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Android 12 Beta 2 brings new privacy features including privacy dashboard, mic and camera toggles

With the Android 12 Beta 2, Google has introduced the privacy features it first revealed at the Google IO 2021 last month.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | June 10, 2021 | Updated 14:26 IST
Android 12 privacy features - Privacy Dashboard (L) Mic and camera toggles and Mic and camera indicators (R)

Highlights

  • Android 12's new privacy features now introduced with the Beta 2 release.
  • The update will notify users whenever an app copies content from the clipboard.
  • A timeline will show when different apps have accessed location, camera or microphone.

Google showcased the Android 12 at its last month's Google IO developer conference. The company even launched the first beta version for the OS during the event. It, however, missed out on the privacy features that the company had promised on the Android 12. A new Beta release now gives us a look at the same.

Google has released the Android 12 Beta 2 that comes with the complete set of privacy features that Android users will be getting soon. These include a privacy dashboard as well as new indicators for whenever your phone's microphone and camera is in use.

Here is a look at all these features and how they intend to protect the privacy of Android users.

Privacy Dashboard

The highlight of the Android 12 Beta 2, a new Privacy Dashboard will act as the go-to information page for all the data access on a phone. It will show when apps access location, camera, and microphone information on a device.

In separate screens, the dashboard will even be able to show a timeline of when different apps have accessed a particular type of data, be it location, camera or microphone. Users can then review and take appropriate action in regard to the data collection.

The Privacy Dashboard screen will be accessible in system settings. App developers will also be able to provide a rationale on the new Privacy Dashboard, explaining why the data is collected for the app's operations.

Microphone and camera toggles and indicators

Android 12 will allow users to enable and disable camera and microphone accesses for all apps on the smartphone. For this, Google will introduce a toggle option for both the data inputs. These options will appear under Quick Settings, right alongside WiFi and Bluetooth.

Much like the two connectivity options, users will simply have to toggle the Mic and Camera on or off to provide or retract their usage permission for all apps. The options will also be available in the Privacy screen in system settings.

The system will remind the user if the access to the mic and camera are turned off and a working app needs them. Users will also be notified if an app is using these, through new microphone and camera indicators on the Android 12 that will appear on the top right corner. Users can then check which apps are using the microphone or camera.

Clipboard read notification

Google has also taken steps to deter apps from reading the contents of the clipboard on a phone. For this, Android 12 will notify the user of this clipboard access through a toast message, whenever an app reads the clipboard.

The notification will read "[Name of the APP] pasted from your clipboard." The toast message will not be displayed if the clipboard was copied from the same app.

Other than these privacy updates, the Android 12 Beta 2 release brings several bug fixes. Google says that interested users can install the new release on any Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a, or 5 series devices.

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