Google released the first Android 12 beta at Google I/O back in May, but that version didn’t have all the new updates and features that will be included in the final release later this year. Today Google is releasing the second version of the Android 12 beta, which adds a new Privacy Dashboard, updates to wifi controls, and more.
With privacy and security becoming a higher priority for Google, the company is planning a number of changes in that vein for Android 12, including the new Privacy Dashboard. The goal is to give people a better way of seeing what kind of data their apps are using. So not only will the dashboard show you every app that’s accessed your microphone, camera, or location info in the last 24 hours, people will even be able to request additional details about why a specific app may have tried to view sensitive info.
More privacy-related features include new indicators that will show up in the corner of your device’s display anytime an app is using your microphone or camera, similar to what Apple added in iOS 14. This is designed to make sure people know when an app may be recording the user or their surroundings in real-time, allowing people to change or revoke permissions for a specific app if needed.
And for those times when you want to be super sure your device isn’t recording anything, Google has also added microphone and camera toggles to Android 12's Quick Settings menu, so you can completely disable either component with a single tap. If you’re worried about random apps potentially spying on stuff in your clipboard, the Android 12 beta also supports a new notification that will alert you anytime an app tries to read data from your clipboard—another privacy feature Apple added in iOS 14.
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Aside from a number of updated dev tools, the last notable new feature that’s been added to the Android 12 beta is a revamped UI for network connections. Going forward, the new Internet Panel will serve as a home to all the different ways you connect to the outside world, allowing you to quickly toggle mobile data on or off, select from available wifi networks, and even help troubleshoot issues in case your connection is acting a bit wonky.
As with the previous versions of the Android 12 beta, you can test it out yourself by downloading an over-the-air update across a range of eligible devices (see the full list of approved devices here) or install it manually if you are so inclined. Just maybe don’t install it on your primary phone or tablet, because even though Google’s public Android betas are typically relatively stable, you don’t want to risk something going awry on your main device.