Android 12 Developer Preview Overview Updated April 26, 2021

Android 12 Developer Preview

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145 'Android 12 Developer Preview' stories

February 2021 - September 2021

Long before Google makes Android 12 available as a stable, user-facing release, it is available in a Developer Preview phase, so that developers are able to prepare their applications and make the necessary changes well ahead of the full release.

This is a non-user-facing build of the latest mobile operating system, that itself evolves and changes over time as more versions are released to the public. However, it is often not stable enough to be used on a smartphone used daily.

As with previous cycles, the Android 12 Developer Preview phase includes 3 core builds. Any subsequent hotfixes and issues that urgently need to be resolved are issued as .1/.2 builds respectively. Upon conclusion of the “Preview” phase, Google will launch the user-facing Android 12 Beta phase. This is available to all Google Pixel owners, with the ability to enrol or sideload so that you can trial run the OS before it is available in late 2021.

Google has provided the following timeline for the entirety of the Android 12 Preview phase along with upcoming Beta releases — while a stable release is not explicit:

Android 12 DP3

This timeline is subject to change at any time, so it cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate even though Google has provided the information. That said, it is a fairly solid timeline based upon previous years and even with COVID-19 delays and distractions.

Android 12 Developer Preview: New features

Android 12 looks set to provide one of the most comprehensive overhauls to the mobile OS in some time. A major facelift is expected, with a rounded, bubbly UI already visible within the Android 12 Developer Preview 3. That’s not all though, as there are numerous under-the-hood changes and APIs that enable things such as rich content insertion, native image decoding, compatible media transcoding, and much more.

The latest Android 12 Developer Preview release focuses in the following areas:

This release offers a number of tools for app developers to improve the user experience:

  • New app launch animation: To make “app startup a more consistent and delightful experience,” Google is introducing a default animation from the point of launch, splash screen with the app icon, and transition. Developers will be able to customize the splash screen’s background, replace the app icon, control timing, and more.
  • New incoming/outgoing/screened call notifications: Meant to improve visibility, scannability, and consistency, the new CallStyle template is available for dialers or chat apps with video calling. Rising to the top of the notification shade, they support multiple default and custom actions and can be customized with a large avatar image, text, and button color hints.
  • Improved web linking: URLs that haven’t been through Android App Links or manually approved by users are immediately opened by the default web browser instead of the “chooser” dialog. 
  • Richer haptics: Android 12 is introducing support for more expressive effects, like a low tick, as today’s actuators feature broader frequency bandwidth. The goal is to allow developers to create “informative haptic feedback for UI events.” Similarly, game developers have more access to motors in game controllers. Google says, the Pixel 4 offers the fullest examples of these upcoming APIs today, and that it’s working with OEMs.
  • More-flexible backups: Developers can now set different rules (including encryption requirements) for cloud backups and device-to-device transfers. For example, large files can be excluded from the former method but included in the latter. 

Android 12 Developer Preview Stories September 15

Following last week’s release candidate, Google today opened the Android 12 Beta 5 feedback survey. Like in August, its availability was delayed from the usual Friday after launch.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories September 9

How to downgrade from Android 12 Beta to Android 11 on Google Pixel [Video]

If you are not content with the most recent Android 12 Developer Preview or Beta build on your Google Pixel, it’s probably music to your ears knowing that you can downgrade your OS to a stable version of Android 11 if you encounter any major problems.

Android 12 Developer Preview Stories September 8

Besides a slew of Material You additions and other enhancements, Android 12 Beta 5 today expands — as we’ve been expecting — Nearby Share with an “Everyone” visibility option, redesigned QS pane, and multi-device sharing.

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Android 12 Beta 5: Pixel phones will notify users that charging is limited when overheating

Google recently added a new feature to Pixel smartphones that is designed to retain battery health by limiting charging in certain circumstances. Now, in Android 12, Google is expanding this limit so your Pixel will limit charging when the phone is overheating.

Android 12 Beta 5: Smart home quick controls get a dedicated lockscreen shortcut

Android 11 delivered a truly great feature to the power menu with a list of smart home controls at the ready, but Android 12 completely removes it. That feature, though, will live on in another sense with a dedicated shortcut on the Android 12 lockscreen for smart home quick controls.

Beta 5 of Android 12 is here as the final update before the public launch in the coming weeks. The Android 12 Easter egg was introduced last month, but it’s gotten more elaborate today with a homescreen widget that tells you the Dynamic Color palette Material You is using.

