With the Android 12 Beta 1 launch, Google has released the first installable Beta version for Google Pixel smartphones. While it’s far from a finished product, it gives us a taste of what’s to come in the future – and with the final release to come later in the year.
The Android team believes that Android 12 is the biggest redesign since Android 5.0. It’s a complete redesign more or less from the ground up. The lockscreen is different, notifications and quick settings are different, and even the settings app is different. There’s also a new pattern and pin unlock screen too.
Animations are also a big part of Android 12, as new ones have been added throughout the UI. For example, tapping certain UI elements generates an animation that flows outwards, creating a sort of “ripple” effect. Scrolling to the bottom of lists (like in the settings app) will also create a bouncing effect. There’s a new volume control slider on the side as well, with a new animation for switching between do not disturb, vibrate, and ring. Finally, there’s even a new screen-on and screen-off animation.
Going through each of the menus, it’s clear that the system has some form of One UI influence behind the design changes, with a huge focus on one-handed usage. Dark mode is also no longer black on the Pixel 5, but a rather bright kind of gray. There is a new accessibility option though that allows you to dim the screen further than what your lowest brightness already is. Once opened, it adds a screen dimming option to the quick settings that you can enable from anywhere.
In terms of removed features, it seems that Google has removed the ability to view the screen on time in the battery settings, though it may resurface in a future update.
New features like the Privacy Dashboard and redesigned widgets aren’t present yet, though you can disable “use precise location” on apps that request the location permission. Google says that the new Privacy Dashboard and camera/microphone access blocking will make their way to Android 12 in the second beta update, which is expected to come in the next couple of months. A notification saying when an app reads your clipboard will also be coming in the second beta. Google also mentions that the quick settings will house controls for your home and for Google Pay, though that isn’t present yet either. Google says it has added app hibernation in beta 1, which will automatically remove temporary files from unused apps in order to save on storage space. They’ve also added the ability to hold down the power button to trigger the Google Assistant, and the same with a double-tap on the back.