Tag Archives: privacy

Android 12 Developer Preview 2

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Last month we shared the first preview of Android 12, an early look at the next version of Android. Today we’re bringing you the next milestone build in this year’s release, with more new features and changes for you to try with your apps. Our program of early previews is driven by our core philosophy of openness and collaboration with you, our community. Your input helps us make Android a better platform for developers and users, so keep the feedback coming!

In Android 12 we’re making the OS smarter, easier to use, and better performing, with privacy and security at the core. We’re also working to give you new tools for building great experiences for users, whether they’re using phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, or cars. Some things to look for in today’s release include new rounded corners APIs, improved picture-in-picture APIs, better companion device management, easier effects like blur and color filter, app overlay controls, and more.

There’s a lot to check out in Developer Preview 2 - read on for a few highlights and visit the Android 12 developer site for details and downloads for Pixel. For those already running Developer Preview 1 or 1.1, we’re also offering an over-the-air (OTA) update to today’s release.

Let us know what you think, and thank you to everyone who has shared such great feedback so far.

Trust and safety

We’re continuing to focus on giving users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure. In today’s release, we’ve added some new features to check out and test with your apps.

App overlay controls - Android’s system alert window gives apps a way to get users’ attention for important actions by showing an overlay on top of the active app. These windows can interrupt the user, though, so we already require apps to request permission before displaying them. Now in Android 12 we’re giving you control over whether these overlays can be shown over your content. After you’ve declared a new permission, your app can call Window#setHideOverlayWindows() to indicate that all TYPE_APPLICATION_OVERLAY windows should be hidden when your app’s window is visible. You might choose to do this when displaying sensitive screens, such as transaction confirmation flows. More here.

Extended security for lockscreen notification actions - Android 12 adds finer-grained privacy and security controls for notifications displayed on the device lockscreen. You can now configure notification actions so that when triggered from the lockscreen, they will always generate an authentication challenge. This extends the notification visibility controls already available through the notification APIs. For example, this enables a messaging app to require authentication before deleting a message or marking it as read. More here.

Access to app digests - For apps that need to validate the integrity of app packages installed on Android devices, we’re introducing a new API that lets you query the platform directly for the checksum of an installed app. You can choose from several digest algorithms such as SHA256, SHA512, Merkle Root, and others. To request a checksum, call PackageManager.requestChecksums() with an app’s package name, the checksum types you need, the installer certs you trust, and a listener to receive the checksums. The platform returns the matching checksums, either precomputed and provided by the installer app (such as Google Play) or computed by the platform. Results are filtered based on package visibility guidelines, so you’ll need to declare the packages of interest in your manifest. This new API provides a simpler, more efficient way to obtain checksums and gives you the stability of a standard, public API that’s optimized for speed and security. For backward compatibility, we’re working on a Jetpack library that provides the same functionality back to API 15 - watch for more details coming soon.

You can read more about these and other privacy and security changes here.

Better user experience tools

We’re working to give you more tools to help you deliver a polished experience and better performance for users. Here are some of the updates in today’s release.

rounded corners

Support for Rounded corners - Many modern devices use screens with rounded corners, giving them a clean modern look, but also introducing some extra considerations for app developers. To deliver a great UX on these devices, developers need to account for the rounded corners and adjust any nearby UI elements to prevent them from being truncated.

To help with this, we’re introducing new APIs to let you query for rounded corners and get their details. A RoundedCorner holds the details for a corner, including its radius, centerpoint, and other data. You can call Display.getRoundedCorner() to get the absolute details for each rounded corner. You can also call WindowInsets.getRoundedCorner() to get the corner details relative to your app’s bounds. With these, you can manage the position of UI elements and content as needed. More here.

Picture in Picture (PIP) improvements - for people using gesture nav, we’ve improved how apps transition to picture-in-picture (PIP) mode on swipe up-to-home. If an app enables auto-PIP, the system now directly transitions the app to PIP mode on up-to-home, instead of waiting for the up-to-home animation to complete. This makes the transition smoother and improves perceived performance. We’ve also improved PIP window resizing for non-video content. Apps can now enable seamless resize to let the system resize the PIP Activity when needed. Android 12 also supports stashing the PiP window by dragging it to the left or right edge of the screen. Also, to make PIP windows easier to manipulate, we’ve updated the tap behaviors. Single-tapping now displays controls, and double-tapping toggles the PIP window size. More here.

