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Android 12: Everything You Must Know

What does Google have in store for us this year with Android 12? What devices are compatible? We take stock of the latest version of the search giant’s operating system.

During CES 2022 , Google announced several new features for its mobile OS. On the program, the arrival of Fast Pair, the ability to unlock your car with your smartphone, smarter Bluetooth and better collaboration with Windows.

How to download Android 12?

Usually your smartphone will inform you, like when a new update becomes available, that you can upgrade to Android 12. You also have the option to check for yourself and start the installation, if possible, by going to  Settings> System> System update> Check for updates . 

Is my device compatible with Android 12?

Considering the large number of Android phones available, it’s difficult to make a list of all that will support the update to Android 12. In addition to the Pixel 3 and above, the newer phones from Samsung, Asus, Nokia, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo and other manufacturers are expected to receive the update soon.

Android 12: 7 new features we’re excited about

Android 12 is a major update to the operating system that brings a number of new features. Here are some of the ones we’ve seen so far:

Confidentiality

With Android 12, Google added new privacy features to apps to bring more transparency and control to users. An icon appears at the top of the screen when an app has access to your camera or microphone. These measures are nevertheless less strict than those of Apple which in particular push applications to indicate in detail the information collected by them.

Notifications get a makeover

Notifications are modernizing and becoming more functional. When you tap on a notification, it will take you directly to the app or action you want to take, instead of going through an intermediary service to initiate that action.

Colorful themes for pixels

When you change the wallpaper on a Pixel, and if you are not in “dark” mode, the dominant color will permeate the entire system, including your lock screen, widgets, and notifications, with custom complementary colors.

The double tap or “Quick Tap”

Another new feature lets you touch the back of your Android phone a set number of times to trigger an action. Once you’ve enabled it in Settings> Gestures , you’ll see a list of actions you can set, like take a screenshot, play and pause media, or launch Google Assistant.

One-handed mode

In Settings> Systems> Gestures> One-handed mode , you can activate this feature which allows the screen to be lowered by half, and which is very useful for handling large screens more easily.

Rotate the screen according to the tilt of your head

Today you can turn your phone in portrait or landscape and the screen will adjust with you. With Android 12, on Pixel phones, it looks like you’ll be able to choose autorotation based on how your head is turned – for example, if you’re lying down, according to 9to5Google .

Trash management

Android has a hidden trash bin feature that Google could let you manage with Android 12. According to XDA Developers , you should be able to know how much storage space your trashed items are taking up, and empty it if necessary. 

For posterity, we leave you the most credible elements that leaked before the opening keynote of Google I / O 2021.

What novelties?

Our colleagues from XDA Developers published screenshots in February that seem to present some new features of the next version of Android.

The screenshots are said to be from a first draft of a Google document summarizing the changes to Android 12 for major partners. As XDA notes , neither the leaked document nor the screenshots have been verified, so all that emerges is to be taken with a grain of salt. New images leaked the day before the Google I / O event. They confirm important changes within the interface (rounded design and new animations).

Safety first

Assuming this information is true, Android 12 will introduce new widgets and features aimed at protecting user privacy. According to XDA , the new operating system will notify you every time an app uses your camera or microphone, and give you the option to disable access to the camera, microphone and geotagging through a revamped privacy settings menu.

Android 12 could also include a new chat widget showing missed calls, recent messages, and activity status. The predominant color of your theme and interface could be determined by your wallpaper or by you. The notification panel could be changed, and the quick setup panel could have fewer buttons and take a more rounded shape. The Camera application would also have the right to a redesign. 

More recently, XDA Developers got their hands on a new version of Android 12 which is not yet available. The interface for screenshots has been reworked, a search bar appears in the widget menu and new animations are offered.

Double-Tap arrives on Android

Apple’s iPhone has come with a cool feature since iOS 14 that allows you to tap the back of the phone a number of times to trigger an action. It looks like Google is going to use this idea with a new “Double-Tap” gesture.

On the Pixel 5, we went to Settings> System> Gestures> Double tap where we enabled the new feature. You will then see a list of actions that you can trigger. Currently, it is possible to enable screenshot, play and pause media, view recent apps, open notification shadow, or launch Google Assistant.

Making smartphones usable with one hand

In recent years, iPhone’s Easy Access feature has made it easier to use a large screen with one hand. In the second developer preview version of Android 12, a new feature now allows you to do the same.

To activate it, go to Settings> System> Gestures> One-handed mode and slide the switch to the On position. To use it, drag down the bar at the bottom of your phone screen. The interface will thus be brought back to the middle of your screen, which allows you to access everything at the top of the screen easily.

New notifications

This is a minor change that will certainly be extended in future updates. The notification panel has a new, very subtle look. When using the light theme, the notification shadow has a blue tint and the app icons are more pronounced. This is a preview of the new interface approach that we hope to see more of in future releases.

Maintain control over media applications

Instead of allowing each app that plays audio or video to use the Quick Settings media control panel, Android 12 adds the ability to disable individual apps. For example, if you want to be able to control Spotify playback in the shadow of the Quick Settings panel, but you don’t really want YouTube to take up space, you can turn it off for it.

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