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Android 14 Beta 1 is here with a fancy new back arrow button

Today is one of the coolest days of the year for Android diehards! The first Android 14 Beta update is now available for Google Pixel phones.

If you have a Pixel 4a all the way up to a Pixel 7 Pro, you’ll be able to download the first public beta onto your handset and get a glimpse of the work-in-progress operating system scheduled to launch this summer.

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Google has blogged about the release, offering users insight into what to expect, including what’s described as a smarter system UI, and greater support for tablets and foldables. The new features are few and far between right now, but this year is scheduled to be more of a maintenance-based update anyway.

In terms of the user-facing features, there’s the new gesture-based mid-display back arrow UI feature that matches your selected colour scheme.

“The gesture navigation experience includes a more prominent back arrow while interacting with your app to help improve back gesture understanding and usefulness,” Google says in the blog post. “The back arrow also compliments the user’s wallpaper or device theme.”

Elsewhere, Google is also trumpeting the new system share sheet, which is the the menu you’ll see when you attempt to share an image or link from within in an app. In all honesty, it looks exactly like the iOS feature.

Android 14 share screen

As Google already revealed in the developer previews, there’ll be per-app language preferences, greater graphical capabilities from the Parth API, and enhanced accessibility options. Over the next few months Google plans to continue the development of Android 14, before entering the platform stability stages in June and July. The final release will come thereafter, probably in August.

“Today we’re releasing the first Beta of Android 14, building around our core themes of privacy, security, performance, developer productivity, and user customisation while continuing to improve the large-screen device experience on tablets, foldables, and more. We’ve been making steady progress refining the features and stability of Android 14, and it’s time to open the experience up to both developers and early-adopters,” wrote Dave Burke, Android’s VP of Engineering, on the Android Developers blog.

You can download the Android 14 Factory Images here. Of course, we’d always recommend downloading beta versions of software on secondary devices. The Android 14 software is around 3 months from being completed, so don’t expect it to act like your Pixel would on Android 13.

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