Full Features of the Latest Android 12 OS -Internally referred to as ‘Snow Cone,’ Google’s Android 12 could be coming to your Samsung smartphone (or tablet) with a future OS update.
Although Google had initially released the first Developer Beta version of Android 12 a few months ago, however, the full set of Android 12 features were only unveiled during its Google I/O 2021 event back in May.
These features were announced with the Android 12 Developer Beta 2 update on May 19, 2021.
Here are the full features of the latest Android 12 OS, including design changes, new features, and changes to existing features compared, in this in-depth article.
Full Android 12 Features
Android 12 comes with a major UI design refresh, focusing on enhancing the data privacy and security aspects, easier updates, improved data sharing, faster performance, and longer battery life.
There are several small UI changes and newer features as well. However, you probably shouldn’t expect all these features to come to your new or current device as Android smartphone and tablet OEMs can enable or disable features based on their own agenda.
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1. Colourful UI Design with Wallpaper-Based ‘Material You’ Theme
Android 12 delivers the biggest UI design refresh we’ve witnessed in years.
Google is calling this new design ‘Material You,’ which basically means that the color scheme of the UI would be influenced by users through wallpapers.
Android 12’s color extraction protocol takes primary and secondary colors from the existing wallpaper and uses them to design UI elements across the entire system.
Those colors impact the color scheme of quick setting toggles (now referred to as Tiles), keyboard, lock screen clock, widgets, and maybe even icons.
In addition, several UI elements in Android 12 now have a bubblier design with rounded corners.
Unlike previous versions of Android which came with circular quick setting toggles, Android 12 now has much larger toggles which are known as Tiles.
They feature a rounded rectangular shape, which means lesser quick setting Tiles are visible in one go.
Moreover, volume and brightness sliders are now thicker and bubblier than in old Android versions.
Android 12 UI elements such as copy/paste UI, folders, floating menus, volume menu, long-press app menus, text selector, widgets, and others have rounded corners.
2. Extra Large Clock Widget On Lockscreen
A visible part of the new UI design is a mega-sized clock widget on the lock screen. The clock’s colors are inspired by the wallpaper.
However, there’s a possibility that the same lock screen clock widget may not come to Android smartphones from all the brands.
Basically, some brands may implement it while others might feature other variations.
3. All New Quick Setting Tiles Design Including New Tiles For Smart Home Controls, Digital Wallet, Internet, And Privacy Controls
We mentioned earlier that Quick Settings tiles in Android 12 are much larger and in fact, come with a different shape (horizontal rounded rectangle) compared to Quick Setting toggles used in previous versions of Android.
Furthermore, some new tiles will be debuting on Android 12. These are Smart Home, Internet, Wallet, Camera, and Mic Access.
Smart Home Tile
The Smart Home tile is a shortcut that grants access to the smart home device controls page. On Android 11, smart home device controls were placed in the power menu. From this new arrangement, it feels as though Google wants to clean up the power menu.
The Internet tile which actually replaces the current Wi-Fi toggle, shows mobile data and Wi-Fi settings when clicked. This lets you easily configure how you want your device to access the internet.
The Wallet tile allows easy access to your digital wallet (Google Pay) and all the cards in it.
Camera Access and Mic Access Tiles
These tiles can be switched on or off to enable or disable the camera and mic access throughout the system (system apps, first-party apps, and third-party apps).
4. Conversation Widgets Along With New Widgets Design, & Widgets Organisation
Widgets are getting a much-needed facelift as well. Google is introducing newly-designed widgets for the clock, conversations, and weather.
These widgets have unorthodox yet attractive designs and their colors are also inspired by the current wallpaper. The new clock widget has several design options.
Basically, you can create a conversations widget for your preferred chat thread from messaging apps such as Messages, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and more.
A conversations widget displays the chat thread’s icon and unread messages count. The weather widget also features various design options. Thus, you can choose it from the widget picker.
Also, the widget picker’s design has been simplified as it no longer shows all the widgets under their respective apps by default.
This new widget picker just shows the name of the app and the count for how many different widget variants are available for that specific app.
Once you click on the app’s name, the available widget variants’ designs can be previewed for you to choose from.
5. Privacy Dashboard & Security Improvements
With the new Android 12 OS, Google has improved its focus on privacy and security. The tech company has introduced several privacy and security-related features, including a brand new Privacy Dashboard in this new Android.
