How to install Android 12 – and get these 12 great features

It’s time to update Google’s mobile operating system. The latest version is Android 12 and it is packed with all kinds of improvements, some big and some small.

Google’s Android runs on more than 3 billion devices worldwide. You’ll find it in the best smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, OnePlus and of course on the Pixel line from Google. Updating to Android 12 is more of a step than a leap, but some important upgrades lie here. Before we dive into the features, here’s how to get the update on your phone.

How to download Android 12

Not everyone will be able to download Android 12 right away. Most manufacturers take months to push major updates, often putting their role on top of Google’s release. But some devices can be upgraded now.

If you have a Google Pixel 3 or later, you can get Android 12 now. Soon, it’ll also be available for Android One devices, and Google says it’ll arrive for Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Xiaomi and Vivo later this year (many of which were part of the Android 12 beta program). Before upgrading, it’s always smart to back up everything, so head over to Settings>System>Backup>Backup Now. We have more detailed instructions in our guide on how to backup your Android phone.

To see if you can download the update now on your Pixel phone, search Settings > System and press Advanced> system update. It should automatically check for update, but you can also tap Check updates. Remember that updates are usually rolled out over a few days, so eligible phones may need a short waiting period.

If you have an Android phone from another manufacturer, check the company’s website, forums, or social media to see when you can expect Android 12 to arrive. Most high-end Android phones can expect at least two years of upgrades (you can expect Samsung S10 phones and later are four), so if you bought your phone in late 2019 or recently, you should be able to pick it up sometimes on point.

The most important new features

We’ve been using the Android 12 beta for quite some time, and these are our 12 favorites. There are plenty of other smaller upgrades, and you can dig deeper into the Google developer site or the Android 12 site to learn more.

Image: Microsoft

1. New look

The new look is the first thing you’ll notice about Android 12. Google has revamped its design language with a visual overhaul that builds on its deep customization options. The stuff you focus on is customization, and you can automatically extract a color palette from your chosen background and apply it across the entire operating system, from the lock screen, app icons, and notification shade to volume controls and widgets. These colors seep into the apps themselves, although at the moment they only work with Google apps. Material You is an exclusive feature of the first Pixel, but will roll out to the broader Android ecosystem over the next year. The redesign also includes larger quick settings tiles, bolder text, and a larger font throughout the operating system.

The new interface animations and transitions are fun and smooth, and it’s also more energy efficient. The user interface is more adaptable than ever, with changes based on context and input. For example, the amazing new clock widget clearly shows the time but shrinks on the lock screen when you get a new notification, so you can tell in a jiffy when to wait for something. Speaking of gadgets, expect a dozen new and updated gadgets from Google by the end of October.

Video: Google

2. Better Quick Settings

When you pull down the notification shade in Android 12, you will see that the quick settings icons at the top have changed. Old circular icons have become rounded rectangles that display more information (and are easy to click, too). It now matches your color scheme, and you can still customize which tiles you want to see and in what order. Google has also added controls for Google Pay and Home, giving quick access to payments or smart home devices. You can still tap to turn things on and off or long press to go to the relevant settings page.

You may not like that turning off Wi-Fi or data is now a two-step process as the two are combined into one panel. Tap on it, then tap the toggle next to the name of your carrier or your Wi-Fi network if you want to turn one off.

Video: Google

3. Privacy Dashboard

Privacy is a major topic in Android 12, or at least Google is trying to make it a priority. This is reflected in the new privacy dashboard. One screen displays all of your permission settings. Shows what data is accessed, what apps are accessed, and how many times in the last 24 hours. A handy timeline view adds some transparency and makes it easy to control what you share and revoke permissions you don’t want certain apps to have.

Video: Google

4. Microphone and camera control

Carrying a device with a microphone and a camera is always a privacy concern, so the indicator in the top right of the status bar that lets you know when apps are using either is very welcome. Google has also added the option to toggle microphone or camera away from system in the new quick settings when you pull up your notifications.

Video: Google

5. More control over location tracking

The idea that third-party apps might track your exact location and do who knows what with the data is troubling. Some apps, like weather apps, have legitimate reasons to check your location, but they don’t need to Flour data. That’s why Google has added a new location tracking option that allows you to specify an exact or approximate location. You can now get local data without having to share an accurate history of your movements.

Likewise, Google has updated Android’s Bluetooth permissions so that devices you connect to, such as headphones or smartwatches, don’t need to access your location information.

Video: Google

6. Richness of notifications

Notifications look cleaner and feature neat transitions in Android 12. They’re still expandable but now contain richer content, and tapping them gives you direct access to the relevant app faster than ever. There is also more leeway for developers to protect lock screen notifications by requiring user authentication first.

Video: Google

7. Scrolling screenshots

Phone manufacturers like Samsung and OnePlus already allow you to bypass the visible screen with screenshots and scroll down to capture an entire web page. Screenshots are now scrolling baked into Android. You can take a screenshot in the same way as before, but there is now a file capture more button. Markup tools for editing and commenting on screenshots have also been enhanced, with the option to add text, emojis, and stickers.

Video: Google

8. Easier Wi-Fi Sharing

You can already share your Wi-Fi password with a QR code, but Android 12 makes it even easier, by adding a file nearby The button below the icon that turns on Android Nearby Sharing. It will search for any nearby devices, and you can tap the device you want to share Wi-Fi details with wirelessly.

Video: Google

9. Device search

Added Google AppSearch in Android 12; This on-device search engine can search for content indexed within apps and other content on your phone, such as Spotlight Search on iPhones. It works even when your device is offline. On Pixel phones, this option appears as a separate search bar in the app drawer. You can filter your search with toggles for Shortcuts, People, Settings, and Pixel Tips.

10. One-handed mode

Like the easy-to-use accessibility option on iPhones, one-handed modes are becoming vital as phone screens grow larger. You can run it via Settings > System > One-handed mode In Android 12, you can swipe down in any app to pull down the top of the screen. This makes it easy to access those notifications and icons with your thumb without having to use your other hand. To exit, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen or tap the top of the screen at the top of the app.

11. Best Games

There are some improvements in Android 12 for mobile gamers only. Google has added a game dashboard to Pixels that provides quick access to Do Not Disturb, screenshots, screen recording, YouTube live broadcasts, and a toggle to show your frames per second (FPS) while you play. Other manufacturers have had variations of this feature for some time now.

You can also now start playing some games when they are only partially downloaded, rather than having to wait for the full download to complete, just as you can on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Google has also allowed developers to prioritize things like battery life or performance to give people more options. in the settings.

12. Odds and Ends

  • You can now long press the power button to bring up the Google Assistant (many phones, like Pixels, have the option to see the power/restart menu in the notification drawer). If you don’t like this, you can disable it Settings > System > Gestures > Press and hold the Power button.
  • Auto-rotate is smarter and faster, using the front camera on the Pixel 4 and newer Google phones to quickly glance at your face to determine when to rotate that screen. This process is local, so it does not send images anywhere.
  • Haptic feedback can now be linked to sound, so music and movies can be more immersive, a custom ringtone might make your phone vibrate in time, or the game might add vibration to simulate a bumpy ride.
  • The swipe-tap feature is only for Pixel phones, but it allows people to double-tap the back of the Pixel to open notifications, launch an app, summon Google Assistant, or take a screenshot (among other options). You can find it in Settings > System > Gestures.
  • New Emoji designs are coming out with changes to nearly 400 existing Emojis.

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