Unless Google has decided to change its plans, the preview version of Android 12 should be just a few weeks away. Last year, the company decided to bring forward the arrival of Android 11 Developer Preview 1 to mid-February, and there is no reason to think that the same will not happen this year.
Android 12: Everything we know so far
In fact, as of today, we have already been able to know a good part of the new features that will arrive with Android 12, both through clues and leaks, as well as through official documentation published in advance by the company.
For this reason, while we wait for Google to officially launch the new version of its operating system, we wanted to review all the new features and changes that we can expect with the next major update of Google’s mobile operating system.
The biggest design change in years thanks to a new theme engine
Several weeks ago, we received a leak indicating that Android 12 would introduce a new theme engine aimed at customizing the user interface by choosing colors, shapes, icons, and other elements.
This clue was confirmed shortly after, when an internal Google document was leaked, allowing us to see mock-ups of Android 12 in which we could see for the first time how these new customization options would work, capable of completely changing the aesthetics of the system and applications.
In these screenshots, we could see how the various elements of the operating system interface such as menus, notification cards, or icons; which, as far as we know, would be automatically extracted from the wallpaper set by the user, using the WallpaperColors API.
Based on the leaked changes, and to help us imagine how the operating system could look like with different looks using this theme engine, designer Radek Błędowski has created some mockups showing how the Android 12 interface could look like using different color palettes generated through the set wallpaper:
Concepts by ME of android 12 based on leaked concept but with other wallpapers pic.twitter.com/sV4BkVDiEw
— Radek Błędowski (@RKBDI) February 9, 2021
We also see how the quick settings and notifications panel has been redesigned with new shapes and less transparency.
With Android 11, Google decided to go for the concept of “Conversations” by introducing a section in the notifications panel dedicated to displaying only those notifications related to chats with other people. A separate section was even dedicated to this section in Android’s technical specs.
In the new version, Google seems to want to go even further through a new type of conversation widgets, which will allow users to customize the home screen of their devices through widgets that display recent messages or calls from a specific person or group.
Apparently, such widgets would be able to combine information from various apps to display them in a single widget. In terms of design, it seems likely that users will be able to choose the shape of each of the widgets before adding them to the home screen.
More and better privacy
Within the -renewed- Android 12 settings menu, we might find an improved privacy section, which would now give us the option to completely disable some of the components of the device, such as the cameras or the microphone. In this way, we would ensure that no app would have access to them in certain situations.
In addition to that, the leaked mockups indicate that Android 12 would adopt one of the most useful privacy-related features of iOS 14, such as alerts indicating whether an app is using the microphone or camera. In the case of Google’s operating system, it will also warn if the location is being obtained.
In Android 12, such indicators would appear in the status bar, and tapping on them would display a pop-up window listing the apps that are using any of the aforementioned components.
Wi-Fi password sharing via Nearby Share
With Android 12, Google plans to add to Nearby Share, the feature for sharing information between Android or ChromeOS devices, the ability to share Wi-Fi keys.
This would add an easier and faster way to share Wi-Fi passwords with other Android users, eliminating the need to scan the QR code or typing the password manually.
Although it is not something new, and some manufacturers have already included similar functions in their respective customization layers, everything points to the fact that Android 12 will include a new utility related to multitasking called App Pairs.
This function, as its name suggests, would allow you to create pairs of notifications that, when executed, would directly go into the split-screen mode, grouping both apps in the same window.
Although split-screen multitasking is not new to Android, the ability to launch two apps simultaneously with a single tap is a new feature. A feature that undoubtedly makes much more sense on devices with a dual-screen or foldable screen.
Android 12 may let you hibernate unused apps to free up space
Just as iOS uninstalls apps that have not been used for some time, but keeps their icon on the home screen to access them when needed, Android 12 will include a similar feature aimed at saving space and resources.
This is the possibility of hibernating unused applications, optimizing the space used by eliminating part of the resources when these apps are not used, but giving the user the possibility of accessing them when necessary.
Google might bring Back Tap of iOS
Google started working on the arrival of a “back tap” feature on devices to perform different actions before the arrival of Android 11. However, Apple already has this feature in iOS 14.
The latest rumors indicate that Android 12 will bring this feature, although it will only be available on Pixel devices.
It will be possible to perform tasks such as running the Google Assistant, taking screenshots, pausing or resuming multimedia playback, opening the recent apps menu, or displaying the notifications panel, with a double-tap on the back of the device.
These are just some of the new features of Android 12 that we already know, either through leaks or official announcements. That said, it does not mean that all these new features will be present in the first available version of Android 12.