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The 8 Best Features in Android 12 Developer Preview 1 – How-To Geek

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Justin Duino

Five months after the release of Android 11, Google announced Android 12 Developer Preview 1 (DP1). Although most of the changes take place behind the scenes, these are the eight best user-facing features you can expect.

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When Will Android 12 Be Released?

The first Android 12 Developer Preview was released on February 18, 2021. It was made available for the Google Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, Pixel 4 / 4 XL, Pixel 4a / 4a 5G, and Pixel 5.

According to a timeline provided by Google (seen below), new builds of the next Android version will be released every month between February and August 2021. If Google stays on track, Developer Previews should continue through April, with public beta versions of Android 12 coming to consumers in May.

Android 12 beta timeline
Google

Google is normally pretty good at sticking to a schedule. Although the timeline above doesn’t provide a specific final release date, the last two Android versions became available in early September.

RELATED: Android 12’s Dev Preview Promises a Cleaner, Faster, More Immersive Experience

When Will My Devices Get Android 12?

Once publicly available, Android 12 should immediately start rolling out to every Pixel smartphone qualified to participate in the Developer Preview and Beta (Pixel 3 and newer). Unfortunately, for Pixel 2 / 2 XL owners, it looks like your handset has reached its end of life and won’t receive another major firmware update.

For everyone else, the Android 12 rollout will depend on your smartphone or tablet’s manufacturer. The speed at which your device gets updated comes down to two things: how old your device is and how reliable the OEM is. Android Police has been tracking and ranking the best manufacturers for security updates, which can help you make an educated guess about your device.

In the best-case scenario, if you have a newer handset, you should see the update with a couple of months. If not, you should expect the rollout to happen 6 to 12 months after Android 12’s public release (if ever at all).

RELATED: Fragmentation Isn’t Android’s Fault, It’s the Manufacturers’

How to Install Android 12 Developer Preview 1

If you own one of the compatible Pixel handsets, 9to5Google has an excellent guide on how to install Android 12 DP1.

Unfortunately, you will have to sideload the new firmware manually. If you want to wait (which we recommend you do as DP builds are extremely buggy), you can sign up for the Android beta program once it becomes available in May and get Android 12 via an OTA update.

But, for now, here are the eight best features introduced in Android 12 Developer Preview 1.

Add Text and Emojis to Your Screenshots

Markup tool on Android 12 and Android 11
Left: Android 12. Right: Android 11

Android’s markup tool has always lacked “artistic” editing features found on other platforms. Thankfully, with Android 12, Google is giving everyone more ways to customize their screenshots.

Specifically, Android 12 DP1 introduces new text and emoji options in the markup tool. Like text tools found in social media apps like Instagram, you can choose from seven text colors and readjust the font’s size by pinching to zoom in or out. The same customization options are available for the emoji picker.

Scrolling Screenshots Might Finally Be Here

Scrolling screenshots have been a part of Android for years, but they have never been officially implemented by Google. You either had to download a third-party app or hope your device’s manufacturer included the feature. Although the feature isn’t enabled by default, it looks like scrolling screenshots might finally come with Android 12.

As seen in the above tweet, once the feature is enabled, a “Scroll” button will appear after taking a traditional screenshot. After being tapped, Android will capture the length of whatever screen you’re viewing.

As with many Developer Preview 1 features, scrolling screenshots are buggy and appear to crash when in use. Fortunately, Google has half a year to get the feature working without issue.

RELATED: Here’s How Screenshots Work on Android

Redesigned (and Bigger) Notification Shade Icons

Unlike many of Android 12’s user-facing changes, the visual overhaul of the notification shade is front and center. Though its design is likely not finalized, almost every icon found in the notification shade is significantly larger than its Android 11 counterpart.

Additionally, Google has made brought the notification snoozing feature front and center. Instead of hiding it behind a half swipe of the notification, any expanded card has an alarm clock-like icon in the bottom-right corner. When tapped, the app’s notifications can be snoozed for up to two hours.

“Double Tap” Is Google’s Take on Back Tap

Double Tap in Android 12

In 2020, Apple released a feature in iOS 14 called “Back Tap.” Simply put, you tap the back of your phone two or three times to launch an action. A third-party app called “Tap, Tap” brought similar functionality to Android. With Android 12 DP1, the feature is coming natively under the name “Double Tap.”

Double Tap can be enabled by going to Settings > System > Gestures > Double Tap. Once the option is toggled on, you can open the assistant, take a screenshot, play and pause media, see recent apps, or open the notification shade by tapping twice on the back of your phone.

