Android 12: Release Date, Rumors, Features, and Supported Devices

The next Android update is on the way. Here's what you need to know

Anticipated Android 12 logo

Google teased Android 12 in early 2021; the public beta is now underway. Here's a look at the features and possible surprises to watch for before the final release.

When Will Android 12 Be Released?

There's been no official full release date announced by Google. However, the company announced the public beta version during Google I/O, which happened May 18-20, 2021.

Given past Android release dates, look for it to arrive on your phone in the Fall of 2021. September seems to be Google's preferred release date, but it could come a little earlier (August) or a little later (October).

Your phone model will determine exactly when you get the new version; Google Pixel phones always receive it first since Android is a Google product.

A collage look at Android 12 and how it will appear on phones.

Google

How to Download the Android 12 Beta Version

You can join the crowd in testing it out and providing feedback to Google. If you've never used a beta version before, here are some tips:

  • It's only available for Google Pixel phones, including 3, 3a, 4, 4a, and Pixel 5.
  • Use a test device, not your primary phone. Bugs can still occur in public beta versions (the whole point is to get crowd-sourcing info on how well the software does or doesn't work), so you don't want to run the risk of trying it on your primary phone.
  • If you're brave enough, here's the system image of the developer beta. You'll need to either use the Android Flash Tool or sideload an OTA update using ADB commands. (You can also use an Android emulator.) We'll post the public beta download information on this page as soon as it becomes available.

How Much Is Android 12?

The updated operating system will be free, as all other Android updates have been. Some phone manufacturers will push the update to your phone automatically, while others won't. The newer your phone, the earlier you'll get the update. It's easy to find out which Android version you have and update it if needed once Android 12 becomes widely available.

Android 12 Rumored and Expected Features

Android 12 should include the following, although there might still be a few surprises in the final version. It looks different with an entirely new design that offers smoother animations, various colors, and bigger buttons.

The Android 12 Privacy Dashboard

Google

Here's what we know so far:

  • Better power efficiency will improve battery life and let you access things more quickly.
  • Customization features will let you apply themes and colors across the entire operating system.
  • App privacy will be a vital piece of the update. A new Privacy Dashboard will provide more transparency about how apps use your device; others will address things like how cookies are used, how apps export information, etc. You'll be able to revoke permissions more quickly, too, and a new indicator light will show you when apps are accessing your microphone or camera.
  • Improved image quality will occur via AVIF image support.
  • Improved media controls via the Quick Settings bar. Now you can choose which apps get the Quick Settings Media Control Panel.
  • A very dark filter for easier phone use in low-light could be provided.
  • Easier access to Google Assistant via the power button might be included.
  • There will be a new unified API that lets you accept content from any source (i.e., clipboard, keyboard, drag, and drop).
  • Audio-coupled haptic feedback will offer better gaming and audio experiences.
  • Fold-out menus for apps could appear.
  • Gesture navigation will be more straightforward and consistent from app to app, and the default will allow users to navigate their phone with a single swipe. This update appears to include improvements to one-handed mode.
  • Double-tap options will let you tap the back of your phone to trigger actions.
  • A dual-pane home screen might be in the works for tablet users.
  • Notification designs will look more modern, be easier to use, and offer more functions, including the ability to snooze notifications. It will also let you prioritize your alerts with a feature called adaptive notifications ranking.
  • A face-based auto-rotation feature will let you adjust how Auto-rotate works depending upon how your head is turned.
  • App-facing changes will be opt-in instead of automatic to give you more time to get used to them.
  • There will be improved Trash Bin management features to help you keep storage under control.
  • Android, in general, will be optimized more effectively for better experiences across larger devices (like foldables, tablets, and televisions).

Android 12 Supported Devices

Google's Pixel newer line of phones will get Android 12 first; that's one of the perks of buying those phones. Newer Samsung and OnePlus phones will likely be supported by the end of 2021, with older phones from most manufacturers receiving the update in early 2022.

However, not all Google phones will update to Android 12, and manufacturers might decide to skip the update for phones more than a few years old.

Here's what we're hearing; expect more phone models to be added to the list by Fall 2021:

  Phone Model Receiving Update
Pixel 2  No
Pixel 2XL No
Pixel 3 line Yes
Pixel 4 line Yes
Pixel 5 Yes
Pixel 6 Yes

The Latest Android 12 News

You can get more smartphone news from Lifewire. Here are some of the latest stories surrounding Android 12 and Android in general:

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