Google LLC announced today the release of Android 12 Beta 2, which comes with feature updates to security and privacy for users that allows them to understand and control how apps access their data, microphone and camera.
The first Android 12 Beta was announced during Google I/O 2021 in May and focused on a new user interface design that adapts to users, improved performance and privacy updates to the Android operating system.
With Beta 2, those features are being extended with a Privacy Dashboard, microphone and camera indicators, access toggles for both, clipboard read notifications and a more intuitive network connectivity experience.
Developers can get into Beta 2 on their Pixel device by enrolling for over-the-air updates, and anyone who already enrolled for Beta 1 will automatically get today’s update without any further action. Further information is available at the Android 12 developer site.
Through adding a Privacy Dashboard, users now have better visibility over the data that apps are accessing. The dashboard displays a simple and clear timeline view of all app access to microphone, camera and location data within the last 24 hours.
Developers can also include intent details as to why the app accessed certain sensitive information in case users request to know why the app accessed that data. Google recommends that developers take advantage of this capability in order to help users understand the access in any given time period.
Google also includes Data Auditing application programming interfaces for tracking accesses in code by third-party libraries.
Knowing when the camera or microphone is in use can be very important to users, especially because it can feel like an app might be spying on them through a device. To prevent this, there are now indicators being added to the status bar to let users know when apps are using the device camera or microphone.
Users can now go to Quick Settings to see which apps are currently using the mic or camera and manage permissions when needed. Developers should be aware of which permissions their app have regarding app and camera and should remove any their users would not expect.
There are now also quick microphone and camera toggles as well in Quick Settings on supported devices that make it easy to instantly disable app access. When toggled off, any app accessing these sensors will receive a blank camera and silent audio feeds.
In order to make sure that users are more aware of when the clipboard is used, Android 12 now also notifies them when the clipboard is accessed. As a result, a notification is displayed at the bottom of the screen each time an app reads the clipboard and it wasn’t the app that pasted to it.
Finally, the user interface is being updated with a simpler connectivity experience across the Status Bar, Quick Settings and Settings. When viewing the new Internet Panel, users can switch between their internet providers and troubleshoot connectivity issues more easily.
Further information on all of these updates and the new features is available at Google’s Android 12 developer site.
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