Android 12 is the latest version of the operating system in the market. Although it is coming to the end of its life cycle as Android 13 is tipped for a release in August, there are many devices that have yet to make the jump, as the onus lies on smartphone manufacturers to ensure their devices are compatible with the version it runs.
If you have recently upgraded to Android 12, here are some tricks and tips that could enhance your overall user experience.
Do take note that these steps apply to stock Android 12, so if you have a skin running such as OxygenOS, OneUI, MIUI, or ColorOS, the approach might differ slightly.
1. It’s a colourful world
One of the major introductions in Android 12 is the “Material You” design. It is all about personalisation and customisation, and Material You will automatically assign theme colours for your smartphone based on the selected wallpaper.
The colours will also be different based on whether you prefer to have light or dark mode, so it might take a little bit of experimentation before you settle for something to your liking.
2. One-handed use
Do you still reminisce on the days when phones were small enough to use with one hand? Google has your back here with a new one-handed mode in Android 12.
Go to Settings > System > Gestures > One-handed mode, and enable the alert slider. Upon doing so, you can swipe down at the bottom of the screen to enter this mode.
Swipe up or tap the area at the top of the screen to exit.
3. Widgets make a splash
Widgets have long been a mainstay on Android, but with Android 12, there have been significant changes. The clock widget, for instance, has four totally new styles to wow you.
For those who are constantly in touch with the world through instant-messaging platforms, a brand-new conversation widget makes life easier and more structured since you can keep track of all your favourite conversations regardless of their platforms.
4. Privacy matters
Nobody likes being snooped upon, and Android’s record when it comes to privacy has not exactly been sparkling clean. Still, it is nice to see Google pay extra attention to this matter by introducing the Privacy dashboard.
With it, users are able to check out the entire range of permissions given to apps. Head to Settings > Privacy > Privacy dashboard to view just what permissions different apps have.
Of course, depending on the Android skin you use, the route to accessing the dashboard might be different. Samsung handsets, for example, carry the alternative name Permission Usage History.
5. Now you see me…
Want to ensure nobody can hear or see you through your microphone and camera? Pull down the quick toggle panel and you will be able to revoke both camera and microphone access that affects all apps.
These are extremely handy buttons that can temporarily prevent you from being seen or heard. With the sheer number of virtual meetings that happen daily, the ability to disable visual and audio access with a single touch is very welcome.
6. Game for a change
Mobile gaming has grown over the years, so much so that there are different Android smartphones boasting their own gaming modes. Google has jumped on the bandwagon with its very own Game Mode that enables a dashboard to pop up whenever you indulge in mobile gaming.
This allows you to go into Do Not Disturb mode so your gaming experience remains undisrupted, while a variety of optimisation tools ensure you eke out the best performance possible from your device.
To enable, head to Settings > Notifications > Do not disturb > Schedules, and enable Gaming. Select the Settings icon located right next to it, and toggle the Game dashboard, which will pop up when a game is launched.
7. Check battery
Want to know about your phone’s battery health? Android 12 offers a detailed breakdown of the amount of juice your apps consume throughout the day.
The battery-usage window delivers information via an easily decipherable graph, with information on app statistics right beneath it. You will also be able to view the total usage and background time from there.
Selecting any of the apps displayed on this list will bring up individual battery optimisation options, which let you dive deeper into usage restrictions. Feel free to charge your smartphone overnight as the optimisation feature kicks in to prolong the life of your smartphone’s battery.
Edwin Kee dreamt of being a pro-gamer only to have circumstances mould him into a programmer in a past life. He has since moved on to write about consumer electronics and other topics. Check out his blog at manatau.com.