Google has released Android 12 beta 5. It will be the last test version and the “release candidate” before the arrival of the final version that is only “a few weeks away”, says the Internet giant in the announcement.
Android 12 will be the next major version of Android, with the potential for the greatest number of supported devices. The newest ones, which will begin with the Google Pixel 6 (which will use the new operating system as usual) and hundreds of millions of existing mobile phones that will be updated, are likely to be able to do so.
You’re well aware of the difficulties surrounding Android upgrades. Almost every significant manufacturer has promised an increase in major versions to accommodate, extending the industry’s two-year default timeline and demonstrating that it isn’t adequate and doesn’t comply with technical causes if not commercial reasons.
We hope that they straighten things out because the software is just as essential as the screen, cameras, or SoC when purchasing a phone, and the company who wants to enhance user assistance has room for improvement.
Android 12, how to test it now?
You can get the most recent beta through OTA if you’re part of the system test program. Google provides excellent assistance and support for most phones, although other manufacturers have collaborated in the test program, such as ASUS, OnePlus, Oppo, realme, Xiaomi, and others.
A list of the phones that can be updated to beta 5:
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 4a (5G)
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 5a
- OnePlus 9/9 Pro
- Nokia X20
- Xiaomi Mi 11/11 Ultra, Xiaomi Mi 11i / 11X Pro
- ASUS Zenfone 8
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Sharp Aquos R6
- ZTE Axon 30 Ultra
- TCL 20 Pro 5G
- Techno Camon 17
- Realme GT
- in/Vivo 7 Legend
The list of smartphone manufacturers isn’t necessarily comprehensive (except Google’s), and before flashing, you’ll need to verify compatibility on the manufacturer’s website or the Android developer site. Some manufacturers may provide an OTA upgrade, which is a more convenient method of upgrading. Google does not offer support for either of these options.
If you have a Pixel smartphone with Android 11 installed, you can download an image for each of the supported models without having to unlock the bootloader and without having to delete data from the device. If you already have some trial version installed, it’s even easier, just wait for the wireless update to arrive via OTA.
In all cases, and while this version is very near to the finished product and has shown to be quite stable, it’s still a beta release, so we recommend making back-up files in case of any issues.
If you are interested in testing Android 12 but do not want any risk to your smartphone, you can do it through the emulator provided by Google, using Android Studio and following these official instructions:
- Install the latest preview build of Android Studio.
- In Android Studio, click Tools > SDK Manager.
- On the SDK Tools tab, select the latest version of Android Emulator and click OK. This action installs the latest version if you don’t already have it.
- In Android Studio, click Tools > AVD Manager and follow the instructions to create an Android Virtual Device (AVD).
- Be sure to select a Pixel device definition and a 64-bit Android 12 emulator system image.
- If you do not already have an Android 12 system image installed that matches your device definition, click Download next to the Version Name to get one.
- Go back to the list of virtual devices in the AVD Manager and double-click your Android 12 virtual device to start it and test the version.
Android 12, what’s new?
No new features were introduced in the most recent beta. These were closed with beta 4 in August, when the platform’s stability was reached after a public development that began in February with the first preview version. Beta 5 delivers greater system and app stability, but it also contains numerous bugs that must be fixed before we can consider it final.
The general new features were known from the first version, although others have been arriving in the development process covering all sections of the operating system, user interface, updates, media control, performance, support for new codecs, standards and technologies, security, and privacy, and more. A summary of the most interesting:
- Revised notification controls.
- Simplified immersive mode to provide a more consistent experience for gesture navigation.
- Background apps will not launch services to improve performance.
- It will be possible to toggle which media players are displayed in Quick Settings.
- Apps will not be able to crash system dialog boxes.
- Android 12 will restrict access to device MAC addresses for all non-system apps.
- Automatic transcoding of H.265 / HEVC and HDR content to H.264.
- Native support for decoding animated GIF and WBP files.
- Support for AV1 Image File (AVIF) container format.
- Support for up to 24-channel audio playback.
- WebView in Android 12 uses SameSite cookie behavior like the Chrome browser.
- Android Runtime (ART) will now be updated through Google Play, allowing Google to provide performance improvements more quickly without the need to release a full Android update.
We expect the final version of Android 12 in the next 2-3 weeks and it is an important release considering what moves the world’s leading mobile system.