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Google is bringing a whole new design to Android 12 with “Material You,” and that includes the first formal widget revamp the platform has seen in the better part of a decade. Now, in Android 12 Beta 5, Google has finally debuted a taste of its preferred design for Material You widgets in the form of some clock widgets.

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Google today released the final update to Android 12 before the public launch in the next few weeks. Over the coming hours, we’ll dive into Android 12 Beta 5 to chronicle all the new features.

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Just a day after its first security update became available, Google’s latest affordable phone, the Pixel 5a, is now eligible to join the Android 12 Beta.

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Nearly seven months have passed since Google released the first developer preview of its next major mobile OS release. Android 12 Beta 5 is available today as the final update (and release candidate) before the public launch.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories September 7

Wallpaper-based theming is the main highlight of Android 12 and Material You. However, Dynamic Color did not initially work with the Pixel Live Wallpaper collection/category, and an app update rolling out this week remedies that.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 25

The first Android 12 Beta worked out relatively well. There were no major bugs to speak of outside of one that prevented users from accessing the power menu easily. With Google Pay functional, it seems as though there were no major reasons to skip. After a second beta released caused many issues, though, you’d be justified in being wary of the third. Luckily, Android 12 Beta 4 bugs appear to be fairly scarce.

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Exactly two weeks after the last release in the preview program, Android 12 Beta 4.1 is rolling out with much-needed bug fixes on Pixel phones.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 20

Besides VPN issues and some notifications not popping up, Android 12 Beta 4 is quite stable for day-to-day usage. An issue that emerged in the last day or so, however, sees Android System Intelligence crash repeatedly on Android 12.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 18

This month’s feedback survey comes a week after Google released Android 12 Beta 4. Its availability is slightly delayed from the usual two days following launch.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 15

With the December 2020 Feature Drop, Google made it so that your Pixel phone charges slowly at night to preserve battery health. Pixel users have had hit or miss experiences with Adaptive Charging, and Google now looks to have tweaked how it works on Android 12.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 13

With this week’s release, Google is “moving into the final phase” of Android 12 and focusing on “polish, performance, and stability” rather than adding new features. However, a bug in Android 12 Beta 4 sees most notification banners not pop up.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 12

Android 12 Beta 4 has added a fair volume of new features and functions, but the lockscreen has seen a trio of tweaks that include the brand new Google Sans Text for the Now Playing feature, plus some improved icons for other existing features.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories August 11

Besides wallpapers, Google lets owners customize the Pixel experience by making available a large collection of ringtones, notifications, and alarm sounds. Android 12 Beta 3 introduces a trio of additions to the Sounds app, and they’re very likely the new/next Pixel defaults.

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The multitasking menu in Android 12 has been tweaked over the Beta period, but the layout is mostly unchanged. Google, however, has put a lot of work into making it easier to share content from Recents, and Android 12 Beta 4 adds image support.

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With the release of the Android 12 Beta 4 build, new features are pretty thin on the ground, but the long-awaited Game Dashboard is now far easier to launch, with the in-game quick toggle also making an appearance.

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Every year, Google includes an easter egg in the latest Android release, and Android 12 is no different. With the release of Android 12 Beta 4, this year’s easter egg is live, serving to showcase Material You and its dynamic colors.

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The visual theme of Android 12 is by far the biggest change to the platform, and in Beta 4, Google is still making tweaks to how Material You is implemented. In this latest release, more themed icons have been added, and the Google Search logo on the Pixel Launcher gets a delightful Material You makeover.

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With the Platform Stability milestone in today’s release, Android 12 nears a public launch. Over the coming hours, we will dive into Android 12 Beta 4 to chronicle all the new features.

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This year’s Android preview cycle sees two additional releases before wider consumer availability with the public launch. Android 12 Beta 4 is rolling out today for Pixel phones with “Platform Stability.” 

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 31

While most Pixel fans are eagerly anticipating the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — confirmed to be an overhaul of the Made by Google phone series — the Android 12 Beta includes clues to what Google phones will come after that. These possibly include a foldable Pixel and the presumed Pixel 6a.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 26

The next version of Google’s mobile OS just saw its latest patch today and is scheduled for one more beta before the release candidate and consumer launch. One of those releases will see the Android 12 Easter egg, but here’s a preview of it right now.

