Android 12 Beta 5 update: Here’s everything that’s new!
Google just released the final Android 12 beta update earlier today. The Android 12 Beta 5 build for Pixel phones is considered a Release Candidate, so we’re one step away from the stable update that’s coming in just a few weeks. Given how close we are to the Android 12 stable update, it makes sense that the Beta 5 changelog is rather short and mostly filled with bug fixes. As always, the official changelog leaves a few details out of the picture, so we’ve installed the update on our own devices to find out what’s new.
Table of contents
- What’s new in Android 12 Beta 5?
- Official Release Notes
- Google Clock 7.0 brings Material You redesign
- Android 12’s lock screen gets a handy Device Controls shortcut
- Pixel Launcher gets a much faster search bar
- Android 12 “Paint Chips” widget
- New Private Compute Core privacy settings
- Google Calculator 8.0 update also brings Material You redesign
- The replacement for the “At a Glance” widget — Live Space — is partially working
- Marking a conversation as “priority” prompts you to add the conversation as a widget
What’s new in Android 12 Beta 5?
Official Release Notes
Before we get started, what does Google officially say is new in Android 12 Beta 5? According to the release notes, the final beta update resolves a few bugs uncovered in the previous releases. These include the following:
Resolved issues in Android 12 Beta 5
And that’s pretty much it. Google is already aware of a couple of bugs in the release, but there’s nothing too major to be concerned with. If all goes well, we should see the stable release of Android 12 in just a few weeks, possibly at the end of September or the beginning of October.
With that out of the way, here are the new features we found in Android 12 Beta 5.
Google Clock 7.0 brings Material You redesign
Android 12 Beta 5 comes preloaded with a new version of the Google Clock app. With version 7.0, Google Clock is the latest Google app to receive a Material You redesign. As you can see in the screenshots below, the Google Clock app now makes heavy use of larger bubbles for buttons and cards for alarm/clock entries. The timer UI has also been revamped in line with Material You, and each of the pages are ever so slightly more one-handed friendly as all interactive elements have been moved down the page.
What’s more interesting about the Google Clock 7.0 update is the redesigned widgets. Google first teased these widgets at I/O earlier this year, and users have been wondering when they’d be rolling out. Well, they’re finally here, and they look gorgeous. The analog, digital, and world clocks have all been revamped, and they all follow the system color palette generated from your wallpaper. The digital clocks are oval-shaped, while the analog clock now has 12 vertices (for each hour) that are rounded. The new analog clock is similar to the one used for Android 12’s Easter egg, except in the former’s case, there’s also a second’s hand denoted by a colored circle.
Android 12’s lock screen gets a handy Device Controls shortcut
One of the best features of Android 11 (at least, in my opinion) is Device Controls, an area in the power menu where you can add smart home shortcuts. Unfortunately, with the redesign of the power menu in Android 12, there’s no longer room for the Device Controls or Quick Access Wallet feature. Google didn’t get rid of Device Controls or the Quick Access Wallet feature, though, as they’re still both accessible from Quick Settings tiles, and in the latter case, the lock screen. Now with Android 12 Beta 5, Device Controls can also be accessed straight from the lock screen through a shortcut.
Pixel Launcher gets a much faster search bar
The Pixel Launcher now has a much faster universal search bar that not only lists your apps but also your contacts, settings, shortcuts, and a lot more. We previously had to manually enable this feature in Beta 4 through a development menu, but it’s now enabled by default in Android 12 Beta 5. For more info, check out the article we previously wrote or watch the quick demo we recorded last time (embedded below) to get the gist of it.
Android 12 “Paint Chips” widget
There’s a new widget that can only be unlocked after dialing the clock in Android 12’s Easter egg to midnight. This widget, called paint chips, surfaces all the colors generated by monet, Android 12’s theme engine that generates a palette of colors based on your wallpaper. You can tap on each item to see the exact color value and framework entry. This could be a useful tool if you’re looking to test your app with Android 12’s new theming system.
New Private Compute Core privacy settings
This one is really minor, but the Device Personalization Services settings page under Settings > Privacy has been renamed Private Compute Core. This page lets you turn off keyboard suggestions and other Android features that use on-device machine learning. Private Compute Core encompasses more than keyboard suggestions, as it’s the hub for all AI-driven features in Android 12.
Google Calculator 8.0 update also brings Material You redesign
Google Clock isn’t the only updated app to ship with Android 12 Beta 5. Google Calculator has been updated to version 8.0, and it, too, brings a Material You redesign, as shown in the screenshots below.
The replacement for the “At a Glance” widget — Live Space — is partially working
After updating to Android 12 Beta 5, many users noticed that the settings page for the “At a Glance” widget is broken, and that the widget no longer shows the current weather info. The reason is likely because the widget will soon be replaced by “Live Space“, a new widget with multiple panes that proactively shows information from various Google apps and services. The widget automatically adds new panes that you can swipe through whenever a timer has been set or a stopwatch is counting in the Google Clock app, there’s an upcoming event or reminder in Google Calendar, and more. Beta 5 is the first time we’ve seen Live Space work, though we don’t have screenshots of all the supported “proactive moments”, such as the severe weather alert, flight alert, and commute info (mostly because none of these moments are applicable to me right now).
The screenshot embedded below shows the settings page for Live Space, which is oddly still called “At a Glance” on my device.
Marking a conversation as “priority” prompts you to add the conversation as a widget
As spotted by the GooglePixels Telegram group, after marking a conversation as “priority” in Android 12 Beta 5, the Pixel Launcher will ask you if you want to add a conversation widget to the home screen with that contact.
That’s all of the new features and changes we found so far in Android 12 Beta 5. We’ll continue digging into the release to see if there’s anything else we missed, and if we do, we’ll update this article. If you find something yourself, send us a tip to let us know!