Android 12 is one of the most significant updates to the operating system in recent years. It comes after Google prioritized under-the-hood and usability improvements in Android 10 and Android 11. While Material You is undoubtedly the highlight of Android 12, there are plenty of other new features to experiment with.
The Android 12 update features a major visual overhaul thanks to Material You, revamped new widgets, and enhanced privacy protections. On the surface, the latest version of Android may appear to be all about a new coat of paint. However, this is not the case, as there are numerous new features in the Android 12 update that you should explore. Here are some of the things you should know about the new Android 12 update:
Gaming Control Panel
For the time being, Game Dashboard is a Pixel-exclusive Android 12 feature that aims to improve your gaming experience by overlaying some important tools and information, such as the ability to record your gameplay, stream your gaming session on YouTube, or display a live FPS counter to give you an idea of how your phone is performing.
Depending on your needs, you can also choose between three different gaming profiles: Performance, Standard, and Battery Saver.
However, this feature will only work with games that have been updated to take advantage of Android 12’s new APIs.
You can enable Game Dashboard in Android 12 by navigating to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. Select the Schedules option from the menu that opens, followed by the settings (cog) icon next to Gaming. Then, enable the Game Dashboard option. You can also enable the Do Not Disturb for games option if you don’t wish to be interrupted by notifications while playing games.
Taking a cue from the Back Tap gesture in iOS 14, Google has introduced a new Quick Tap feature in Android 12. With a simple double-tap on the back of your phone, you can launch an app of your choice, control media playback, take a screenshot, show recent apps, and trigger Google Assistant.
The Quick Tap gesture is tucked under Settings > System > Gestures in Android 12. Now, depending on your preference, select an action that you want to assign to Quick Tap.
Google Privacy Dashboard
Google is stepping up its privacy efforts once more with the Privacy dashboard, which will show you which apps have accessed your location data, camera, microphone, and other such permissions in the last 24 hours. When an app uses a specific permission, you get a complete breakdown, right down to the minute.
If you are concerned that the installed apps on your device are silently tracking you or listening in on your conversations, you can use the Privacy dashboard to determine whether or not this is the case. The Privacy dashboard is accessible via Settings > Privacy > Privacy dashboard.
Google revamped widgets in Android 12 and added a useful Conversation widget to go with it.
Regardless of the app you use, the widget will allow you to access your most frequently used conversations with a single tap.
Long-press an empty section of your home screen >Select Widgets from the menu that appears >Scroll down and choose Conversation, then the Conversation widget. You can resize the widget to your preference. Now, choose a recent conversation to display in the widget. The conversation can then be accessed quickly by tapping on it.
This is a feature that Google has taken a long time to add to its version of Android. Long gone are the days when simply taking a screenshot would suffice; now, users must frequently screenshot long lists. You won’t have to take multiple screenshots to capture a long list with scrolling screenshots.
Instead, take a screenshot and then tap Capture more from the toolbar tip that appears at the bottom. Remember that this option will only appear in lists or where a long screenshot is possible. One advantage of Google’s implementation is that you can specify the beginning and end points of the screenshot, allowing you to capture only the relevant portion.
Dynamic Theme Wallpaper
One of the highlights of Android 12 and what distinguishes Material You is the’monet’ dynamic theming engine. The colors from the wallpaper will be pulled by the engine and used for theming purposes throughout the UI and system accents. The colors are also applied to apps that have been updated to support the theming engine, which improves the overall experience.
The dynamic theming engine in Android 12 will keep you from becoming bored with the UI. A simple wallpaper change will give everything a new coat of paint.
Google has added a native one-handed mode to Android 12 in response to third-party Android skins. As the name implies, the feature allows you to use your phone with one hand, which is ideal for devices with large displays and massive sizes like the Pixel 6 Pro. Navigate to Settings > System > Gestures on your device.
Enable the toggle by tapping on One-Handed mode. You can now enable one-handed mode by swiping down from the bottom edge of the screen. Please keep in mind that this feature only works when you use gesture navigation on your device.
The one-handed mode in Android 12 will shrink and shift the entire UI to the bottom to make the elements at the top easier to reach with your thumb. You can exit the one-handed mode by tapping anywhere at the top of the display.
If you find your phone’s screen brightness a bit too bright even at the lowest setting possible, there’s a new Extra Dim option in Android 12 that further dims the screen. This is great for anyone who tends to stare at their phone’s display in a dark room, as the extra-low brightness will help reduce the strain on their eyes. You can find the option tucked under Settings > Accessibility > Extra dim. Alternatively, there’s a Quick Settings tile for it as well.