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Almost two weeks after the last major release in the preview program, Android 12 Beta 3.1 is rolling out with key bug fixes on Pixel phones.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 23

Android has always been famous for its customization options, but in Android 10 Google pushed that a step further with the ability to easily adjust system accent colors and fonts. In Android 12, though, it seems the ability to swap fonts and icons is being removed in favor of Material You.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 20

Android 12 bug sees missed call notification stuck on Pixel phones, will be fixed

The beta releases of Android 12 have, mostly, been pretty stable so far, but as with any early release, there are usually a few quirky bugs throughout. In Android 12 Beta 3, an annoying hiccup on Pixel phones sees the missed call notification stuck, but Google is aware and planning to fix the issue.

Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 19

Android 12 is the biggest update visually to the platform that we’ve seen in years, and alongside bigger overhauls like Material You, there are also a bunch of new animations. One new animation that’s not immediately obvious, though, is an updated charging animation when your Pixel phone is powered off.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 17

While Android 12 stability is improving with every release, it’s still in beta, and some users last night received a reminder of that status via an absolute slew of system “Foreground Service BG-Launch Restricted” notifications that were generated by Gboard.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 16

Following the launch on Wednesday, Google has opened the customary Android 12 Beta 3 survey for Pixel owners

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Android 12 has brought a ton of new changes to smartphones, as we’ve detailed over the past few months. However, Android TV and Google TV are known for providing most updates independent of system versions. In Android TV 12 Beta 3, though, there are a few minor tweaks to Google TV and Android. Here’s what we’ve found.

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories July 14

Android 12 brings a lot of visual changes with it, and now the out-of-box-experience is being updated to match. With Android 12 Beta 3, Google is giving a fresh coat of paint to the setup experience on Pixel phones.

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The stable Android 12 release has inched ever closer, with Android 12 Beta 3 dropping just a month after the second build. Following our other deep dives, we’ve been spending time with Android 12 Beta 3 to find the best new features and changes that you can try right now.

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Following the first beta, Android 12 users immediately complained about how the ripple effect looked like a graphical bug. Google responded and promised updates, with Beta 3 today delivering a more subtle sparkle.

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While Android 12 builds have been available for Android TV for months now, there have been no visible changes to the platform to date. Today, though, Google has finally detailed what’s new in Android TV 12, most notably delivering long-overdue support for 4K UI rendering.

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Privacy is a big focus of Android 12, and one of the ways that Google is addressing it is with better notification of sensor usage. While it’s not live quite yet, we’ve discovered that Android 12 is working on a more obvious location indicator that matches what’s been changed with the camera and microphone.

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Google has put more and more emphasis on making the “Recents” view in Android more useful in the past few years, and in Android 12, we’re getting one of the best pitches for that yet. With Android 12 Beta 3, Google Chrome is adding a handy link sharing button to the Recents multitasking menu.

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With the removal of the awesome Active Edge in recent Pixel devices, the corner swipe activation gesture was seen as the replacement. In Android 12 Beta 3, you’re now able to completely deactivate the Assistant corner swipe.

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Android 12 Beta 3: Pixel Launcher adopts more colors, ‘At A Glance’ is now ‘Live Space’

The third beta to Android 12 makes some updates to the Pixel Launcher homescreen for Google’s own phones, including renaming “At A Glance” to “Live Space” and adding more splashes of color.

One of the more frustrating elements of Android 12 Beta 2 was the removal of the ability to toggle Wi-Fi on or off quickly within the introduction of the “Internet” notification button. Android 12 Beta 3 is sort of fixing that problem with a “turn off Wi-Fi” button as part of the Internet pop-up.

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You’ll often see a neat feature show up in third-party skins before they arrive in native Android, but the popular feature that is Scrolling Screenshots feels like it has taken an eternity to arrive. Today, though, Scrolling Screenshots are finally a part of native Android and, in turn, on Pixels, but the functionality differs a bit compared to what you’ll see on a Samsung device.

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The third beta for Android 12 has just arrived and, with it, a brand new wallpaper picker that has better support for the new Material You theming language, including color options and also themed icons.

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The previous beta at the start of June continued rolling out many of the mobile operating system’s upcoming consumer-facing capabilities and changes. Over the coming hours, we will dive into today’s Android 12 Beta 3 release to chronicle all the new features.

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Compared to last year, Android 12 is pushing back the release candidate build by one version with Beta 3 rolling out today as another “incremental Beta-quality release.”

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Android 12 Developer Preview Stories June 23

Android 12 ‘Internet’ panel in Beta 2.1 doesn’t let you disconnect from Wi-Fi

Beta 2.1 of Android 12 rolled out this morning with a handful of much-needed bug fixes. However, there’s a slight regression to Android 12’s new Internet panel with users unable to quickly disconnect from Wi-Fi.

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