Android 12 is looking quite different from its predecessors, but the OS also has a few new tricks under the hood — particularly in the privacy department. The new Android version gives you clear indicators when an app is using your camera or your microphone in the top right corner of your display, so you're never caught off guard (many other manufacturers already include this in their custom Android software). But what if you want to be extra sure that no app can see or hear you? Google added two dedicated toggles for that, and they will go live on Android 12 Beta 2.
Back during the first Developer Preview for Android 12, a new iOS-like Emergency SOS feature was spotted that let you panic-smash your power button five times to make an emergency call. The feature disappeared from Settings in subsequent releases, but it's back as of Beta 1.
Among the bigger changes coming to Android 12 is the new "Monet" dynamic theming system that pulls colors from your background. It's not user-facing in the beta releases yet, but there was already some concern that you'd have to simply accept whichever colors it chose from your background. Thankfully, Google tells us that you'll be able to select your own colors instead if you prefer.
Last year, Google rolled out a permissions exemption for contact-tracing apps that allowed them to scan for Bluetooth devices (you know, to keep track of people you may have been too close to during peak Covid) without needing to call the full location permission to do that, as they had to before. Now that change is rolling out even more widely. Android 12 Beta 1 has a new permission just for Bluetooth scanning.
The first Android 12 beta just launched yesterday, and it brought a whole slew of design and animation changes with it. But Google is also working on reducing CPU and GPU usage and cleaning up transitions between apps and notifications. As part of that effort, the company is making audio transitions less jarring when you switch from app to app.
In addition to the big user-facing redesign that started landing in Beta 1, a handful of smaller visual tweaks are also included in this new, ostensibly slightly more stable release, including this: A new charging animation. It's there for both wired and wireless charging (though slightly different between each), and follows your system accent color.
Android 12's visual changes are significant, to say the least. As Googlers pointed out repeatedly during the first few I/O 2021 streams, Material You touches almost every part of Android. Yes, even the lowly toast notification. In the new beta, some apps are firing off more informative pop-ups.
The first Android 12 beta just landed shortly after the I/O keynote, and it has the huge rumored redesign in tow. While the most obvious changes are easy to spot, a few things are harder to see when you just have Google's press images to work with. One of these places would be your device lock screen's PIN or pattern entry field.
We're still digging through changes in Android 12's brand-new Beta 1 release, but we've already spotted a minor tweak to a change that has been teased a few times in prior previews. Beta 1 has a new, slightly sparkly ripple animation when you tap on stuff.