Android users finally got a good look at Google's latest operating system, Android 12, at the Google I/O developer conference on back in May. Now available as a public beta, Android 12 marks the OS's biggest design change in years, complete with customizable color palettes, updated notifications and faster, battery-saving performance. And we have a pretty good idea of when the final version will be available to download generally.
Android 12 release date:
While Google showed off Android 12 in May, it hasn't yet said when the OS will be released generally. Google usually releases the final version of a major Android update around August or September. Android 11 arrived on Sept. 8, 2020, and Android 10 launched Sept. 3, 2019.
In September, XDA Developers reported that the release date is likely to be Oct. 4, based on when the Android 12 stable update is expected -- which usually is the same day it rolls out to Google Pixel phones. When Android 12 does arrive, as always, it will be a free download for Android users.
How will I download Android 12 once it's generally available?
As is usually the case with major Android updates, exactly how and when you'll get the update depends on who makes your device, like Google, Samsung, OnePlus or Xiaomi. But generally, once the update starts rolling out, you'll go to System > Advanced > System update > Check for update.
What devices will be compatible with Android 12?
With the vast number of Android phones available, it's difficult to list all the ones that will support the update to Android 12. But generally, you can expect the Google Pixel 3 and later to be compatible with Android 12, along with newer phones from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Nokia, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo and other manufacturers. The website GetDroidTips has collected an extensive list of devices it expects will be compatible with Android 12.
What new features does Android 12 include?
Android 12 is a major update to the OS with a number of new features. Here's some of what we've seen so far in the public beta and during the Google I/O keynote.
- App privacy features :
With Android 12, Google is adding several new privacy features to apps to give you more transparency and control. A privacy dashboard helps you prevent apps from collecting unwanted information, and turn off your camera and microphone across all apps.
- Redesigned notifications :
Google is changing up the design of notifications to make them more modern and 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 start that action. This should make everything run faster.
- Customized color themes for Pixel phones :
On Google Pixel phones, when you choose your wallpaper, a feature called color extraction will update the whole system, including your lock screen, widgets and notifications, with custom complementary colors.
- Double-tap options :
Another new feature lets you tap the back of your Android phone a set number of times to trigger the action of your choosing. Once you enable it in settings under Gestures, you'll see a list of actions you can set, like taking a screenshot, playing and pausing media or launching Google Assistant.
- One-handed mode :
Android 12 appears to include a few design changes that make it easier to operate Android phones with one hand and your thumb. XDA Developers noted that the updated settings UI moves the Search bar to the bottom of the display for easier one-handed access. It also uncovered a new feature called "silky home" that makes the entire interface more suitable for one-handed use.
- Face-based autorotate :
Today, you can turn your phone portrait or landscape and the screen will adjust with you. With Android 12, on Pixel phones, it appears you'll be able to choose to autorotate based on the way your head is turned -- for example, if you're lying down, according to 9to5Google.
- Trash and recycle bin management :
Android has a hidden Recycle Bin/Trash feature that Google may allow you to manage with Android 12, according to XDA Developers. It looks like you'll be able to see how much storage space your trashed items take up, and clear the trash as needed.