Ahead of the launch of Android 12 Developer Preview, which may be around the corner, there is an overview of all Android 12 leaks we have seen so far.
Normally, we learn the larger image features of the next version of Android when the first Developer Preview builds the release, with minor adjustments shown in subsequent updates. This year, a significant amount of information about Android 12 has been leaked or appeared in public source code ahead of the developer preview, probably starting sometime this month.
To keep track of what’s coming with the next release of Google’s mobile operating system, we̵
Everything we know about Android 12
Android 12s dessert
Every major release of Android, since Cupcake in 2009, has used a dessert name starting with a subsequent letter in the alphabet. While this practice stopped publicly with Android 10 – which would have been named “Queens Cake”, Google continues to use these dessert names internally. For example, Android 11 was “Red Velvet Cake” – a fact that came up in a fun Easter egg of Google’s virtual Android statue for 2020.
As reported by XDA, Android 12’s internal dessert name is “Snow Cone.” Do with the information you want.
Leaky design models
More interestingly, mockups have leaked that depict what Android 12 should look like, and what we see is quite radical redesign. You can see photos from this leak sprinkled through this post, but it is important to note that we do not know for sure if these show what Android 12 will look like when we finally see it. These is not screenshots, but are instead just artist renderings of a particular design such as Google in regards to.
The theme system
One thing you may notice through the sleek design models for Android 12 is that instead of the usual white or black colorways used on Pixel phones, we find a primary color best described as “sand”. This is due to a thorough theme system that is set to debut with Android 12.
The theme system for Android 12 will offer you a few different primary colors to choose from, from which your theme will be built. Most interesting is that Android app developers will be able to reshape their app based on the color of the selected theme, if they choose.
Of course, much more is happening in the design models for Android 12 than just a theme system. There is also a massive collection of minor adjustments such as warning cards with much rounder corners, new shapes and spacing for quick setting tiles and more.
According to XDA, these can come together to form a larger whole that is internally called “Material NEXT.” From what we can put together, it is possible that this may point to a third generation of Google’s material design after the original from 2014 and the “Material Theming” update in 2018. It is also possible that this “Material NEXT” can simply refer to updates to the use of Material Design by Android’s built-in apps and user interface.
Another aspect that jumps out at the leaked models is that Android 12 can add special “Conversations” modules for use on the home screen. Each of these widgets seems to represent something like a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or a missed call that you probably should return. Details are a bit scarce for now, but it seems right in line with Google’s efforts to “create a People-focused operating system.”
For those with higher phones, Android 12 can bring a native “one-handed mode” that will shrink down the phone’s screen vertically, bringing everything well within reach of the thumb. However, unlike most versions of one-handed mode that scales down both height and width, it seems that Android 12 can only scale down the height.
Improvements to privacy
Android 12 seems to be working on a number of enhancements to help you become more aware of your privacy. At the top right you will reportedly find a privacy indicator that can be displayed in orange or green, so that you know that an app is using or has used your camera or microphone recently.
In addition to the privacy indicator, it has been leaked that the Android 12s Settings app will have an updated privacy page where you can directly deactivate the phone’s camera, microphone and position sensors.
In 2019, Google confirmed that scrolling screenshots – where the phone takes a screenshot, scrolls down, takes a new one and sews the two (or more) together – actually comes to Android as a natural feature. So far this has not happened with Android 10 or 11, but according to XDA, Google has worked hard to roll screenshots, which may be ready to be launched with this year’s release.
With Android 11, Google added the ability to resize your floating picture-in-picture window by grabbing the corner and dragging. For Android 12, according to XDA, picture-in-picture windows could be squeezed to resize with precision or double-click to quickly jump to maximum size.
In addition, it has been leaked that picture-in-picture windows can offer a way to “hide” the window most outside the screen, so you can see more of your active app. With a single tap, the stashed window will reappear.
Android 12 is set to renew split screen with ‘App Pairs’
Given the rise of folding devices and dual-screen devices, Android 12 has been leaked to include a new form of split screen called “App Pairs.” In the App Pairs system, you should be able to treat two separate apps as a “task” in your latest app view, so you can quickly switch from a few apps to another single app. It is unknown if Android 12’s app pairs also offer quick shortcuts to a specific pair like Samsung’s app pair.
Our team has made a mockup of what we think the Android 12 App Pairs system might look like.
Between the variety of games offered through Google Play Games and the growing wealth of game streaming services such as Stadia and Xbox Game Pass, games on Android have never been greater. To match that growth, Android 12 may bring a dedicated “game mode” option, according to XDA. More specifically, a “GameManager” has been discovered, which is listed as a “service for managing game-related functions.” For now, Android 12’s potential “game mode” is still a mystery.
Decrease the brightness
As a small treat, XDA has reported that Android 12 will get a “Reduce brightness” tile in quick settings. From what has been discovered, “Reduce brightness” seems to be an accessibility feature aimed at those with visual impairment.
While flagship phones ever increase in storage space, not everyone in the world has the luxury of an expensive, high-capacity phone. To reduce the amount of storage used on your phone, it has been reported that Android 12 may introduce a way for apps to go into “sleep mode” when not in active use. Details are still a bit scarce on how this hibernation mode will work.
Third-party app store enhancements
This special treat is not a leak, but it’s still a welcome improvement for Android. Google shared last year that they listened to feedback from Android app developers and wanted to make it easier to use a third-party app store – which is not the Play Store or Galaxy Store, like the Epic Games Store – on Android 12..
Google has not shared any specific information on how this will work, but there is expected to be a good compromise between Android’s open nature and Google’s desire to protect people from malicious software.
Android 12 features for Pixel phones
In addition to the broader Android 12 features that will be available to owners of virtually any phone that receives the update, Google appears to have developed a series of exclusive features for its Pixel phones.
Double print on gesture
The biggest leaked improvement for Pixel phones is that Android 12 should bring the double-tap gesture that we previously saw in development with Android 11. The code name “Columbus”, the Android 12 double-click movement will let you do things like open Google Assistant, play / pause music , open the alert shadow and more.
Face-based automatic rotation
Pixel phones should also get a new option for Auto-Rotate in Android 12, which uses the camera to check which way the face is facing. Essentially, if you lie down on your side and hold the phone sideways, your face and phone should turn the same way, and Android 12 will know that you will be in portrait mode.
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