The Android 12 Update

What’s new?

Intro

The Android 12 update was released on October 4th, 2021, and has produced greater customization features with a new visual identity and much more.

Google’s new redesign will operate out on all Android devices – bringing new design changes to Google’s Workspace apps such as Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

In this article, we hear from Dmitrii Afonin, our Android Tech Lead at Seven Peaks Sofware, about the major changes of the Android 12 update and what to expect from them.

Release roadmap

Current version – Developer Preview 2

5 months until final release to prepare your projects to new requirements

Release roadmap for Android 12

What should already be done

Up to Android 11

Required:

  • Auto-reset permissions compatibility: If users haven’t interacted with an app for a few months, the system auto-resets the app’s sensitive permissions. Don’t add all requests to Splash screen.
  • Scoped storage enforcement: Access into external storage directories is limited to an app-specific directory and specific types of media that the app has created.
  • Background location access: Users must be directed to system settings in order to grant the background location permission to apps.

Recommended:

  • Results API instead of onActivityResult().
  • Permission request through Results API.

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Easier blurs for graphics and images in the Android 12 update

Graphic and images

Easier blurs, color filters, and other effects

New RenderEffect that applies common graphics effects such as blurs, color filters, Android shader effects, and more to Views and rendering hierarchies.

Different Android devices may or may not support the feature due to limited processing power.

Graphic and images part 2

Compatible media transcoding

Android 12 can automatically transcode HEVC(H.265) and HDR (HDR10 and HDR10+) videos recorded on the device to AVC (H.264), a format which is widely compatible with standard players.

Connectivity

Bandwidth estimation improvements

Bandwidth estimation capabilities provided by getLinkDownstreamBandwidthKbps() and getLinkUpstreamBandwidthKbps() are improved for both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.

The values returned now represent the user’s all-time weighted average throughput per carrier or WiFi SSID, network type, and signal level, across all applications on the device.

Behavior changes

Foreground service launch restrictions

With a few exceptions, apps can no longer start foreground services while running in the background. Attempts to do so throw an exception:

  • After the device reboots and receives the ACTION_BOOT_COMPLETED intent action in a broadcast receiver.
  • Your app has requested the REQUEST_IGNORE_BATTERY_OPTIMIZATIONS permission, and has directed the user to a settings page where the user has disabled battery optimizations for the app.

Security

Safer component exporting

If your app targets Android 12 and contains activities, services, or broadcast receivers that use intent filters, you must explicitly declare the android:exported attribute for these app components.
Otherwise app can’t be installed on Android 12.

Security part 2

Activities cannot be started from services or broadcast receivers that behave as notification trampolines

Apps that target Android 12 cannot start activities from services or broadcast receivers that are used as notification trampolines. In other words, after the user taps on a notification, or an action button within the notification, your app cannot call startActivity() inside of a service or broadcast receiver.

As a solution create a PendingIntent object that is associated with the activity that users see after they tap on the notification.

User experience

Custom notifications deprecation

Previously, custom notifications were able to use the entire notification area and provide their own layouts and styles.

For apps targeting Android 12, notifications with custom content views will no longer use the full notification area; instead, the system applies a standard template.

User experience custom notifications deprecation in the Android 12 update

Conclusion

The most obvious change, which has caused the biggest influence for most people to download Android 12, is Google’s new Material You design.

Google even reckons that the Android 12 update is the biggest design change in Android’s history!

There’s more color and more fun shapes throughout the design changes and, oddly enough, the update officially made widgets a thing again.

The Android 12 update is not trying to change how to use your phone. Instead, Google wanted a more customizable experience, making a larger number of Android smartphones to look and feel more unique to their users.

Are you a talented Android developer?

See all our Senior, Mid-level, and Junior Android developer jobs below!

See Android Developer Jobs!

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