The dashboard shows a detailed timeline of exactly which app accessed a particular user data (camera, location, and microphone) and at what time over the past 24 hours.
In addition, users can also conveniently tweak app permissions from there.
6. Camera & Microphone Access Indicators
In terms of improvements with privacy features, Android 12 displays privacy indicators. These indicators show up towards the top of the screen when an app is accessing the smartphone or tablet’s camera or microphone.
Thus, it is now easier for users to know when their camera or microphone is being used. Additionally, Android 12 features two Quick Setting tiles: Disable Camera and Disable Mic.
As their names suggest, the Disable Camera tile allows users to quickly disable the camera access system-wide. This means that no system app, first-party app, or third-party app can access the device’s camera.
In the same vein, the Disable Mic tile also blocks access to the microphone throughout the system, which means no app or service can utilize the device’s microphone.
7. Approximate Location Access For Apps
Google is introducing two location data options to stop apps from unnecessarily accessing user location.
These are Accurate Location and Approximate Location. Now, if a certain user doesn’t want a particular app to access their accurate location, they can opt to offer the app their approximate location.
For instance, a cab-hailing app such as Uber might need your accurate location however, the weather app would likely not need it. So, the user can offer the weather app their approximate location rather than their accurate location.
8. Enhanced Notifications Design
Google is constantly improving the notifications system with every new version of Android released.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that Android 12 brings a slight change to the notification design, including a larger app icon and a more prominent notification count for stacked notifications.
The notification count for stacked notifications has been shifted from the bottom to beside the arrow mark for expanding notifications.
By tapping on the app icon in the notification you’ll be able to expand the notification as well. Also, there is an option to snooze the notifications or transform messages into a chat bubble.
9. Simpler WIFI Password Sharing Using QR Codes & Nearby Share
Android 12 ushers in a much simpler way to share WIFI network passwords with other people using QR codes or Nearby Share.
10. One-Handed Mode
Finally, Google has phased in the one-handed mode with Android 12. Using a simple gesture, the whole UI moves towards the bottom corner of the screen. This makes it easier for you to access UI elements with your fingers.
11. The Haptic Feedback With Audio
This feature will interest developers the most as Android 12 now makes it feasible to couple audio with haptic feedback in apps and games.
The strength of the haptic feedback is obtained from the audio. This feature can be effectively used in games to deliver an experience similar to what you’d get from Sony DualShock or Microsoft Xbox controllers.
Furthermore, video calls can offer custom ringtones together with matching haptic feedback allowing users to identify the caller even without looking at the device’s screen.
12. Android 12 Updates Through Google Play Store
Updating certain aspects of the OS will become easier through the Google Play Store as Google has added the Android Runtime (ART) to Project Mainline with Android 12.
Basically, this means there will be no need to install a full system update for certain features. It also means that you’ll get updates faster directly via Google, bypassing the carrier or the Android OEM for specific features like new fonts and emojis.
13. App Hibernation
Since not all the apps on a mobile device are used frequently, users can choose to put such apps on hibernation with Android 12.
When the app hibernation feature is activated for a certain rarely used app, its app permissions, notification permissions, and cache are taken out by the system, making its footprint smaller.
Although it may not be of much use on mobile devices with large amounts of storage space, it could make a big difference on cheaper devices with severely limited storage space.
Since these apps are in hibernation, they won’t consume any power thus prolonging the battery life of the device.
14. New Emojis
With a new version of Android certainly comes newer emojis and visual changes to some current emojis. Android 12 features updated designs for the following emojis:
- Alarm Clock
- Beach With Umbrella
- Foggy Weather
- Injection Syringe
- Kitchen Knife
- Lotion Bottle
- Mobile Phone (now looks more modern with a bezel-less screen design)
- Shopping Cart
- Spiral Calendar
- Sun Behind Cloud
15. Universal Splash Screen For All Applications
Every application on a device running Android 12 will now display a splash screen even if the app developer hasn’t implemented one.
However, developers can still tweak the splash screen look if they choose to. In addition, the splash screen’s look can be altered depending on if the device has a dark theme or a light theme.
16. New, Smoother Animations
An unmistakable feature of Android 12 is the inclusion of newer, smoother animations across the system.
You might notice a jiggly over-scrolling animation that appears when you reach the top or bottom of the list.
