Overnight at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, the next version of Android has been officially announced with some exciting new features detailed. Android 12 will bring not just Google’s “most personal OS ever” with the ability to customise the UI to your preferences but will also improve your security and privacy.

Material You

With over 3 billion active Android devices worldwide now Android’s new update will bring one of the biggest changes to Android design that we have seen in a long time. Building on their Material Design is their new Material You. Material You brings a new lockscreen, new settings and a whole new UI that can be applied to all apps across your entire device.

Android 12 will allow you to make the world’s most-used mobile OS more dynamic and personal to what you prefer. Using the new settings you will be able to use a custom colour palette to design the look of your apps yourself — or have the device do it for you based on your wallpaper by extracting the colours from it and determining which are dominant, which are complementary and which ones will look great with the other selections. These colours are then applied across the entire OS including the notification shade, lockscreen, volume controls, new widgets and more.

For those interested, Google have also simplified interactions and “recrafted” the entire system under the hood of Android 12 to bring a more fluid and efficient experience. This will make your Android devices faster and more responsive with better power efficiency. Google say that the new improvements will speed up the core system services by 22%.

Android 12 will also bring a new notification shade with new quick settings that allow you to control most of the OS with a single swipe and a tap. Not only does it look different but will now also include Google Pay and Home Controls while still allowing you to customise it with controls you want.

Privacy Dashboard

Android 12 will apparently also make your Android experience more secure with a new Privacy Dashboard. Privacy Dashboard will provide privacy reports on all of the apps on your phone which details things such as permission settings, what data is being accessed, how often and by which apps. You can revoke an apps’ permissions from within this dashboard.

Along with the new Privacy Dashboard Android 12 will also bring a new indicator to the top of your status bar let you know when your camera or microphone are being accessed. If you want to turn these off system-wide there are now new Quick Settings toggles for these.

Location access is something a lot of people are concerned about, and Google are looking to add more granular control with you now being able to control how much information is shared with apps — the ability to give an app permission to access your precise location or only your approximate location.

With Google’s new AI features being developed they are now expanding their on-device computing with the Android Private Compute Core which will do a lot of the processing on your device without sharing it with Google or anywhere in the cloud. This on-device computing tasks include Live Captions, Now Playing and Smart Reply.

Password Checkup changes

Android 12 will also bring more secure passwords to your device with an expansion on their Autofill offering with the ability to check if a password you are using has been compromised and giving you the option to change it immediately. Every time you enter a password on your device Google will check those credentials with a list of known compromised passwords and alert you if yours is on there and guide you to change it.

Other notable software enhancements include a new digital key to allow you to lock, unlock and start your car using your device — you can even share this with others if someone else needs to use your car — a new TV remote within the OS itself, better integration with Chrome OS and the ability to call up Google Assistant using a long press of the power button.

Grab the Android 12 Beta now

The new Android 12 Beta is available now for Pixel 3 phones and newer along with other manufacturers including ASUS, OPPO, OnePlus, realme, Nokia, TCL, VIVO and Sharp. This is the first beta version so expect a few bugs but Google are expected to update the beta version monthly to start ironing out these bugs before release later this year.