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Android 12 release date: New privacy indicator will notify users when apps use their camera and microphone

Photo credit: Daniel Romero (@rmrdnl) / Unsplash

Google appears to be working on new privacy features that could be introduced in the upcoming Android 12 update. A new leak appeared recently online, suggesting that the operating system update might include an option that lets users know when apps are using their device’s cameras and microphones.

Android 12 could feature iOS 14-like privacy features

A screenshot from a supposed early draft of Android 12 has been leaked in a report by XDA Developers. While there are several notable changes in the UI and notification panel, a privacy-related feature should catch the attention of Android users.

On the upper right corner of the reported Android 12 screenshot, there is an oval-shaped green privacy indicator with icons of camera and microphone. The leak does not explain much about the screenshot, but this particular feature looks similar to the indicator introduced in iOS 14.

If Android 12’s version is supposed to work the same way, it means this green indicator would appear whenever an app is using the device’s microphone and camera. In iOS 14, Apple has also added a history page in the Control Center where users can review what apps have used these sensors recently.

The Android 12 screenshot was reportedly part of an “early draft” to be distributed to Google partners summing up what to expect from the update. And the same report noted that Google has been testing new privacy features for the Android OS for the last two years. There is then a good chance that this privacy indicator could be one of the new options that Android 12 would deliver in the coming months.

As for the UI, the same leak also shows several changes to expect, such as a new light beige background color sans the transparent setting. Google will maintain the setup that separates conversation alerts from other notifications. But the quick setting panel appears smaller and only accommodates four tiles of bigger icons. The placement of time and date is also swapped in the screenshot.

Android 12 release date: When to expect the next update

New Android updates go through months of beta testing. The Android 12 developer preview is rumored to roll out within this week or the next. Meanwhile, it is expected to be initially accessible via Google Pixel smartphones only. Google usually releases the full version of an Android update to the public around the latter part of the year.

Featured photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

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