Android 12 beta 2 now available with added privacy and UX features

Android’s second beta for Android 12 adds three new features to the OS experience following the first beta release at Google I/O last month.

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When Google announced the upcoming 12th iteration of the Android platform, the “wow” factor was off the charts. The new Material You UX was a much-welcome change to an interface that had grown long in the tooth some time ago. After installing the beta 1 release of Android 12, I have to admit I was seriously impressed. The UI is absolutely stunning.

On Wednesday Google unveiled the 2nd iteration of the Android 12 beta. Here’s everything you need to know about the new release.

SEE: Top Android security tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Privacy Dashboard

The biggest new addition to Android 12 comes by way of the Privacy Dashboard. This new feature will show what data on your device has been accessed (as well as how often). This new Dashboard will also help you quickly adjust app permissions on the fly, so you’ll have even more control of device security.

The Privacy Dashboard offers you a simple and clear timeline view of all application accesses to the device’s microphone, camera, and location (in the last 24 hours). You will also be able to request details from an app on why it has accessed sensitive data. Developers can provide this information in an activity by handling a new system intent, named ACTION_VIEW_PERMISSION_USAGE_FOR_PERIOD.

Mic and Camera On/Off Toggles

Privacy and security-minded users will be happy to find out the 2nd beta of Android 12 will make available the On/Off toggles for the device Mic and Camera. This will also be accompanied by indicators on the home screen when a phone’s mic or camera is being accessed. From the Quick Settings portion of the Notification Shade, users will be able to quickly enable or disable either the microphone or the camera. Once a feature is disabled, it’s system-wide, so no application or service will be able to use the disabled hardware (until the user taps to enable it).

When the hardware is disabled, an app accessing these sensors will receive either a blank camera or silent audio feeds, and the system handles notifying the user to enable access to use the app’s features.

Clipboard Read Notification

Another security/privacy feature is the Clipboard Read Notification, which will make it possible for you to know when apps are reading from the Android clipboard. This will make it possible for users to know if an app has accessed the contents of the clipboard, even if they haven’t made use of the feature, thereby giving users a better heads up on device security.

One thing of note is that Android won’t show the warning if the clipboard was copied from the same app.

Updated Wi-Fi UX

The beta 2 release brings to light a new connectivity experience, which makes it even easier for you to manage your network connections. This new experience refines and simplifies network connections across the Status Bar, Quick Settings, and Settings. With a new Internet Panel, users can easily switch between internet providers and even troubleshoot network connectivity more easily.

Those are the big new additions coming to the second beta version of Android 12. If you’ve already joined the beta program, you will be notified (on your Android device) when the update is available. 

If you haven’t already joined the beta program and wish to test the latest iteration of Android, make sure to read How to get the Android 12 beta.

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