16 February 2021
The month of February is a special one for Android developers and enthusiasts as it is when we start to hear substantial information about the next major Android version. This year, it is Android 12 and we now have our first major leak that details some of the changes Google is working on. It is coming from XDA and comprises a bunch of screenshots procured from an internal document.
These alleged Android 12 screenshots show a visual design completely different from previous versions. Google has reduced the number of quick settings tiles from six to four when the notification panel is collapsed. This results in individual setting icons getting bigger and easier to access. The panel design further continues with the separation between notifications from messaging and other applications.
The top right corner of the panel has new icons for the camera and microphone. Tapping on these icons will show the app using your device's camera and microphone respectively. This will offer a little more transparency to users about what app is using camera and microphone which can go unnoticed otherwise. The good thing is that Google is even offering dedicated options for turning off the camera and microphone so that none of the apps can use them.
Widgets are also undergoing a major overhaul that will make them easier to browse. It used to be a carousel of widgets for each of the applications but is now a drop-down menu design. Google has also added a new conversation widget that will show your most recently received texts, calls, and activity status. In its smallest size, it will show one item per category as you can see in the screenshots below.
The report adds that Google will make it compulsory for OEMs to offer privacy features and that new conversation widget with Android 12 build. This is good to know as otherwise, some brands implement changes and some simply choose to avoid them. It should be noted while these leaks look convincing and promising, nothing is confirmed yet. Even if these are official renders, there could still be major changes between early builds and the final stable build that will arrive months later.