Also, there are a couple of new animations when you hit the power button to lock or unlock the device, charging the device, and more.
A visible ripple animation is also initiated when you click on an item in a list. Chat bubbles also come with a smoother animation when the bubbles are moved onto the screen.
17. Updated Gboard Keyboard Design
Google’s signature keyboard, the Gboard keyboard app, now comes with a new design on Android 12.
The shape of the 123, spacebar and enter buttons have been changed to a pill-shaped design. Also, it utilizes the colors extracted by the ‘Material You’ system to alter the color theme of the keyboard.
18. App Optimizations For Larger Screens
UI optimization for large screen devices like foldable phones, tablets, and TVs gets better with Android 12.
In fact, apps now feature a multi-pane UI to take full advantage of foldable phones and tablets.
19. The Power Menu Shortcut in Quick Settings
Because the power button doesn’t open the traditional power menu by default on Android 12, there is a separate on-screen power menu button right under the Quick Setting tiles.
However, we can’t guarantee that this behavior will be the same across all Android smartphones running Android 12.
Some brands might choose to retain the power button to only show the power menu.
20. Consistent Share Sheet
We can heave a sigh of relief as Google is ending custom Share Sheet in all the apps running on Android 12.
What this means is that no matter what app you run, the Share Sheet menu will be consistent across the system.
This should be a welcome development for most of us as we dislike when apps display a custom-designed Share Sheet. Even Google is guilty of using a custom-designed Share Sheet in some of its apps.
21. On-Demand Encoding/Decoding Support For AVIF, GIF, AVC, HDR, And HEIF
The AVIF image format (based on Google’s WebP standard) which delivers better quality images at the same file size compared to JPEG is now supported on Android 12.
Android’s new OS also features on-the-fly decoding and encoding of AVC, HDR, and HEIF multimedia formats.
AVC and HEIF formats offer better quality at the same size as the conventional image and video formats. In addition, there is native support for GIF files as well.
22. Multi-Channel Audio
Up to 24 audio channels are now natively supported on Android 12. This is particularly great for AV receivers, media players, TVs, and other AV devices.
23. Performance Improvements
According to Google, several under-the-hood changes have been made to the Android codebase to make it faster and smoother, and to reduce latency.
The CPU time needed for core system services has been lowered by up to 22% and the use of big cores by the system server has also been slashed by up to 15%.
Basically, this makes the entire device faster, including quicker app load times, smoother animations and transitions, and less jank and jitter.
24. Scrolling Screenshots
With Android 12 comes scrolling screenshots, at least to phones and other devices running the stock Android version.
However, major Android OEMs like Samsung already had this feature for the past 2-3 years.
25. Screenshot Markup Tool Including New Fonts, Floating Screenshot Panel
In Android 12, there’s a built-in screenshot markup tool that also features new fonts to add text on the screenshot.
Additionally, the screenshot panel that appears after you capture a screenshot is now floatable. This means you can move it anywhere on the device’s screen.
26. App Pairs
Following its debut on Samsung Galaxy smartphones, App Pairs, is now built right into Android 12.
Thus, you will be able to create app pairs of any two apps and launch them in multi-window mode so that you can use them side by side.
You could even swap the position of those two apps with a simple double-tap.
27. Power Button Shortcut to Access Google Assistant
Hope we are aware that the power button no longer brings up the power menu in Android 12.
Instead, pressing the power button now summons Google Assistant. Thus, accessing the power menu for restarting or powering off the device would require a user to utilize the power menu below the Quick Setting tiles.
28. More Convenient Access To Third-Party App Stores
Unlike Apple, which keeps on constricting its ecosystem with more restrictions every year, Google is actually doing the opposite by opening up Android.
With Android 12, it will become more convenient to use third-party app stores.
29. Extra Granular Battery Statistics
The battery life graph in the battery section in the settings menu on Android 12 now displays more granular data.
The battery graph is now split into two-hour windows, and each window has its dedicated bar in the graph.
Thus, you can click on each bar to know what apps and hardware components used the battery during that period.
30. Clipboard Data Access Notification
Anytime an app accesses data from your phone’s or tablet’s clipboard, Android 12 highlights a notification that displays the name and icon that accessed the clipboard data.
This allows you to identify notorious apps that sneakily access clipboard data from your device without your permission.
