- Pixel 5 users will be able to hide their front punch-hole camera for a more immersive screen in Android 12.
- The camera hiding feature was available at launch for the Pixel 3 XL.
- Google is improving and introducing a host of facets in the latest version of the operating system Android 12.
Some smartphones with notches or camera holes have options to 'hide' the cutout, usually by filling in space around it with a black background and/or shifting the status bar down. Google offered the feature on the Pixel 3 XL, and now it's coming to the newer Pixel 5.
The first Android 12 beta adds a new option for the Pixel 5 that fills in the status bar with a black background, effectively hiding the front-facing camera. Once you enable Android's developer settings, the option can be found at Settings > System > Advanced > Developer options > Display cutout.
Now, the hidden punch-hole camera feature may be moved to a different location in the menu in future builds for Pixel 5. Or with the finalisation of Android 12. But because this feature was already released in previous generations of Pixel phones, it's not too surprising that it's making a comeback here.
It is a little strange that the option wasn't available when the Pixel 5 launched, especially when Google's Pixel 3 XL had the setting from the beginning. However, unlike the setting on the 3 XL, the status bar is not shifted downwards.
What else is new in Android 12?
Android 12 introduces support for AVIF; an image format that promises improved image quality over JPEG without the penalty of larger file sizes. The format makes use of the open-source video codec AV1, which was first introduced to Android 10.
Google is allowing developers to mate haptic feedback patterns with audio in Android 12. The strength and duration of vibrations are derived from audio cues, which adds a more immersive layer to media playback or alerts. "For example, a video calling app could use custom ringtones to identify the caller through haptic feedback, or you could simulate rough terrain in a racing game," explains Google. Sony's Playstation 5 controllers are renowned for their haptic feedback, thus making games much more immersive.
Android 12's notification system will be redesigned to improve aesthetics, usability, and functionality. Google's tweaking the drawer and controls and freshening up transitions and animations.
Although HEVC is growing in popularity, the video compression standard isn't supported by all apps. Now, Google is set to introduce a transcoding layer to Android 12 that will let unsupported apps also take advantage of video compression. Video capture apps that don't support HEVC can now request Android 12 to transcode that file in AVC, a more available video compression format.