Android 12 Is Out Now. Here Are Some of the Highlights

The new OS officially rolled out Tuesday to Pixel phones

Now that Google officially launched Android 12 on Pixel phones on Tuesday, the company is touting some of the operating system's new features. Material You's new customization options are the biggest change, but there are also improved privacy and security settings, quality of life changes like the ability to see when your phone's camera or microphone are in use, and much more.

An example of Android 12's Material You feature on three Pixel phones


Google first introduced the world to Material You in May. The new feature uses advanced color extraction algorithms to make your phone's UI—your lock screen, notifications, widgets, and more—match your wallpaper. Google apps like Gmail, YouTube Music, and Drive are getting new icons, as well. Right now, Google says Material You is available only on Pixel phones, but it's coming to other devices soon.

Privacy seems to be a major theme of the Android 12 update, too. There's now a new Privacy Dashboard that gives you more control over what data your apps can use. It tells you if any apps accessed your location, camera, or microphone in the last 24 hours and lets you change permissions. You also can choose whether or not Android 12 gives your approximate location to apps or a precise location.

Google also has made an effort to make Android more accessible in its latest version. It added a window magnifier that lets you zoom in on parts of your screen while keeping the rest of the screen's context. Other new options include extra dim screen lighting for nighttime scrolling, bolder text, and grayscale colors. They should pair well with the new accessibility features Google introduced in September, Camera Switches and Project Activate, which make it easier to navigate the OS without your hands or voice.

Examples of Android 12's new design on four smartphones


Some other minor, but notable, improvements are the ability to take scrolling screenshots, so you can capture more of a subject in an image, and the ability to jump straight into certain video games before they finish downloading.

Android 12 is currently available for Pixel 3 phones and higher. It's also coming to Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, Xiaomi devices, and more later this year.

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