It’s that time of year when we’re expecting a new version of Android and all the cool stuff that comes with it. Set to be the biggest design overhaul in years, the eagerly-awaited update promises to be packed with exciting new features and improvements. There’s a lot to take in, so here’s a rundown of the best Android 12 features to look out for.
Best Android 12 Features
1. A New Privacy Dashboard
Privacy is a big buzzword in the tech industry, and Android’s next update will boast an array of privacy-related improvements including the handy new Privacy Dashboard. One of the best Android 12 features coming, it’s a new option in the settings menu that lets users see what apps are using their phone’s permissions at any given time.
From the Privacy Dashboard, you can access a specific type of feature such as location, camera or microphone, and you’ll get a timeline for which apps are using that specific feature in the past 24 hours. From there, it takes just one more tap to manage that app’s permissions.
When managing app permissions, bear in mind that some apps rely on location services in order to offer accurate information or the best deals. To get the best of popular location-based apps like fitness apps, restaurant apps and money-saving apps you will need to turn your location services on.
2. A Refreshed UI – Material You
No list of the best Android 12 features would be complete without mentioning Material You. Hailed as the biggest overhaul of Google’s design language in years, it brings with it a fresh new UI with redesigned widgets, smoother motion & animations and the ability for users to completely customize their system’s colours.
When you set your wallpaper, Android 12 will give you the option to automatically change your entire system’s colors, pulling out the dominant and complimentary colors from your wallpaper and applying them throughout the entire OS. That’s everything from the lock screen to the widgets, buttons, notifications, sliders and more.
The end result is a deeply personalized phone that will eventually be able to follow you across other systems like smart displays, Chrome OS and across Google’’s apps and websites
3. Even More Privacy Options
Along with the Privacy Dashboard, Android 12 boasts even more new privacy options including camera and microphone indicators so you can see when an app is using them. Also new is ‘App Hibernation’ which puts apps you haven’t used in a while to sleep and revokes their permissions.
Apps that use Bluetooth won’t require location information anymore, plus there’s a new ‘Approximate Location’ option that prevents apps from knowing your exact location. For some apps, a rough idea of location should be enough. However, for location-based apps you can still turn on Precise Location.
4. New Mobile OS Features
Adding to the list of best Android 12 features, you can have everything you need in one easy-to-access place with mobile OS features like Car Key (similar to Apple’s CarKey) which lets you unlock and start your car, or even share those capabilities with friends.
A new built-in remote will also be standard in Android 12, so you can use your phone as a TV or Chromecast remote. The media player has also been updated, letting you limit which apps will display media controls in Quick Settings. Previously you’d get these controls for whichever media you were playing, but in Android 12, only apps with permission will use the Quick Settings media player.
5. Improved Performance
Some apps will be improved, with Google Maps introducing a new routing system that picks roads that are safer. Live ‘busyness’ information is also expanding to whole areas, showing how busy a neighborhood or whole town is on the map.
In addition, Google Photos is getting an upgrade with the ability to analyse photos and link them together to highlight special moments automatically. A new passcode-protected folder will also provide space to save photos separately so they don’t show up in your main feed or other apps and services.
Other best features in Android 12 that deserve a mention are Google’s big improvements to the performance and efficiency of the underlying systems of Android – by up to 22%. This means apps will feel faster and battery life will be longer.
Other best features in Android 12
With so many improvements coming, it can be tricky to narrow down the list of the best features in Android 12. It will be packed with other useful experiences like scrolling screenshots, notification improvements, an on-device search engine, easier WiFi sharing, and much more.
You can find many of these experiences today on Android Beta, available on Pixel phones and other devices. There may be a few more tweaks and changes to come, but probably nothing major at this point.
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