Android 12 – New Features, Release Date, New Update

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Android 12

Did you know that Snow Cone is Android 12’s dessert name? Well it’s not official google ditched its dessert naming scheme for android around two years ago. So unfortunately no more tasty looking statues but internally google engineers still follow the tradition. And within its source code the abbreviation ‘SC’ is sprinkled around standing for Snow Cone.

Today we’re going to look at every major change and new feature found within Android 12 thus far and also quickly discuss any possible upcoming features. Currently the Android 12 latest release is developer preview 3 so any of these things discussed in this post could change and be removed entirely when the next update rolls out. According to Google’s timeline the first beta version of Android 12 should be released sometime this month.

Upcoming Features of Android 12

Notification Panel

When you first boot into Android 12 developer 3 there are a few things that will stand out to you. First is the notification panel. Here you’ll find a ton of minor changes that improve the bigger picture. There is no longer a conversations or notifications text that separates your notifications from the quick setting tiles. The text within each notification has also been slightly moved to the right to make space for the apps icon which now has circular backgrounds. The snoozing button has been added to the corner of each expanded notification for easier access.

Notification Panel of Android 12

When you tap on an apps icon it’ll expand the notification and whenever you have a stack notification the counter is now a lot easier to spot thanks to a rounded colorful background.

Media Player

For the media player you can limit the apps that are allowed to display media controls within the quick settings. Before any app could bring up these controls as long as it plays sound in the background. Now within the settings under sound and vibration and then media you can deselect any apps or you can turn off the media controls altogether.

Media Player of Android 12

On top of that the media player takes up a lot more space. The artwork is bigger and it follows the same accent color as the system rather than trying to match the colors of the album artwork. I personally prefer the color changing music player but I can see why they made the change just for a more uniform interface.

Dark Mode

Also I’m not sure if you notice but when you have dark mode enabled the background of the notifications or quick settings panel are no longer pitch black instead it’s a dark shade of gray. The same goes for the settings, the pixel launcher’s app drawer and a lot of other system pages.

New Volume Slider

Another huge change that is a lot more obvious is the Volume Slider. They turned it into a thick ass pill. It’s just too thick but I do love the new animation that pops up whenever you switch between ringer modes. It looks really sick.

Volume Slider

However the live transcribe button is still stuck with the old squarish design. So it’s most likely a work in progress. I’m hoping they finally fix that dreaded expanded volume panel and maybe even make the volume slider a bit thinner.

Ringer Mode Pop up

App Drawer

As for the Pixel launcher it’s got a ton of new changes sprinkled around. When opening the app drawer it now animates with rounded corners extending to the status bar.

App Drawer

The discover panel is a lot less transparent with each article filling up the entire page instead of floating in the middle.

Discover Panel

And the google logo is off to the left now and the snapshot icon is on the right next to your google profile icon.

App Grid Size on Android 12

There’s a new 4×5 grid size option which I think is perfect for small devices such as the pixel 4a or pixel 5. Everything is a lot more symmetrical and the icon size is perfect. And there’s also an extra 4×4 option which makes the icon smaller than the regular 4×4 option also found within Android 11.

Improved Widget Panel

My favorite change within the launcher though has to be the new and improved widget panel. It’s genius.

Improved Widget Panel on Android 12

It has a more compact layout with every app’s widgets automatically being collapsed making it feel less busy and it’s faster to scroll through.

Widget List on Android 12

You also get a couple of pre-selected widgets at the top and a search bar to quickly bring up specific widgets. It’s a lot more efficient and I hope that third-party launchers adopt these changes in the future as well.

Smart Widget on Android 12

There’s also a new conversation widget which I don’t think it’s that useful. All it does is let you see the latest chat from the conversation you’re in from some of your messaging apps including google messages, slack, telegram, Facebook, messenger, WhatsApp etc.

Conversation Widget

Settings Design

When jumping into the settings design wise everything is completely different. It’s a lot simpler with just the title of each section. The menus no longer have small keywords that let you know what’s inside of each of them.

Settings of Android 12

I can see it being an annoyance to some folks who are new to android but for those who’ve been using android for years this probably won’t bother you that much especially since almost everything is still in the same place as before.

Dropped Down Section

Each section also has been dropped down to make it easier to use with one hand. Hopefully in the future though they also do this for other google apps.

Battery and Storage Section of Android 12
Battery and Storage Section of Android 12

The battery and storage sections both have fun new bar indicators and in some subsections the big top of the list category toggles have a new look. Aside from the visual changes there are also some juicy new features that google created within the gesture section you’ll find a ton of them.

New One Handed Mode on Android 12

There is now a one-handed mode that just like the iPhone brings down half the screen whenever you swipe down on the gesture navigation.

One handed Mode

To exit you just swipe up from the bottom or tap anywhere on the top grey area. There’s also a new gesture to pull down the notification panel by just swiping down on the navbar no matter what app you’re in.

You just won’t be able to enable the new one-handed mode. And even though it’s currently not working the long-awaited rear double tap gesture could come to the pixels.

Double Tap Gesture

You’ll be able to take a screenshot, open google assistant, play or pause media and more just by double tapping the back of your phone.

Wi-Fi Share Feature

Within the wi-fi and networks menu a handy feature is that you’re able to share Wi-Fi networks using Google’s nearby share feature.

