Just as Google kicks off its big Pixel 6 event, the company has finally started rolling out Android 12 on Pixel 3 and above. The company released the first public beta of the OS during the I/O developer conference in May, and it's been priming Android 12 for prime time since with several other betas.
Along with a major visual overhaul, Android 12 packs in a bunch of new features, including privacy and security upgrades. A Privacy Dashboard shows which sensors (such as GPS, camera or microphone) apps have accessed in a chart and displays an activity timeline. You'll be able to find out why apps needed access to data from those sensors.
An indicator will appear at the top of the screen when an app is using the camera and/or microphone, and you can shut off those sensors completely for all apps in Quick Settings. There's an option to only allow apps to see your approximate location rather than precisely where you are too. On top of that, Android 12 will handle the processing for more language and audio features on-device, including Live Caption and the Now Playing song recognition tool.
Elsewhere, you can expect redesigned emoji, scrolling screenshots (which capture information from apps or web pages beyond what's on the screen), games you can play while they download, a new one-handed mode and an accessibility option that lets people control the device using face gestures.
Although the Android 12 rollout is underway on Pixel, owners of compatible Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo and Xiaomi devices will need to wait a little longer. The OS will hit those phones and tablets, and ones from other companies, later this year. Google released Android 12 on the Android Open Source Project earlier this month.
There's another important thing to note about the Android 12 rollout. The dynamic color experience powered by the Material You design language is only available on Pixel devices for the time being. The color scheme will match the wallpaper you choose across the system and apps, and that look will be mirrored across other Google products, including smart displays, wearables, Chrome OS and the web. Google says other Android devices will get access to the experience later.
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