This story was originally published and last updated .
As Android 12 inches closer to its final version, users will soon be treated to a ton of cool design customizations made possible by Material You. Now is the perfect time to build up your wallpaper stash so that you're ready to make your phone's UI pop later this year. Subscribe to the Android Police Newsletter for free, and claim a new wallpaper every week from now until we run out, which isn't happening anytime soon.
This past weekend, my husband and I were celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary in Reims, a city in the Champagne region in France. Yes, that Champagne too. A 45-minute TGV ride from Paris and we were smack in the middle of one of the most notorious bubbly cities in the world, where flutes overflow with sparkling joy and where you can visit dozens upon dozens of Champagne houses, from the well-renowned names to the small local producers. We visited Taittinger's Gallo-Roman chalk pits, where the bottles rest during the multi-step process that transforms grapes into the effervescent liquid we all know.
There was a time, a decade ago, when I was obsessed with customizing my phone's homescreen down to the tiniest details. Wallpaper, icons, widgets, everything had to match to perfection, and each few days I'd spend several hours putting together a new style from scratch. I don't have that much free time or patience now, and my homescreen setup is as simple as it gets: two rows of folders and the Google search bar on the bottom, plus the Pixel widget on top. I just slap a new wallpaper every now and then and feel like I've achieved something. The truth, though, is that barely any effort goes into it because I've been using the same wallpaper app for six years: Backdrops.
Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.
Just a couple months ago, Android Auto added six preset images hidden away in the code that could be used as future backgrounds. We had been hoping that this meant that full custom wallpaper support would be coming soon, but instead, Google has removed most of the previous images in favor of 12 new, more car-oriented backgrounds that suit Android Auto a lot better. When they were first discovered by 9to5Google, they weren't selectable by users, but that appears to be changing: Many people report that wallpapers are now rolling out to their cars.
WhatsApp's design may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it's still among the most used messengers in the world. It doesn't look like we're getting a full redesign anytime soon, but at least the company has announced that it's introducing a few new wallpapers along with the option to customize backgrounds for individual chats. It's now also easier to find stickers — they're becoming searchable with text and emoji.