16 ways Android 14 will subtly improve your phone

It wouldn’t be Google I/O if the company hadn’t had a new version of its smartphone and tablet operating system waiting in the wings – and while Android 14 was completely surpassed by AI and the company’s first foldable phone, it’s since learned more from the company’s developer sessions.

Don’t get too excited: these changes are subtle! But here are a few ways Google’s “Upside Down Cake” could make your life a little sweeter when it arrives this fall.

Ditch passwords

Passkeys are already there, but not evenly distributed. In Android 14, third-party apps can use your Android phone and your fingerprint only to register and let you in.

There’s a new Credential Manager in Android 14 to guide you through these steps, and it can store multiple passwords And passwords per app:

Realistically, it will take some time for apps to use passkeys, but a lot password managers and login services will add them faster. Google says 1Password, Dashlane, Keeper, and Okta “will be available when Android 14 launches.”

Stop shady data brokers

Ever had a perfectly good app that turned around and sell your data to advertisers, data brokers or worse? You may never have known it, but in Android 14 your phone will send you a monthly alert whenever apps have changed their data sharing practices. Assuming Google finds out anyway.

It’s part of a new data security initiative and you can see what it could look like in the images below:

You also get a specific warning when apps ask you for permission to share your location: a button labeled “this app has indicated that it may be sharing location data with third parties” that you can tap for more information.

No more “urgent” notification spam clogging your screen

Google has decided that “extremely high priority” full-screen notifications probably aren’t something any developer should be able to do. As of Android 14, they are only for incoming calls and alarms. Good!

Camera flash notifications and long loud volume alerts

If you are the kind of person to go seriously head down, this may catch your attention – you can flash your phone’s camera or your entire screen when you get an incoming notification.

Android 14 will also warn you if you’ve been listening to loud music for a long time with a nice big notification.

Customize your lock screen with homemade clocks

“Material You” isn’t going away in Android 14 – customization is here to stay:

Google also has some AI-generated wallpapers coming to Pixels ahead of Android 14.

Predictive Back in the Spotify app.
GIF by Sean Hollister / Video by Google

Back to the back to the future

Predictive back was actually an Android 13 feature, but Android 14 amplifies it with animations. Basically, you can see what you get when you swipe to go back a page, before you actually finish swiping.

Above (or to the left, if you’re on a desktop monitor) you can see what it looks like in Spotify – a small sliding preview of the previous screen when swiping back from an audio playback page.

A one-stop health store

You may have heard that Google has launched a new Health Connect app to replace Google Fit – allowing your health apps to share data with your phone and vice versa – and that it may even come pre-installed on phones. The reality: Android 14 makes it an integrated part of the entire platform.

“As of Android 14, Health Connect is part of the platform and receives updates via Google Play system updates without the need for a separate download,” Google writes. Hey, app developers: The company is only promising to keep the deprecated Google Fit APIs through 2024.

Hearing Aid Tool

Hearing aids won’t just be a dumb Bluetooth button in Android 14 – you can choose which sounds should go to your phone’s speaker and which should go to the listening device, and swipe from your home screen for special controls.

Smarter file transfers

With Android 14, Google recognizes that there are long-running foreground processes that should receive special treatment, such as media playback, audio recording, and navigation. As part of that, it built a new API for backing things up to (and from) your phone.

Google says if a user initiates a data transfer using this API, it should run until it succeeds, reschedule and automatically pause if you lose your connection, and resume when that connection is restored.

Larger text

Font scaling of 200 percent, but non-linear so it doesn’t look ridiculous. Hooray for accessibility!

Please respect your regional preferences

Celsius or Fahrenheit? Do your weeks start on Monday or Sunday or maybe even Thursday? Which series of numbers do you use? Is your country’s language gender-related? Android 14 lets you set the first three preferences and provides a Grammatical Inflection API so that translated/localized apps can appeal to people without potentially offending them.

Play lossless audio on USB headphones without missing calls

You might already be able to do this, but when you did, Android had to hand over audio controls to your USB headphones and lost the ability to properly call and alarm you. In Android 14, there are standard APIs for lossless and high-res rendering without all the hurdles.

Keyboard, touchpad and stylus improvements

I don’t have many details But I heard this during a developer session: “Android 14 adds automatic layout configuration for keyboards, improved touchpad motion detection, advanced stylus motion prediction, and more.” Mishaal Rahman op XDA Developers have also seen something of this in a beta.

Capture HDR images that older phones can still enjoy

When you take HDR photos on your Pixel or Samsung, you power do this in a format that is difficult to load for older phones.

Android 14 adds a new kind of JPEG image that’s essentially two photos in one file: a regular SDR image that plays on traditional displays, and a “gain card” that captures the extreme brightness that only HDR displays can give you. let enjoy. Plus metadata to combine them.

Your grandpa’s old phone just reads it like a regular JPEG, but newer devices with nice bright screens get the full 10-bit HDR image. I don’t get why Google and Qualcomm are marketing this as “Ultra HDR”, but it sounds like a good addition!

Nice features for third-party cameras

The ML Kit document scanner.
Image: Google

Of Zoom into the sensorlets Google camera apps “use advanced sensor capabilities to give a cropped RAW stream the same pixels as the full field of view.”

Of camera extensions, Google allows apps “longer processing times, enabling enhanced images using compute-intensive algorithms such as low-light photography on supported devices.” Night vision on Instagram?

Immediately Document scanner API for ML Kit, coming in Q4, apps should be able to scan physical receipts and other text documents into digital documents.

A more convenient share button

The Share sheet is what appears after you hit the share button in an app, and Android 14 gives app developers a dedicated row there for their own custom buttons – plus it “uses more signals from apps to rank the direct share targets to provide more useful results for the user.”

Rumors about Android 14 features

While these are all the standout features I saw confirmed at Google I/O, more than a few intriguing additions to Android have also been spotted in betas or other code. Here are a few you might see in the final release:

When will Android 14 come out?

Probably August or September. At least that’s what this Google image below suggests.

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