4 new features your phone will get very soon (if you have an Android)

If you have a replacement Pixel phone, you can install Android 12 right now.

Juan Garzón / CNET

Google released the first developer preview of Android 12, giving developers and early adopters a chance to check out the search giant’s latest mobile operating system. Installing the Android 12 Developer Beta It’s not for everyone, it’s full of bugs and issues, but we’ve installed it on a test device and been looking for notable changes.

Read more: 3 things Android 12 can do that Android 11 can’t

The first preview doesn’t have a lot of user functionality, it’s mostly about hidden improvements, but there are some notable elements that are worth noting. For example, there is a new double-tap gesture that is triggered by tapping the back of the phone to perform a task, like 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 look forward to more enhancements and new benefits to come.

Below we will highlight some of the new features that we can find in the current version and will continue to update the list as Google releases more updates and enables more features. I recommend waiting at least until Google releases the first public beta before taking the plunge and installing Android 12, but here’s what you can start to wait for.

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Our first look at Android 12


A double tap gesture to get things done

Apple’s iPhone has a cool feature that allows you to tap the back of the phone a specified 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 touch where I turned on the new function. Once it’s enabled, you’ll see a list of actions that you can activate. Tasks include taking a screenshot, playing and pausing media, or opening the Google Assistant.

That said, I have not yet been able to successfully activate the gesture. I even disabled the setting at the bottom of the screen that requires a strong tap with no luck. It’s clearly a feature coming to Android 12, but it doesn’t seem fully integrated yet.

Another sign that Google’s work isn’t done here: The animation that plays at the top of the screen shows the person pressing the power button twice instead of touching the phone.


Press the power button five times to call for help.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Call for help with Emergency SOS

Now you can quickly call for help by quickly pressing the power button on your phone five times. A countdown alarm will play informing you that your phone is about to call for help, then call your local emergency number.

Emergency SOS was activated by default after I installed the beta version, but you can see the settings by opening the Settings application and going to Security and Emergency > SOS emergency.

android-12 notifications

Interface changes are coming.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Notifications have a slightly new look

This is a minor change and will surely be expanded upon in future updates. The notification panel has a new look that is very subtle. When you use the light theme, there is a blue tint to the notification shade and the app icons are more pronounced.

It’s a small change, but it shows a glimpse of the new interface approach that we hope to see more of in future releases.


Media controls are no longer an “all apps” issue.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Control which apps appear in media settings

Instead of allowing each and every application that plays audio or video to use the media control panel in its quick settings panel, Android 12 adds the option to disable individual applications. For example, if you want to be able to control Spotify playback on the quick settings panel screen, but you really don’t want YouTube to take up space, you can disable it.

Opened Settings > Sound and vibration > Media and turn off all the apps you want to ban.


The developer preview is only available for the Pixel line of phones at this time.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

What other thing?

We know that Google has a lot more in store for Android 12 based on what people find buried in the current preview. Features and settings that require technical knowledge to enable. Check out this Twitter thread for a list of features that are currently disabled, but XDA Developers Editor-in-Chief Mishaal Rahman has been finding and showing them.

Yes, there is a lot to get excited about.

We will update this story with new features as they are officially added to Android 12. Until then, be sure to bookmark this page and check back frequently. In the meantime, be sure to check out our favorite Android 11 features. And, if you insist, this is how you can install Android 12 developer preview right now.

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