Unfortunately, in DP1, the Double Tap feature appears to be non-functional. We’ll have to wait and see if Google enables the feature in later builds of Android 12.

RELATED: How to Perform Actions by Tapping the Back of Your Android Phone

New One-Handed Mode (Similar to iPhone’s)

Having a large smartphone screen is great for watching Netflix, but it makes it incredibly hard to reach anything near the display’s top. Google’s “One-Handed mode,” found hidden with Android 12 DP1, is almost an exact clone of Apple’s Reachability mode on iPhone.

The feature works by swiping down on the gesture bar found at the bottom of the screen. Instantly, the top half of the display moves to the bottom. Swipe up on the gesture bar to expand the screen back to its original size.

With One-Handed mode so deeply hidden within the developer settings, it’s not clear if this will remain available when Android 12 is made available to the public.

RELATED: What Is Reachability Mode on iPhone, and How Do You Use It?

Send Wi-Fi Passwords With Nearby Share

Nearby Share Wi-Fi sharing

Sharing your Wi-Fi password is now easier than ever. In addition to generating a custom QR Code that others can scan, Android 12 DP1 has added a new feature to Nearby Share (Google’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop) that allows you to transmit a Wi-Fi network’s password securely quickly.

With Android 12 installed, navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi and tap on an SSID you’re already connected to. From there, tap the “Share” icon, verify your identity, and select the “Nearby” button. You can then transmit the login information to any other Android device with Nearby Sharing enabled.

RELATED: What Is Android Nearby Share, and Does It Work Like AirDrop?

Camera and Microphone Privacy Toggles

Privacy is everything, and Google is making it easier for you to ensure none of your apps are accessing your device’s camera or microphone without your knowledge. 9to5Google found hidden “Block Camera” and “Mute Microphone” quick toggles that currently have to be manually enabled using a developer flag. With either toggle enabled, you cut off access to the cameras and microphones, even if an app has permission to use them.

There’s a (Hidden) Simplified Interface Called “Silky Home”

If you’ve used Samsung’s One UI Android skin, DP1’s hidden interface will look pretty family. Called “Silky Home,” the simplified interface replaces the traditional Settings menu with something a little easier to use on larger devices. Instead of having items take up the entire screen, a large label fills the top portion of the menu, making it easier to reach anything on-screen.

With Android 12 Developer Preview 1 installed, you can activate the developer flag by using Google’s ADB utility and running the following command:

./adb shell settings put global settings_silky_home true

It’s not clear if this is a redesign Google is working on for the public Android 12 launch or something we’ll see in a later version of the OS.

RELATED: How to Install and Use ADB, the Android Debug Bridge Utility

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B.C. woman's anxiety app featured in Apple's International Women's Day promotion – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
This International Women’s Day, a Vancouver Island woman is being recognized for a smartphone app she developed to help people who experience anxiety and panic attacks.

Ania Wysocka’s app Rootd will be featured in Apple’s App Store on International Women’s Day as part of a celebration of app developers who are women.

The Victoria resident told CTV News Vancouver she developed the app, which has been downloaded more than 600,000 times, in response to her own struggles with anxiety.

Wysocka had her first panic attack during her fourth year as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia.

“I really had no idea what (panic attacks) were beforehand, and I was really caught off guard,” Wysocka said. “I was far away from home, I had no family doctor, I was on a student loan budget, so I really relied on things I could find in textbooks and different resources online to figure out what was happening.”

Years later, she would look back on the experience and think about how much better it could have gone if she had known what to expect.

“That’s what inspired me to start Rootd,” she said.

The app has everything from guided meditations to an actual panic button, and Wysocka said users tend to embrace the features that help them with their specific needs.

“People really use it differently depending on what they are experiencing,” she said.

At the centre of all the app’s features is Ron, a little monster who serves as Rootd’s mascot. He’s a visual representation of anxiety, but he’s also friendly and supportive, Wysocka said.

“He was really a representation of how I felt at the time,” she said. “Through learning cognitive behavioural therapy, you kind of realize that you have to befriend some of these emotions that are otherwise really overwhelming, and so Ron became the symbol for that.”

Some of Rootd’s users really relate to Ron, Wysocka said.

“They talk about him like he is a person,” she said. “There’s reviews that come in along the lines of, you know, ‘Ron is the only one there for me,’ ‘I feel so alone, but then I have Ron and Ron gets me through the night.'”

