What is new in Android 12?

Mo’nes Qasaiemh
3 min readMar 8, 2021

This blog shows the significant differences between Google’s new OS and the prior version, including security updates and the latest notifications.

GGoogle revealed the latest version of its Android operating system last week, Android 12. Available now as a developer preview, Android 12 appears to be pretty similar to Android 11, with a few new features and some performance fixes aimed at helping your phone run more smoothly. You can download and install the Android 12 developer preview now. We expect Google to launch a public beta in May and the final version around August or September.

1. From a user perspective

1.1 App privacy features

Google is adding several new privacy features to apps to give users more transparency and control, according to an Android Developers blog post. One update gives you more information about how cookies can be used across sites, while another changes how apps export information to prevent them from accidentally exporting activities, services, and receivers.

1.2 Redesigned notifications

Google is changing up the design of notifications to make them more modern and functional. When you tap on a notification, it will take you directly to the app or action you want to take, instead of going through an intermediary service to start that action. This should make everything run faster, according to the blog post.

1.3 One-handed mode

Android 12 appears to include a few design changes that make it easier to operate Android phones with one hand and your thumb.

2. From a developer perspective

2.1 Behavior changes: all apps

2.1.1 User experience

Android 12 simplifies immersive mode to make gesture navigation easier and more consistent with the rest of the experience of activities such as watching a video and reading a book.

2.1.2 Foreground service notification delay

To provide a streamlined experience for short-running foreground services on Android 12, the system can delay the display of foreground service notifications by 10 seconds for certain foreground services. This change gives short-lived tasks a chance to complete before their notifications appear.

2.1.3 Restrictions on Netlink MAC Address

Android 12 further restricts access to a device’s MAC address, a non-resettable identifier, for all non-system apps regardless of target API level.

2.1.4 Untrusted touch events are blocked

To preserve system security and a good user experience, Android 12 prevents apps from consuming touch events where an overlay obscures the app in an unsafe way.

2.2 New Features and APIs

Android 12 introduces great new features and APIs for developers.

2.2.1 Unified API for receiving content

Android 12 introduces a new unified API that lets you receive rich content from any available source: clipboard, keyboard, or drag and drop. For more information, see Unified API for receiving content.

2.2.2 Compatible media transcoding

Android 12 can automatically transcode HEVC(H.265) and HDR (HDR10 and HDR10+) videos recorded on the device to AVC (H.264), a format that is widely compatible with standard players. see compatible media transcoding for more details.

2.2.3 AVIF image support

Android 12 introduces support for images that use the AV1 Image File Format (AVIF). AVIF is a container format for images and sequences of images encoded using AV1

2.2.4 Generate haptic effects from audio

Android 12 apps can generate haptic feedback derived from an audio session using the phone’s vibrator. This provides an opportunity for more immersive game and audio experiences. See the HapticGenerator for more details.

2.2.5 Native ImageDecoder support for animated GIF and WebP

In Android 12, the NDK ImageDecoder API has been expanded to decode all frames and timing data from images that use the animated GIF and animated WebP file formats.

2.2.6 Device properties verification available in non-DPC apps

Android 12 expands the set of apps that can verify the device properties that are in an attestation certificate when these apps generate a new key.

2.2.7 Wi-Fi Aware (NAN) enhancements

  1. On devices running Android 12 and higher, you can use the onServiceLost() callback to be alerted when your app has lost a discovered service due to the service stopping or moving out of range.
  2. The way that multiple data-paths (NAN Data Paths) are set up is changing to be more efficient.
  3. To prevent the framework from rejecting discovery or connection requests due to running out of resources, on devices running Android 12 and higher, you can call WifiAwareManager.getAvailableAwareResources(). This method's return value lets you get the number of available data paths, the number of available publish sessions, and the number of available subscribe sessions.

References:

https://source.android.com/security/keystore/attestation#attestation-certificate

https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2021/02/android-12-dp1.html

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