Google has announced that it is rolling out the second beta for Android 12 to Pixel phones today. It adds a few more of the Android 12 features that were announced at Google I/O last month but weren’t included in the first beta. But it also has some newer features, including a new way to manage your internet connection.
In Quick Settings, Android 12 now has a new button called “Internet” that replaces the old Wi-Fi button. Tap it and you’ll get a screen that allows you to switch between Wi-Fi networks and also shows your current cellular connection (which you can also switch).
Google says the intent is to help users “switch between their ISPs and troubleshoot network connectivity issues more easily”. Google’s post asks readers to “Let us know what you think,” a sign that this UX may not be sure. Google often introduces new user interface ideas during Android betas and then comes back to ideas.
Android 12 also receives a “Clipboard Read Notification”, which appears whenever an app reads the current clipboard. It appears when an app reads the clipboard of something you copied in another app. In other words, it won’t appear annoying if you copy and paste within the same app. Unlike other notifications, this one apparently appears at the bottom of the screen. It’s similar to a feature that first appeared on the iPhone as more people realized that apps were asking for clipboard content when they really shouldn’t.
Those are the two new features, but there are a few more that Google announced but didn’t include in the first beta. The first is the privacy dashboard, which allows a user to see how often apps ask to use a phone’s microphone, camera, and location. By the way, Apple just announced a similar dashboard for iOS 15, although it includes a few more data points than Android’s.
Google will also enable previously announced privacy features related to the microphone and camera. If either is enabled, an indicator will appear in the top right corner of the status bar. Android 12 also now has toggles in Quick Settings to disable those sensors.
It’s a neat system. If you turn off the microphone or camera in quick settings, the next time an app tries to access it, the system will ask if you want to turn it back on. If you decline, the app will to think it has camera or microphone access, but all it really sees is darkness and all it hears is silence. It is, as I noted in my original Android 12 preview, a mood.
With this release, Google is keeping up with its roadmap to release Android 12 this fall. Expect a few more betas before the final release. This beta is now available on Pixel phones and when the latest update is released it will come first on Pixel phones. When other phones are updated, it remains an open — and irritating — question. Since this version of Android has the biggest redesign in years, don’t be surprised if other smartphone makers take a little more time figuring out how to apply their own styles to the new “Material You” design system.