Android 12 & Material You

Vishesh Tripathi
Published in
7 min readDec 31, 2021


Android is the most popular smartphone operating system, running on more than 3 billion smartphones. Therefore, even the smallest of the changes in the operating system can affect millions of users. But because of how Android updates are delivered, the impact of these changes is debatable. Nevertheless, we have been looking forward to the next major Android update, hoping to bring impactful changes. Android 12 is now officially released in a stable form.

Android 12 TimeLine

Android 12 Official Logo

18–2–2021: Developer Preview 1
17–3–2021: Developer Preview 2
21–4–2021: Developer Preview 3
18–5–2021: Beta 1
9–6–2021: Beta 2
14–7–2021: Beta 3
11–8–2021: Beta 4 ( Platform Stability Milestone)
8–9–2021: Beta 5 (Final Beta)
4–10–2021: Android 12 Stable Version Final Release

Material You

Material You

On May 18, 2021, Google announced a new version of Material Design, Material You, which has a new feature called dynamic colors that allows applications to set color themes based on the wallpaper the user selects for the device’s home screen.

The color is now dynamic, meaning there is no limit to its application. It can be used in the entire application or as a part, just as the developer wants. How exciting!

Android & Material You User Experience

Changes to the interface and introduction to loads of new features will keep the Android Users busy. It will be one of the most massive overhauls in the UI after many years, focusing on privacy and security. Here is a quick look at all the highlights coming with Android 12 — referencing the beta versions thus far.

Visual Refresh

Android 12

The main focus of Android 12 is to visually transform things that have remained almost unchanged over the past few years. Google refers to this theming system as the “Material You” user interface. It will adjust the accent color of the current wallpaper to get a very seamless and uniform appearance. Moreover, the users can modify the theme options. It eliminates the dependence on third-party launcher applications and icon packs.

The notification bar and quick settings panel have also received visual improvements, as the notification bar is now larger with round bubbles. Quick settings provide you with more menu freedom, such as access to Google Play or home control of IoT devices. If you want to control the entire operating system by swiping and tapping, this is possible, Google confirms.

Another significant change is the widgets, which look bigger for better visibility. Google took things directly from the iOS book and adjusted it to native perfection. These widgets are free to use for the Developers because they want to enhance the end-user experience.

The animation of the entire operating system has been refreshed, torn from the power button on the screen. Another change is that the lock screen now has a more prominent default clock. When the lock screen space is empty, the time appears slightly smaller while displaying notifications.

Privacy & Security

Android 12 & Jetpack Compose Security

Privacy is the core of Android 12’s construction because it is a very open operating system environment that poses many threats to users. Google is very capricious this time and provides users with ultimate privacy control through a dedicated dashboard to make complicated things easier to understand. Here, users can see which permissions are accessed by a particular application.

If the app uses improper permissions, the dashboard will revoke it. A feature related to privacy is the indicator in the application interface, which shows the permission icon in use. For example, an application that accesses the microphone, camera, and location will display these icons in the upper right corner.

Location access is another thing Google has set in Android 12. Now, you can provide approximate locations instead of exact locations for applications that don’t need precise details.

Thus the folder is secure with the phone’s default locking mechanism to prevent unauthorized access. Another vital thing is the Privacy Computer Core that’ll allow the user to use AI features like Smart Reply, Now Playing, or Live Caption without the date usage from outside of your phone.

Scrolling screenshots and more

Android 12 Scrolling Screenshot

Scrolling screenshots have been a long-awaited default feature on Android phones. With Android 12, you can capture the entire screen area down the length without forcing individual shots and then stitch them together. As seen in the Beta 4 build, this scrolling screenshots feature will also be available in Google Chrome.

Google has improved the auto-rotate feature for a smoother experience. They have also added a useful new feature that detects how you interact with the phone. The face-based recognition system detects when the user is laying flat and does not activate auto-rotation (Compared to standing up and turning the screen).

Copying link text from the recent menu, facilitating copying and pasting a link in other apps, will be much faster. A feature that users will eventually find very useful.
Another minor enhancement to the OS is using a phone as a TV remote control. For starters, it will be available for Android TV OS devices (including Google TV-enabled ones) such as the Chromecast with Google TV.

The one-handed mode, accessed by swiping down from near the navigation bar, will make life easier for Android users (Another feature inspired by the iOS environment).

Live Space in Google Pixel Launcher

Live Space and Game Dashboard

Game Dashboard in Android 12

At a glance, widgets have been redesigned as Live Space to provide more than just weather and calendar information. One can expect additions like payment information, local stores locator, and media recommender.

Users can also expect stock information, sports information, and lifestyle information to appear here.

Google Stadia is making a big splash right now, and the Android 12 interface will include a gaming dashboard for all the right reasons.

With mobile gaming reaching new heights, there’s a compelling reason to include screen recordings, screenshots, and FPS meter, YouTube streaming, a game optimization menu, and other features in a quick access menu.

Performance and power

It will be one more large perspective with the impending OS as Google asserts the working framework will be super liquid and have better use of equipment assets. For example, the CPU time required for center framework administrations will be decreased by up to 22-percent, though utilization of the large centers by framework servers will diminish by 15-percent.

It will eventually improve the overall exhibition of the gadget. With all the more impressive processors and GPU inside the present cell phones, Android will be more than engaging for clients who rather struggle to put in any amount of work.

Future of Android 12 and Upcoming Updates

Android 12

12L is a feature drop that makes Android 12 even better on large screens. They have optimized and polished the system UI for large screens, made multitasking more powerful and intuitive. The default looks of the apps are better as they refine the compatibility support.

As a result of continuous experimentation with pop-out UIs, Google will launch a new version with Android 12. Instead of the bottom of the screen, the new centered UI animates out of the toggle.

Android 12L is currently only available for Google Pixel Devices, and fortunately, I own one, and this update came in beta form on my Smartphone on December 7, 2021. We will explore Android 12L in detail when all beta versions are released. Following is the timeline:

October 2021 : Android 12L Developer Preview
December 2021 : Android 12L Beta 1
January 2022 : Android 12L Beta 2
February 2022 : Android 12L Beta 3

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Vishesh Tripathi

Wearing four hats as a competitive programmer, Full Stack Developer , Machine Learning Enthusiast & UX Designer