At Google IO 2021 the tech giant announced Android 12, and it's touting a refreshed UI and much more. You won't be able to actually download the finished Android 12 update straight away, though, as the final release will probably come towards the end of the year.
Some users can download the Android 12 beta though, including anyone with a Pixel 3 or newer, plus owners of the Xiaomi Mi 11, OnePlus 9 and more. You'll find a full list below, while for instructions head to our how to get the Android 12 beta on your phone guide.
As for the finished version, expect the Google Pixel 6 to come with Android 12 on it in September or October.
That will probably be the first device to ship with the update, and while Android 12 will probably come to other Pixel phones quickly, if you've got another Android phone you'll likely have to wait a bit longer, as each company has to tailor Android 12 to their phone before it runs.
Android 12 is the 2021 update for Google's Android operating system, building on 2020's Android 11, which some phones still don't have. But this is more than just an iterative update - Google describes it as the biggest design change in Android's history.
We've listed all the official Android 12 features that have been showcased at Google IO, and we'll update this article as soon as we learn more – and continue updating it as Android 12 rolls out to phones.
Android 12 release date
Android 12 was announced at Google IO 2021, and is out in beta for select devices now, including phones from Oppo, Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, ZTE, Asus, TCL and iQOO - as well of course as plenty of Pixels. You can find the full list in the section below.
The final finished version of Android 12 will likely land in September or October based on past releases of the OS, though most likely only on a small number of handsets to begin with, such as the Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 4a, along with the upcoming Google Pixel 6, assuming such a phone launches.
It will be up to device manufacturers to bring Android 12 to your phone, and that often takes months to do, so don’t be surprised if your specific handset doesn’t get Android 12 until 2022.
Adding to this, Android 12 will also ask you for permission from an app to use a feature of the phone. You can select to allow it while running the app, only once, or not at all.
You can also opt to only provide an approximate location to some apps, such as weather apps which don't need to know exactly where you are.
And with features like Live Caption, Now Playing and Smart Reply, all of the audio and language processing happens on your device, so the data isn't sent elsewhere.
There's also locked folders, available across apps, which allow you to lock a specific folder with a fingerprint.
And there's the ability to unlock a Chromebook using your phone. Similar to the Apple Watch unlock feature for an Apple Mac, it will be a matter of having your Android 12 smartphone near to a Chromebook, and it will bring you to the home screen.
Finally, when using an app such as the camera, there will be a subtle UI hint that certain features of the camera are being used, similar to how it shows in Apple's iOS 14.