Now that the Android 12 Developer Preview 2 has marinated on the world's Pixels for a while, most of the hidden features in that most recent release have probably been dug up. Rather than wade through our feature level coverage or different lists for different releases, here is the complete and full compendium of all features spotted in Android 12 up until now.

If this is your first Android Developer Preview rodeo, a bit of context: These early releases are works in progress. Some features we spot now may not make the final release, and plenty of features that will aren't even present yet. Excluding bug-fix updates, at least 6-7 more builds are planned before the final stable release, so we've barely touched the surface of what to expect when Android 12 lands later this year.

Much of our current knowledge is based on "hidden" features which are not currently enabled or user-facing, but nonetheless present in a disabled, partly work-in-progress state inside recent releases. Everything we know about those features could change with a single update.

Note that the organizational logic for the features listed below is also subject to change. As new releases land, different categories may ultimately be more appropriate. Expect to see individual features shuffled around between sections over time (the "Hidden" features probably won't stay hidden forever), and reversions will be struck from the list.

One last thing. Before we jump in, I'd like to thank you, our readers, for your regular tips and support. Covering all the changes in Android 12 would be much, much harder without your help, and we ❤️ you.

Now with 100% more DP2

Our changelog has been updated to include everything spotted so far in Android 12 Developer Preview 2. The "What's new?" section just below includes all the changes since Android 12 DP1.

What's new?

Android 12 DP2 is here, and it's time to update our list with all the latest changes.

As usual, the full feature list at the bottom of the page includes every change in Android 12, together with links to coverage and descriptions. Note that a handful of the "hidden" features have graduated to other sections of the list below now that they're live — expect more of them to do that over time.

If you've been following along more closely and just want to know what's changed in Developer Preview 2 since DP1, those more recent tweaks are just below:

  • Compact widget picker: Android 12 DP2 rolled out a new, more compact layout for the widget picker. Widgets are still sorted by app, but each app's list is collapsed by default, making it a little less busy and faster to scroll to the app you need.
  • One-handed mode is live in DP2: Previously spotted in-development, Android 12's one-handed mode is working now in Developer Preview 2. It's a little awkward to trigger, requiring a swipe-down from the navigation area, and it conflicts with another new gesture to pull down notifications, but it's there.
  • Out with the blue, in with the haze as dark theme gets brighter: Android 12 DP2 gets rid of the awkward light blue background color that rolled out in DP1, but dark backgrounds are brighter and more hazy now — even further from that OLED black so many of our readers love. Notably, even bright light theme backgrounds are a slightly dimmer shade of gray now. The new toggles that landed in DP1 are also showing up in a few more places.
  • Swipe for notifications: First spotted in DP1, DP2 rolls out a new "swipe for notifications" feature that allows you to swipe down on the gesture area to trigger the notification shade. However, the setting that controls it is a bit buggy, and it also interferes with the new one-handed mode gesture, which is identical.
  • Lockscreen
  • Pixel launcher search bar customization: Another one of those "hidden" features, DP2 has some in-development tweaks to the search bar on Pixels that could extend results to include slices, widgets, contacts, Play Store listings, and more.
  • "People Space" widget progress: It's still not user-facing, but the upcoming People Space widget is a bit further along now, and we know a bit more about the workflow to set it up. You can select from a list of recent conversation-tagged notifications, and apps like Telegram and Slack are supported. The Widget defaults to a 3:2 size.
  • App icons in toast messages spotted in hidden test: It's disabled and not user-facing yet, but DP2 contains a test that includes app icons for toast messages.
