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Android 12 Beta 2 now rolling out to Pixel devices, brings new privacy features

Google released its first Android 12 Public Beta last month, and the second build is now on its way to participating Pixel users. This update brings some of the privacy features that were announced for the final release during the I/O presentation.

I’ve installed the latest build on the Google Pixel 5 and can tell you that the UI visually looks better. There’s more contrast throughout the interface. The huge volume slider from the first build has been updated to look more less ridiculous. We anticipate Google will continue tweaking the interface throughout Android 12’s Beta period.

Beta 1 vs Beta 2: Volume slider • Notification Shade

Here are the privacy changes that are included in this month’s build of Android 12 Beta.

Privacy dashboard is an overview screen contained in the Settings > Privacy. It shows you what information has been accessed and which apps accessed it last. It will show you a timeline of every time an app asked for location, for instance. This is also where apps can put explanations to why they need certain permissions.

Android 12 Beta 2 now rolling out to Pixel devices, brings new privacy features

Dedicated microphone toggles let you disable the software from accessing the microphones or cameras. You’ll also be able to do this using Quick Toggles. In addition, you’ll see indicators in the status bar while an app is actively capturing audio or video.

Microphone and video toggles and indicators

A notification will now pop up whenever an app copies or pastes information (to/from) your clipboard. Some apps pre-paste your copied information to anticipate entering the information into a search, but once this feature goes live, it will expose apps that are needlessly pulling clipboard data. Google Chrome, for example, pulls your last copied item as soon as you open a Google Search box in hopes that you’re looking up the information.

Clipboard pop-up notifications

A new Internet panel replaces the traditional Wi-Fi controls. A single tap of the “Internet” quick toggle (which no longer displays the currently connected Wi-Fi network name) will bring up a list of available and nearby Wi-Fi connections, including toggles for mobile data connections. A long-press will open the new “Internet” Setting screen which combines the Mobile Networks page with Wi-Fi.

New “Internet” screen in Settings

Plus, if you are experiencing slow Wi-Fi and would rather use data, tapping on the data connection will disconnect the device from Wi-Fi and temporarily disable auto-connect.

New “Internet” pop-up window

Android 12 Beta 2 is now rolling out to Google Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL, 4a, 4a 5G, and 5. Other OEMs participating in the Android 12 Beta include OnePlus, Asus, iQoo, Oppo, Realme, TCL, Tecno, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

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