31. No Access to Location Data Support If Apps Want Just Bluetooth Scanning
Previously, certain apps that simply want to scan nearby Bluetooth devices needed to have location data access in the previous versions of Android.
However, with the latest Android 12, such apps won’t be given access to location data.
32. Google Photos Out Of Sync Prompts Resolved
Finally, Google has been able to resolve things in the background so that those annoying ‘Out Of Sync’ errors will no longer show up in Google Photos on Android 12.
33. Support For Bluetooth LE Audio
Android 12 introduces native support for the Bluetooth LE Audio codec, which is a new standard for low-power audio transmission over Bluetooth.
It utilizes the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3) which promises to deliver improved audio quality over the current SBC codec.
Bluetooth LE Audio also supports features such as multistream audio, broadcasting wireless audio via Bluetooth to multiple devices, and possible future integration with hearing aid devices for more seamless accessibility options.
34. Improved Audio Transitions
Android 12 will also feature a smoother transition between audio.
For instance, when music is being played, the user gets a notification, at which the music will respond by slowly fading out and then you will hear the notification ringtone.
As soon as the notification ringtone is done playing, the phone will seamlessly switch back to playing music.
Furthermore, the audio emanating from the app that’s currently being actively used will be given priority over background apps playing audio.
This feature will be extremely useful for foldable phones as well as multi-screen devices.
35. Built-In Android TV Remote Control App
Android 12 will feature a built-in remote control application for Android TV OS-based TVs. As a matter of fact, it will come with a new, modern design.
Users won’t have to make use of the buggy Android TV Remote app from the Play Store. In addition, the app offers low-latency typing on an Android TV interface directly from the phone’s keyboard.
36. Google Assistant Widgets Support
Google Assistant can now display data through widgets from specific apps. For instance, when you ask it to show your weekly running stats, it can summon a neat widget from Strava to show your weekly running statistics.
37. Support For Smart Locks, Car Keys
Android 12 introduces support for digital car keys as well as smart home locks. Several car manufacturers, including BMW, and smart home device makers are working with Google to make their products function with Digital Keys.
A compatible car can be locked or unlocked and even its engine can be turned on or off by using digital car keys.
38. System-Level Management of Trash Files
Although this isn’t quite a final feature on Android 12 yet, however, Google is working on a centralized trash file management system.
Basically, this means that the storage menu in Settings now displays how many files are there in the trash with an option to delete all of them in one go.
This feature may likely go live with the future beta versions of Android 12.
39. Universal Search Support For Third-Party Apps
On Android 12, the Google Search bar and app launchers will be able to pull data from third-party apps.
What this means is that you will be able to search for something and get all the matching information from all the apps on a device.
40. Quad Bayer Camera Support for Third-Party Apps
Third-party apps on Android 12 can now support Quad Bayer camera sensors meaning those apps can now capture images with higher details and quality.
In fact, they can even capture better images in low-light conditions. This is awesome for users who have a habit of taking snapshots directly through apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
In previous Android versions, such apps didn’t support high-resolution or Quad Bayer camera modes.
This meant that they captured images with far lower quality when compared to the phone’s primary camera application.
41. Third-Party Apps Can Support Special Camera Modes Including Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Etc.
Google has also included a system in Android 12 that allows third-party apps to support special camera modes such as Night Mode, Portrait Mode, and different cameras on the device.
This means that apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, Telegram, and WhatsApp can now take higher quality images in various lighting conditions.
42. Improved App Link Support
Certain apps that support specific links can now perform better while switching from one app to another or from a browser to an app on Android 12.
In the app info section, there’s a simple-to-use toggle that lets the app open supported links.
43. Progress Bar For Storage & Battery Stats
In Android’s previous OS, the storage section in the Settings menu featured bar indicators to show the storage occupied by each file type, but the overall free storage space was highlighted by a circular icon.
With Android 12, Google is switching the circular icon and replacing it with a bar indicator to make the whole section more consistent.
The battery stats section in Android 11 showed a big battery icon to indicate the remaining battery. Android 12 substitutes that with a bar indicator. Big ups for consistency!
44. Accounts Section Renamed To Passwords & Accounts
In the settings menu, the ‘Accounts’ section is now renamed to Passwords & Accounts as it also houses Google’s Password Manager and password autofill related settings.
