This Week in Tech: New WhatsApp features, Rootless themes return to Android, and more
While the last week was quite eventful in the world of tech, this past week was relatively slow. Other than a few new tidbits about the latest software releases, a couple of new WhatsApp features, and a few more Pixel 6 leaks, nothing significant happened this week. However, that’s just the calm before the storm, as the coming week will be packed with some major announcements from Apple and Samsung. Nonetheless, if you missed any of our coverage this week, here’s a brief recap of all the significant developments in the tech world this week.
New WhatsApp features
The Facebook-owned popular messenger WhatsApp received a couple of updates this week. One of the updates on the stable channel introduced a new feature that has been in development for over a year — end-to-end encrypted backups. If you’re a regular WhatsApp user, you can now install the latest update from the Play Store and encrypt your chat backup using a unique password or 64-digit key.
WhatsApp also received some updates on the beta channel that gave us a look at some in-development features. We learned about an upcoming Community feature in an APK teardown of the app, which will likely be another way to better organize groups in the messenger. We also learned that WhatsApp is working on improving the voice recording feature with a new option that would let users pause voice recordings.
Rootless themes return to Android
Rootless themes are making a comeback with Android 12, thanks to the new Fabricated Overlays API. As XDA’s Zachary Wander highlighted in a post this week, developers can use a loophole in this API to implement themes without requiring root access or signature-level permission. If you’re interested in developing a rootless theme for devices running Android 12, you can learn more about the API by following the link above.
Along with this discovery, we got our first look at Android 12’s Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) this week. While it doesn’t include any interesting consumer-facing changes, it does outline new performance classes for devices running Android 12 for OEMs. You can learn more about these classes by checking out our previous coverage.
Windows updates and performance issues
Microsoft rolled out the first Windows 11 post-launch update this week. The update introduced several bug fixes. However, it reportedly didn’t the performance issues on AMD processors. In fact, some reports suggest that the update exacerbates the issues, so we recommend not installing it if you have an AMD-based PC. You might not have to wait too long to install the update, though, as Microsoft has already started testing a fix on the Windows Insider Beta and Release Preview channels.
Microsoft also rolled out a new Windows 11 build on the Dev channel, with redesigned emoji, support for Update Stack Packages, and more. However, users are reportedly not happy with the new emoji redesign. In addition, Microsoft released Windows 10 build 19043.1288 and Windows Subsystem for Linux on the Microsoft Store. We also got a brief glimpse of Android apps running on Windows 11.
Even more Pixel 6 leaks
Google seems to be having a tough time keeping a lid on information about its upcoming Pixel 6 lineup. This week, we saw even more leaks about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, including more high-resolution renders, information about the Pixel Pass, and a leaked advertisement for the devices. In addition, we spotted more details about the second-gen Pixel Stand in the latest update for the Pixel Stand app and learned that the Pixel 6 series could get Android 16 and an additional year of security patches.
Other stories you shouldn’t miss
Along with these noteworthy announcements, we shared the following stories that you might have missed:
- Genshin Impact now offers a 120FPS mode on iPhone 13 Pro and iPad Pro models
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE now reportedly slated for a January release
- Sony will let you register for an invite to purchase a PlayStation 5 this holiday season
- Realme unveils Realme GT Neo 2, Realme UI 3.0, and 4K Google TV Stick
- Realme shares Realme UI 3.0 early access release timeline for several devices
- OPPO shares ColorOS 12 beta release timeline for several devices
- Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy coming to Android and iOS in 2022
- Nothing is reportedly launching its first smartphone in early 2022
- USB C on iPhone? It’s already a reality. Kind of
- An early build of LineageOS 19.0 based on Android 12 is available for the Exynos Galaxy S10 series
- OnePlus 9RT & Buds Z2 bring premium features at an affordable price
- Google TV receives multi-user profile support, glanceable cards in ambient mode, and more
- Irish DPC proposes fining Facebook up to €36 million
- Google preps Digital Car Key support with latest Play services update
- Hold your Pixels: Apple sends out invitations for its Mac “Unleashed” event
- Samsung’s next Unpacked event is set for October 20
- Verizon-owned Visible network suffers suspected data breach
- Redmi K50 series specifications leaked months ahead of launch
- OnePlus might launch a Pac-Man-themed device soon
XDA’s thoughts on the latest hardware and software
Additionally, we published editorials, reviews, first impressions, and comparisons for several new devices and software this week. You can check those out by following the links below:
- Hands-on with Samsung One UI 4.0 Beta 2: Theming, Virtual RAM, and more!
- Hands-on with ColorOS 12 based on Android 12: Here’s everything new in the latest update for OPPO smartphones
- macOS Monterey review: The calm after Big Sur
- Cursive Review: Hands on with Google’s new writing app for Chromebooks
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro vs Google Pixel 5: These cameras shouldn’t be so competitive
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Vivo X70 Pro Plus: Battle for the Crown of the Best Camera on Android
- Red Magic 6S Pro Review: An unmatched gaming experience
- Want to import a phone to the U.S.? Here’s why you should reconsider