Keeping companion device apps awake - For apps that manage companion devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers, it can be a challenge to make sure the app is running and connected whenever an associated companion device is nearby. To make this easier, we’re extending the Companion Device Manager with a new CompanionDeviceService API. Apps that manage companion devices can implement this service to let the system wake the app whenever the associated companion device is nearby. The system keeps the service bound whenever the device is nearby, and notifies the service when the device goes in and out of range or is turned off, to let the app clean up state as needed. Apps can also use a new companion device profile when connecting to a watch, which simplifies enrollment by bundling related permissions into a single grant. More here.

Bandwidth estimation improvements - for developers who need to know the typical bandwidth available to each user so you can tailor their experience, we now provide improved bandwidth estimation. We’ve enhanced the existing bandwidth estimation APIs to let you retrieve an estimate of aggregate throughput per carrier or Wi-Fi SSID, network type, and signal level, for all users on the device. The new estimation is likely to be easier and more accurate than most other estimation methods, give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

Easier blurs, color filters and other effects - In Android 12, we’re making it easier to apply common graphics effects to your Views and rendering hierarchies. You can use RenderEffect to apply blurs, color filters, and more to any RenderNode. You can combine these effects as chain effects (which compose an inner and outer effect in order) or blend them. You can also apply effects directly to Views (leveraging the underlying RenderNode) by calling View.setRenderEffect(RenderEffect).

view.setRenderEffect(RenderEffect.createBlurEffect(radiusX, radiusY, SHADER_TILE_MODE))

Blurring a View with RenderEffect

This allows you to blur the contents of an ImageView without having to get the bitmap data, process the image, create a new Bitmap, and set it back into the ImageView. RenderEffect leverages the existing rendering pipeline to minimize excess calculation.

Give these a try and let use know what you think! More here.

You can also create a frosted glass effect for your window background using a new Window.setBackgroundBlurRadius() API. With this you can set a radius to control the density and scope and the platform applies the blur to the background content within the bounds of your app’s window only. You can also use blurBehindRadius to blur all of the content behind the window to create a depth effect for a floating window.

A dialog window with background blur and blur behind...

App compatibility

We’re working to make updates faster and smoother by prioritizing app compatibility as we roll out new platform versions. In Android 12, we’ve made most app-facing changes opt-in to give you more time, and we’ve updated our tools and processes to help you get ready sooner.

With Developer Preview 2, we’re well into the release and continuing to improve overall stability, so now is the time to try the new features and changes and give us your feedback. We’re especially looking for input on our APIs, as well as details on how the platform changes affect your apps. Please visit the feedback page to share your thoughts with us or report issues.

It’s also a good time to start your compatibility testing and identify any work you’ll need to do. We recommend doing the work early, so you can release a compatible update by Android 12 Beta 1. There’s no need to change your app’s targetSdkVersion at this time, but we do recommend using the behavior change toggles to get a preliminary idea of how your app might be affected by opt-in changes in Android 12.

As we reach Platform Stability in August 2021, all of the app-facing system behaviors, SDK/NDK APIs, and non-SDK lists will be finalized. At that point, you can wind up your final compatibility testing and release a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. More on the timeline for developers is here.

App compatibility toggles in Developer Options.

Get started with Android 12

The Developer Preview has everything you need to try the Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. You can get started today by flashing a device system image to a Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, Pixel 4 / 4 XL, Pixel 4a / 4a 5G, or Pixel 5 device or using the Android Emulator. If you’ve already installed a preview build to your Pixel device, you’ll automatically get future updates over-the-air for all later previews and Betas. More details on how to get Android 12 are here.

You can also test your apps on Android TV using today’s release and try the all-new Google TV experience. Learn more here and get started with your ADT-3 developer kit.

For complete information, visit the Android 12 developer site.

#ShareTheMicInCyber: Brooke Pearson


In an effort to showcase the breadth and depth of Black+ contributions to security and privacy fields, we’ve launched a profile series that aims to elevate and celebrate the Black+ voices in security and privacy we have here at Google.



Brooke Pearson manages the Privacy Sandbox program at Google, and her team's mission is to, “Create a thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default.” Brooke lives this mission and it is what makes her an invaluable asset to the Chrome team and Google. 

