Android 12 review: The biggest changes in years

Android 12 review shows that mobile software has come a long way since its inception. What started out as the beginning of the Apple iOS challenge at the launch of the modern smartphone, Android has grown to become one of its own. Recently, Google released the code for the public dessert – to the dismay of many, including me – and focused on making Android a more mature app. That’s a lot of proof for Android 12.

But with Android 12, Google once again took one of the key principles of the operating system and passed it on. From the beginning, Android has been all about customizing and making the phone feel like yours. Compare this with Apple’s one view for iOS, which recently added some personal features to iOS 14 and iOS 15.

This year, Google has redesigned the entire OS from the ground up with a new design that is Important for You. The Emergence of Key Designs that we have seen over the past few years, this new approach focuses on you and shapes its color palette to your wallpaper. But Android 12 is not all about good veneer. Google has also taken the status of privacy.

Android 12 is a return to something that drew me to the OS from the beginning. For the first time in a long time, Android is also fun. I spent the best part of this year using the developer and beta previews in Pixel 5, and now that the update has officially arrived, I can finally write a full review. And with Pixel 6 now available, Android 12 has a much better chance of flashing

Android 12 review: Personalization to a new degree

A prominent feature of Android 12 is Material You, a design language of your choice. The secret is that the system now produces matching colors based on your wallpaper and the themes themselves with it. Your instant settings, Settings menu, Gboard, Messages, and many other apps are being updated.

But suppose you do not like the color chosen by Android. You can go to the Wallpaper & Personalization section in Settings and select from a selection of other colors selected by the system. There are also pre-determined options to choose from.

Material is the largest Android facelift ever acquired since Material Design launched on Android 5.0 Lollipop in 2014. Seven years into the making, Material You has definitely launched an Android design scheme and, for better or worse, has made itself the look of everything. application. What phone makers like Samsung or OnePlus are doing with their Android 12 skins may be different from this new concept, but Android stock is debunking the idea of ​​working on a form we have seen for a very long time; we can also see that reflected in smaller skins like Asus’ ZenUI and Motorola’s MyUX.

Everything is different from Android 12, even slides, toggles quick settings and volume bar. Android 12 is all about rotation, and some may not like it. We’ve seen the beginnings of this switch back to Android 11. But it’s amazing how fast you adapt – even if you look back to Android 10, the blocky design already looks old and outdated. They all congratulate the rounded corners, even moving to the shadow of notifications (with smooth, smooth animations that switch to Quick Settings).

With the Android 12 facelift come new widgets, such as a new watch and weather options. All of these features spell the essence of What You Are: a more personal, accessible Android. Material goes beyond engine theming, however; a core set of principles that defines the new direction for Android and Google apps.

After spending months with the new design program, I love Material You. Once you have got the theme options considered – in particular, choosing one of the set options if you like your background image and hate the colors suggested by the system – is a great reminder of why I love Android. While iOS does a lot of good things, it’s hard to make an iPhone like yours. Widgets and App Library helped, but they are far from what Android currently offers.

Android 12 review: Making notifications even better

One of the main strengths of Android are notifications. Simply put, the OS handles itself much better than anything Apple has ever done, thanks to the smart integration of Android and easy-to-use features. Even better, notifications just disappear from your lock screen when you unlock the phone – this is something that completely drives me crazy on the iPhone.

With Android 12, notifications are not only good (read: circular), but smart as well. Upgraded Android 12 apps can no longer use the so-called notification trampoline, which is a place of sale while the system is loading.

This caused the system to hang for a while while the app opened. In my experience, this is most evident with Discord. But now, applications can no longer drive the startActivity () purpose inside the notification object. Android 12 talks about trampoline delay notification with a clean, responsive, sometimes significant effect.

So even though the new notification and animation design is good, just know that there is a lot going on under the lid to make sure everything is collected and displayed properly and that notifications respond quickly (assuming the developer has updated the Android 12 app).

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Android 12 review: Bigger focus on privacy

Privacy has become a major issue in recent years, and historically Android has not had a very good reputation in this regard. From the apps that constantly track you to the amount of data that Google collects from each device, Android is far from the secret system.

At the back of Android 12 are Private Compute Core (PCC) and Privacy Dashboard. The latter describes itself well and I will get back to it in a minute. It’s the PCC I’m interested in – actually a different component used by Google to capture the data it needs to train AI functions such as Play Now and Advanced Automatic Rotation. The information stored here never leaves your device.

