Highly anticipated: The latest version of Google's Android mobile OS is available right now, launching hot on the heels of the company's latest Pixel event. However, it isn't available to everyone. For now, only Pixel owners can access Android 12; the rest of us will likely have to stick it out for another month or two.
Pixel 3 phones and above are eligible for the update, but we aren't sure when Android 12 will roll out for the rest of the smartphone-owning world. Some reports say it could be later this year, but no specific dates have been dug up yet.
But that's fine, in the long run. Though Android 12 is fully released now, there's undoubtedly still a handful of bugs tucked away here and there. Pixel owners can track those down and report them so that everyone else gets a more stable experience later. It's a win-win situation.
In terms of new features, Android 12 is packing quite a few. For starters, it features an entirely new user interface, utilizing Google's new "Material You" design language; an evolution of Material Design. It brings custom, system-wide color palette adjustments, smoother animations, and lighter, more "playful" icons and shapes.
On top of that, there's the new Privacy Dashboard, which gives you an at-a-glance, pie chart-like view of which apps have been using specific permissions in the last 24 hours. You'll also find a small green indicator at the top right of your screen that informs you when the app you're using is accessing your device's camera or microphone.
Another huge privacy-focused feature is Android's "Private Compute Core." The Core can process machine learning tasks like audio and language processing directly on your device, rather than sending data to and from the cloud.
In terms of less-important changes, you'll find refreshed emojis, a new "capture more" button for screenshots, and a handful of accessibility-focused features. All in all, it's a meaty update, and one many Android owners will likely be looking forward to.