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Android 12 leak reveals sought-after features and a polarizing new look

Android 12 leaked screenshots showing theming and new widgets
(Image credit: XDA Developers)

While many Android users are awaiting an update to Android 11 five months after its release, the first developer previews for Android 12 are set to arrive any day now. 

There is little surprise then that documents allegedly intended for Android OEMs have leaked into the hands of XDA-Developers, outlining some of the changes coming in Android 12. The leak includes a series of screenshots that gives us our first look at some of the changes to the user interface along with some new features (Android Central). 

The screenshots are pretty shocking at first, but it's important to know that this is likely depicting a custom theme, which is believed to be one of the features in Android 12. Essentially, this should allow users to select a primary and accent color; in these screenshots is a beige or cream color, and much like the basic light and dark modes in Android 10, these will carry throughout the operating system. 

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Leaked screenshots for Android 12 developer preview

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing notification shade

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Leaked screenshots for Android 12 developer preview

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing privacy settings

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Leaked screenshots for Android 12 developer preview

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing new privacy notification shade

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Leaked screenshots for Android 12 developer preview

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing privacy notification for camera, mic and location access

Also depicted is a new notification feature that is focused on addressing privacy concerns by indicating when the camera, microphone or location are being accessed. Tapping on the notification pulls up additional details with the option to view and change the settings for the app that is accessing the features.

Speaking of notifications, the notification shade itself has undergone some changes. This includes a reduced four-button view, as opposed to the current six, and it seems the toggles change shape as well as shading when active for added clarity. Notifications themselves are more rounded at the top and bottom to clearly delineate groups and the expand button is vertically centered, making for a better touch target.

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Leaked screenshots showing Android 12 developer preview widgets

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing conversation widget options

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Leaked screenshots showing Android 12 developer preview widgets

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing widget options

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Leaked screenshots showing Android 12 developer preview widgets

(Image credit: XDA Developers)

Android 12 leaked screenshot showing widgets on homescreen

Finally, the screenshots show off some welcome changes to widgets, which appear to give them a more coherent look, something that was pretty much a given after the reception they got on iOS 14. It's pretty limited at the moment with just a single conversation widget depicted, but again, this is very early days. 

That's a fairly crucial caveat for all of the new features seen here. Google makes significant changes over the course of the developer previews and we are looking at pre-developer preview content here. It's safe to bet that all of these features will evolve and change at least somewhat in the run-up to the likely September public release.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.