Private Compute Core is Google’s app for keeping your data private while giving you the best AI features for your Pixel. If so, it’s been a long time coming and I’m glad to see you here on Android 12. But it also comes with Privacy Dashboard, which is a user-friendly addition to Android 12. Here, you can see. which apps have called various permissions – especially location, camera, and microphone. It’s about telling you everything your apps do in the background.

Privacy settings now include each camera switch and microphone to turn off those features completely in all applications. Until now, you would have to turn the camera and microphone off all at once one app at a time. You can also add camera and microphone conversions to Quick Settings to quickly enable or disable them. Finally, Android will now display the indicator in the top corner of your screen when the app accesses the camera and / or microphone, iOS.

What is missing from Android 12 is an easy way to tell apps not to follow you, like the iOS’App Tracking Transparency app. Granted, you can still do something similar on Android. Just go to Settings> Google> Manage your Google Account> Manage your data and privacy> Personalize ads, which you can edit or edit. However, it is not as simple or straightforward as Apple’s approach.

All the new privacy and security features of Android 12 will not compensate for any malicious behavior. The word of caution is still true – do not exclude apps you do not trust and beware of applications from the Google Play Store asking for permissions you do not want to grant. At least Android 12 lets you choose if you want the app to have accurate or limited location access right now.

Our security expert Paul Wagenseil has already unveiled a new privacy and security feature for Android 12 and the Pixel 6 (where the line between the two is a bit muddy). You can learn more about the privacy and security of Android 12 if you like.

Android 12 review: Game Dashboard, universal device search and more

With Android 12, Google finally got the memo that people play games on their phones. Stock Android has a dedicated gaming mode. Called Game Dashboard, it features some nice options, including a framerate counter, YouTube Live streaming shortcut, optimization for some games, and shortcuts for screenshots or screen recording. Whenever you’re in a game, you’ll see a little arrow from which you can access these options. I’d like to see options for Twitch and Discord, but at least Game Dashboard has some solid features from the outset. 

Android 12 also introduces universal device search similar to what Apple offers in iOS 15. This is different from the Google search bar widget. It allows you to search your phone for files, contacts, and apps. Third-party launchers have had things similar to this for a while, but now it’s baked into the Pixel Launcher. Word has it that this will open to third-party launchers with a new API.

Universal device search is still a bit behind Spotlight on iOS 15, where you can also do web searches, find apps in the App Store, and even get results in Maps. I’d like to see Google copy this outright. Just give us a one-stop shop for searching the web, Maps, the Play Store, Drive (and open to other apps like Dropbox) and the phone itself. This is just the start and Google could really expand upon it in Android 13 and beyond.

We get a lot of new, smaller features in this update, too, the most important of which I’ll briefly summarize. Android 12 now has a one-handed mode built in, letting you better use your phone with — you guessed it — one hand. Picture-in-picture windows now fit the rounded aesthetic, versus the sharp corners of the past.

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Device Search everywhere is a little behind in Spotlight on iOS 15, where you can search the web, find apps in the App Store, and get results on Maps. I would love to see Google copy this directly. Just give us one place to search the web, Maps, Google Play Store, Drive (and open other apps like Dropbox) and the phone itself. This is just the beginning and Google can really extend it to Android 13 and beyond.

We find many new, minor features in this review, too, the most important ones I will briefly summarize. Android 12 now has a built-in one-hand mode, which allows you to use your phone better – guess what – with one hand. Picture-picture windows are now about the size of a roundabout, compared to the sharp corners of the past.

Android 12 review: issues

We did not encounter any significant problems while trying Android 12. However like all new software, bugs and side effects can occur.

Currently, the only widespread problem we have with Android 12 is that it could cause battery failure on Google Pixel phones. These are currently the only Android 12 phones available automatically, so we can see more phones and more problems down.

Android 12 review
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Android 12 review: Verdict

Android 12 is a great update, complete with a new look and a focus on privacy. Google is doing its utmost to make the new version more attractive to most people, especially with the theme You Material theme. Although the rounded beauty is a bit over the top, I think Android is in a good place to look.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. I want to see the overall device search extend to something like iOS ’Spotlight. Game Dashboard may grow to include Twitch integration and binding to Discord to get game status – Discord voice overlay is still possible, but it may be better for gamers.

Next year, Google is set to discard some features of Android 12, especially Pixels. We are already looking at Android 12L, which introduces a UI optimized for folding phones and tablets. That led to speculation that Google is reading its own Pixel Fold (despite rumors of it).

I recommend that you update to Android 12 if you can. Proper update and I think you will enjoy all the new features.

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