Android 12 refocuses on privacy with Private Compute Core and Privacy Dashboard
Google introduces new privacy features to ensure that your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands with every major Android release. Last year, Google introduced new privacy settings in Android 11 to prevent apps from grabbing your location while running in the background, one-time permissions to prevent apps from gaining permanent access to sensitive permissions, and more. With Android 12, Google is taking things a step further, and we recently got a chance to see what the new privacy settings might look like. Now that Google I/O 2021 is underway, the company has shared more information about two crucial privacy features coming in Android 12 — Privacy Dashboard and Private Compute Core.
Google has now confirmed that Android 12 will include a Privacy Dashboard that will give users easy access to all their privacy settings. As seen in previous leaks, the Privacy Dashboard will show you a timeline of when apps access your phone’s camera, microphone, or device location.
As you can see in the attached screenshot, the Privacy Dashboard will give you an overview of the number of times apps accessed your camera, microphone, and location in the last 24 hours. It’ll also give you a quick overview of all the apps that have access to these permissions. Additionally, Android 12 will also include new indicators to show when your phone’s camera or microphone are in use.
For apps that require location apps, Android 12 will also offer a new setting that will let you share your approximate location with the app instead of your precise location. This setting will show up within the location permission pop-up that you’re probably already familiar with.
Furthermore, Android 12 will include new toggles in the Quick Settings to help you quickly disable camera and microphone access for all apps with a simple tap. These toggles will initially be limited to Pixel devices, but they’ll make their way to other phones soon.
Private Compute Core
Android 12 will also feature a Private Compute Core that will keep your information private for several AI-driven features, like Live Caption, Now Playing and Smart Reply. The Private Compute Core will be a safe partition within the operating system, similar to the ones used for password and biometric data, for these machine learning features. Having a separate partition for the data will make it easier for the operating system to keep it safe, while still keeping it available for system-level functions. This means that sensitive audio and language processing for the features mentioned above will happen exclusively on your device, “isolate from the network to preserve your privacy.”
These new features were announced alongside several other privacy-centric features like Quick delete in Search, a Locked Folder in Google Photos, and Location History reminders in Maps. You can learn more about these features by checking out the rest of our Google I/O 2021 coverage.