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Android 12's gestures navigation works better in full-screen and immersive views

You either love or hate gesture-based navigation. Fortunately, Android lets you use whichever you like best. But even if you’re all about swiping around with the smaller navigation bar, there’s always been one sort of annoying impediment: Exiting the full-screen view in apps. It’s one tap or swipe to bring up the navigation elements and another to actually swipe home or back. But Android 12 fixes that; it’s all just one swipe now (though apps may need to be updated to do it).

Pixel dark theme is no longer pitch black on Android 12

The system-wide dark theme was one of the headlining features of Android 10 when it was released in 2019. The exact implementation varied by device, but on Google’s Pixel theme, the dark theme was completely black. Google appears to be tweaking this, as the first Android 12 beta changes the primary color to a blueish tint.

Pixel 5's hole punch can be hidden on Android 12

Many phones with notches or camera holes have options to ‘hide’ the cutout, usually by filling in the space around it with a black background and/or shifting the status bar down. Google offered the feature on the Pixel 3 XL, and now it’s coming to the newer Pixel 5.

The first Android 12 preview lands today with more changes than we expected

The Android 12 Developer Preview lands today! Breaking with the expected schedule, Google has just pushed out our very first taste of the next version of Android, available now for the Pixel 3 series, 3a series, Pixel 4 series, Pixel 4a series, and the lonesome Pixel 5. Developers that this release actually targets can also get their Android 12 on via Android Studio’s emulator.

Pixel Launcher gets a 4x5 grid size option on Android 12

Android diehards love their customization, and Android 12 seems poised to introduce several new system-level ways to make your phone uniquely yours. One such (minor) way: the Pixel Launcher supports a grid size of four by five icons in the first developer preview, a previously unavailable option.

Android 12 has an iPhone-style one-handed mode

Phones just keep getting bigger, and there’s no sign things will change anytime soon. As such, one-handed modes are a common add-on from Samsung, Motorola, and other OEMs, but Google hasn’t implemented its own version until now. Android 12 has a one-handed mode as rumored, and it’s reportedly fully functional. However, it’s not exposed in the settings in the first preview build.

Android 12's system settings are looking a little blue

The system settings are feeling a little blue on Android 12. While not too much has changed when it comes to the general layout and iconography, the background has gained a light blue look, visible in all panels except for the top level menu. Coupled with the light blue notification shade (or a dark blue variant when using dark mode), we presume that Google might be prepping some theming options.

ASUS schedules March announcement for ROG Phone 5

ASUS looks intent on pushing a fast follow-up to its $1,000 gamer-focused ROG Phone 3 — the poor thing only came out in October and it’s got a successor lined up for March 9. Because the word “four” is a homonym for “death” in most Asian languages (where most of the major tech manufacturers are), we’re talking about the ROG Phone 5.

Google is experimenting in Android 12 with disabling the little-known notification half-swipe

Google may be experimenting with turning off one of Android’s lesser-used features. Most folks don’t know it, but you can half-drag a notification to bring up additional options for it. Once upon a time, you could use that to snooze notifications (and that has a new spot in Android 12), but now it’s just a way to trigger the per-notification settings, just like a long-press. Well, given its functionality was both limited, non-intuitive, and a duplicate, it’s probably no surprise that Google’s experimenting with outright disabling it.

Android 12 lets you limit which apps will display media controls in Quick Settings

Last year Android 11 gave us a new way to control what’s playing on our phones, with the introduction of a media playback interface that lived up in the Quick Settings panel. While its development (to say nothing of its arrival) was a bit rough, having those prominent controls sure proved to ultimately be a very useful addition. Now with Android 12 DP1 arriving to give us an early taste of what’s next, we’re starting to see some new functionality arrive for the media controls.

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Brian Jones

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