Back at Google I/O 2021, we got teased with Android 12 and some of the new goodies we can expect to show up in the next version of the operating system. Google also released the first open beta of Android 12 for Pixel smartphones and other partners on the same day.
Being the first beta version, it wasn’t going to be super stable, nor was it going to include many of the new features Google just showed off. However, a little less than a month later and Google has rolled out the second beta.
Android 12 Beta 2 was released on June 9, 2021, and comes with a host of new privacy-related features. It is available for Pixel smartphones and select partner smartphones. You can enroll using a Pixel by clicking here, if you’ve previously enrolled then your phone should have already gotten the over-the-air update. To find out if your non-Pixel phone is supported and how to get the update, check here.
For starters, Google has a new Privacy Dashboard in Android 12 Beta 2. The dashboard gives one all-inclusive place to view a timeline of the apps that have recently accessed your microphone, camera, and location.
With this information, you can keep an eye on what apps are doing in the background, and also request details of why a certain app accessed that permission. This will help keep app developers honest with users watching them.
Microphone and camera indicators
Android 12 Beta 2 also introduced indicators in the status bar to inform you when apps are using the microphone or camera. When you see these icons, you can pull down the Quick Settings pane to check which apps are accessing the camera or microphone and manage the permissions.
Microphone and camera toggles
Taking it a step further, are the new microphone and camera toggles that allow you to immediately disable the app’s access. When toggled off, the app will be fed a blank video or audio signal instead of having access to the camera or microphone on your device. This will only be available on supported devices though.
Clipboard read notifications
Android 12 Beta 2 also adds a new feature to prevent apps from abusing access to your clipboard. From now on, there will be a toast notification at the bottom of the phone informing you when an app reads something you’ve copied to the clipboard. However, this only happens if it’s an app outside of the app you used to copy the information.
The new Internet Panel will help you stay on top of your network connections. Whether you need to change your Internet provider or troubleshoot a connection issue, you’ll be able to access the Internet Panel quickly and easily from the Quick Settings menu. Afterward, it will appear at the bottom of the screen allowing you to make changes.