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Google releases Android 12 for Pixel 3 devices and above
by Paul Hill
At its event today, Google announced the release of Android 12, one of the biggest upgrades to the mobile operating system in a few years. As is typical with Android releases, owners of a Pixel 3 or above are being prioritised and will get the upgrade on their devices today.
This update focuses on three main areas: personality, privacy and ease of use. In terms of making the experience personal, the entire Android 12 experience changes to match whichever wallpaper you pick. The new design language is called Material You, it updates all aspects of the phone to match the wallpaper you pick. You’ll notice alterations on your lockscreen, notifications, settings, widgets and even in apps to make the Android experience feel a lot more coherent.
In order to make Android 12 more personal to those with disabilities, Google has added new accessibility settings such as a window magnifier that lets you zoom in on a part of your screen while preserving the rest of the screen context. If your minimum brightness setting is still too bright, you can turn on extra dim screen lighting and if you’re having trouble reading text, you can enable bold text or turn on grayscale to make the job a bit easier.
The next big change to Android 12 is the improvements to privacy that it brings. For example, you can now see when an app is using your microphone or camera with a new indicator in the status bar, you can stop either of these sensors from being used via toggles in Quick Settings. Other options allow you to provide a fuzzy location, check your privacy permissions at a glance through the privacy dashboard and unused apps will have to ask you to approve permissions again.
In terms of making things easier, Android 12 allows you to take scrolling screenshots so you can grab a whole app in one shot, you can play games while they download, Wi-Fi credentials can be shared with Nearby Share and it’s now easier to switch to Android using just a Wi-Fi connection or a cable if you’re switching from iPhone.
To learn more about Android 12, head over to the Android website. Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo and Xiaomi devices will start to get Android 12 later this year.
By Usama Jawad96
Your WhatsApp backups on Google Drive and iCloud can now be encrypted end-to-end
by Usama Jawad
Although WhatsApp has supported end-to-end encryption of chats for the several years, this capability does not cover cloud backups, which are uploaded in an unencrypted state. The Facebook-owned chat app clearly notes in its backup settings that "Messages and media backed up in Google Drive are not protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption" on WhatsApp for Android.
That said, we know that the company has been testing encrypted cloud backups for well over a year, and after making its way to WhatsApp beta a few months ago, the capability has finally started rolling out generally.
Starting from today, users will have the choice to end-to-end encrypt their backups before they are uploaded to Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp has proudly boasted that no other global messaging service of this magnitude provides this capability to its customers.
Despite offering this feature which ensures that neither WhatsApp nor a cloud service provider can read your messages, encrypted chat backups is still an optional layer of security. This is because there are a couple of caveats to be aware of. Backups can be encrypted end-to-end using a password of your choice or a 64-bit key, however, if you lose access to your chats due to some mishap and forget your encryption key too, there is no way to restore the backup. Even WhatsApp won't be able to initiate this process since it claims that it doesn't get access to your key at all.
It appears that this capability is rolling out in a staggered manner since we don't have it on our devices yet. You can head over to Settings > Chats > Chat backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup to check whether you have the feature yet. You can also utilize our brief guide to configure encrypted cloud backups.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter will give you a heads up before entering 'intense' conversations
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter is testing a new feature aimed to promote netiquette on its app. For some Android and iOS users, the firm will give a warning when they're entering a conversation that could potentially become heated or intense.
The firm will show a "Heads up" note, which prompts the user that "conversations like this can be intense." In the image above, it appears that the screenshot on the right pops up when replying to a flagged conversation. It lays out three bullet points in a bid to encourage empathy and fact-based conversations between users on the platform.
This measure is the latest in the firm's recent efforts to diminish the persistent harassment on its platform. Last year, Twitter enabled a feature that would ask users to read an article before they retweeted it. The internal results showed that the experiment worked, as people opened the article 40% more often after seeing the prompt. It also added another prompt that would warn users before tweeting if the firm deemed that it might be offensive.
In other Twitter news, the firm announced last month that it would let users tip creators using Strike, which is a bitcoin-based application.
By Usama Jawad96
Android 12 is now available in AOSP, coming soon to Pixel devices
by Usama Jawad
Android 12 is Google's next big update for Android, packing new features like Material You design language, better performance, an increased focus on privacy and security, and an enhanced user experience, among other things. The final beta for the OS was released almost a month ago which indicates that we are very close to general rollout.
Now, Google has announced that it is pushing Android 12 to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is slightly out of the ordinary because it usually does this on the day that a new OS becomes available for Google devices. As we know, this is not the case this time. Instead, Google has noted that Android 12 will be rolling out to Pixel devices in the "next few weeks", followed by devices manufactured by Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi.
The firm went on to say that:
Google will be discussing the technical aspects of Android 12 in more detail at its Android Dev Summit from October 27-28.
By News Staff
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