In addition to her work advancing the fields of security and privacy, she is a fierce advocate for women in the workplace and for elevating the voices of her fellow Black+ practitioners in security and privacy. She has participated and supported the #ShareTheMicInCyber campaign since its inception.

Brooke is passionate about delivering privacy solutions that work and making browsing the web an inherently more private experience for users around the world.Why do you work in security or privacy?

I work in security and privacy to protect people and their personal information. It’s that simple. Security and privacy are two issues that are core to shaping the future of technology and how we interact with each other over the Internet. The challenges are immense, and yet the ability to impact positive change is what drew me to the field.

Tell us a little bit about your career journey to Google

My career journey into privacy does not involve traditional educational training in the field. In fact, my background is in public policy and communications, but when I transitioned to the technology industry, I realized that the most pressing policy issues for companies like Google surround the nascent field of privacy and the growing field of security.

After I graduated from college at Azusa Pacific University, I was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to Macau, where I spent one year studying Chinese and teaching English. I then moved to Washington D.C. where I initially worked for the State Department while finishing my graduate degree in International Public Policy at George Washington University. I had an amazing experience in that role and it afforded me some incredible networking opportunities and the chance to travel the world, as I worked in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

After about five years in the public sector, I joined Facebook as a Program Manager for the Global Public Policy team, initially focused on social good programs like Safety Check and Charitable Giving. Over time, I could see that the security team at Facebook was focused on fighting the proliferation of misinformation, and this called to me as an area where I could put my expertise in communication and geopolitical policy to work. So I switched teams and I've been in the security and privacy field ever since, eventually for Uber and now with Google's Chrome team.

At Google, privacy and security are at the heart of everything we do. Chrome is tackling some of the world's biggest security and privacy problems, and everyday my work impacts billions of people around the world. Most days, that's pretty daunting, but every day it's humbling and inspiring.

What is your security or privacy "soapbox"?

If we want to encourage people to engage in more secure behavior, we have to make it easy to understand and easy to act on. Every day we strive to make our users safer with Google by implementing security and privacy controls that are effective and easy for our users to use and understand.

As a program manager, I’ve learned that it is almost always more effective to offer a carrot than a stick, when it comes to security and privacy hygiene. I encourage all of our users to visit our Safety Center to learn all the ways Google helps you stay safe online, every day.

If you are interested in following Brooke’s work here at Google and beyond, please follow her on Twitter @brookelenet. We will be bringing you more profiles over the coming weeks and we hope you will engage with and share these with your network.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about #ShareTheMicInCyber, click here.

Charting a course towards a more privacy-first web

It’s difficult to conceive of the internet we know today — with information on every topic, in every language, at the fingertips of billions of people — without advertising as its economic foundation. But as our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72 percent of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81 percent say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web.  

That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. Even so, we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products. 

We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.

Privacy innovations are effective alternatives to tracking

People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. 

Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers. In fact, our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests. Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry.

This points to a future where there is no need to sacrifice relevant advertising and monetization in order to deliver a private and secure experience. 

First-party relationships are vital

Developing strong relationships with customers has always been critical for brands to build a successful business, and this becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world. We will continue to support first-party relationships on our ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers. And we'll deepen our support for solutions that build on these direct relationships between consumers and the brands and publishers they engage with.

Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected.  We look forward to working with others in the industry on the path forward. 

Posted by David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust


#ShareTheMicInCyber: Rob Duhart

Posted by Matt Levine, Director, Risk Management

In an effort to showcase the breadth and depth of Black+ contributions to security and privacy fields, we’ve launched a series in support of #ShareTheMicInCyber that aims to elevate and celebrate the Black+ voices in security and privacy we have here at Google.

Today, we will hear from Rob Duhart, he leads a cross functional team at Google that aims to enable and empower all of our products, like Chrome, Android and Maps, to mature their security risk journey.

Rob’s commitment to making the internet a safer place extends far beyond his work at Google, he is a member of the Cyber Security Executive Education Advisory Board of Directors at Washington University in St. Louis, where he helps craft the future of cyber security executive education globally. Rob also sits on the board of the EC-Council and has founded chapters of the International Consortium of Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) across the country.

Rob is passionate about securing the digital world and supporting Black+, women, and underrepresented minorities across the technology landscape.


Why do you work in security or privacy?

