Google’s newest Android iteration, Android 12 is finally here. The company has given us a first good look at the new operating system, which brings significant visual upgrades and more security-focused features that keep you in charge of your privacy.
So let’s take a quick look at all the new Android 12 features and changes announced by Google today.
Android 12 Features: Visual Design Changes
Google’s Material design philosophy is getting an upgrade with Android 12. The new OS brings in a new design concept called the Material You. This design is meant to be more expressive and humanistic, shying away from the concept of a traditional user interface. Google says the design is a result of a deep collaboration between its ‘software, hardware and Material Design teams’.
So here are the major visual changes in Android 12:
- Personalization is a big part of Android 12 and in this regard, the OS brings changes to the UI colors, shapes, lights, and motion. The biggest change is the new adaptive color palette of the UI. Based on your wallpaper, the system will automatically determine dominant and complementary colors and will apply them to the entire OS including the notifications shade, volume controls, lock screen, and even the widgets.
- As mentioned above, the Android 12 design is now more expressive. So shapes and colors will both play an important role in the UI. Along with adaptive color palettes, the new OS will also play around with the sizes of the UI elements.
A simple example is your lock screen clock. The size of the clock will depend upon whether you have notifications on your screen. Without any notifications, you get an enlarged clock widget which looks pretty good.
- Quick Settings
The Quick Settings panel aims to be a true control panel on Android 12. In this regard, the buttons have become larger along with new additions to the panel. For example, Android 12 adds Google Pay and Home Control buttons along with two privacy-focused toggle buttons namely Camera & Microphone Access. These two access buttons can directly revoke system-wide permissions for the two sensitive sensors on your smartphone.
- Power Button
The power button now brings up Google assistant. So no more awkward gestures at the bottom to launch the assistant.
Android 12 Features: Faster & More Efficient
Since Material You design is all about expression, Android 12 has faster and smoother animations. In this regard, Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, Android & Google Play reveals, “This was achieved by some under-the-hood improvements including reducing the CPU time needed for core system services by up to 22% and reducing the use of big cores by the system server by up to 15%.”
This sounds exciting but we’ll have to wait and see if the new tweaks can ensure smoother and faster animations across all smartphones.
Android 12: Security & Privacy Features
Apart from the visual overhaul, Android 12 brings important security and privacy-centric features to your smartphone.
- The biggest addition is the new Privacy dashboard. Android 12 will showcase a pie chart of the number of data requests from your installed apps over a span of 24 hours. The same dashboard panel will allow you to tweak permission settings for each app, giving you better control over your data.
- Another important addition is the new camera and microphone indicator on the top right corner. Every time your camera or microphone is being accessed, the indicator will light up giving you a heads up that the sensor is in use.
Moreover, with the included Camera and Microphone Access buttons in the Quick Settings panel, you can revoke system-wide access to these sensors.
- Android 12 adds an approximate location permission setting which will only give out your rough location. This will be handy for apps like the weather for which you don’t have to share your precise location information.
- The new OS also isolates key AI processes into a separate, secure location within your system. Android 12’s Android Private Computer Core will handle all audio and language processing for Live Caption, Now Playing, and Smart Reply. This will ensure that your personal information is secure and stays locally on your smartphone. Sameer further adds in the official blog post ” the protections in Private Compute Core are open source and fully inspectable and verifiable by the security community.”
There are a lot of other small additions to the new OS like scrolling screenshots, conversation widgets, and improvements to impaired vision features.
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