Android 12: redesigned design, focus on privacy, all about Google’s future mobile OS

Android 12 shouldn’t be long in coming. According to several sources, the new major version of Google’s mobile OS will officially begin life on October 4, 2021. A few days before release, here is what we know about the system.

Available in beta since April 2021, Android 12 will soon arrive in a stable version on a first flight of smartphones. As usual with Google, it will be the Pixels who will have the right to it first. Then will come the other mobiles, the time that each manufacturer modifies the system to his sauce.

If you are in a particular hurry, here is what we already know about this new version of Android.

When will Android 12 be released?

In its official communication, Google was not particularly specific about the date of availability of its system. The company simply said that Android 12 would be available in the fall of 2021.

However, the XDA Developers site has learned that the final version of the system is expected to arrive on October 4, 2021. To be more precise, this is the date on which the source code of the system will be made public. With Google’s phones using a version very close to the one available in Android’s open source repository, it’s likely that the upgrade will be offered on the same day on the Pixels.

What’s new in Android 12?

This year, Google has put a lot of effort into the design of its OS, in addition to bringing some interesting technical innovations to it. Here is a quick tour of the major novelties.

A new rounder design

Google’s OS had not had the right to a good deal of expense for a few versions, so the company decided to get back to work for this new major update. The watchword of Android 12 is roundness (the windows are more rounded, the widgets are more rounded, the menus are more rounded…). The idea is to offer better graphic consistency to the entire system, in order to provide a more welcoming and easy-to-access interface.

An overview of Material You, Google’s new design philosophy // Source: Google

In addition to that, this new philosophy nicknamed “Material You” is intended to be better suited to different screen sizes, to suit smartphone panels, as well as those of tablets and connected screens. This new design also adapts to whoever uses it (with more customization options or even a color palette that fits your wallpaper).

Focus on privacy

Where Google was seriously expected was on the privacy front. After the implementation of the Tracking Transparency App at Apple, this subject returned to the fore in the mobile ecosystem.

On the Android side, the company announced that many system features, such as live captioning or preprogrammed responses, will be generated locally using the Private Compute Core. Behind this barbaric name hides a set of algorithms that work on mobile to keep your information on your phone and away from server farms. A new control panel also makes it easier to manage the sharing of your data. Finally, the location system will offer more granularity for applications that do not need to know where you are very precisely (such as the weather forecast for example).

The privacy panel which summarizes which application has accessed which function of the mobile // Source: photo Numerama

Audio and video improvements

The latest Android 12 beta also includes improvements in video and audio processing. New codecs are supported (including HEVC and AVC) which should improve the video playback and recording experience. All this while saving storage space on your mobile. On the audio side, the support for Bluetooth LE Audio brought by Android 12 should extend the autonomy of your wireless headphones, without sacrificing audio quality.

One-handed mode

Already present on many mobiles (including the iPhone), the one-hand mode will arrive on Android 12. This feature allows you to virtually lower the screen of the mobile to more easily reach certain elements placed at the top of the interface. To activate it, just allow gesture navigation in the settings and swipe down on the navigation bar.

And many other things

Other more discreet improvements such as better management of screen rotation (which is based on facial recognition), the appearance of a “game mode” (which will block notifications) and energy consumption optimizations. will also be there.

Which smartphones will be compatible with Android 12?

The availability of Android 12 on your phone will depend a lot on the goodwill of the manufacturers. A first list of eligible mobile was communicated by Google during its I / O conference in May 2021. Note that these phones are those that can benefit from the beta of Android 12 (and which are therefore sure to also receive the final version), but the list is not exhaustive.

  • Asus Zenfone 8
  • Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
  • Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL
  • Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
  • Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a (5G)
  • Pixel 5
  • Pixel 6
  • OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro
  • OPPO Find X3 Pro
  • Realme GT
  • AQUOS sense5G
  • Tecno Camon 17
  • TCL 20 Pro 5G
  • Vivo iQOO 7Legend
  • Xiaomi Mi 11, Mi 11 Ultra, Mi 11X Pro and Mi 11i
  • ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G.

Unfortunately, few other manufacturers have communicated on an update schedule to Android 12

At Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and Oneplus

On the Samsung side, the Galaxy S21 should receive Android 12 by the end of the year. If Samsung keeps its promises, it is likely that all Galaxy S since the S10 will also receive the update. The same goes for the Galaxy Note series (since Note 10). It is difficult to say when the update will be offered on each of the mobiles, however. The foldable phones of the manufacturer (Galaxy Fold and Flip) will also surely be entitled to it.

At Xiaomi, OnePlus and Oppo, we can expect that most of the high-end phones of the past two to three years will be able to taste Android 12. A definitive list of devices and dates of availability in Europe has not yet been released. been communicated on the other hand.

How to install Android 12?

If the manufacturer of your mobile offers you the update to Android 12, you will technically have nothing to do. The update should appear on your phone as soon as it is ready. Let it download and settle in, ideally remembering to plug your phone into a charger to avoid running out of fuel.

Do i really need Android 12?

To answer simply: no. The new features offered by Google are interesting, but they are not worth running to buy a new phone if yours is not eligible. As long as your phone receives security updates regularly, you can take a breather. You won’t have the latest fad features, but at least you will be protected against most cybersecurity threats.

To verify that your phone receives monthly security updates, go to your app Settings, then System and System update. The last patch installed should be listed there.

Article originally published on May 18, 2021 and updated on September 30, 2021

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