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The last few iterations of Android have tightened up overall security and have made it easier to keep a track of which apps have the permission to access various sensors on your device. With Android 12, Google is planning to offer even greater control with dedicated quick settings tiles to block any use of the camera and microphone.
This feature was spotted by our friends over at 9to5Google — they had to dig deep and enable it manually. The quick settings panel is home to two new tiles: Block Camera and Mute Microphone. Once enabled, they prevent all apps on the phone from accessing these sensors. These toggles don't work currently, but that's not surprising since a lot of things don't work on early developer preview builds. We'll hopefully see a functional implementation down the line, so long as the feature doesn't get dropped.
For what it's worth, this isn't the first time we're seeing such a privacy feature. Google has included a "Sensors off" quick settings tile, which is hidden in the developer settings, since Android 10. But unlike this, the newer implementation offers more control over which exact sensors you want to disable.
For more about the Android 12 launch, check out our announcement post detailing what's new here. If you want to install the developer preview on your own device, find out how in our Android 12 download guide.