a bit to talk about with Android 12, but the biggest change is easily its redesigned UI. Google says this is the biggest redesign that Android has ever had, and they’re not wrong. You can still see some classic Android here, but the new Material You design language is radically different from what we’re used to.
You’ll see a big emphasis on themes and colors, with your phone now being able to pull colors right from your wallpaper to theme the rest of the interface. As you can see above, if your wallpaper has a clear shot of the sky or anything blue, you’re going to get blue highlights throughout the OS. It’s all automatic.
The rest of the UI has been changed up to match this new design language as well. You’ll see much more animation and rounded fun-ness throughout, whether that’s in your notifications or quick settings, or just seeing bounce animations while you scroll lists.
Don’t worry about performance, either; Google says they’ve optimized this version of Android really well, so despite being more animation intensive, it actually uses less CPU power than before. Pretty impressive stuff.
There’s also a significantly bigger emphasis on privacy this time around, which seems to follow the trend that Apple has set recently. There’s a brand new Android Private Computer Core section of the OS that allows machine learning algorithms to run while they’re sandboxed away from your private data, a new privacy dashboard that lets you easily see what apps are accessing your location, camera, contacts, and more, and a quick toggle to turn off access to things like your microphone or camera right from the notification shade.
These are all pretty aggressive changes, especially for a company that makes the bulk of its money from advertising and data collection. It’s a great step in the right direction for more privacy-focused smartphones, however.
A few of the other highlights in Android 12 include holding down your power button to summon Google Assistant, a built-in remote for Android TV without needing a separate app, and the ability to unlock a (compatible) smart car with NFC on your phone. The car has to support that, obviously, but Google is looking ahead here.
Google also wants to upgrade its password manager and get that fully fleshed out as a cross-system solution, alongside a Material You redesign for its web apps. There’s a lot to be excited about.
Want to dig into Android 12 on your phone right now? We’ve got you covered.
Several devices are eligible to take part in early previews of the latest software. If you’re not sure, you’ll probably want to skip this and wait for a full release, but if you want to give it a spin early and risk some bugs and glitches, you’ll get a taste well before the rest of us.
Here’s a list of all devices that will be taking part in the preview versions, and links when available.
The Game Dashboard is a unique feature introduced in Android 12 and offers a flurry of features to keep avid mobile gamers well entertained and get more out of their games. However, getting to the feature is rather tricky, and requires some clever maneuvering but once enabled, can be a big help. You can learn how to configure the Game Dashboard in Android 12 via the link below:
Notification History is a great feature introduced in Android 12. If the name doesn’t already tell what it is, the feature allows you to see the history of notifications that you have previously dismissed on your device. This is especially useful for people who like to swipe away notifications more often than naught, and accidentally swipe away a notification they meant to open. With this enabled, you can always check the notifications you dismissed and never have to worry about missing an important notification!
While autorotate has been a feature that has been a staple feature of Android OS for a long time, it gets better with each version of Android. Previously in Android 11, the phone relied on the gyro sensor to determine if it needs to switch orientation or not and give you the option to manually enable it. However, Android 12 now brings the front camera to this process and makes the feature a lot more intelligent.
Android phones are capable of installing apps outside of the Google Play Store. These come in the form of Android Package (APK) files that contain an individual app and can be installed on your phone if not available on the Google Play Store. A popular example of this is in the form of Fortnite on Android or loading an app that is not available in your regional Play Store. Today we will walk you through sideloading APK files on Android 12 devices, but this also works for Android 11.
Android 12 introduces a lot of new features for increased accessibility and convenience. Alongside the one-handed mode, you can now swipe along the bottom ridges of the screen to trigger Google Assistant if you’re finding the voice prompt to be a misfire, swipe to invoke assistant is a great shortcut you can start using today.
Android 12 has a new feature called One-handed mode, and it is exactly what it sounds like – a handy feature made for when you are unable to use both hands and want to navigate your phone with one hand. It allows you to navigate the phone by only using the lower half of the screen to quickly compose texts or browse apps. If you’re unable to trigger the on-screen prompt, you can also use an accessibility shortcut to trigger it instantly.
Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo’s Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.
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