A quick look at improvements in Android 12 Beta 1
Following Google's typical release schedule for Android, the operating system's latest version is finally available as a public beta. Android 12's public beta was made available for download on day one of Google I/O 2021—the company's conference for developers. Android 12 goes all-out on visual design updates that revolve around the new "Material You" design language. Here are more details.
Animations across the system user interface have been revamped
Right off the bat, Android 12 Beta 1 features new animations almost everywhere. On the lock screen, the pin and pattern unlock animations have been redesigned. XDA-Developers reported that tapping the Quick Settings toggles in the notification shade triggers a ripple animation. In the Settings app, scrolling to the bottom reportedly triggers a bouncing animation. The redesigned volume slider also has new animations.
UI elements automatically match wallpaper colors without impacting battery life
Android 12's screen-on and screen-off animations have also been overhauled. Additionally, multiple user interface (UI) elements including Home Screen icons, Quick Settings toggles, and volume control automatically match the dominant and complementary colors of the device wallpaper. Google said the UI overhaul doesn't come at the expense of battery life since the faster and more responsive Android 12 is optimized for CPU usage.
Lock screen gets design refresh, iOS-like interactive widgets finally available
The clock on the Android 12 lock screen changes colors with the wallpaper. The lock screen notifications now have a translucent background. Even the iOS-like adaptive widgets change colors to match the wallpaper. The widgets will feature checkboxes, interactive buttons, and Material You design elements.
New audio processor added; Assistant trigger doesn't work in beta
Behind the scenes, Google has introduced Android Private Compute Core which will handle all language and audio processing duties for features such as Live Caption and Now Playing on-device. Google said that pressing and holding the power button will trigger Google Assistant (MIUI 12 already has this feature) although XDA-Developers couldn't get it to work.
Dark mode uses bright gray background; Twitter doesn't work reliably
Meanwhile, the Settings app that's reminiscent of Samsung OneUI reveals more rough edges that beta builds are associated with. Dark mode reportedly uses an uncomfortable bright gray background instead of pitch black. Interestingly, XDA-Developers couldn't get the Twitter app to work on Android 12. They also observed that some UI elements didn't change color with the wallpaper.
Privacy Dashboard for app permissions could feature in Beta 2
Speaking of upcoming updates, Android 12 Beta 2 will include a Privacy Dashboard that displays all the data accessed by installed apps. It also allows you to revoke permissions for apps. Just like iOS 14, indicators will appear at the top of the screen when apps access the camera or microphone. Access can be blocked for all apps using a new Quick Settings toggle.
Android 12 Beta 1 available on devices from 11 manufacturers
A later beta update will also bring the long-awaited scrolling screenshots feature which was so far possible only using third-party apps. That said, the Android 12 Beta 1 is workable at best, although what lies in store is certainly exciting. You could try using the beta on select devices from 11 manufacturers including Google, Nokia, TCL, ASUS, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi.