The best features of Android 12 Beta 2 (so far)

Illustration for the article titled The best features of Android 12 Beta 2 (so far)

Photo: sdx15 (Shutterstock)

Android 12 Beta 2 rolled out this week to all beta participants, adding a bunch of new features and settings for testers to play with. While the beta of Android 12 is still only available for Pixel devices, don’t let the FOMO get in your way; Android 12 is still several months away from a stable release, and this most recent version appears to be the most buggy yet.

That said, there is a lot of cool stuff in this update. Below, we tick the bigger new settings in Android 12 Beta 2 that every Android user should know about.

Android 12 offers nNew privacy monitors and blocking tools

Android 12 beta 2 improves operating system security with several privacy-focused features.

The first is the new privacy dashboard, which makes it easy to see what high-level permissions have been granted to each app on your phone. The donut chart at the top of the page shows how often the camera, location data, microphone, and more features have been used in the last 24 hours. Below is a list of all the possible permissions that apps can request; pressing one of the categories brings up a list of authorized third-party applications to use that functionality, making it easy to manage app permissions from a single menu. System-level apps, such as your phone’s camera app, will not appear in the list by default, but pre-installed apps like Google Maps will.

Likewise, a privacy indicator now appears at the top of the device screen whenever an app uses your camera, microphone, or other features that could be a privacy issue. When the alert first appears, you will see icons for each of the features in use for a few moments before they are minimized. to a simple green dot. Tap the dot to open the Quick Settings menu, which now has toggles to block access to the camera and microphone.

Visual changes and new UI elements in Android 12

One of the biggest changes in Android 12 involves a visual redesign of the main Android interface. Android 12 adopts the Google Material aesthetic design, and Android 12 Beta 2 improves the look with ‘Material You’ themes which change the color of your phone interface, notifications and other elements to match your wallpaper.

The aesthetic overhaul extends to media controls and the volume slider, which now take up less space on your lock and notification screens and adapt according to your Material You theme. Likewise, the weather and date home screen widget has a bolder font.

Newshortcuts in Android 12

To complement the remarkable additions of Android 12 Beta 12, you’ll find new shortcuts—including a new, smaller power menu. Pressing the power button in Android 11 brings small menu with shortcuts for device settings, your Google Pay wallet, and power controls. On Android 12, this the menu now includes the stop, restart, emergency call and lock buttons, all while holding down the power button itself calls the Google Assistant. You can also access this menu through a new “Power Button” toggle in Quick Settings.

Illustration for the article titled The best features of Android 12 Beta 2 (so far)

Picture: Google

To accommodate the new Power menu, Google has moved the Google Pay wallet and Device Controls shortcuts to Quick Settings (they were in the power button menu on Android 11). There’s also an internet button you can use to quickly switch between wifi and mobile data, view and connect to available networks, and access your device’s full network settings. The previously mentioned privacy blocks for your camera and mic will also appear in the Quick Ssettings menu.

How to download and try Android 12 beta 2

Android 12 beta 2 is only available on Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a and 5 smartphones, including XL and 5G models. Anyone can enroll their device in the beta program, but we recommend you not to install it on your primary phone until it’s in its final stages, preferably until it’s fully released this autumn. Each ibeta teration brings with it new unfinished features, and so far Beta 2 seems to be the least stable beta version to date.

That said, if you have a secondary Pixel device or don’t mind dealing with app crashes and other bugs, you can join the Android 12 beta program here.


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