Android 12’s biggest overall shift is aesthetic in nature, thanks to a new design language and philosophy they’re calling “Material You.” Rather than develop a fixed look and standard for all apps to use, Google is giving you more control over the look and feel of apps and interfaces via the use of colour palettes along with automatically matched accents and widget styles.
It looks beautiful in action, especially with all of the variants that result from simple customisation. Google describes things like the pull-down notification shade as being “intuitive and playful,” so there’s definitely a new vibe to everything.
Meanwhile, a new Privacy Dashboard offers a useful all-over look at your privacy settings, while a small indicator will pop up anytime that an app is using your camera or microphone. You can even revoke access to them, giving you even more control over your personal privacy. Enhanced accessibility features are also on tap.
More of the Android operating system can now be updated through Google Play, which means less reliance on phone manufacturers to push out their full OS upgrades. With Android 12, the Android Runtime (ART) module has been added to the list of OS components that can be easily upgraded via the Play Store, so you’ll get enhancements quicker no matter which phone you use.
There’s also a lot of detail about improved media encoding support, making it easier for apps to support rich visual content, multi-channel spatial audio, speedier transitions from notifications to their respective apps, and optimizations for tablets, foldable phones, and TVs. Read more about some of those core technical enhancements here at the official Android Developers blog.