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Android 12: Google’s new operating system features revealed in huge leak

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Adam Smith
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Google’s upcoming version of its Android operating system, Android12, has apparently leaked through design documents.

Screenshots revealing a new user interface and functional changes were shared with XDA Developers, allegedly revealing a new notification panel, privacy features, and widgets.

In the new version of Android, users may receive a warning in the status bar when an app is using the camera or microphone. Tapping on this pop-up will give more detailed information about what app is using the hardware.

Better privacy settings may also contain the option to disable the camera or mute the microphone entirely, as well as quickly toggling location access.

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The search giant’s privacy features will perhaps be the most controversial, due to the conflict between Facebook and Apple over similar functions.

Apple is introducing privacy pop-ups in its latest operating system so that users know when a company is tracking them across services; Facebook claims that Apple provides “no context about the benefits of personalised ads” and is developing its own pop-up that will appear ahead of Apple’s.

Google is also making changes to widgets, the graphic interfaces that can be placed on the Android home screens. This includes a new ‘Conversations’ interface that allegedly shows recent messages, missed calls, or activity statuses.

Conversation widgets will apparently be a mandatory feature for all Android 12 devices, but it is not the only one; another reported mandatory feature are indicators at the top of the screen for when the camera or microphone is active.

With regards to notifications, Google is seemingly intending to reduce the number of quick setting tiles – like Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, and more – from six to four.

A number of minor aesthetic changes, such as rounded corners on notifications and swapping the date and time locations, have also seemingly been made.

Google has been criticised repeatedly for a lack of features that adequately address what data is being gathered or hardware accessed.

Unsealed documents from a lawsuit against Google show that even the company’s own engineers were confused about its location settings and privacy.

The state of Arizona recently filed its case against the company, with documents showing that Google engineers attempted to make it easier for users to change how much location information is sent to the company but failed due to its complexity.

“Speaking as a user, WTF? More specifically I **thought** I had location tracking turned off on my phone,” one software engineer said in the released chat logs

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