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Home / Tips and Tricks / Android 12: These are the 4 best new features for Google’s next mobile OS

Android 12: These are the 4 best new features for Google’s next mobile OS


If you have an additional Pixel phone, you can install Android 12 now.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Google has released the first developer preview Android 12, giving developers and early adopters the chance to check out the search giant’s latest mobile operating system. Install the Android 12 developer beta is not for everyone, it is full of bugs and problems, but we installed it on a test device and were looking for remarkable changes.

The first preview doesn’t have many user-centric features – it’s mainly under-the-hood improvements – but there are a few notable items worth noting. 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.

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Our first look at Android 12


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 playing at the top of the screen shows the person pressing the power button twice instead of tapping the phone.


Press the power button five times to call for help.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Call for help with Emergency SOS

You can now quickly ask for 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 on 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


Interface changes are coming.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

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.

android-12 media controls

Media control is no longer a matter for ‘any app’.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

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.


The developer’s preview is currently only available for the Pixel phones.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

What else?

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.

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