  • More game dashboard stuff: It's still disabled and hidden by default, but DP2 has more of that game mode stuff going on inside of it, including a dashboard with quick access to a handful of toggles/tools, DnD mode, and some larger boxes that might be used for something else — though it could be a Pixel-exclusive feature.
  • Face-based autorotate could come to non-Pixels: Previously spotted in development, and though it still doesn't work yet, face-based auto rotate in Android 12 may not just be a Pixel-exclusive feature.
  • Android 12 DP2's hidden taskbar: In what could be a boon to multitasking, a benefit for big screens, or a change for Android's long-developed desktop mode, there's a new taskbar hidden in Developer Preview 2. It's persistent across the UI and almost Chrome OS-like, giving you quick access to your recent apps.
  • Accessibility menu clean-up: Google has shuffled around some of the accessibility settings in DP2, especially in the text and display sub-menu, giving you another location for the dark theme toggle and other options to dim the display.
  • "Smart Forwarding:" For dual-SIM devices, DP2 adds a feature that will allow you to forward calls between two SIMs on your phone — useful, for example, if one has service while the other doesn't. However, it doesn't actually seem to be live for us just yet, so we assume it's still hidden for now.
  • Rear double-tap gesture shows up, but doesn't work: After popping up across Android 11 and Android 12, that rear double-tap gesture spotted in development is starting to rear its head. The setting for it may appear, but it doesn't actually function. We know a little more about the options it will have, though, like launching the assistant or recents menu, with a further setting to "require harder taps." It's also hard-coded to the Pixel 5 right now, so it may not come to all Pixels.
  • Media player picks up accent colors: Android 12 DP2 is all about that better theme integration, and your custom accent colors will now apply to the Media Player's background as well, rather than just having it pick up from the album artwork for whatever is playing.
  • Privacy indicators spotted but still hidden: The long-awaited Android 12 privacy indicators are partially working in DP2, but they're still not user-facing yet.
  • Quick settings tile for smart home controls spotted in-development.
  • Textured ripple animation: A new patterned ripple effect is available for animations in DP2, together with an iOS-like overscroll bounce.
  • Notification listener "unbridging:" DP2 will let you control which apps a listener service can intercept and read notifications from. As an example, Wear OS or your Launcher may pull from notification content, and this gives you granular controls for what they can and can't access on a per-app basis.
  • Picture-in-Picture improvements: The stashing feature, which lets you drag a PiP window partially off-screen when you need to see behind it, is now live as of DP2 (after having been spotted in-development in DP1). New gestures associated with this change have also landed, including pinch to resize, a single-tap to pull up controls, and a double-tap to toggle between window sizes.
  • Brand new API for rounded corners: These days, phones curve the edges of their screens to better fit snugly against the curved corners of the body itself, reducing bezels and providing a subjectively "cleaner" look. Because the size of those curves can and do vary, Google is rolling out a new API that apps can query to figure out exactly how those corners are curved and better adapt content to suit it. For us, that means content will better fit on phones with rounded corners.
  • New API for app checksums: Android 12 has a new, faster, and more secure system to test installed app package integrity.
  • Bandwidth estimation API enhancements: Newer and ostensibly better results on estimates for throughput on cellular or Wi-Fi connections.
  • Easier visual effects for blurs, color filters, and more: Android 12 rolls out a handful of new tools for developers to play with to do things like blur an ImageView or make other visual effects in their apps more easily.
  • More lock screen notification visibility options: Android 12 will add more granularity to lock screen interactions. For example, seeing notifications without authentication but being restricted from notification button interaction until you pass your keyguard, etc., though this probably won't do much until developers implement it.
  • Fitness tracker improvements: Apps that manage fitness trackers or other connected devices can tell the system to wake them when that hardware is connected, and they'll stay awake while those devices are nearby.