I have been in the cyber world long enough to know how important it is for security and privacy to be top of mind and focus for organizations of all shapes and sizes. My passion lies in keeping users and Googlers safe. One of the main reasons I joined Google is its commitment to security and privacy.


Tell us a little bit about your career journey to Google...

I was fortunate to begin my cybersecurity career in the United States Government working at the Department of Energy, FBI, and the Intelligence Community. I transitioned to the private sector in 2017 and have been fortunate to lead talented security teams at Cardinal Health and Ford Motor Company.

My journey into cybersecurity was not traditional. I studied Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, completed graduate education at George Mason University and Carnegie Mellon University. I honed my skills and expertise in this space through hands on experience and with the support of many amazing mentors. It has been the ride of a lifetime and I look forward to what is next.

To those thinking about making a career change or are just starting to get into security, my advice is don’t be afraid to ask for help.


What is your security or privacy "soapbox"?

At Google, we implement a model known as Federated Security, where our security teams partner across our Product Areas to enable security program maturity Google wide. Our Federated Security team believes in harnessing the power of relationship, engagement, and community to drive maturity into every product. Security and privacy are team sports – it takes business leaders and security leaders working together to secure and protect our digital and physical worlds.

If you are interested in following Rob’s work here at Google and beyond, please follow him on Twitter @RobDuhart. We will be bringing you more profiles over the coming weeks and we hope you will engage with and share these with your network.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about #ShareTheMicInCyber, click here.

Celebrating the influence and contributions of Black+ Security & Privacy Googlers

Posted by Royal Hansen, Vice President, Security

Black History Month may be coming to a close, but our work to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and externally is ongoing. Currently, Black Americans make up less than 12% of information security analysts in the U.S. In an industry that consistently requires new ideas to spark positive change and stand out against the status quo, it is necessary to have individuals who think, speak, and act in diverse ways. Diverse security teams are more innovative, produce better products and enhance an organization's ability to defend against cyber threats.

In an effort to amplify the contributions of the Black+ community to security and privacy fields, we’ll be sharing profiles of Black+ Googlers working on innovative privacy and security solutions over the coming weeks, starting with Camille Stewart, Google’s Head of Security Policy for Google Play and Android.

Camille co-founded #ShareTheMicInCyber, an initiative that pairs Black security practitioners with prominent allies, lending their social media platforms to the practitioners for the day. The goal is to break down barriers, engage the security community, and promote sustained action. The #ShareTheMicInCyber campaign will highlight Black women in the security and privacy sector on LinkedIn and Twitter on March 19, 2021 and throughout March 2021 in celebration of Women's History Month. Follow the #ShareTheMicInCyber on March 19th to support and amplify Black women in security and privacy.

Read more about Camille’s story below 

#ShareTheMicInCyber: Camille Stewart


Today, we will hear from Camille Stewart, she leads security, privacy, election integrity, and dis/misinformation policy efforts for Google's mobile business. She also spearheads a cross-Google security initiative that sets the strategic vision and objectives for Google’s engagement on security and privacy issues.

In her (not so) spare time, Camille is co-founder of the #ShareTheMicInCyber initiative – which aims to elevate the profiles, work, and lived experiences of Black cyber practitioners. This initiative has garnered national and international attention and has been a force for educating and bringing awareness to the challenges Black security practitioners face in industry. Camille is also a cybersecurity fellow at Harvard University, New America and Truman National Security Project. She sits on the board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and of Girl Security, an organization that is working to close the gender gap in national security through learning, training, and mentoring support for girls.





Why do you work in security or privacy?

I work in this space to empower people in and through technology by translating and solving the complex challenges that lie at the intersection of technology, security, society, and the law.

Tell us a little bit about your career journey to Google

Before life at Google, I managed cybersecurity, election security, tech innovation, and risk issues at Deloitte. Prior to that, I was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the Senior Policy Advisor for Cyber Infrastructure & Resilience Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. I was the Senior Manager of Legal Affairs at Cyveillance, a cybersecurity company after working on Capitol Hill.

What is your security or privacy "soapbox"?

Right now, I have a few. Users being intentional about their digital security similar to their physical security especially with their mobile devices and apps. As creators of technology, we need to be more intentional about how we educate our users on safety and security. At Google, security is core to everything we do and build, it has to be. We recently launched our Safer With Google campaign which I believe is a great resource for helping users better understand their security and privacy journey.

