Android 12 Beta 2 is now available. The latest update adds Google’s new privacy features, enables the Material You theme engine, and a lot more.
A little less than a month after Google launched the Android 12 public beta, the search giant is now rolling out the Beta 2 update with a host of additional features that previously weren’t available. While certain elements of Android 12 still aren’t present in this latest build, it already feels much more complete and refined than Beta 1.
Android 12 was first announced back in February, but the software didn’t really come into its own until this past May. That’s when Google unveiled its full vision for Android 12, including the new Material You design language, widget updates, and more. Android 12 is very clearly shaping up to be one of the biggest software releases from Google in years. With the Beta 2 update that’s now out, more of that experience is available for users to try for themselves.
Taking a look at what’s new in Android 12 Beta 2, all of the privacy features Google announced during I/O are now live. Users can now open the settings app to view the Privacy Dashboard. Here, Google has made it easy to see what permissions apps are using and which ones have been used in the past 24 hours. Tapping on a specific permission, such as location, shows a chronological timeline of when that permission was used and which app was responsible. Also present are privacy indicators for the microphone and camera. If someone opens Snapchat on their phone, the camera and microphone icons will appear in the upper-right corner to indicate those things are being used. Furthermore, new Quick Settings toggles instantly disable access to the microphone and camera if someone doesn’t want them being accessed.
Beta 2 Has Material You Themes, New Volume UI, And More
Another big change is that the Material You theme engine is finally available to use. This allows users to create a system-wide theme based on the wallpaper they’re using, with Android 12 selecting and applying all of the colors automatically. Once applied, the theme will change the appearance of the Quick Settings, volume slider, settings app, lock screen clock, and even applications as developers add support for it. This is one of the most exciting updates for Android 12, so the fact that it’s already available for folks to tinker with is fantastic. Outside of the theming world, Android 12 Beta 2 has added some new functionality to the Quick Settings. There’s now a new ‘Internet’ toggle that offers quick access to Wi-Fi and data connections when tapped. It effectively combines the Wi-Fi and Mobile data toggles into one shortcut, helping to reduce some of the Quick Settings clutter. There are also new toggles for Google Pay and smart home controls, along with shortcuts to access the power menu and change user profiles.
And, of course, there are plenty of smaller tweaks to make the whole experience feel more refined. Remember the comically huge volume slider from Beta 1? It’s been replaced with a much slimmer one that feels a lot more appropriate. Google also redesigned the power menu, there’s a Google Pay shortcut on the lock screen, the odd ripple effect from Beta 1 is basically gone, and some settings pages have been tightened up for easier navigation.
Google is set to release a third and final beta version in August, and following that, Android 12 will be fully released to the masses in its final form. Even here at Beta 2, Android 12 already feels incredibly good. Many of the new features are working as intended, some of the funk from Beta 1 has been dealt with, and it all feels a lot more exciting than Apple’s recent announcement of iOS 15. For folks that previously downloaded Beta 1, the Android 12 Beta 2 update should be rolling out now.
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