Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering
Just a few weeks ago, at Google I / O, we unpacked the first beta of Android 12, which focuses on a new user interface that adapts to you, improved performance, and data protection and security at its core. For developers, Android 12 offers better tools to create pleasant experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.
Today we’re releasing the second beta of Android 12 for you to try it out. Beta 2 adds new privacy features like the privacy dashboard and continues our work on refining the version.
There’s a lot for developers throughout Android 12 – from the redesigned user interface and app widgets to rich haptics, improved video and image quality, privacy features like approximate location, and much more. A quick look at related Google I / O sessions can be found below in the post under Android 12 on Google I / O.
You can get Beta 2 on your Pixel device today by signing up for over-the-air updates here. If you previously signed up for Beta 1, you will automatically receive today’s update. Android 12 Beta is also available on select devices from several of our partners – learn more at android.com/beta.
For more information on how to get started, please visit the Android 12 developer page.
What’s new in Beta 2?
Beta 2 includes several of the new privacy features we talked about on Google I / O, as well as various feature updates to improve functionality, stability, and performance. Here are a few highlights.
Privacy dashboard – We added a privacy dashboard to give users a better overview of the data that apps are accessing. The dashboard offers a simple and clear timeline view of all recent app accesses to microphone, camera and location. Users can also request details from an app about why it accessed sensitive data, and developers can provide that information in an activity by processing a new system intent, ACTION_VIEW_PERMISSION_USAGE_FOR_PERIOD. We recommend that apps use this intent to proactively help users understand traffic over the specified time period. We recommend using the Data Auditing APIs so that you can track these accesses in your code and in third-party libraries. More here.
Privacy dashboard and timeline for location access over the past 24 hours.
Microphone and camera indicators – We added indicators to the status bar to notify users when apps are using the device camera or microphone. Users can go to quick settings to see which apps are accessing their camera or microphone data and manage permissions if necessary. We recommend developers to review microphone and camera usage in their app and remove any that users would not expect. More here.
Switch for microphone and camera – We added Quick Settings toggles on supported devices, making it easier for users to instantly disable app access to the microphone and camera. When the switches are disabled, an app that accesses these sensors will receive blank camera and audio feeds, and the system will process the user’s notification to allow access to the app’s features. Developers can use a new API
SensorPrivacyManagerto see if toggles are supported on the device. The microphone and camera controls apply to all apps regardless of their platform targeting. More here.
Notification to read the clipboard – To give users more transparency about when apps read from the clipboard, Android 12 now shows a toast at the bottom of the screen every time an app is called
getPrimaryClip(). Android won’t show the toast if the clipboard was copied from the same app. We recommend minimizing your app’s reads from the clipboard and making sure that you only access the clipboard when users expect it to. More here.
More intuitive connectivity experience – To help users better understand and manage their network connections, we’re introducing a simpler and more intuitive connectivity experience in the status bar, quick settings, and settings. The new internet panel helps users switch between their internet service providers and troubleshoot network connection problems more easily. Let us know what you think!
New internet controls through quick settings.
Visit the Android 12 developer page to learn more about all of the new features in Android 12.
Android 12 at Google I / O
At Google I / O we talked about all the new features in Android for developers – from Android 12 to modern Android development tools, new form factors such as Wear and Foldables and Google Play. Here are the top three things to know about Android 12 on Google I / O.
# 1 A new user interface for Android – Android 12 brings the biggest design change in Android history. We’ve rethought the entire experience, from colors to shapes, light and movement, to make Android 12 more expressive, dynamic and personal, under a single design language called Material You.
# 2 performance – With Android 12, we’ve made significant and deep investments in performance, from basic system performance and battery life to foreground service changes, media quality and performance, and new tools to optimize apps.
# 3 data protection and security – In Android 12, we continue to give users more transparency and control while protecting their devices and data at the same time.
You can get an overview of Android 12 for developers in this year’s talk What’s new in Android. Check out the top 12 tips for getting ready for Android 12 for an overview of where to test your app for compatibility. The full list of Android content on the Google I / O can be found here.
With more and more early adopter users and developers getting the Android 12 beta on Pixels and other devices, now is the time to make sure your apps are ready!
To test the compatibility of your app, install the published version from Google Play or another source on a device or emulator with Android 12 Beta. Work through all of the app’s procedures and watch out for functional or UI issues. Review the behavior changes to focus your tests. You don’t have to change your app
targetSdkVersion So, if you’ve fixed any issues, please post an update for your Android 12 beta users as soon as possible.
With Beta 2, Android 12 is approaching platform stability in August 2021. From this point onwards, app-oriented system behavior, SDK / NDK APIs and non-SDK lists will be finalized. At this point, you should complete your final compatibility tests and publish a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. You can find out more about the developer timeline here.
Get started with Android 12!
Today’s beta has everything you need to try out the latest Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Simply register any supported Pixel device to receive the update wirelessly. To start developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.
You can also download Android 12 Beta 2 on devices from some of our top device manufacturer partners, such as Sharp. Visit android.com/beta for the full list of partners participating in the Android 12 Beta. For even more extensive testing, you can try Android 12 Beta on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device, you can try the Android emulator.
Beta 2 is also available for Android TV so you can try out the latest TV features and test your apps on the brand new Google TV experience. Try it out with the ADT-3 Developer Kit. More here.
Please visit the Android 12 developer site for full details on Android 12 Beta.