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Android 12 final beta welcomes Pixel 5a – full release just weeks away

The Android 12 roll out is just “weeks” away, Google has said, as it releases the final beta for this release cycle.

The Android 12 beta 5 is an official release candidate – meaning few, if any changes are expected – and is now accessible for people who’ve snapped-up the Pixel 5a too.

That’s great news considering Google always prioritises Pixel phones for Android updates on day one, as they tend to run the stock Android experience. Third-party phone makers should begin the rollout later into the autumn and winter season.

We’d expect Google to release the completed Android 12 operating system around the time it releases the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, with the flagships traditionally carrying the new OS out of the box.

“Beta 5 is the last update before the official Android 12 release coming in the weeks ahead,” the company tells app makers on the Android developer’s site. “Now is the time to make sure your apps are ready! Beta 5 is a release candidate build that you can use for your final testing as you prepare your compatible app updates for the official release later this year.”

Beta 5 brings very little in the way of new features and focuses on some minor fixes and and some slight aesthetic changes, which is little more than we’d expect at this stage of the development process.

The key new features like the Material You UI, which is a take on Googles Material Design ethos that informs design across apps and services, is one the biggest changes and has been around since the very first betas.

Google has also debuted a new notifications screen, which includes access to quick settings. There’s also a big focus on privacy and security, with Google alerting users when the device’s camera and microphone is in use by an app. Users will also have more detailed controls over which apps have access to them.

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