Android 12 is well and truly on the way. The update is set to add a series of new features to the most popular mobile operating system in the world, as well as provide a bit of a user interface refresh.
We’re not expecting Android 12 to actually be released to the public until around September, and we won’t learn most of the details about it until Google I/O 2021, which is set to take place from May 18 to May 20. But we do have some information about the new operating system.
Here’s everything we know about Android 12 so far.
When will I get Android 12?
Google has shared the general road map for Android 12, but it hasn’t given a specific date as to when the operating system will be releasde to the public. Usually, new versions of Android release around September, and based on Google’s road map, that seems about right for this year.
Before the consumer version of Android 12, however, we have to go through the beta process. That’s split up into two phases: Developer previews and beta releases.
We’re currently at the end of developer previews. The first Android 12 Developer Preview was released in February, with updates in both March and April. After that, we’ll get the first beta release, which will arrive in May — likely around the time of Google I/O. There will be beta releases in May, June, July, and August. After that is when we’ll finally get the official consumer release of Android 12.
Of course, even when the consumer version of Android 12 is released, that doesn’t mean you’ll get it right away — or ever. The update will first come to Google Pixel phones, but it remains to be seen when it will arrive on third-party devices. If your phone has a relatively stripped-back operating system, like OxygenOS or Motorola’s My UX, it may get it sooner than others. Samsung’s One UI, for example, is heavily tweaked, and it may take some time for the company to iron out all the bugs that come with applying One UI to the new version of Android for all its devices.
What are the new features in Android 12?
As mentioned, we’re still in the developer preview phase, which means we don’t know what the majority of Android 12’s new features are just yet. We do know some of the new features, though — and already, they represent a relatively interesting update.
Here’s a rundown of the new features on offer by Android 12. We’ll be updating this post as more features and updates are announced.
A new notification shade
We’re likely to get a lot more user interface updates to Android 12 after Google I/O, but already there are a few — chief among those being a new notification shade. Notifications look and feel a little more consistent, with app names, icons, and the ability to expand and contract to show more or less information. Notifications also have their own snooze buttons, which can come in handy.
Also handy is the fact that users can now control which media apps show controls in the notification shade. That’s good for people who use multiple media apps and don’t want to crowd up their notification shade.
The notification shade is likely to get other updates as time goes on, and we’ll hear more about that come Google I/O.
New privacy features
Privacy is front and center for tech companies these days, and Android 12 is getting a few features that iOS already has. For example, in Android 12, you’ll get new controls for personal identifiers that apps can use to track users across apps.
New ways to copy and paste
Android 12 is also getting a new API for copying and pasting different types of content. Now, whether through the clipboard, the keyboard, or just by dragging and dropping, apps will be able to accept content like text, images, audio, video, markups, and more, if the developers so choose. New forms of media are also supported in Android 12, including system-level support for HEVC video.
There are other, smaller tweaks coming to Android 12 as well. None necessarily warrant their own section, but they definitely could still come in handy.
For example, you can now share your Wi-Fi password through a QR code, allowing friends to quickly connect without having to type in long passwords.
You’ll also get more editing tools for screenshots, like the ability to add emoji, text, stickers, and more. And there’s a new system that can theme the colors in Android around your wallpaper.
We’ll update the article as we hear more about Android 12.