The 10 Best Android 12 Features

10 Exciting and New Features Coming in the Android 12 Update

Android 12 is coming, and with it, Google’s OS is getting a facelift. The Beta is available right now! Besides some gorgeous visual upgrades, there are many new features.

Personalization is the core theme of the update—it is “designed for you”—and many of the new features are centered around providing a deeply personal experience to Android users. Some notable features are the redesigned systems spaces, a new fully adaptable quick settings shade, and a user privacy dashboard.

While not all of the new features have been revealed, and there may be dozens more, these are the 10 best we’ll see in Android 12.

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Visual Overhaul and Material You

Android 12 New Features Material You visual upgrade

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • Complete visual evolution.

  • Snappy animations.

  • New motion effects.

  • More personalization than ever.

What We Don't Like
  • Won't come to all devices.

  • There's a learning curve.

Android 12 will include one of the biggest design changes in its history called Material You. The colors, shapes, themes, animation, and just about everything related to the experience have been revamped.

The result is a more expressive, dynamic, and personalized system. From more fluid animations to redesigned system spaces, with an emphasis on usability, Android has never looked or felt so good.

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Color Extraction

Android 12 new features Color Extraction

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • A more cohesive UI.

  • Matching colors.

  • Some cool pairings are possible.

What We Don't Like
  • No custom color toggle (yet).

  • No advanced themes.

In older versions, you can personalize the wallpaper, lock screen, and minor elements, but it doesn’t change much about the rest of the interface. Android 12 introduces something called Color Extraction which will automatically capture dominant colors. When you apply a wallpaper, it applies the same colors across the entire OS.

The notification shade, volume controls, widgets, lock screen, and menus all change to match the primary color. Set a red wallpaper, and you’ll see red everywhere. How cool is that?

Don't worry, you should be able to disable the feature if you don’t want to use it.

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Quick Tiles

Android 12 new features quick tile update

image credit: Google

What We like
  • More visible information.

  • Cleaner visuals.

  • They automatically match system colors.

What We Don't Like
  • Bigger tiles means fewer options.

  • No way to resize them.

  • The bright colors can be off-putting.

In quick settings, usually you see round icons. Android 12 will change it up, adding rectangular tiles, with rounded edges.

They work the same as the icons. A quick tap will enable or disable functions. A long press will take you to the related settings page. However, the tiles are larger so they can reveal more information. Where the icons only show the title or name, the tiles will include more, like a list of WiFi networks available, nearby Bluetooth devices, and so on.

The larger size means you see fewer options in the quick settings panel, only four tiles at a time. You can customize the order and place the most important tiles first. They also follow color extraction settings.

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Privacy and Permissions Upgrades

Android 12 new features Privacy Dashboard

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • More control over permissions.

  • New mic and cam indicators.

  • Privacy dashboard.

What We Don't Like
  • More to manage.

  • Quick setting toggles are unnecessary.

A new privacy dashboard will give you full control over what information apps can access, what they can change, and more. You can revoke permissions right from the dashboard. If you don’t want shady apps accessing your camera or photos, no problem.

New indicators will also appear in the status bar to let you know when apps are using your device's microphone or camera. There are new toggles in the quick settings to disable these sensors altogether.

Approximate location sharing is now offered to prevent apps from grabbing your exact location or address. There's also more transparency about collected data and how it's being used.

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Android Private Compute Core

Android 12 new features cam and mic indicator

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • It's said to improve privacy.

  • Processes tasks locally (on device).

  • Reduces network usage.

What We Don't Like
  • May reduce battery life.

  • Not much insight into how it works.

  • No user controls.

Android 12 will be adding something called the Android Private Compute Core. It is a system processing tool which allows more private interactions. All processing for live caption, now playing, and smart reply functions, for example, will now be carried out on the device—no sending information out to the network.

In short, it improves the local processing power of devices for privacy and security functions.

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New Notifications

Android 12 new notification upgrades

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • Cleaner visuals.

  • Snappier, faster notifications.

  • More reliable interactions.

What We Don't Like
  • Will break some apps.

  • Would be nice to see richer content.

The notification system in Android 12 is also getting some upgrades to usability and aesthetics. Animations will be cleaner, and faster. Interacting with notifications will be snappier and should be more reliable.

Google is doing away with “trampolines.” Trampolines are notifications which take a long time to load the resulting application, even after tapping them. Instead, notifications will take you to an app in seconds. This change will break some apps, like Pushbullet which sends notifications that don’t link to anything.

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One-Handed Mode

Android 12 one-handed mode
What We Like
  • Easy to activate.

  • Makes one-hand use better.

What We Don't Like
  • Not customizable.

  • Only uses half of the screen.

Ever have problems trying to navigate your device with one hand? A new one-handed mode in Android 12 aims to be better. It works similar to the one-handed mode in iOS if you’ve ever seen it in action.

After turning on the mode in settings, you can enable it by swiping down from anywhere at the bottom of the screen. Content at the top half of the screen will drop down, giving you better access to on-screen elements, like buttons, and menus.

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Android Runtime

Android 12 new features and screenshots

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • Easy updates for the system.

  • Everyone gets updates at the same time.

  • Better security and stability.

What We Don't Like
  • Not everything can be updated.

  • Not clear how much will change.

Generally, system updates are delivered OTA so you have to wait for your carrier to update and repackage a release. However, Google is now adding Android Runtime as a module to Project Mainline in Android 12. That means you’ll get some OS updates through Google Play packages instead of OTA.

This will have the biggest impact on hotfixes and security patches which can be pushed directly through the Play Store, instead of waiting weeks or months for a traditional OTA update.

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Scrolling Screenshots and Markup

Android 12 photo markup feature

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • Capture more of the screen.

  • No stitching images.

  • Markup is useful.

What We Don't Like
  • May not come with this update.

  • May not work with all apps.

  • Rough around the edges.

If you’ve ever had to take several screenshots to capture a conversation thread or stitch multiple images together you know how frustrating it can be. Android 12 may add scrolling screenshots, allowing you to capture more of the screen real estate in a single image. It's rumored but not confirmed yet.

There are also new paintbrush and markup tools so you can add notations, Emojis, stickers, and other doodles to your screenshots. Samsung devices already include this, namely the Note lineup, but it’s nice to see in native Android, too.

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New Widgets

Android 12 new features weather widget

image credit: Google

What We Like
  • New visual designs to match the UI.

  • New convenient widget selection list.

What We Don't Like
  • We don't know how many widgets will be updated.

Keeping in line with the visual and experience improvements, Android 12 will also include new system widgets. Some examples are a revamped weather widget, to match the new visual enhancements, a conversation widget, and more. The widget selection menu has also been updated to a list, so there are more options on screen at once.

There's no official list of all the new widgets being added, even with the Beta available, but they are coming.

What Else Is New in Android 12?

Alongside the confirmed Android 12 new features, are some other rumored changes we may or may not see when the update launches.

To list a few: We may get AVIF image support, multi-channel audio with support for up to 24 channels, rich media content through the clipboard, optimizations for large display devices like tablets, and more.

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