We are now a mere one release away from Android 12's first beta releases, but big new changes are still landing, like a wide rollout of the hidden "silky home" redesign, new animations, and a bubbly, rounded appearance to many UI elements. In fact, Android 12 is shaping up to be one of the biggest visual updates to Android in years, so let's take a look at all the new features — both in the recent Developer Preview 3 release and in Android 12 overall — that you can look forward to your phone getting with Android 12.
Android 12 Developer Preview 3 landed this week with many smaller design tweaks, but there's one thing you'll instantly notice when you start using the new release. Things have become considerably more bouncy. Whether it's the notification drawer or the overscroll animations, Google is working on making things feel much more physical and realistic.
Just about every major Android update has come with some changes to the notifications, sometimes in the form of major functional additions, or possibly just some minor layout tweaks. Google already made a change in the first Android 12 developer preview to put notification snoozing in a more easily accessed location, but the latest update to DP3 is adjusting the layout of stacked notifications so the total is more visible and makes better use of space.
Android 12 Developer Preview 3 brought a whole slew of new design elements hinting that we're in for even more extensive changes in future pre-release versions. But Google is also working on eliminating smaller inconsistencies that should make the latest OS even more pleasant to use. It's introducing properly themed toast messages for dark mode, as first spotted by 9to5Google.
The ability to customize software as you wish is among the most attractive traits of Android, and Google is looking to give users even more choice with Android 12's hidden extensive theming options. While these have yet to become available to everyone in the latest developer preview of Android 12, Google is adding yet another grid size option to the Pixel launcher that aims to make your home screen less overwhelming.
While Android 12 is already available in its third iteration (Developer Preview 3), there are still many hidden options and features under the hood that we might only get our hands on officially once the first beta launches next month. The so-called conversation widgets are among them. We first saw them as part of mockups ahead of the first Android 12 build, and avid coders managed to activate them in the previous developer previews. But now it looks like these widgets are becoming available to a few people using Developer Preview 3 without any hacks, as spotted by 9to5Google. They're among the first publicly available interface elements to automatically change the color based on your wallpaper.
Android 11 introduced a new floating screenshot panel with editing and sharing options that pops up at the bottom of your display after taking a screenie, but getting rid of it fast has always been cumbersome. You'd have to aim for a small x in the top right corner of the miniature screenshot preview. Android 12 changes that and allows you to swipe away the screenshot UI. While the first two developer previews only allowed you to swipe to the left, the third release finally allows you to swipe in either direction.
We've been following Android 12's new screen-dimming feature for some time — not because it's that revolutionary, but because Google keeps changing the name for it. We've gone through "Reduce Bright Colors" and "Reduce Brightness," but as of DP3, Google appears to have settled on a less easily understandable "extra dim" name.
It's clear now that Android 12 will include a major visual refresh for the first time in years, but it's not just a new coat of paint. Google is using this as an opportunity to clean up its OS, rearranging the location of certain settings to make them more straightforward to find. In Android 12 DP3, accounts management has been tweaked, with all of your login information easier to access without jumping between menus.