Wysocka said she’s happy that the app has been a success and that Apple has decided to feature it for International Women’s Day.

That said, the stories of everyday people who use the app are more important to her than how many downloads it gets.

“(People) use Rootd to go back to school, they use Rootd to go back to work, they use Rootd to rebuild confidence that panic attacks and anxiety have taken away from them,” Wysocka said.

The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and more information is available on the Rootd website.  

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim

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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa looks for volunteers for SpaceX flight around the moon – Time Bulletin

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Eccentric Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is searching for eight civilian volunteers to take off to the Moon with him on the first-ever private commercial space trip.

The week-long journey, at first declared in 2018 and named “dearMoon” is set for 2023 onboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Rocket, once known as the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket.

Albeit the next-generation Starship is as yet in testing, a few runs finishing off with fiery crashes, Musk has guaranteed it will be prepared to leave two years and has said he accepts the mission will “make a real difference.”

It will require three days to get to the lunar planet. The Starship will loop behind it and afterward start its three-day journey back home, making it the farthest distance any human has at any point gone from Earth.

In a video posted on Tuesday, the Zozo originator clarified that the full traveler list will incorporate 10 to 12 group individuals. The 45-year-old will bankroll the expedition, however, how stays unclear.

Even though Maezawa had initially indicated that candidates be specialists, that arrangement has since “evolved.”

“Every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist…and that is why I wanted to reach out to a wider, more diverse audience,” he said.

Presently, the Start Today Co. Chief has only two necessities: to have the option to push the envelope to help the “greater society” somehow or another and a have the willingness to help other team individuals who “share similar aspirations.”

Each picked member will wear an especially custom-tailored SpaceX suit that is made to give a compressed climate to all individuals and route communications and cooling systems to the astronauts during regular flight.

Outstandingly, in January of a year ago, Maezawa additionally launched a weird campaign to locate a “female partner” who might go with him, accepting 27,722 applications from single women older than 20 years of age.

The selectee would co-star in a reality show about the interaction on Japanese streaming service AbemaTV.

Nonetheless, following analysis, he immediately canceled the search and issued an apology.

At this moment, pre-applications for the selection process are expected by March 14 at 6:59 p.m. PT and beginning screening will start a week later. The last interviews and medical checks are planned for late May.

Inspiration4, another civilian mission in support of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, means to take off in SpaceX’s Dragon – which is now affirmed for human flight – when the year’s end.

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iPhone 11 Fished Out of B.C. Lake, Still Works After 6 Months Underwater – iPhone in Canada

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Image: Aquatic Monkey on YouTube

An Apple iPhone 11 was recently fished out of British Columbia’s Harrison Lake by free divers Clayton Helkenberg and his wife Heather, with the phone remaining in fully-working condition and returned to its owner, reports CBC News.

[embedded content]

Clayton and Heather are free divers from Chilliwack who spend their spare time cleaning up the 279m deep Harrison Lake in British Columbia, and document their progress on their YouTube channel ‘Aquatic Monkey’.

The free diving couple’s adventures often include the odd smartphone or GoPro find at the bottom of the lake, but on this rare occasion, the phone simply worked as soon as Clayton tried turning it on at home.

“I took it home, cleaned the dirt off of it and it just turned right on, so it was pretty amazing”, said the free diver.

The iPhone performs beautifully in drop tests and even though iPhones are inherently well-waterproofed, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are known to simply excel at underwater endurance. Even so, just turning on after spending 6 months at the bottom of a lake is just something else.

This particular iPhone 11 belonged to Vancouver resident Fatemeh Ghodsi, who was understandably skeptical when Clayton texted her to inform her that he is in possession of the phone she lost in Harrison Lake six months ago.

Ghodsi originally dropped the phone in the water back in September while riding bumper boats in Lake Harrison. “I was in a situation where I kind of lost balance and dropped it in the water”, she said.

One flabbergasted trip to Chilliwack later, however, Ghodsi now has the iPhone 11 she had already made peace with losing back, and that too in full working condition. She was able to get back full access to your photos, contacts and more.

“I was in complete shock, initially to start with. It was kind of like a zombie phone coming back to me, because I’d totally made peace with it being gone”, she added.

Again, this goes to show the awesome waterproofing of Apple’s iPhones, which we’ve already seen in underwater tests. It’s also a good reminder to have some sort of backup plan in place, specifically with iCloud, so you can rest assured if you lose your phone, you won’t lose all your precious photos and data.

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