The Android 12 feature list

Entirely new Android 12 features

Most of the big headlining changes are still "hidden," so expect this section to be plumped out later.

"Hidden" and upcoming Android 12 features

  • Android 12's big visual redesign
    • "Material NEXT:" The evolution of Google's Material Design language apparently going to debut with Android 12.
    • Theming
      • An early report alleged that Android 12 would be adding a new theming system that would even modify the appearance of other apps (if they supported it).
      • Later mockups showed off what may have been a themed interface and other UI changes that could potentially be Pixel-specific as part of a new "Silk" or "Silky" theme.
      • Wallpaper-based themes in Android 12 were then spotted in testing and manually enabled. The system, called "Monet," can pull colors from your wallpaper and dynamically create a theme that works with it, covering both the Settings app, notifications, subtle elements in the lock screen, and more.
    • Lock screen adjustments 
    • Notifications
      • Overall redesign: First spotted in what are likely mockups prior to Android 12's release, the first changes in what we expect to be a bigger notification and notification shade redesign were hidden in DP1. That includes a thicker brightness bar, increased white space padding, and some Quick Settings toggle tweaks, though other changes are likely planned.
      • Bubble notification tweaks: New animations with "softer" transitions are planned. In landscape, bubble notifications will also be moved to the side of the screen and listed vertically, where they're less likely to block content rather than staying at the top.
      • Experiment disables notification half-swipe: Spotted in-development as part of DP1, Google may kill the notification half-swipe used to access things like notification settings on a per-app basis and snooze — though snooze has a new spot in Android 12, so no big loss.
      • "Automatic" sound/vibration setting for notifications: Hidden in Android 12 is a new setting that lets "the system determine if a notification should make sound or vibration," which also raises or lowers its priority, seemingly. A red arrow or blue arrow will indicate when that has happened, indicating when a notification has been raised or lowered, respectively, likely also associated with other Adaptive notification tweaks in Android 12 DP1.
    • Widgets
      • New Conversations Widget: Spotted first in a leaked mockup, Android 12 has a hidden "Conversation" widget, in development under the "People Space" name that can pull things like communications from the Google Messages app.
        • It's still not user-facing, but the upcoming People Space widget is a bit further along in DP2, and we know a bit more about the workflow to set it up. You can select from a list of recent conversation-tagged notifications, and apps like Telegram and Slack are supported. The Widget defaults to a 3:2 size.
      • Widget stacks: Hidden and disabled by default in DP1 is a new feature to enable side-scrolling widgets — at least, for Google's own At a Glance smart space.
    • "Silky Home" settings layout: Android 12 has a hidden "Silky Home" mode, which can be enabled via ADB and adjusts how the Settings app looks to resemble Samsung's OneUI. It could be a Pixel-exclusive change, something tied to Android 12's theming system, or part of the larger Material NEXT redesign.
  • Privacy, including privacy indicators and toggles
  • Multitasking
    • App pairs: Cloning a feature from Samsung phones, Google has been working on the ability to manage a pair of apps together as one while multitasking with multi-window mode, which could come in handy for both tablets and Android foldables.
    • Double-tap divider swap app positions in multi-window mode: The divider separating apps in Android 12's multi-window mode may allow you to swap the app's positions when double-tapped.
    • Android 12 DP2's hidden taskbar: In what could be a boon to multitasking, a benefit for big screens, or a change for Android's long-developed desktop mode, there's a new taskbar hidden in Developer Preview 2. It's persistent across the UI and almost Chrome OS-like, giving you quick access to your recent apps.
  • Improvements to third-party app stores: We haven't seen any changes live just yet, but Google promised last year that it would make it easier for folks to install third-party app stores on Android, without compromising on user security.
  • "Hibernation" for unused apps: A new system in Android 12 can optimize apps for storage in a "hibernated" state — seemingly if they go too long without being used, but it could be a manual process.
  • Restricted networking mode: Spotted in development earlier this year, Android 12 may get a feature that locks down networking permissions to just a handful of privileged system apps, though we aren't sure how it will manifest in a user-facing way.
  • Fonts and emoji decoupled from the system: Android 12 may let us finally update fonts and emoji separately from the system itself. That means you wouldn't have to wait on a manufacturer update to enjoy the latest emoji.
  • "Letterbox" feature: We don't know how it will work or what it will look like, but Google is working on a method to place an app inside a frame or window with adjustable colors and corners.
  • Better Dark Theme support for app splash screens: If apps support it, Android 12 may be able to generate better Dark Theme-compatible splash screens when they're launched to help prevent you from being suddenly blinded at night.
  • Runtime resource overlay improvements: Android 12 allows for on-the-fly generation of RROs. For end-users, this could be what powers Android 12's upcoming theme system, but developers may find other applications.
  • Game Mode: Android 12 may finally add a first-party Game Mode similar to that already implemented by other smartphone manufacturers, with things like an automatically-engaged Do Not Disturb mode, locked screen brightness/auto-rotation, and more.
    • This will likely include a dedicated toolbar, which was spotted in development in DP1, though it could be Pixel-exclusive.
    • It's still disabled and hidden by default, but DP2 has more of that game mode stuff going on inside of it, including a dashboard with quick-access to a handful of toggles/tools, DnD mode, and some larger boxes that might be used for something else — though it could be a Pixel-exclusive feature.
  • Face-based auto-rotate: An AI/camera-powered feature that may debut with Android 12 (or potentially land as part of a Feature Drop update — we aren't sure) will be able to adjust auto-rotation to take into account the angle of your face as you look at your phone. So even if you're on your side, your phone won't blindly accept gyroscope data and rotate to landscape unless that's how you're holding it.
  • Scrolling screenshots: After years and Google's mercurial attitudes, scrolling screenshots are in Android 12 — hidden and broken, but they're there.
  • Machine learning-augmented gestures: Android 12 has a new on-device machine learning model that seems to be tuned to refining how gesture navigation is triggered — currently and specifically, with variable tolerances for the back gesture.
  • Pixel launcher search bar customization: Another one of those "hidden" features, DP2 has some in-development tweaks to the search bar on Pixels that could extend results to include slices, widgets, contacts, Play Store listings, and more.
  • App icons in toast messages spotted in hidden test: It's hidden and disabled by default, but DP2 contains a test that includes app icons for toast messages.
  • "Smart Forwarding:" For dual-SIM devices, DP2 adds a feature that will allow you to forward calls between two SIMs on your phone — useful, for example, if one has service while the other doesn't. However, it doesn't actually seem to be live for us just yet, so we assume it's still hidden for now.
  • Quick settings tile for smart home controls spotted in-development.

