Android versions: A living history from 1.0 to 15

    Android 10 packed loads of different quietly essential enhancements, together with an up to date permissions system with extra granular management over location information together with a brand new system-wide darkish theme, a brand new distraction-limiting Focus Mode, and a brand new on-demand dwell captioning system for any actively enjoying media.

    Android 10’s new privateness permissions mannequin provides some much-needed nuance into the realm of location information.
    JR Raphael / IDG

    Android model 11

    Android 11, launched at first of September 2020, was a reasonably substantial Android replace each below the hood and on the floor. The model’s most important adjustments revolve round privateness: The replace constructed upon the expanded permissions system launched in Android 10 and added within the choice to grant apps location, digicam, and microphone permissions solely on a restricted, single-use foundation.

    Android 11 additionally made it harder for apps to request the power to detect your location within the background, and it launched a function that mechanically revokes permissions from any apps you haven’t opened these days. On the interface stage, Android 11 included a refined strategy to conversation-related notifications together with a brand new streamlined media participant, a brand new Notification History part, a local screen-recording function, and a system-level menu of connected-device controls.

    Android 11’s new media participant seems as a part of the system Quick Settings panel, whereas the brand new connected-device management display screen comes up everytime you press and maintain your telephone’s bodily energy button.
    JR Raphael / IDG

    Android model 12

    Google formally launched the ultimate model of Android 12 in October 2021, alongside the launch of its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro telephones.

    In a twist from the earlier a number of Android variations, probably the most important progressions with Android 12 had been totally on the floor. Android 12 featured the largest reimagining of Android’s interface since 2014’s Android 5.0 (Lollipop) model, with an up to date design customary generally known as Material You — which revolves across the concept of you customizing the looks of your machine with dynamically generated themes primarily based in your present wallpaper colours. Those themes mechanically change anytime your wallpaper adjustments, they usually lengthen all through the whole working system interface and even into the interfaces of apps that assist the usual.

    Android 12 ushered in a complete new feel and look for the working system, with an emphasis on easy coloration customization.Google

    Surface-level components apart, Android 12 introduced a (lengthy overdue) renewed focus to Android’s widget system together with a number of essential foundational enhancements within the areas of efficiency, safety, and privateness. The replace offered extra highly effective and accessible controls over how completely different apps are utilizing your information and the way a lot data you enable apps to entry, as an illustration, and it included a brand new remoted part of the working system that enables AI options to function completely on a tool, with none potential for community entry or information publicity.

    Android model 13

    Android 13, launched in August 2022, is one among Google’s strangest Android variations but. The software program is concurrently probably the most formidable updates in Android historical past and probably the most refined model adjustments up to now. It’s an uncommon duality, and it finally all comes all the way down to what kind of machine you’re utilizing to expertise the software program.

    On the previous entrance, Android 13 introduces a complete new interface design for each tablets and foldable telephones, with a renewed give attention to creating an distinctive large-screen expertise within the working system itself and inside apps (as first noticed and reported by Computerworld in January). The enhancements in that space embrace a contemporary framework and collection of pointers for app optimizations together with a extra succesful split-screen mode for multitasking and a ChromeOS-like desktop-style taskbar that makes it simple to entry ceaselessly used apps from wherever — enhancements we now know had been aimed initially at Google’s Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet units, although their affect and results have definitely stretched past these two merchandise.


    On the latter entrance, Android 13 additionally laid the groundwork for the Pixel Tablet to operate as a stationary Smart Display after which will let you detach its display screen and use it as a pill. The software program launched assist for a complete new collection of shared-surface widgets and screensavers together with an expanded multiuser profile system for that goal.

    On common telephones, Android 13 is way much less important — and actually, most individuals most likely received’t even discover its arrival. Along with some minor visible refinements, the software program introduces an expanded clipboard system that means that you can see and edit textual content because it’s copied, a local QR code scanning operate inside the Android Quick Settings space, and a smattering of under-the-hood enhancements linked to privateness, safety, and efficiency.

    Android model 14

    Following a full eight months of out-in-the-open refinement, Google’s 14th Android model landed at first of October 2023 within the midst of the corporate’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro launch occasion.

    Like the model earlier than it, Android 14 doesn’t appear like a lot on the floor. That’s partly due to the development of Google transferring increasingly towards a growth cycle that revolves round smaller ongoing updates to particular person system-level components year-round — one thing that’s truly a big benefit for Android customers, even when it does have a clumsy impact on individuals’s notion of progress.

    But regardless of the refined nature of its first impression, Android 14 features a honest quantity of noteworthy new stuff. The software program introduces a brand new system for dragging and dropping textual content between apps, as an illustration, in addition to a brand new collection of native customization choices for the Android lock display screen.

    Android 14 consists of choices for fully altering the looks of the lock display screen in addition to for customizing which shortcuts present up on it.
    JR Raphael / IDG

    Android 14 gives plenty of new enhancements to privateness and safety, too, together with a brand new settings-integrated dashboard for managing all of your well being and health information and controlling which apps and units can entry it. And it provides in a extra info-rich and context-requiring system for seeing precisely why apps need entry to your location once they request such a permission.

    The software program additionally sports activities a collection of serious accessibility additions, comparable to an enhanced on-demand magnifier, a neater solution to enhance font dimension in any app, improved assist for listening to assist connections, and a built-in choice to have your telephone flash its digicam gentle anytime a brand new notification arrives.

    Beyond that, Android 14 encompasses a first style of Google’s AI-generated customized wallpaper creator, although that’s out there solely on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro to begin.

    You can generate all kinds of attention-grabbing wallpapers in seconds through Android 14’s AI generator function — however solely on the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro for now.
    JR Raphael / IDG

    Android 14 rolled out to Google’s actively supported Pixel units in early October, on the day of its launch, and has been making its approach slowly however certainly to different Android telephones and tablets within the weeks since.

    Android model 15 (beta)

    Google acquired its first developer preview of 2024’s Android 15 replace out into the universe in late February and moved on to a public beta construct of the software program in early April.

    As usually occurs with new Android variations, the beta software program is beginning out considerably naked bones — with a lot of the higher-profile, headline-worthy options nonetheless out of sight and below wraps. At this level, the official components Google’s discussing and making seen revolve primarily round under-the-hood enhancements and developer-aimed changes.

    That being mentioned, now we have a reasonably good concept of what front-facing options we’d see as the event strikes ahead. Bits of behind-the-scenes code recommend Android 15 might embrace a brand new system for stopping overly aggressive notifications, together with a less complicated solution to faucet into Android’s split-screen system, an “Adaptive Touch” function that’d mechanically alter your display screen to be as responsive as potential in several eventualities, and the long-awaited return of the now-12-year-old lock display screen widgets idea — in sure contexts, a minimum of.

    It additionally seems more and more probably that Android 15 will introduce a brand new “Private Space” choice that’ll make it potential to create a separate, locked-down profile for securing particularly delicate apps and information (one thing some device-makers have added into their variations of the software program for a while however that’s by no means earlier than been a constant, official a part of the platform).

    Google is predicted to launch 4 Android 15 beta variations in all, with a remaining launch following someday within the late summer season to early fall months — as early as July, probably, although that timing is at all times a floating goal. (For context, bear in mind: Android 14 didn’t arrive till early October. Android 13 earlier than it confirmed up in mid-August. Anything’s potential.)

    We’ll nearly definitely hear rather more about Android 15’s progress and a minimum of a few of the software program’s important options on the Google I/O firm convention in May, so keep tuned: This story is simply simply getting began, and the largest information is completely nonetheless forward of us.

    This article was initially revealed in November 2017 and most lately up to date in April 2024.

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