Android 12 beta 2 debuted the new operating system's much-anticipated automated theming system, which adjusts the colors of your phone's entire interface to match and complement the background wallpaper of your choice. We've been playing with it for the last day, but for a perfect example of why you'll want to check it out, we turn to Ars Technica Reviews Editor and Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo.
Android 12 Beta 2 finally introduced some of the more enticing changes like wallpaper-based theming and the privacy dashboard, but Google has also tweaked some other parts of the latest release while it was at it. Among these is the Pixel Launcher, which now more clearly shows you the grid when moving app icons and widgets around.
Android 12 is in for some huge design changes as part of Google's new design language Material You, and while we like most of them, a few parts just aren't looking too great. The new volume slider originally launched in Beta 1 was certainly included. With a finger-wide width, it looked comically huge. Thankfully, it seems Google agreed this design wasn't meant to last, as slimmer volume controls are now included in Beta 2.
Android 12 Beta 2 is chock full of visual changes, including the full implementation of its color-matching theme system. It's also changing some of the less popular additions from previous iterations of Android 12, including adding information density back to its settings menu.
Android 12's Conversation widget is starting to appear for more folks again, following an early appearance in Android 12 DP3. It still isn't live for everyone, but it's started showing up on us for a Pixel 4 XL running Beta 2 without any digging around in activities or root to surface hidden features.
We'd heard that Google was working on a double-tap gesture for its Pixel phones as far back as January, and at least some of the infrastructure was present in March. But apparently it took this long to get the thing actually working. With Android 12 beta 2, the option to double-tap the fingerprint sensor and perform various shortcut actions is alive and kicking, and it's been renamed "Quick Tap."
Starting for some in Beta 1 and with a wider rollout in Beta 2, Android 12 sports a fun new lockscreen on/off animation — or, depending on how you count, two slightly different animations. One expands out from the power button if you turn your phone on or off that way, and another expanding from the bottom of the display if you tap to wake or it times out on its own.
Themes are a big part of Android 12, offering all-new ways for customizing your phone as much as you want. Unfortunately, there are a couple of places where it seems like Google has locked everyone into a single visual element. In Android 12 Beta 2, the Recent apps page has replaced your wallpaper with a new solid backdrop that uses Monet to pull colors from your wallpaper.
Android 12's latest beta is here, and it's going to take some time to adjust to all of the changes. Google has modified the power menu, eliminating easy access to both the smart home control panel and your Pay account. Thankfully, those shortcuts haven't been completely erased from Android — you just need to know where to look.
Among the other privacy-related tweaks in Android 12 is a new toast notification that will pop up when an app pulls content from your clipboard, that way you're aware when it happens. This might sound superfluous, but think back: When was the last time you copied a password or someone's phone number?