I’ve been using the Android 12 beta since I got my Pixel 3a XL, and I have some thoughts that you might be interested in.
Before we begin, be sure to check out my Twitter for the latest info on Android 12, as I always post a thread when a new beta is released!
Originally, I was rooted using Magisk, but within the last 2 weeks or so, I decided to remove root so I could use my banking and work apps without a separate phone.
I doubt rooting caused any of the major issues I was having, but it’s worth noting here since it can change the overall experience if one isn’t careful, or doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Part 1: Many, MANY bugs have been fixed.
The biggest 2 issues I was having were with the notification panel, and with the lock screen.
First, the notification panel.
This damn thing was notorious for toggles disappearing, the background of the notifications turning transparent, and a handful of other visual glitches and bugs. Both of the mentioned issues have been fixed (for me) in b3. I haven’t had them occur once, rooted or not.
This wasn’t a huge deal to me, as it could usually be fixed with a quick lock/unlock, but it was definitely not the intended behavior, and I’m glad to see it fixed.
Interestingly, in MKBHD’s video on the Android 12 beta, you can see this bug occur very briefly at the 6:35 mark. You’ll see the opaque, white background of the panel disappear and show the home screen through it.
Secondly, the lock screen and AOD.
This one made me want to throw my phone at something. Or someone…
Whenever I’d get an AOD notification, and I’d wake my phone (raise or double-tap), it would always, every time, fail to turn on. The AOD would get stuck, and I’d have to re-lock the phone and then unlock it, as if it had never unlocked in the first place.
This was insanely annoying, as I had to train myself to wait a few seconds before checking notifications on my phone. The AOD notification would have to dismiss itself, THEN I could unlock my phone. Yeah, not fun.
Thank *insert deity of your choice here* that this was fixed.
Now, the other major bug that I had was with the lock screen itself, and this one made me really want to break my phone.
About once a day, whenever I’d unlock the phone, the lock screen would seem to dismiss with no issue. However, touch input wouldn’t work, other than the notification shade gesture, and the home gesture. (No, not even the back gesture worked.)
I didn’t know what this was at first, but when I pulled the notification panel down, I would see the damn pattern dots from the lock screen re-appear, ON TOP OF whatever was on the screen. There might’ve been swearing at this point.
This was a particularly frustrating bug, as no matter what I did, lock the screen, enter my pattern, anything: it would just do the same thing. I couldn’t open or do anything; all I could do to fix it was to restart the phone. Not fun.
Again, thank the heavens that this was fixed, because this particular bug almost made me switch to Android 11. I REALLY despised my phone for this.
Part 2: Material You is Even More Amazing
As a Graphic and Advertising Design (now graduated) student, finding hints of great design throughout different surfaces and spaces.
Android 12 introduced Material You; a design system that would color icons, menus, apps, and more based on colors chosen from your wallpaper.
The implementation thus far has been pretty barebones, although it has picked up more features and fixes throughout the betas.
Beta 3 improves on this dramatically, adding the ability to actually chose between different color palates, as well as a few preset colors.
And oh boy, does it look damn good.
It applies in a ton of places, and it just makes the experience feel more personal and alive. I don’t know how we went so long without something like this, because, after using the betas for a while now; it feels archaic to go back to the old way of theming: nothing at all.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be improved upon in the next beta, as we are still missing some key features mentioned in the Material You reveal, but in its current form; Material You is GORGEOUS!
Part 3: Dem Animations Doe
I will admit that this is a smaller one, but is one that I’ve come to appreciate immensely.
Android 12 introduces a handful of new systemwide animations (with more to come eventually) that make the experience much more fluid and bouncy.
I’m not going to go into lots of detail, as we’d really be getting into the weeds, but I will point out one of the ones I particularly like. When you unlock the device with a fingerprint, the screen illuminates from the center, with this neat blur effect that’s really only explainable through video. (Thanks to @9to5Google for this one!)
Things like this really add up to the overall user experience, and I’m glad to see Google taking the time to perfect the little things here!
Overall, even though we’re still in beta, I am super happy with Android 12. I cannot explain how excited I am for the final release, which will include widgets, more Material You theming, and so much more. Google has really outdone themselves here, and I can’t give them enough praise.
In the coming weeks, we should see much more in Android 12, and I hope that we see some new stuff very soon!