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.