46. One-Handed Screen Lock Keypad Closer To Bezels For Convenient Access On Tablets
For devices that have larger screens (such as tablets), Android 12 displays the screen lock numeric keypad and pattern pad closer to the sides (either left or right). This makes it easier to access with one hand.
47. Make Screen Extra Dim
Android 12 also comes with an ‘Extra Dim’ feature in display settings to make a display even dimmer when the conditions require it.
This feature could be essential for people who want to use their smartphone or tablet in completely dark rooms without waking up others in the room with the illumination from their mobile devices.
It can also help protect their eyes from higher-than-required screen brightness.
48. Update Fonts & Emojis Without System Update (Via Google Play Store)
Fonts and emojis can now be updated directly through the Google Play Store, thanks to the ART (Android Runtime) being a part of Project Mainline, starting with Android 12.
What this means is that devices won’t need full system updates to add some new features.
49. Changes To Pattern Lock, PIN Lock UI
Another visual change coming to Android 12 is its thicker patterns on the pattern lock UI and the PIN lock UI as they now appear cleaner.
50. Bluetooth Game Controller Battery Stats API
In Android 12, you’ll also be able to see the battery charge levels for Bluetooth gaming controllers. Previously, this feature wasn’t available in older versions of Android.
51. Media Player Widget Control Limits Customisable To Specific Apps
Initially, Google had ushered in a central media playback widget with Android 11. It showed media playback controls, album art, progress bar, and even playback target (device speaker, wired or wireless earphones, or Google Cast devices).
However, not every user would want all the media apps to appear in that widget. So, Google delivered by offering an option to enable or disable an app from using that media playback widget.
52. Improved Gestures In Immersive Mode
Certain applications make use of immersive (full-screen) mode while displaying images and videos. This mode hides not just the gestures button but also the status bar.
However, it requires a user to utilize two gestures (one tap and one back gesture) to exit the immersive mode.
With Android 12, Google is infusing machine learning to allow a user to leave the immersive mode with just one back gesture to save time.
53. Picture-In-Picture Resizing
The Picture-in-Picture (PiP) window can be resized on mobile devices running Android 12. Basically, it means that when a video is playing inside a PiP window, you can choose to enlarge or reduce the size of that window, depending on your preferences.
54. Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.4GHz Band Harder To Use In Android 12
Devices running the Android 12 operating system will now make it harder to use a 2.4GHz band in the Wi-Fi Hotspot mode.
By default, it will use the 5GHz band, however, if users opt to use the 2.4GHz band on their phone’s Wi-Fi Hotspot feature, they’ll need to activate the ‘Maximise Compatibility’ feature from the Wi-Fi Hotspot’s menu.
55. Enhanced Rich Content Support Across The System
Android 12 will make it easy to drag and drop rich content across apps, text fields, clipboards, and the keyboard.
Aside from unformatted text, Android 12 also supports audio, images, stylized text, videos, and more to be included into text fields and other areas of the OS, making it more convenient to share data across apps.
56. Apps Open Faster From Notifications
The new Android 12 is faster when launched from notifications to the app that generated that notification.
57. Support For P2P Wi-Fi Direct & Wi-Fi Router Connection Simultaneously
Smart devices running Android 12 can stay connected to the Wi-Fi router and another device via Wi-Fi Direct (P2P mode) at the same time.
This means that you can access the internet even while you’re sending or receiving data from other devices via P2P connections like Wi-Fi Direct.
58. Support For Ultra-Wideband API
Finally, Android 12 brings support for the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) which is now being utilized in newer devices for things like finding lost devices and unlocking cars or smart home locks. Google has a dedicated API that developers can leverage to support UWB connections.
Phones That Will Get Android 12 Update
Although Google has not officially announced when it plans to release the first stable version of Android 12, it has, however, published a time frame for its testing and release.
Going by that information, we expect Google to release the first stable version of Android 12 around the end of August 2021 or within the first two weeks of September 2021.
However, this release schedule is only applicable for certain smartphones. Thus, smartphones like Samsung running Android OEMs will release Android 12 updates to their compatible smartphones within weeks of the first official release from Google.
However, we expect that Samsung could release the Android 12 update to some of their high-end phones before the end of 2021.
You could be one of the first users to receive the new Android 12 update when you purchase any of these excellent Samsung smartphones below.
Acquire them at all Samsung stores or the best electronics shops near you.