There are some major differences between Android 12 and Android 11, and we'll show you what they are.

android update, cnet apps today, operating systems, services and software, applications, mobile apps, android 12, android 11, notification on                 notification off                                mobile

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Android 12, Google’s latest mobile operating system, arrived late last year. The update first came to Google’s Pixel phones, including the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and has since started to roll out to Samsung’s phones. Although not every Android phone has joined the party yet (here’s when you can expect the software to come to your device), there are a number of buzzy new features that will give Android 11 users a reason (or two, or three) to upgrade.

Android 12 appears to be similar in many ways to Android 11, with a few big new features and some performance fixes aimed at helping your phone run more smoothly. 

If you can’t wait for Google’s new OS to make its way to your device, you can download and install the Android 12 developer preview now. But be warned that, as the developer preview, it likely has some bugs, and isn’t meant for the average person to try out at this point — especially not on your primary device.

Here are three of the biggest new features we’ve seen in Android 12 so far, compared to Android 11.

Privacy features for apps

Google is adding several new privacy features to apps to give you more transparency and control. You can now see when an app is using your microphone or camera through an indicator on your phone’s status bar. You’re also given the option to completely disable any and all apps’ access to your microphone or camera in Quick Settings. Android 12 also lets you keep your exact location private by giving you an option to give apps your approximate location instead. 

According to an Android Developers blog post, one Android 12 update gives you more information about how cookies can be used across sites, while another changes how apps export information to prevent them from accidentally exporting activities, services and receivers. 

It’s worth noting that these policies are less strict than those previously seen in Apple’s iOS 14 software releases, which include new app “nutrition labels” that tell people what personal data their apps are collecting, and a change in iOS 14.5 that requires developers to ask people for permission to gather data and track them across apps and websites. (And here are even more privacy features included in Apple’s iOS 15 update.)

Revamped notifications

With Android 12, Google is changing up the design of notifications to make them more modern and functional. When you tap on a notification, it will take you directly to the app or action you want to take, instead of going through an intermediary service to start that action. This should make everything run faster, according to the Android Developers blog post.

Android 12 also gets a new button that lets you snooze unimportant notifications, and choose how long to do so. You can also turn on adaptive notifications ranking to let Android rearrange your notifications based on how you work with different apps, and reset the ranking if you don’t like it.

New one-handed mode

Android 12 also includes a few design changes that make it easier to operate Android phones with one hand and your thumb. XDA Developers noted that the updated settings UI moves the Search bar to the bottom of the display for easier one-handed access. It also uncovered a new feature called “silky home” that makes the entire interface more suitable for one-handed use. 

For more, check out everything to know about Android 12, and the best Android phones you can buy.


OPPO Find X5 Pro in white colour spotted, confirms basic specs

Last month, sources claimed that OPPO would launch its next-gen flagship series in Q1 2022. It’s possible if you consider that the OPPO Find X3 series launched in March 2021. The OPPO Find X5 series is coming soon, and that’s proven with leaked photos of the Find X5 Pro. ...

View more: OPPO Find X5 Pro in white colour spotted, confirms basic specs

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is the First Thing You Should Buy on Your New Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X has finally been released, bringing with it the ability to play games in a cool 4K 120fps. As I discussed in my review, it’s a pretty powerful console, its only real drawback being the lack of a true killer app. But if there’s anything that ...

View more: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Is the First Thing You Should Buy on Your New Xbox Series X

The 25 Best Steam Games

This list of the best Steam games was originally published on April 26, 2018, but we’ve now updated it for 2020! Steam obviously isn’t a console like the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox One, but it’s a packed platform for PC, Mac, and Linux nonetheless. There is no ...

View more: The 25 Best Steam Games

The 25 Best Xbox One Games

This list of the best Xbox One games was originally published on April 4, 2018, but we’ve now updated the list for 2020. The Xbox One has had a semi-troubled lifespan. With not many exclusives and the PlayStation 4 dwarfing it in a much larger userbase, Microsoft has taken ...

View more: The 25 Best Xbox One Games

The 25 Best PS4 Games

This list of the best PlayStation 4 games was originally published in March 2018. We’ve now updated it for the new year. Picking the best PS4 games isn’t easy. The PlayStation 4 has had quite a lifetime. Its library has maybe the best set of games of any other ...

View more: The 25 Best PS4 Games

The 25 Best Nintendo Switch Games

This list of the best Switch games was originally published on March 5, 2018. We’ve now updated for the new year. The Nintendo Switch is now hitting the middle of its lifespan. This spring, it will hit its three-year anniversary. Its stellar debut year that included new entries into ...

View more: The 25 Best Nintendo Switch Games

USG's Top 100 Games of the Decade: #100-51

You can find #50-26, the second part of our Top 100 Games of the Decade list, here. If you’d rather skip to #25-1, you can do that too. Nobody could really know the turbulence that was in store for them in the 2010s. It was a decade in which ...

View more: USG's Top 100 Games of the Decade: #100-51

20 Current and Upcoming Games From People of Color That Should Be on Your Radar

Every year, thousands of amazing and unique games are released within our industry, across a wide variety of platforms and genre. Games are a means of expression, a way of establishing connection and putting the player inside of another viewpoint. That is what sets video games apart from other ...

View more: 20 Current and Upcoming Games From People of Color That Should Be on Your Radar

2022 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport pricing and features for Australia revealed

These Are the Movies and TV Shows to Watch Before Playing Cyberpunk 2077

Now Is a Perfectly Good Time to Tackle Tough Subjects in Games Coverage

The LG Éclair wants to prove good things can come in small packages

Ragnarok: The Lost Memories Available Now on Google Play

Tales of Luminaria Anime Gets First 10 Minutes in English; Tales of Arise Anime Trailer Gets New Screenshots

Consumer Reports Says Some SUVs are Way Better Than Others

OnePlus could be readying affordable phones with flagship chips

You can download all the Samsung Galaxy S22 wallpapers right here (Updated)

Samsung Galaxy S10 series gains January 2022 security patch

OnePlus officially ends software support for two former flagships

This might be our best look yet at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus