The second public beta of Android 12 is here

RDW 09/07/2021 369

This week may be full of news about Apple's ongoing developer conference, but Google also has Android news to share. It released the second public beta of Android 12 today, and this update brings features announced at I/O last month, such as the privacy dashboard. It will also add kill switches for your microphone and camera, indicators showing when to use these sensors, and an updated appearance of WiFi network settings.

Privacy Dashboard provides an overview of how sensors like your camera, microphone and GPS are being used by apps on your device. It shows a chart at the top of how much they were used in the last 24 hours, followed by lists of all the apps that have access to each. You can also get a timeline view of sensor activity and request explanations from apps on why they needed your data.

Google

With the new toggles for your camera and microphone in the quick settings shade, Android 12 will offer an easy way to kill those sensors for more peace of mind that no one is nefariously listening to your conversations. When these are turned on, Google said apps "will receive blank camera and audio feeds, and the system handles notifying the user to enable access to use the app’s features." Android 12 will also show a small dot in the status bar if these sensors are being used so you'll be aware if an app has turned on your mic, for example.

The other updates coming to the second Android 12 public beta include a tweaked interface that shows your available WiFi networks in a pop-up panel when you long press the icon in Quick Settings. Before, you'd be taken to a separate page to see available connections, but the new experience lets you stay on the same page, with the pop-up window taking up only the lower two thirds of the screen.

Google

Android 12 will also be more transparent about what apps are getting info from your clipboard, and this latest beta will display a notification at the bottom of the screen if an app other than the one from which you've copied something is reading that.

Google’s mobile operating system still has a lot of changes, these changes are not in the public beta, including the materials you designed, it will adapt the color scheme of your system to the wallpaper you choose. Richer or more immersive experiences such as audio-coupled haptic feedback are still waiting for developers to implement. But the second public beta of Android 12 does seem to provide a preview of more feature changes, especially in terms of privacy. If you want to check them out and don’t mind using potentially unstable software, you can sign up for a beta version on the Google website. Those who have already registered will receive the Beta 2 update over the air today.

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