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

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Android 12 Beta 2 rolled out this week for all beta participants and added a number of new features and settings for testers to play with. While Android 12 beta is still only available for Pixel devices, do not let FOMO get to you; Android 12 is still several months away from a stable release, and this latest build sounds like it’s the buggiest yet.

That said, there are a lot of cool things in this update. Below we tick off the biggest new tweaks in Android 12 Beta 2 that every Android user should know about.

Android 12 offers new privacy screens and blocking tools

Android 12 beta 2 enhances the security of the operating system with several confidentiality features.

First is the new privacy dashboard, which makes it easy to see what high-level permissions each app on your phone has received. The call table at the top of the page shows how often the device’s camera, location data, microphone, and other primary features have been used for the last 24 hours. Below is a list of all the possible permissions that apps can ask for; pressing one of the categories comes up a list of third-party apps that have permission to use it function, which makes it easier to manage app permissions from a single menu. System-level apps, such as your phone’s storage camera app, do not appear in the list by default, but in advanceinstalled apps as Google Maps will.

Similarly, a privacy indicator now appears at the top of the device screen each time an app uses your camera, microphone, or other features that may be a privacy issue. When the alarm first appears, you will see icons for each of the functions used a moment before they are minimized to a simple green dot. Pressing the dot opens the Quick Settings menu, which has now switched to block camera and microphone access.

Visual changes and new interface elements in Android 12

One of the biggest changes in Android 12 involves one visual inspection for the Android interface. Android 12 adopts Google Materials design aesthetics, and Android 12 Beta 2 improves lalso with ‘Material you’ themes that change the color of your phone’s interface, notifications and other elements to suit your wallpaper.

The aesthetic redesign extends to the media controls and volume slider, which now take up less space on your lock screens and message screens and customize based on your Material You theme. Corresponding the weather and date home screen widget has a bolder font.

Newshortcuts in Android 12

Rounding off the notable additions in Android 12 Beta 12 is a grip on new shortcuts –including a new, smaller power menu. Pressing the power button in Android 11 brings up small menu with device settings shortcuts, your Google Pay wallet and power management. On Android 12, it the menu now contains power buttons, restart, emergency calls and lock buttons while holding down the power button itself calls Google Assistant. You can also access this menu via a new “Power button” in quick settings.

Illustration for the article titled Best Features in Android 12 Beta 2 (so far)

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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 jump to the device’s full network settings. The previously mentioned privacy blocks for your camera and microphone are also displayed in Quick Ssettings menu.

How to download and test 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 sign up for their device in the beta program, however we recommends that you do not install it on your headphones until it is in its final stages – preferably until full release this fall. Each interation of beta brings with it new, unfinished features, and so far Beta 2 seems to be the least stable beta build yet.

That said, if you have a secondary Pixel device – or do not mind dealing with app crashes and other bugs – you can sign up for the Android 12 beta app here.

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