What's New for Android from Google I/O

Android OS is getting a makeover

Google is looking to reshape its smartphone operating system with Android 12. 

The company announced major design changes and new features that will make their way to the Android operating system with the release of Android 12. These changes include a more personalized customization experience, more privacy features, and more fluid animations and transitions.

Android 12's new personalization options


Google announced these changes, along with the release of the public beta for Android 12, at Google I/O. This marks the first time that the updated operating system will be available outside of the Developer Preview program and will give users a good look at what the updated system is bringing to Android phones everywhere.

Chief among the new features is Material You, a personalization system that Google claims will embrace emotion and expressiveness. Unlike previous customization systems, Material You will build off of Android's earlier design aesthetic, Material Design, to adapt to your own personal style. This will make the phone feel more like your own unique device, instead of having to rely on the standard themes and color options available in current operating systems.

For example, Material You in Android 12 will pull colors from the wallpaper you select. It can then set the colors of widgets, your notification bar, and other menus within the phone to match those dominant colors, giving you a more consistent look and feel whenever you decide to change your wallpaper.

New notification and quick settings are also a big part of the design changes, allowing users to get more done by quickly swiping down and then tapping the options they want to enable or disable. Notifications will appear crisper on the screen, and you always can customize the different settings that you have available if you want to personalize even more.

When it comes to security and protecting your online data, the Privacy Dashboard will give you key insight into the permissions that apps have, the access they want, and more control over how they get that information. Notifications in the top right of the status bar also will warn you when apps are accessing your camera and microphone, as well as notify you which apps are using those systems.

See all our coverage of Google I/O 2021 here.

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