We have covered several exciting new features to Google’s Android products in the past, but the tech giant has just unleashed a whole lot more. The upcoming Android update might be a bit smaller than complete system overhauls, but it comes packed with functionality.
Google is strongly invested in keeping its offerings as relevant as possible, along with added security features. The smaller update also helps prepare users for the larger operating system additions down the road. Tap or click here to easily share files from one Android phone to another.
Android 12’s “Snow Cone” update won’t be available to the masses until August this year, although the developer preview launched this month. But in the meantime, Google has just released some extra features. Here is our pick for the top six.
1. Password Checkup
Android devices have for a long time had a password manager built into the operating system. This allows you to store website and service log-in details to your Google account. To make things one step safer, Google is now adding Password Checkup.
As data breaches are becoming more problematic, Password Checkup will let you know if your password has been exposed in hacking efforts. If it is part of a breach, Password Checkup will let you know what to do about it.
For those who are blind or suffer from vision problems, Google has revamped its TalkBack function. This allows visually impaired users to get the full benefit of their device without looking at the home screen by using the screen reader.
Google said it worked closely with blind and low vision communities to rework some functions like more intuitive gestures, a unified menu and a new reading control menu.
3. Google Assistant updates
Google’s virtual assistant is one of the most intuitive systems available, and the company has updated it with a few more functions. The latest updates to Google Assistant make it easier to use if the screen is locked or your phone is across the room.
Turn on Lock Screen Personal Results in the Assistant settings and you can see new cards appear. This will help you do more hands-free things, as it will take away the need to look at your screen to select actions.
4. Scheduled Messages
Google says that half a billion people make use of messages to communicate around the world. With so many people active, it is nearly impossible to sync up all your schedules with friends and family. For those times, Google has rolled out a scheduled send function.
Launching for Android 7 and newer versions, you will be able to schedule when to send a message. This is handy when you have friends or family in different time zones or afraid that you might forget to message.
When you compose a message, you will have the option to set a time and date for it to be sent automatically. To do this, press and hold the send button.
5. Google Maps dark mode
Come over to the dark side! On Google Maps, that it. There is nothing worse than driving around at night and having to contest with a glaring screen of directions. The contrast between night driving and a bright screen can be dangerous, so dark mode is now available for Google Maps.
To enable dark mode, go to Settings, tap Themes and select Always in Dark Mode. Not only will it be easier on your eyes, but it will save battery power.
6. Android Auto
We speculated that wallpapers might be coming to Android Auto earlier this month, and it seems like we were correct. Google added a variety of car-inspired backgrounds with custom wallpapers and added shortcuts to the launch screen.
Some entertainment has been added for longer drives. Now the family can play voice-activated games like trivia and “Jeopardy!”
Want to know what will be in Android 12? Well, according to those who have played around with the Developer Preview, it includes:
- A new user interface and notifications.
- Settings will have bigger toggles.
- Better screenshots.
- Improved audio.