After much anticipation, Google released the first developer preview of Android 12 last week. The update brings a bunch of new features and improvements to help enhance the user experience while using the OS. If you’re someone wondering what you can expect from Android 12, here are the best Android 12 features coming to your Android phone.
Best Android 12 Features (2021)
While most of the UI changes are still not enabled by default, we have compiled a list of user-facing Android 12 features that you can look forward to. Moreover, we will update this article when new developer preview and beta builds arrive, so make sure you keep an eye out on this one.
Features Live in Current Android 12 Build
1. Improved Notification Shade
As is the case with all Android updates, Google has worked to improve the notifications shade on Android 12. The black bar that accommodates the clock just above the quick settings panel is no longer black. Moreover, there is a snooze button to quickly snooze notifications for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours.
At its current state, the notification shade’s background is a little too translucent, which affects the readability of both notifications in the foreground and text in the background. We’ll have to wait to see if Google has plans to introduce background blur to the notification panel in upcoming builds.
2. Quick Settings Improvements
Coming to the Quick settings panel, not a lot has changed for now. One noticeable change is that the dark theme’s color is no longer AMOLED black and represents a dark shade with the HEX code #171C21. In addition, the toggles in the ‘off’ state are now a variant of the system accent as opposed to gray color. For instance, if your system accent color is green, the inactive QS tiles will now have a faded green color, thereby improving consistency. Another change is the addition of a QS toggle for the ‘Reduce Brightness Colors’ accessibility feature to quickly reduce brightness.
3. Media Player Revamp
The persistent media player has received a major facelift with Android 12. The album artwork is given more emphasis and the overall size of media controls is larger now. While the device name in the media player UI has been replaced by just the icon at the top-right corner, Google has added a pop-up to help you quickly pair a Bluetooth headphone when you tap on it.
Another much-needed improvement is the ability to disable specific apps from quick settings media controls. You now have toggles to allow apps to show up in the media player interface. The path to access these toggles is Settings -> Sound and vibration -> Media. The feature is not functional at the moment, but that could change in the upcoming builds.
4. UI Changes in Settings App
Google has tweaked toggles with pill-shaped state indicators across various high-level components in Settings. Although minor, this should help new Android users understand the current state of a toggle better. This could also be a part of upcoming changes Google may be planning to bring to the Settings app.
5. Share Wi-Fi Passwords with Nearby Share
With Android 12, Google is improving the ability to share Wi-Fi passwords with other Android devices. Going forward, you can use Nearby Share to share Wi-Fi passwords. The option to share passwords via Nearby Share appears on the QR code generation page, which can be accessed by tapping the Share button of a Wi-Fi connection in Settings.
6. Markup Tool Improvements
Apart from these changes, Google has improved its markup tool. You can now add emojis and text to images. In addition, you can now import any image from your gallery to the markup tool and edit from there. To do so, share the image and tap on the ‘Edit’ button present in the share sheet.
The following features are in the works and are hidden by default. Not all features listed below will make it to the final build that Google hopes to release in the second half of the year. With that in mind, take a look at the potential Android 12 features below:
1. Silky Home Settings
Silky Home UI brings One UI-inspired design to the Settings app that we partly saw in the leaked Android 12 document earlier this month. Since this new design is hidden by default, it remains to be seen if Google adds this layout in the final build. Nevertheless, take a look at the UI at its current state below:
You can use the following ADB commands to enable or disable Silky Home if you’ve installed Android 12:
Enable Silky Home UI:
adb shell settings put global settings_silky_home true
Disable Silky Home UI:
adb shell settings put global settings_silky_home false
2. Wallpaper-based Theming System
Android developer kdrag0n has managed to enable the wallpaper-based theming system codenamed ‘Monet’ on Android 12. The new theming system changes the accent based on your wallpaper and applies it throughout the interface. You can take a look at the changes in the screenshots posted below:
I’ve managed to get the new wallpaper-based theming system, Monet, working on Android 12 DP1. Here are some examples of predominantly purple and orange wallpapers: pic.twitter.com/jXHvWq7K81
— kdrag0n (@kdrag0n) February 20, 2021
3. One Hand Mode
XDA’s Mishaal Rahman has enabled one-handed mode on Android 12. According to him, the feature resembles Apple’s reachability that brings content to the bottom half of your phone. Since one-hand mode has become a popular feature in many OEM skins, we could expect Google to add this feature in the upcoming builds.
Here’s Android 12’s one-handed mode – fully working. Sadly, it’s like Apple’s Reachability (vertically downsizing) rather than OHM on most OEM software (both horizontal and vertical downsizing). pic.twitter.com/IznRVHTgPu
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
4. Scrolling Screenshots
Google is also working to natively add scrolling screenshots on Android 12. This means that you can finally stop relying on one of those scrolling screenshot apps to take long screenshots. It is hidden by default in the first Android 12 developer preview though.
Scrolling screenshots are still a bit janky/broken, but it actually works! (It’s not enabled by default so you won’t see it when you update.) pic.twitter.com/7ih2zQgvZk
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
5. Privacy Indicators
First spotted in the leaked screenshots, Google may bring privacy indicators to help you identify when your camera or microphone is in use. Until that happens, you can use apps like Access Dots to replicate the feature on your device right now.
6. Double Tap Back Gestures
Google may bring double tap back gestures with Android 12, at least on Pixel 5. If you’re using a Pixel 5, you can access the feature from Settings -> System -> Gestures. Once enabled, you can use double-tap gestures to open Assistant, take screenshots, control media playback, open recent apps switcher, and check notifications.
Android 12 Best Features
So, those are the best Android 12 features you’ll get when it launches later this year. While most of these features are available in custom skins now, it is good to see that Android 12 is packing these by default. So, which one of these features are you waiting for? Let us know in the comments.