As an industry, we need to make meaningful national and international progress on digital supply chain transparency and security.

Lastly, the fact that systemic racism is a cybersecurity threat. I recently penned a piece for the Council on Foreign Relations that explores how racism influences cybersecurity and what we must do as an industry to address it.

If you are interested in following Camille’s work here at Google and beyond, please follow her on Twitter @CamilleEsq. We will be bringing you more profiles over the coming weeks and we hope you will engage with and share these with your network. 

If you are interested in participating or learning more about #ShareTheMicInCyber, click here.

First preview of Android 12

Android 12 logo

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Every day, Android apps help billions of people work, play, communicate, and create on a wide range of devices from phones and laptops to tablets, TVs, and cars. As more people come to rely on the experiences you build, their expectations can rise just as fast. It’s one of the reasons we share Android releases with you early: your feedback helps us build a better platform for your apps and all of the people who use them. Today, we’re releasing the first Developer Preview of Android 12, the next version of Android, for your testing and feedback.

With each version, we’re working to make the OS smarter, easier to use, and better performing, with privacy and security at the core. In Android 12 we’re also working to give you new tools for building great experiences for users. Starting with things like compatible media transcoding, which helps your app to work with the latest video formats if you don’t already support them, and easier copy/paste of rich content into your apps, like images and videos. We’re also adding privacy protections and optimizing performance to keep your apps responsive.

Today’s first preview is just the start for Android 12, and we’ll have lots more to share as we move through the release. Read on for a taste of what’s new in Android 12, and visit the Android 12 developer site for details on downloads for Pixel and release timeline. As always, it’s crucial to get your feedback early, to help us incorporate it into the final product, so let us know what you think!

Alongside the work we’re doing in Android 12, later this month we’ll have more to share on another important tool that helps you create great user experiences more easily: Jetpack Compose, our modern toolkit for building native UI. Join us on #TheAndroidShow for a behind-the-scenes look at Jetpack Compose, livestreamed on February 24 at 9AM PT, and tweet your Jetpack Compose questions using #TheAndroidShow to have them answered live on the show.

Trust and safety

Privacy is at the heart of everything we do, and in Android 12 we’re continuing to focus on giving users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure. In today’s release we’ve added new controls over identifiers that can be used for tracking, safer defaults for app components, and more. These changes may affect your apps, so we recommend testing as soon as possible. Watch for more privacy and security features coming in later preview releases.

Modern SameSite cookie behaviors in WebView - In line with changes to Chrome and other browsers, WebView includes new SameSite cookie behaviors to provide additional security and privacy and give users more transparency and control over how cookies can be used across sites. More here.

Restricted Netlink MAC - We’re continuing to help developers migrate to privacy-protecting resettable identifiers. In a multi-release effort to ease migration of device-scoped Netlink MAC, in Android 11 we restricted access to it based on API level 30, and in Android 12 we’re applying the restriction for all apps - regardless of targetSDK level. More here.

Safer exporting of components - To prevent apps from inadvertently exporting activities, services, and receivers, we’re changing the default handling of the android:exported attribute to be more explicit. With this change, components that declare one or more intent filters must now explicitly declare an android:exported attribute. You should inspect your components in the manifest in order to avoid installation errors related to this change. More here.

Safer handling of Intents - To make handling PendingIntents more secure, Android 12 requires apps to explicitly declare a mutability flag, either FLAG_MUTABLE or the new FLAG_IMMUTABLE, for each PendingIntent. More here.

You can read more about these and other privacy and security changes here.

Better user experience tools

In Android 12 we’re investing in key areas to help deliver a polished experience and better performance for users. Here are some of the updates so far.

Compatible media transcoding - With the prevalence of HEVC hardware encoders on mobile devices, camera apps are increasingly capturing in HEVC format, which offers significant improvements in quality and compression over older codecs. Most apps should support HEVC, but for apps that can’t, we’re introducing compatible media transcoding.

With this feature, an app that doesn’t support HEVC can have the platform automatically transcode the file into AVC, a format that is widely compatible. The transcoding process takes time, depending on the video and hardware properties of the device. As an example, a one minute 1080p video at 30fps takes around 9 seconds to transcode on a Pixel 4. You can opt-in to use the transcoding service by just declaring the media formats that your apps don't support. For developers, we strongly recommend that your apps support HEVC, and if that’s not possible, enable compatible media transcoding. The feature will be active on all devices using HEVC format for video capture. We'd love to hear your feedback on this feature. More here.

