What you need to know
- Google releases the 3rd Android beta with a few notable features.
- The update brings native scrolling screenshots and on-device search for app content.
- Auto-rotate uses the camera to detect phone orientation more quickly.
Google has begun rolling out Android 12 Beta 3 as the upcoming update nears platform stability. While Beta 2 was all about introducing new privacy enhancements, Beta 3 focuses more on utility, bringing some highly requested features while improving on others.
The first major feature coming to the new beta is native scrolling screenshots. This is a feature long requested by many Android users on phones like the Google Pixel 5, while many of the best Android phones already have their own implementation.
When taking a screenshot, users will see a "Capture more" button to capture the full page, which can then be cropped to get just what you need.
Better, faster auto-rotate
Google is also making auto-rotate faster by using the front-facing camera to detect the orientation of the device. This should improve the experience "for people who are using their devices while lying down on a couch or in bed, for example." The feature uses the new Private Compute Core so that images only live on-device and are never sent to Google.
Thanks to face detection and additional optimizations from Google, auto-rotate should be at least 25% faster than before. This feature will be available on Google smartphones from the Pixel 4 and newer.
Other Beta 3 features
Other features for Beta 3 include administrative access for enterprises to the camera and mic toggles introduced in Beta 2, privacy indicator APIs to help adjust the position of the app content around the indicators, and a new on-device search engine for apps that lets users easily pull up results for content from within apps or across their device.
Google is also highlighting its new focus on mobile gaming with recently announced features like Play as You Download and a new game dashboard, the latter of which is coming to select devices later this year.
Android 12 Beta 3 is available now on select Pixel phones and can be installed via an OTA update. Several other OEMs are participating in the beta program but the availability of this latest built may vary.
The next build, Beta 4, will bring Android 12 to platform stability, which means all APIs and app-facing system behaviors will be final. At this point, Developers won't have to worry about additional platform changes that could affect their apps. This will roll out in August before the full, stable version of Android 12 is released sometime after.
Get Android 12 first
The early-adopter phone
The Google Pixel 5 is one of the best value flagship smartphones. It has exceptional cameras, fast updates and is usually the first to gain the latest features arriving on Android. If you're an early adopter, this phone will be the best choice to try Android 12 before most people.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.