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Android 12: Everything we know about Google's next mobile OS update

The upcoming Android 12 has been subjected to a plethora of leaks. To keep you updated, we decided to stack up everything we know so far about the upcoming version of Android.

twitter-logoAyush Chourasia | February 18, 2021 | Updated 22:57 IST
Android 11
Photo Credit- Mika Baumeister, Android 11

Highlights

  • Android 12 is codenamed "Snow Cone" internally.
  • The home screen UI feels cleaner on new Android, as per initial leaks.
  • Android 12 may get a dedicated gaming mode.

Despite Android's supremacy in the OS market, the number of smartphones running the latest Android version is pretty scarce. Inconsistency of upgrades on Android has been haunting Google since its inception. To fix this situation, Google released Project Treble along with Android 8 (Oreo) back in 2017.

The project was aimed at helping manufacturers streamline speedy and timely android upgrades for their smartphones. It's been almost four years since this programme rolled out, but the situation of updates remains patchy. For instance, the Android OS market share for the latest version of, i.e. Android 11 remains at just 2.7 per cent. Moreover, share for Android 10, Android 9, Android 8/8.1 is substantially better at 35.5 per cent, 21.8 per cent, 16.2 per cent, respectively.

The developer preview of the upcoming Android 12 could come out anytime soon. Traditionally we find out about the big updates only after the first developer preview is rolled out. However, this year, we have quite a decent chunk of information about the upcoming version. Also, a document that is presumed to be an early draft that Google made to summarize changes in Android 12 has been leaked, revealing a few features of the upcoming OS.

We decided to stack up everything we know so far about the upcoming Android 12 ahead of the release date with that information in hand.

Everything we know about Android 12

--Google might have done with the dessert naming scheme with Android 10 officially, however, it still practices it internally. For example, the Android 10 might have been called "Queen's cake" whereas the Android 11 as "Red Velvet cake".

--Now, a dessert name for the upcoming Android 12 is also popping up. As reported by XDA, the upcoming OS is dubbed as "Snow Cone" internally.

--So as to what we have seen, multiple leaks have appeared to reveal the look and feel of the upcoming Android 12. A leak further reveals the UI design's artist renditions, which presumably is similar to what Google is considering.

--Google is reportedly working on an in-depth theming system for the upcoming Android 12. In addition to that design, concepts have leaked from Google briefings with OEM partners like Samsung, Xiaomi and Oppo. All in all, we might see a complete UI overhaul on the upcoming OS.

Photo Credit - XDA, Android 12 sand accent theme render

--Gone are those black and white colourways used on pixel devices, the fresh renders showcase a "sand" accent colour all over the UI. Moreover, Android 12 should offer you different theme colours depending on the theme used.

--There are several subtle changes in the notification panel as well. The rounded corners are way more pronounced. A few shape changes are also visible, however, the "conversations" section is still separated from other notifications.

Photo Credit - XDA, Android 12, 4 icons in quick settings panel rather than 6

--Quick Settings tiles that pop up when the notification panel is partially expanded have been reduced from 6 to 4, allowing icons to be slightly bigger than usual. Also, positions of the date and clock have been swapped. Additionally, Google seems to have added new privacy indicators in the top right-hand corner, and we will talk more about it further in this article.

Photo Credit - XDA, Android 12 home screen render

--The home screen, for the most part, looks different from what we have seen on Android 11. This new design certainly seems to have taken some inspiration from the latest iOS 13. Further, the leaked render showcases "Conversation" widgets on the home screen itself. These widgets should notify you about a missed call, a friend whom you've texted in a while, a notification for an upcoming event or a birthday. A document spotted by XDA suggests that "Conversations" will be a mandatory feature for all Android 12 devices.

--Besides this, we might see a different implementation of One-handed mode on the upcoming Android 12. Unlike most versions that scale down both the height and the width, it may just scale down the height.

Photo Credit - XDA, Android 12 privacy update

--Most importantly, the upcoming Android 12 might see some serious privacy enhancements. Like mentioned before, a privacy indicator would appear on the top right corner informing you that an app has accessed location, camera, microphone, etc. Expanding these icons will help you with apps that are accessing the camera or microphone. Reports suggest that Google has been testing these privacy chips for the last 2 years and might make it to official version this time around.

--The privacy setting may also receive some important changes, and the fresh privacy setting may have toggles to disable the microphone, location, camera and contact access. On the latest version of Android, you need to dig down deeper to make these changes. However, this is expected to change with the upcoming Android 12 upgrade completely.

--Apart from this, there are several other expected changes. Some of the important one's are detailed below.

--Android 11 brought the ability to resize the picture and picture floating window by grabbing the corners and dragger. On the upcoming Android 12, you'll be able to pinch and resize the pip window and double-tap to return to the maximum size.

Photo Credit - 9to5Google, Android 12 App pairs feature

--" App Pairs" is another interesting feature in the upcoming version. This is an advanced version of the split screen that would give you more control over split-screen apps. Further, the App Pairs system should allow you to treat two separate apps as one "task" in your recent app's view, allowing you to quickly switch from a pair of apps to another single app.

--Google is also looking to strengthen its Gaming portfolio with the upcoming version of Android. As reported, Android 12 will get a dedicated gaming mode. Even a "Game manager" has been discovered, which should be a service to manage gaming-specific features.

--Also, Mishal Rahman from XDA reported that Google might improve support for third-party game controllers, rumble, haptic response while gaming and more.

--Another interesting feature that we have heard of is called "Hibernate Apps". This feature should allow you to "hibernate" apps which are not in use or used less.

--Finally, like always, the Android 12 update will bring Pixel specific features like double-tap gesture, which should allow you to do things like open the Google Assistant, play/pause music, open the notification shade, and more. Besides this, one more feature has been spotted that auto rotates the screen depending on your face orientation, this feature should make use of the camera for the same.

--The upgrades mentioned above are based on the leaks and reports available. Hence, we do not if these features will make it to the official version or not. As of now, we're waiting for the Developer preview to roll out, which shall clear the air around the expected feature set. Stay tuned, as we will be following the updates on Android 12 closely.

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