AVIF image support - To give you higher image quality with more efficient compression, Android 12 introduces platform support for AV1 Image File Format (AVIF). AVIF is a container format for images and sequences of images encoded using AV1. Like other modern image formats, AVIF takes advantage of the intra-frame encoded content from video compression. This dramatically improves image quality for the same file size when compared to older image formats, such as JPEG.

AVIF (18.2kB)

JPEG (20.7kB)

race car photo in AVIF (18.2kB)
race car photo in JPEG (20.7kB)

Credit: Image comparison from AVIF has landed by Jake Archibald

Foreground service optimizations - Foreground services are an important way for apps to manage certain types of user-facing tasks, but when overused they can affect performance and even lead to app kills. To ensure a better experience for users, we will be blocking foreground service starts from the background for apps that are targeting the new platform. To make it easier to transition away from this pattern, we’re introducing a new expedited job in JobScheduler that gets elevated process priority, network access, and runs immediately regardless of power constraints like Battery Saver or Doze. For back-compatibility, we’ve also built expedited jobs into the latest release of Jetpack WorkManager library. Also, to reduce distraction for users, we’re now delaying the display of some foreground service notifications by up to 10 seconds. This gives short-lived tasks a chance to complete before their notifications are shown. More here.

Rich content insertion - Users love images, videos and other expressive content, but inserting and moving this content in apps is not always easy. To make it simple for your apps to receive rich content, we’re introducing a new unified API that lets you accept content from any source: clipboard, keyboard, or drag and drop. You can attach a new interface, OnReceiveContentListener, to UI components and get a callback when content is inserted through any mechanism. This callback becomes the single place for your code to handle insertion of all content, from plain and styled text to markup, images, videos, audio files, and more. For back-compatibility, we’ve added the unified API to AndroidX. More here.

Haptic-coupled audio effect - In Android 12 apps can provide audio-coupled haptic feedback through the phone's vibrator. The vibration strength and frequency are derived from an audio session, allowing you to create more immersive game and audio experiences. For example, a video calling app could use custom ringtones to identify the caller through haptic feedback, or you could simulate rough terrain in a racing game. More here.

Multi-channel audio - Android 12 includes several enhancements for audio with spatial information. It adds support for MPEG-H playback in passthrough and offload mode, and the audio mixers, resamplers and effects have been optimized for up to 24 channels (the previous maximum was 8).

Immersive mode API improvements for gesture nav - We’ve simplified immersive mode so that gesture navigation is easier and more consistent, for example when watching a video, reading a book, or playing a game. We’re still protecting apps from accidental gestures when in full-screen experiences related to gaming, but in all other full-screen or immersive experiences (e.g. video viewers, reading, photo gallery), for apps targeting the new platform, we’re changing the default to allow users to navigate their phone with one swipe. More here.

Notification UI updates - We’re refreshing notification designs to make them more modern, easier to use, and more functional. In this first preview you’ll notice changes from the drawer and controls to the templates themselves. We’re also optimizing transitions and animations across the system to make them more smooth. As part of the updates, for apps targeting Android 12 we’re decorating notifications with custom content with icon and expand affordances to match all other notifications. More here.

Faster, more responsive notifications - When users tap a notification, they expect to jump immediately into the app - the faster the better. To meet that expectation, developers should make sure that notification taps trigger Activity starts directly, rather than using “trampolines” - an intermediary broadcast receiver or service - to start the Activity. Notification trampolines can cause significant delays and affect the user experience. To keep notifications responsive, Android 12 will block notification trampolines by preventing them from launching their target Activities, and we’re asking developers to migrate away from this pattern. The change applies only to apps targeting the new platform, but for all apps we’ll display a toast to make trampolines visible to you and to users. More here.

Improved Binder IPC calls - As part of our work on performance, we’ve put a focus on reducing system variability. We’ve taken a look at latency and workload distribution, and made optimizations that reduce the median experience from the tail end, or 99% percentile use case. In doing so, we’ve targeted improvements to system binder calls adding lightweight caching strategies and focusing on removing lock contention to improve latency distribution. This has yielded roughly a 2x performance increase on Binder calls overall, with significant improvements in specific calls, for example a 47x improvement in refContentProvider(), 15x in releaseWakeLock(), and 7.9x in JobScheduler.schedule().

