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The most interesting changes we’ve found in Android 12

Android 11 may still be rolling out to many users, but it’s already time to start turning our attention toward Android 12. Google has just released the first Developer Preview of Android 12, it’s next-generation mobile operating system.

Of course, as is usually the case with the first Developer Preview, tweaks are almost entirely under the hood and developer-focused. We’re not really going to go into those here. Instead, we’re going to dig into out some of the interface and visual tweaks that Google has made — because there are at least a few to get excited about.

Google is likely to announce more about Android 12 at its yearly Google I/O developer conference, or whatever virtual event replaces it, which will coincide with the release of a proper Beta update to Android 12. In the meantime, here are all the Android 12 tweaks worth noting right now.

The notification shade

The notification shade is set to get a lot of attention in Android 12, but while there are a few tweaks to it in the first Developer Preview, it’s not necessarily radically different just yet. We expect it to change a little more in future versions, but for now, there are a few minor tweaks to how notifications look.

For example, profile pictures and app icons have been rearranged to be on the left side, as well as a little larger, and notifications in general seem to take up a little less space. We know developers will have fewer customization options for their notifications, and it’s clear Google wants to bring back consistency to the notification shade. There’s also a slight blur behind the notification shade, instead of the rest of the screen simply being dimmed.

New Safety & Emergency settings

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The Settings menu now has a new section: Safety & Emergency. In this menu, you’ll be able to tweak settings for things like Emergency SOS settings, Car Crash Detection, Crisis alerts, and Wireless emergency alerts. Most of these actual settings have been around for a while, but the fact that they’re all tied together in this menu is new.

More control over media apps in the notification shade

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Android 11 allowed users to access their media controls straight from the Quick Settings section of the shade. Now, you can tweak the apps that have such access, which may be helpful for people who don’t want to be bombarded with media controls, or those who don’t want to use the stock media apps.

Easier sharing of Wi-Fi passwords

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Sharing secure Wi-Fi passwords is now a whole lot easier. You can now share Wi-Fi passwords straight through the Wi-Fi menu, by tapping on your network and hitting the Settings button. Then hit the Share button, and a QR code that a friend can scan will show up.

New toggle design (in some places)

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Some of the toggles in Android 12 settings have been tweaked to have a bit more emphasis placed on them.

These toggles are only a little different, but they’re a bit bigger, have more styling, and could be a little more indicative of what they actually do. For example, the toggle for the Wi-Fi settings has been tweaked to have a little tick when it’s on, and a minus sign when it’s off.

Revamped screenshot editor

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The screenshot editor is now a whole lot more helpful. Now, you’ll have more options for adding text, plus various forms of drawn markup, without having to dig into settings or use a third-party image-editing tool.

You can even add emoji straight to a screenshot, making the experience a little more like editing an Instagram video, for example.

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