With every new version of Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system Android just gets better and better. The recently released Android 12 is no different in this regard. The latest iteration has brought in several new features, security and privacy improvements, nifty little changes as well as a much-needed UI overhaul. The update will roll out gradually over time starting with last year’s flagship phones and eventually trickle down to other phones. That said, in this article, we are going to cover everything you should know about Android 12’s top features, its release date, supported devices, and how to download, among other things.
Android 12 update release date
The Android 12 update was officially released on October 4th, and a couple of weeks later i.e. October 19th, it started rolling out to eligible Pixel smartphones. After that, several brands followed the suit and started rolling out the stable Android 12 update to its high-end devices such as Samsung Galaxy S21 series and the OnePlus 9 series. Additionally, OEMs have released the update rollout roadmaps for their respective devices.
Android 12 top features
Here are some of the noteworthy features of the new mobile operating system Android 12:
1. Material You design
With the Android 12 update, right off the bat, you’ll be welcomed by Google’s next design UI language – Material You. One of the biggest design changes since Android Marshmallow, Google intends to bring a sense of ‘personalisation’ throughout the UI by adapting to the user’s choice of preferred colours. Another aspect this new splash of design focuses on is reachability. Menus are larger, fonts are bigger and a brand new one-handed mode has been introduced, which can be accessed by swiping down on the navigation pill.
2. Quick settings and Notification revamp
With the Material You design, quick settings and notifications boast of a fresh coat of paint. The quick settings are now big squircle tiles with many options merged into a single button such as WiFi and mobile data toggles are now merged into one tile. Along with that, there’s a large pill-shaped brightness bar for easy scrolling. Coming to the functionality side of things, the notifications you receive are now more detailed as more characters can be accumulated in a single notification. Also, there’s a dedicated snooze button, which was previously accessible by swiping and holding a notification to the right or left.
3. Camera and microphone indicators
Taking a little inspiration from iOS, on Android 12 you’ll be right away visually notified when the microphone or the camera is in use. For instance, you open the camera app, then on the top right corner, a camera and a microphone icon would appear making you aware of the same. Similarly, if you notice an app that doesn’t require access to the camera and microphone and yet the indicators appear, you can revoke the permissions accordingly.
4. Game dashboard
It’s better late than never. Google has finally introduced a gaming mode for Pixels and AOSP based skins, with Android 12. With the ‘Game dashboard’ on the new operating systems, users can access various optimisation settings, check the screen frame rate, broadcast the gameplay on YouTube and also enable Do Not Disturb for an uninterrupted gaming experience.
5. Changes to widgets
The widgets on Android 12 have also undergone some big changes in terms of design. For starters, the design is now in line with Material You. Additionally, widgets will be able to extract the colour accents of the system making things more appealing and consistent, which holds true for at least Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube Music, Keep Notes, Clock and several others. Third-party widgets may also follow the design language introduced in Android 12 later in the future.
6. Privacy dashboard
As for privacy, Android 12 offers a dedicated dashboard all to its name in the settings app. The privacy dashboard allows users to check which app has accessed the camera, microphone and location in the past 24 hours along with the duration. From the dashboard itself, users can revoke the permissions of particular apps.
7. Scrolling screenshots
Google Pixel users can rejoice as Android 12 finally brings scrolling screenshots, which other custom skins have had for several years. To take a scrolling screenshot, just capture a screenshot as you normally would by pressing the power and volume down button. Once done, you’ll see a new option on the screen called “capture more”. Just tap it and the system will take a scrolling screenshot.
Other minor changes of Android 12 include HEVC media transcoding, audio selection in the media player, overview suggestions, app hibernation, improved auto-rotation, easier Wi-Fi sharing, and optimisation for foldable, tablet, and TV-size displays, among other things.
Android 12 name
Android 12 has been released with the numeric moniker only, much like its predecessor. However, internally, it’ll be known as Snow Cone, as per folks at XDA Developers.
Android 12 wallpapers: how to download
Android 12 wallpapers are out and you can download them on any device of your choice, including smartphone, laptop, and tablet. The collection is not very large – there are only six variations for smartphones (courtesy: ROZETKED). To download them on your device, follow the instructions below:
- Head over to this Google Drive link to download Android 12 wallpapers in high quality
- The link contains a handful of HD wallpapers, download the one that you prefer
- Check for the downloaded Android 12 wallpaper on your downloads folder and set it as your device’s wallpaper. That’s it!
Android 12 supported devices
The phones released after 2019 are most likely to receive the Android 12 update, at least the ones priced above Rs 20,000. Realme, Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, iQOO and the OnePlus have released the Android 12 update schedule for their respective supported devices.
Google has officially provided the Android 12 update to these devices:
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 4a 5G
- Pixel 5
For other non-Pixel smartphones, it’s up to the OEMs. Several OnePlus and Samsung devices have already started receiving the Android 12 update.
Android 12 news
iOS-like install icon added to Android 12 (February 22nd)
Google has quietly added an iOS-like install icon to Android 12. The feature gives visual indications of install statuses for apps on the home screen. That said, it seems the feature is currently exclusive to Pixel smartphones.
Android 12 Material You theme could become compulsory for all OEMs (February 10th)
“Starting March 14th, Google will require any new Android 12-based builds submitted for GMS (Google Mobile Services) approval to implement a dynamic theming engine,” reports Android Police. This will be a requirement for any Android phone or tablet that ships with or upgrades to Android 12.
Android Auto notification bug introduced in Android 12 fixed (February 2nd)
Google has finally fixed the Android Auto notification bug that was affecting several Android 12 users. The company has rolled out a new version of the app that promises to resolve the notifications issues. It was reported that users were not getting notifications for new messages, emails, and more while using Android Auto after updating their phone to Android 12.
Android 12-based Realme UI 3.0 early access for Realme X50 Pro 5G (January 25th)
Realme has started rolling out early access of Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12 for Realme X50 Pro 5G in India. The update is going to be available for a limited set of users initially and applications will be accepted in batches.
Samsung Galaxy A42 5G starts receiving Android 12 update (January 18th)
Samsung’s mid-range Galaxy A42 5G is said to have got the Android 12-based OneUI 4 update. SamMobile reports that the update is currently available in Poland (XEO region) and bears the firmware version A426BXXU3CUL9.
Separately, Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has also received Android 12 update after Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A52s 5G.
iQOO Z5 gets Android 12-based FunTouch beta update (January 10th)
iQOO has started distributing Android 12-based FunTouch beta update to iQOO Z5. The update comes with build number PD2148F_EX_36.9.2 and has a download size of 5.08GB. That said, it’s a beta update. So download the update only if you are okay with the bugs and issues that it may carry.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G model gets Android 12-based One UI 4 update (January 6th)
After the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, including the Galaxy S20 FE 5G, the chaebol has started rolling out Android 12-based One UI 4 to Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 4G model. It’s a stable update; however, only the Snapdragon 865-powered variant with model code SM-G780G are eligible. The seeding should expand to more markets soon.
In addition to its flagship S20 series, Samsung has also provided the update to Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Fold3, and Flip3 smartphones.
MIUI 13 launched (December 28th)
Xiaomi has officially announced the latest version of its MIUI custom skin, which is based on Android 12. The skin is called MIUI 13 and comes with an all-new MiSans font for Xiaomi smartphones and improved security and privacy features. Other features include nearly 52 percent faster performance than the existing MIUI 12.5, a better energy-saving mode, and a virtual RAM extension. Xiaomi says that MIUI 13 rollout will begin by the end of January 2022.