App compatibility

We’re working to make updates faster and smoother by prioritizing app compatibility as we roll out new platform versions. In Android 12 we’ve made most app-facing changes opt-in to give you more time, and we’ve updated our tools and processes to help you get ready sooner. We’ve also added new functionality to Google Play system updates to give your apps a better environment on Android 12 devices.

More of Android updated through Google Play - We’re continuing to expand our investment in Google Play system updates (Project Mainline) to give apps a more consistent, secure environment across devices. In Android 12 we’ve added the Android Runtime (ART) module that lets us push updates to the core runtime and libraries on devices running Android 12. We can improve runtime performance and correctness, manage memory more efficiently, and make Kotlin operations faster - all without requiring a full system update. We’ve also expanded the functionality of existing modules - for example, we’re delivering our compatible media transcoding feature inside an updatable module.

Optimizing for tablets, foldables, and TVs - With more people than ever using apps on large-screen devices like foldables, tablets, and TVs, now is a great time to make sure your app or game is ready. Get started by optimizing for tablets and building apps for foldables. And, for the biggest screen in the home, the first Android 12 preview for Android TV is also available. In addition to bringing the latest Android features to the TV with this preview, you will also be able to test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience. Learn more on the Android TV Developers site and get started with your ADT-3 developer kit.

Updated lists of non-SDK interfaces - We’ve restricted additional non-SDK interfaces, and as always your feedback and requests for public API equivalents are welcome.

Easier testing and debugging of changes - To make it easier for you to test the opt-in changes that can affect your app, we’ve made many of them toggleable. WIth the toggles you can force-enable or disable the changes individually from Developer options or adb. Check out the details here.

mobile display of App Compatibility Changes with toggles

App compatibility toggles in Developer Options.

Platform stability milestone - Like last year, we’re letting you know our Platform Stability milestone well in advance, to give you more time to plan for app compatibility work. At this milestone we’ll deliver not only final SDK/NDK APIs, but also final internal APIs and app-facing system behaviors. We’re expecting to reach Platform Stability by August 2021, and you’ll have several weeks before the official release to do your final testing. The release timeline details are here.

Get started with Android 12

The Developer Preview has everything you need to try the Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. You can get started today by flashing a device system image to a Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, Pixel 4 / 4 XL, Pixel 4a / 4a 5G, or Pixel 5 device. If you don’t have a Pixel device, you can use the 64-bit system images with the Android Emulator in Android Studio.

When you’re set up, here are some of the things you should do:

  • Try the new features and APIs - your feedback is critical during the early part of the developer preview. Report issues in our tracker or give us direct feedback by survey for selected features from the feedback and requests page.
  • Test your current app for compatibility - the goal here is to learn whether your app is affected by default behavior changes in Android 12. Just install your current published app onto a device or emulator running Android 12 and test.
  • Test your app with opt-in changes - Android 12 has opt-in behavior changes that only affect your app when it’s targeting the new platform. It’s extremely important to understand and assess these changes early. To make it easier to test, you can toggle the changes on and off individually.

We’ll update the preview system images and SDK regularly throughout the Android 12 release cycle. This initial preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we're making it available by manual download only. You can flash a factory image to your Pixel device, or you can sideload an OTA image to a Pixel device running Android 11, in which case you won’t need to unlock your bootloader or wipe data. Either way, once you’ve manually installed a preview build, you’ll automatically get future updates over-the-air for all later previews and Betas. More here.

As we get closer to a final product, we'll be inviting consumers to try it out as well, and we'll open up enrollments through Android Beta at that time. Stay tuned for details, but for now please note that Android Beta is not currently available for Android 12.

For complete information, visit the Android 12 developer site.

Quality to match with your user’s expectations

Posted by Hoi Lam, Android App Quality

Since the launch of Android more than 10 years ago, the platform and the user’s expectations have grown. There are improvements from user experience through material design to the importance and advancement in privacy. We know you want your apps to offer a great user experience. At the same time, we also know that it’s not always straightforward to know which area to tackle first. That’s why we are launching a new App Quality section in our developer site to help you keep up-to-date with key aspects of app quality and provide related resources.