Visual changes

  • Changing background colors
    • Dark theme is no longer AMOLED black: Android 12 DP1 makes things gray again, perfect for emphasizing every inconsistency in your smartphone's OLED display at minimum brightness at night. (Not a fan, if you can't tell.)
      • In DP2 dark theme is even brighter. At this rate it'll be a flat white by summer. The normal bright/white theme is also just slightly gray in DP2.
    • New blue Settings: Potentially tied to Android 12's theming system (and, therefore, it could be subject to change), but Android 12 DP1 has a new blue-ish look to the Settings menu.
  • New toggles: Android 12 rolled out a visual redesign for big top-of-list category toggles that include a secondary icon indicator for their state beyond color and position — potentially useful for accessibility, especially if the upcoming theme system doesn't play nice with colorblind-confusable colors.
  • Custom notifications can no longer theme the entire notification: Android 12 changes the customizable area for notifications to be a little smaller, ensuring greater consistency with other visual elements like app name/header and expanding/collapsing indicators.
  • Android 12 lets you hide/mask the hole punch on the Pixel 5: Pretty self-explanatory, but Android 12 allows you set the display cutout setting in developer options to "Hide" for the Pixel 5, 4a, and 4a 5G, making the status bar black and solid in a way that hides it.
  • Lock screen
  • Compact widget picker: Android 12 DP2 rolled out a new more compact layout for the widget picker. Widgets are still sorted by app, but each app's list is collapsed by default, making it a little less busy and faster to scroll to the app you need.
  • Media player picks up accent colors: Android 12 DP2 is all about that better theme integration, and your custom accent colors will now apply to the Media Player's background as well, rather than just having it pick up from the album artwork for whatever is playing.

Privacy and security changes

Modifications to existing features

Developer-facing changes

  • Apps will open faster from notifications: Android 12 will force developers to use a better system when calling their apps from a notification which should be much faster.
  • Better support for rich content: A new unified API allows you to pull content from a clipboard, keyboard, or even just drag and drop. There's more to it than that, but in short, users can move content like photos or videos between apps even more easily in Android 12.
  • HEVC and HDR transcoding: Android 12 will allow apps to work with the new format, even if they don't directly support them, converting between HEVC or HDR and AVC on the fly, and it's easy for developers to implement. For you, that means fewer issues playing back content recorded on other devices.
  • Android 12 is also coming to Android TV: Probably to be expected.
  • AVIF image support: Android 12 adds support for the new container format, which can hit a higher quality at lower sizes compared to older formats.
  • New Mainline modules
    • Android Runtime is a Project Mainline module now: Google has further broken out system components into Play Store-updatable modules in Android 12, including the core Android Runtime (ART). This means more system bits can be updated for security once your phone stops getting regular updates, and critical updates for related components can be deployed more quickly than once per month.
    • Transcoding is a mainline module now, too.
  • Peer-to-peer connections coexist with an existing Wi-Fi connection: As long as your hardware supports it, Android 12 can maintain a peer-to-peer connection together with your existing Wi-Fi connection, which could be a boon for things like smart home device setup.
  • Ultra-wideband APIs: System-only for now, but Android 12 will have support for the new ultra-wideband hardware popularized by Samsung and Apple.
  • Improved Binder IPC calls: This means potentially faster performance for certain apps doing certain things.
  • Native ImageDecoder can decode GIF and WebP: Cutting down reliance on third-party libraries, ImageDecoder can pull all frames from animation files now.
  • Foreground service restrictions: Apps targeting Android 12 that are running in the background can no longer start foreground services outside a handful of special cases.
  • SDK lockdown: As with each Android release, Google is deprecating a handful of undocumented SDK interfaces/APIs.
  • Textured ripple animation: A new patterned ripple effect is available for animations in DP2, together with an iOS-like overscroll bounce.
  • Brand new API for rounded corners: These days, phones curve the edges of their screens to better fit snugly against the curved corners of the body itself, reducing bezels and providing a subjectively "cleaner" look. Because the size of those curves can and do vary, Google is rolling out a new API that apps can query to figure out exactly how those corners are curved and better adapt content to suit it. For us, that means content will better fit on phones with rounded corners.
  • New API for app checksums: Android 12 has a new, faster and more secure system to test installed app package integrity.
  • Bandwidth estimation API enhancements: Newer and ostensibly better results on estimates for throughput on cellular or Wi-Fi connections.
  • Easier visual effects for blurs, color filters, and more: Android 12 rolls out a handful of new tools for developers to play with to do things like blur an ImageView or make other visual effects in their apps more easily.