Wi-Fi Share on Android 12

it may not be as fast as just telling someone the password but it’s a great option if you don’t want anyone to know it.

Those are all the bigger changes found within android 12 so far but there are still a ton of smaller hidden changes that I wanted to show off.

Splash Screen

Keeping everything a little more uniform under Android 12 now generates splash screens for almost every app that doesn’t support one. It’ll throw up the app’s icon on a black or white background depending on your set system theme.

Scroll Animation

There’s a new over scroll animation when you reach the top or bottom of the screen and try to continue scrolling. It’s similar to that of the app’s drawer bouncy animation.

Hide Front-Facing Camera

Before on Android 11 you could only hide the front-facing camera on the pixel 3 Xl by filling the status bar with a black background but it didn’t work for the pixel 5. Now with android 12 you can hide the hole punch for the pixel 5 and the pixel 4A and 4A 5G within the developer options.

New Pattern Unlock Design

The pattern unlocking method within the lock screen is a lot thicker now and matches your set accent color. Whenever you press the power button five times a five second countdown will start to call 9-1-1. You can even change the number within the settings.

New Picture in Picture mode on Android 12

When using picture in picture mode you can now resize the video by pinching in or out or even double tapping it plus you can now hide or stash the video off to the side and bring it back whenever you’d like.

Screenshots Feature Improved on Android 12

Finally screenshots have been improved a bit. For example whenever you take one the share and edit buttons appear a lot faster. You can also dismiss it just by swiping it left or right instead of needing to tap on a small little x. And when you edit the screenshot you can now add text or emojis and even change the font and then erase them.

Android 12 Expected Release Date

Those are just a few of the hundreds of minor changes found within Android 12 and we’re only on the developer preview 3. There are still four more beta updates set to be released throughout the summer. So I’m very excited to see what google has in store.

Android 12 Leaks & Rumors

On that note a few more hints were found within the source code that let us know about any possible upcoming features. Just a few days ago Jon Prosser from Front Page Tech on YouTube dropped a huge leak of some Google I/O slides and even a promotional Android 12 video. And from the looks of it Android is getting a huge visual upgrade. We’re talking about new widgets, fancy looking toggles, new UI’s for notifications and the volume slider which I’m grateful for and a lot more. And even within the leaked video there’s even more crazy new features.

New Status Bar

There’s a new status bar with just a notification count but then within the lock screen you can actually see your notification icons. Kind of weird but I’m thinking that google will give you the option to choose between a number or actual icons.

Google Keyboard and Calendar

The google keyboard and calendar look completely different and there’s just a lot more to unravel. 

Gaming Mode

Anyways the next possible upcoming feature is a new native gaming mode. From the leaked screenshots it looks like you’ll be able to fine tune the performance, have it automatically enable do not disturb mode lock the screen brightness and auto rotation and even have a floating toolbar that pops up when you’re in the game, The floating toolbar lets you start a screen recording and lets you see your screen’s fps. For now it’s pretty bare bones but I’m sure google will spice it up in one of the future beta updates.

Theme System

What I’m also really excited about is that google will most likely improve the theming system immensely. We’re talking about wallpaper based themes where the colors of the settings, notifications and any other system elements will try to match the colors of your wallpaper. Keeping it very uniform.

Notification and Quick Settings Update

On top of that from some of the link screenshots it’s looking like the notifications and quick settings are getting a major revamp with a thicker brightness bar, more extensive quick setting tiles with bigger rounded rectangles, a shortcut to the power menu and even filling up the entire screen. 

Notification And Quick Settings

The lock screen can also change or obtain customization options. Things like new lock screen clocks, new unlocking animations and even the inclusion of smart home controls similar to the power menu.

Face Based Auto Rotate Feature on Android 12

Here’s a cool one face based auto rotate. It’s a feature that will adjust the auto rotation based on the angle of your face as you look at the phone. To do this it will constantly be using your camera though so it can be a battery drainer. Plus it may interfere with the new upcoming privacy feature that shows dots or icons in the corner of the screen whenever your camera or microphone is being used. So there’s a high chance that the face based auto rotate feature could get canned.

New Privacy Feature

Talking of privacy there could also be two new quick setting tiles one to disable the camera and another one to disable the microphone. For the pixel launcher the search bar will be a lot more universal, extending search results for widgets, contacts, play store, listings and even some popular third-party apps that aren’t on the play store.

Customize Notifications Sound

For notifications google is working on adding a third option to its sound settings when you long press it within the notification panel. It’ll be called automatic and by enabling this feature you’re allowing the system to decide if any incoming notifications from an app should make sound or just vibrate. Honestly this could be a useful feature or an annoying one depending on how the system determines to alert you.

New Split Screen Mode

Whenever you open two apps in split screen mode you’ll be able to jump into the recent page and have a pair of apps act as one app. That way you can switch between app pairs or single apps.

And finally google can make it easier for anyone to install third-party app stores to replace the play store and make it their default app store. Sort of like choosing a different keyboard home screen or browser as your default choice.

Anyways those are all the possible upcoming Android 12 features that we collect. There’s more where that came from. If you’d like to see what other features could arrive to android 12 in a future update I’ll drop some related informative article links where they have a huge list of android 12 rumors and leaks.

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