The first preview doesn’t have many user-centric features – it’s mostly under-the-hood improvements – but there are a few notable items worth mentioning. For example, there’s a new double-tap gesture that you activate by tapping the back of the phone to perform a task such as taking a screenshot. Google is always adding more features to the release as we get closer to the public beta in May and the final release later this year, so expect more improvements and new goodies to come.
Below we’ll highlight some of the new features we can find in the current build and keep updating the list as Google releases more updates and enables more features. In any case, I recommend waiting for the first public beta to be released by Google before taking the plunge and installing Android 12, but you can look forward to this.
Double tap to get things done
Apple’s iPhone has a cool feature that allows you to tap the back of the phone a certain number of times to trigger an action of your choice. It looks like Google is going to borrow that idea with a new double-tap gesture.
On my Pixel 5, I went to Settings System Gestures Double tap where I turned on the new feature. Once it is enabled, you will see a list of actions you can trigger. Tasks include taking a screenshot, playing and pausing media, or opening Google Assistant.
That said, I haven’t been able to successfully activate the gesture yet. I even turned off the setting at the bottom of the screen that requires a hard tap with no luck. Obviously, it’s a feature coming to Android 12, but it doesn’t seem to be fully integrated yet.
Another sign that Google’s work isn’t finished here: the animation that plays at the top of the screen shows the person pressing the power button twice instead of tapping the phone.
Call for help with Emergency SOS
You can now quickly request help by pressing the power button on your phone five times quickly. A countdown alarm will play to let you know your phone is about to call for assistance, then your local emergency number will be called.
Emergency SOS was enabled by default after I installed the beta, but you can view the settings through it Settings app and go to Safety and emergencies SOS for emergencies
Notifications have a slightly new look
This is a minor change, and one that will certainly be expanded in future updates. The notification panel has a new look that is very subtle. When using the light theme, the notification shade is blue and the app icons are more pronounced.
It’s a minor change, but it gives a glimpse of the new approach to the interface that we expect to see more often in future releases.
Control which apps are shown in the media settings
Rather than allowing any app that plays audio or video to use the media control panel in your quick settings panel, Android 12 adds the option to disable individual apps. For example, if you want to be able to control Spotify playback in the quick settings panel, but you don’t really want YouTube to take up space, you can turn this off.
Open Settings Sound and vibration Media and disable any apps you want to ban.
We know that Google has a lot more in store for Android 12 based on what people find buried in the current preview. Functions and settings that require technical knowledge to operate. Check out this Twitter thread for a list of features that are currently disabled, but XDA Developers’ editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman found it and showed it off.
Yes, there is a lot to be excited about.
We will be updating this story with new features as they have been officially added to Android 12. Until then, make sure to bookmark this page and come back regularly. In the meantime, check out our favorite Android 11 features. And if you insist, here’s how to install Android 12 developer’s sample now.