In the first release, we have updated the Core App Quality checklist to take into account recent Android releases as well as the current trends of the app ecosystem. Here are some highlights in this update:

  • Visual Experience - We highlight the best practice of using Material Design Components in place of platform components such as buttons. This will give your app a modern look as well as making features such as dark theme easy to implement. In addition to advice on back stack, we have expanded it to preserving the state of the app. This is becoming more important as edge-to-edge screens and gesture navigation are becoming commonplace, even in entry level phones.
  • Functionality - There are three areas where we have updated our guidance. For media applications, we have updated our recommendations around the playback experience as well as support for HEVC video compression for video encoding. For sharing between apps, we highlight the importance of using the Android Sharesheet. This will be critical going forward as apps will have limited visibility to other installed apps in API level 30 by default. Lastly, we expanded our recommendations around background services. Helping users to conserve battery is a priority for Android, and we will continue to share updates on this topic.
  • Performance & Stability - We have added tooling now available such as Android vitals in the Google Play Console. One important point to highlight here is Application Not Responding (ANR). ANRs are caused by threading issues and are something developers can fixed. The ANR troubleshooting guide can help you diagnose and resolve any ANRs that exist in the app.
  • Privacy & Security - We have summarized our latest recommendations to take into account the latest safeguards from runtime permission to securely using WebView. We have also expanded to include privacy norms that users come to expect from protecting private data to not using any non-resettable hardware Ids.
  • Google Play - In this section, we highlight some of the most important policies for developers and link you to more information on the guidelines.

Going forward, we aim to update this list on a quarterly basis to make sure this is up-to-date. In addition, we will be updating the quality checklists for other form factors.

We are working on additional tools and best practices to make it easier for you to build quality applications on Android. We can’t wait to introduce these new improvements to you. Stay tuned!

Protecting against harmful financial services products

Providing a safe and secure experience across Google’s products is our top priority. Our global product policies are designed and implemented with this goal in mind, and we're always working to improve our practices to enhance user safety. 

Personal loan apps have received attention recently, and we wanted to clarify the action we have taken on these apps on Google Play. 

We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the Store, and we have asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations. Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue.   

Protecting users from deceptive financial products and services

All developers in the Play Store agree to the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which stipulates that apps must adhere to applicable rules and laws, including generally accepted practices and guidelines. In addition, the Google Play Developer Policy requires financial services apps that offer personal loans to disclose key information such as the minimum and maximum periods of repayment, the maximum Annual Percentage Rate, and a representative example of the total loan cost. To help further ensure that users are making sound choices, we only allow  personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued. 

We believe transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services. 

In addition, we publish reports of alleged local law violations, including those submitted by government agencies in our Transparency Report

Protecting user privacy 

To protect user privacy, developers must only request permissions that are necessary to implement current features or services. They should not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes. 

Developers must also only use data for purposes that the user has consented to, and if they later want to use the data for other purposes, they must obtain user permission for the additional uses. 

Google Play users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our policies help us deliver on these expectations, and we continue to work hard to ensure Google Play is a platform that supports the entire ecosystem.

Posted by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy 


Protecting against harmful financial services products

Providing a safe and secure experience across Google’s products is our top priority. Our global product policies are designed and implemented with this goal in mind, and we're always working to improve our practices to enhance user safety. 

Personal loan apps have received attention recently, and we wanted to clarify the action we have taken on these apps on Google Play. 

We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the Store, and we have asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations. Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue.   

Protecting users from deceptive financial products and services

All developers in the Play Store agree to the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which stipulates that apps must adhere to applicable rules and laws, including generally accepted practices and guidelines. In addition, the Google Play Developer Policy requires financial services apps that offer personal loans to disclose key information such as the minimum and maximum periods of repayment, the maximum Annual Percentage Rate, and a representative example of the total loan cost. To help further ensure that users are making sound choices, we only allow  personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued. 

We believe transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services. 

In addition, we publish reports of alleged local law violations, including those submitted by government agencies in our Transparency Report

Protecting user privacy 

To protect user privacy, developers must only request permissions that are necessary to implement current features or services. They should not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes. 

Developers must also only use data for purposes that the user has consented to, and if they later want to use the data for other purposes, they must obtain user permission for the additional uses. 

Google Play users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our policies help us deliver on these expectations, and we continue to work hard to ensure Google Play is a platform that supports the entire ecosystem.

Posted by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy