Android 12 update beta release date and new features


For the next, highly expected version of Android, Google is preparing to open the spigot not only on new features, but also on a long overdue interface polishing, all indicators suggest.

Android 12 release date

  • September 2, 2021
  • Android 12 developer preview release date: February 17, 2021
Google released Android versions 7 to 9 on Monday in the hot summer month of August, then it moved the launch to the first Tuesday of September for Android 10 and the current Android 11, releasing them on September 3 and September 8, respectively. In that train of thought, the Android 12 release date to manufacturers should be September 2. 

Needless to say, Google is likely readying a developer preview of its newest mobile operating system edition, where most of the new features will be prepped for testing and revealed for the general public later in the spring. Last year, the Android 11 developer preview was out on Wednesday, February 19, and by that logic the Android 12 dev preview should be announced and released on Wednesday, February 17.

New Android 12 features

  • App Pairs split screen mode
  • Scrolling screenshots
  • Smart rotation lock
  • App hibernation
  • Double-tap gesture command for the rear
  • New notification interface
  • Advanced theme support
  • Android Runtime (ART) as Mainline Module – Updates via the Play Store
  • Hibernating app support
  • Outsourced emoji support for delivering updates outside of OTAs
  • Ultra-Wideband API
  • Wi-Fi password sharing with Nearby Share
  • WireGuard VPN support with Linux Kernel 4.19 and 5.4
  • Anti-tracking features and privacy enhancements
  • Better integration with third-party app stores
  • Game controller rumble support

The new Android 12 UI

Google’s design concept revealed that there will be a new notifications UI in Android 12 that replaces the current transparent look with a light beige opaque. The hue might change if Dark mode is enabled; the rounded corners of each notification is more easily viewable. Google did reduce the number of Quick Settings icons to four from six and these will surface when the notification panel is expanded. 

The icons are larger than usual because of the fewer number of icons used. The positions of the date and the clock have been swapped on the front of the display, and there are new privacy indicators in the upper right corner. Tapping on these icons will tell you exactly which apps are using the microphone and camera on your handset. A “Sensors off” icon in Quick Settings will allow the user to shut down and disable all sensors on his or her phone with a single tap; the Developer options menu will have to be enabled to see this icon.

Moving on, a mandatory Conversations widget will show Android users messages, missed calls, and more. Due to its small size, the widget will only be able to show one item at a time. Also mandatory will be the use of camera and microphone icons on the front display which must be visible when the camera and the microphone are being used. You might recall that Apple added something similar with iOS 14.2. A small green dot on the upper right of an iPhone display means that an app is using the handset’s camera while an orange dot indicates that an app is using an iPhone’s microphone.

New App hibernation feature in Android 12

Climbing further the new Android 12 features ladder, Google might be working on a hibernation system for apps. The system allows apps to enter a hibernation state when they are not used and will help free up storage. Little is known about the new feature at the moment. It’s not clear how exactly this feature will work and how apps will be hibernated: whether this will be automatically determined, or users will be able to manually select apps for hibernation. Additionally, we don’t know yet the way Android will inform users of the hibernation, if one happens automatically. The leaked code here also mentions storage optimization: it’s still unclear whether this optimization includes compression of the app packages or other app resources to free up storage on your Android phone.

New Double-tap navigation gesture in Android 12

The double tap gesture that was rumored for Android 11, should now be making its way into Android 12, replacing the obsolete Active Edge squeeze feature that is not found on the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5. The double tap would allow Pixel users to activate Assistant, take a screenshot, control media playback, bring down the notification bar, open recent apps view, and other programmable commands, or it can be disabled if not needed. Reportedly, the Double tap gesture coming to Android 12 will be fine-tuned to towards a firmer tap to prevent executing it by accident.

New App Pairs split screen feature in Android 12

Google is apparently also working on a split-screen mode rehash on a system level for Android 12. This will allow a better and more intuitive multitasking experience to Android users. Instead of opening one app, and then activating split-screen mode for that app via the Recents view, users will be able to group two apps in “tasks” and then quickly launch these pairs or switch between a pair of apps and a single app.

Android 12 will also let people easily “pair” two apps right from the Recent view. When you use such a pair, the divider between the two apps will also get a bonus feature. Dragging the divider will still resize both apps but when you double-tap on it, the two active apps will quickly swap positions. Neat.

When will my phone get Android 12?

  • Samsung Galaxy Android 12 update: October beta, December 2021 stable
  • LG phones Android 12 update: from January ’22
  • OnePlus phones Android update: September beta, October 2021 stable
  • Motorola phones Android 12 update: September beta, January ’22 stable
  • Nokia phones Android 12 update: from October 2021
  • Oppo, vivo, Realme phones Android 12 update: Q4 2021
  • Sony phones Android 12 update: December 2021


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