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Android 12 expected features: 'App Pairs', restricted networking mode, app hibernation and more

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Google is expected to unveil Android 12 Developer Preview as early as next week. App pairs, Wi-Fi password sharing and more features expected.

Android 12, which is Google's next-generation Android variant is expected to be unveiled soon. If one goes by the previous timeline, the Android 12 Developer Preview could be announced as early as February, which is when the Developer Preview of Android 11 was launched last year. Ahead of the official preview, several features of Android 12 have been leaked including app hibernation, 'App Pairs', restricted networking mode, and the ability to share Wi-Fi passwords with nearby devices. Also Read - How to download paid apps for free using Google Rewards

At this point, there is little known about Android 12, though it is expected that more information will be revealed in the coming days. We take a look at all the features of Google's Android 12 that we know so far: Also Read - Apple now lets you transfer iCloud photos to Google Photos: Here's how

Android 12: Five expected features

App Pairs Also Read - Best Phone to buy under 35000 in India in 2021

Mockup image of App Pairs feature. (Image source: 9to5Google)

App Pairs, which is a revamped version of split-screen, will let users use two apps on their smartphone side by side more conveniently. App Pairs will group two apps together as one task, as opposed to split-screen that effectively pins one app, according to a 9to5Google report. Two apps can be opened individually to form a pair. Once paired, users will be able to swap to a different single app and then swap back to the original pair.

Wi-Fi password sharing with nearby devices

Wi-Fi password sharing with nearby devices will reportedly get simpler in Android 12. The new feature was spotted by Google engineer Abel Tesfaye (via XDA Developers) in a new commit submitted to AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Notably, Google already allows for sharing Wi-Fi passwords via a generated QR code, thanks to Android 10's Nearby Share feature.

In Android 12, Google will reportedly make it even simpler to share Wi-Fi passwords without the need for a QR code. This is also included in the Nearby Share feature. Of course, consent from both sender and receiver will be required to share Wi-Fi passwords, though we will need to wait for an official confirmation to know more.

Restricted networking mode

The restricted networking mode for Android 12 is a new firewall chain with a set of rules that the Linux iptable utility follows to allow or block network traffic. Once activated, the apps that have access to the right permissions will be allowed to use the network. Of course, permission can only be granted to system applications and or to applications signed by the OEM. It is unclear at this point whether a toggle for restricted networking mode will be included in Android 12. The restricted networking mode feature was also spotted by XDA Developers in commits in AOSP.

App hibernation

Google is reportedly working on a new app hibernation feature, which is said to optimize storage on devices by managing app hibernation state. This was spotted (via XDA Developers) in code changes submitted to AOSP. The feature will essentially "manage app hibernation state, a state that apps can enter that means they are not being actively used and can be optimized for storage."

Do note that app hibernation is different from the Doze and App Standby features that Google already offers.

More privacy when installing third-party app stores

Android already supports apps from multiple app stores, and users can install additional app stores as well. With Android 12, Google wants to make the experience even better by offering more safety measures when it comes to installing third-party app stores.

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Published:Fri, January 22, 2021 2:51pm | Updated:Fri, January 22, 2021 5:11pm

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