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Android 15: What’s New and Better

TLDR: Android 15’s second beta brings better multitasking, a private space for sensitive apps, partial screen recording, and more. Anti-theft features, smoother passkey use, and minor improvements are also included. Some hidden features may or may not make the final cut. More updates are likely before the full release around October, so stay tuned for further announcements.

Google I/O 2024 is over. The second beta release of Android 15 is here. It’s time to sum up what’s coming to the OS this year.

Want to beta test? Check if your device qualifies. Google Pixel owners can join. Some third-party phones are included too, like OnePlus and Nothing (but not Samsung yet).

Remember, features may be added or removed before the full launch around October. But here’s what’s new and better in Android 15 so far.

Better Multitasking on Big Screens
Android 15 will enhance multitasking on tablets and large displays. You can pin the taskbar permanently for a desktop-like feel. Split-screen app pairs, like Gmail and YouTube, can be saved and pinned to the taskbar.

A Private Space for Sensitive Apps
Android 15 adds a secure private space to lock away sensitive apps and data. Samsung phones already have Secure Folder. Now it’s built into Android for everyone.

It creates a new section in the app drawer needing extra verification, like a passcode or fingerprint. You can install any apps here, including separate Camera, Google Photos, and Chrome for private photos, videos, and browsing.

See Where You’re Going Back To
The oddly named “predictive back” feature shows a quick preview of where you’re going back to when you use the back gesture. So you might see the website you just left or the home screen before completing the gesture.

Record Just Part of the Screen
Android 15 lets you record only part of the screen. Handy for tutorials, troubleshooting, or other screen recording needs. It’s in Android’s screen recorder and available for developers to add to their apps.

New Look for Volume Controls
A minor but frequent change: tapping the three dots on the volume slider now shows a bigger panel. Easier to adjust media, alarm, and call volumes. You can also access connected Bluetooth devices from there.

Satellite Messaging Coming?
Android phones might finally get satellite messaging like iPhones. Android 15 will “extend platform support for satellite connectivity” in software. But hardware and network partners are needed too.

Rich Widget Previews
Widgets aren’t new in Android. But when adding them, you usually just see generic examples. In Android 15, developers can add rich previews. So when adding a contact widget, you’ll preview how it looks with a real contact.

Customize Your Vibrations
Always have your phone muted? Android apps could already set custom vibrations. In Android 15, you can set them yourself for specific notification channels. One buzz for email, two for texts, for instance.

Keeping One-Time Passwords Safe
Some accounts send one-time passwords (OTPs) to verify it’s really you. Android 15 won’t show these on-screen. Minimizes risk of shoulder surfing or screen recording password theft.

Smarter Anti-Theft Protection
Google is boosting Android’s anti-theft features. Theft Detection Lock will use AI to sense if your phone is snatched quickly and auto-lock. Also kicks in if your phone is offline for too long or after too many failed logins.

You can also remotely lock your device more easily. These are coming to Android 10 or later this year. But one is Android 15 exclusive: your device can’t be reset without your Google account login. Only you can do it.

Smoother Passkey Use
Android 15 streamlines passkey support – using a fingerprint or other phone unlock instead of a password for your Google account. The account selection and confirmation screens are now combined. There’s also a new restore feature to move your credentials to a new phone more easily.

And More Minor Goodies
Android updates always have smaller tweaks that are still nice to have:

  • More efficient video processing
  • Better handling of foreground apps for longer battery life
  • Security to stop bad apps from hijacking tasks from good apps
  • Health Connect can pull more data from more apps over a longer time

And Some Hidden Treasures
Code diggers have found some disabled features that may or may not make the final Android 15:

  • A Samsung DeX-like desktop mode
  • A status page for storage health
  • An extra-dim mode for reading in the dark
    We can’t promise these will be in the final release. But we’ll likely get more updates before then. We’re not on the last version yet.

Stay Tuned
Google might choose to leave out some of these features in the full Android 15. But more announcements are likely coming. We’re far from the end of the software saga.


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