Android 12 Beta 4 has added a fair volume of new features and functions, but the lock screen has seen a trio of tweaks that include the brand new Google Sans Text for the Now Playing feature, plus some improved icons for other existing features.
We’ve looked in-depth into what this latest version of the pre-release operating system is all about, but we are still finding new little tweaks and changes the longer we get into Beta 4.
The lock screen has seen significant changes with the Android 12 Developer Preview, and now it’s beta. With Beta 4, three new customizations were added, including another user of the Google Sans font, this time for the popular Now Playing music identification feature.
Android 12 Beta 4 is adding great features.
Today we’re bringing you the fourth Beta of Android 12 and moving into the final phase of the release. We’ve built Android 12 with a new UI that adapts to you, performance improvements, privacy and security enhancements, and more. We’re now shifting our focus to polish, performance, and stability. Thanks for all the feedback you’ve shared to help us refine the release and get us to this point.
Beta 4 takes us to Platform Stability for developers, which means that Android 12’s APIs and app-facing behaviors are finalized. For apps, the focus is now on compatibility and quality. After that, it’s time to start preparing your compatible app updates in time for the official release later in the year.
You can try Beta 4 today on your Pixel device by enrolling here for over-the-air updates, and if you previously enrolled, you’ll automatically get today’s update. You can also get Android 12 Beta 4 on select devices from several partners like ASUS, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, and ZTE – learn more at android.com/beta. Visit the Android 12 developer site for details on how to get started.
The font is much wider, ever so slightly more rounded, and spaced slightly differently from the more compact font used prior. It’s very, very subtle, but you might have spotted it already and had difficulty working out just what has been altered. So yes, you’re not crazy; Now Playing uses the Google Sans Text as you’ll see on Gboard and various other areas of Android — and associated apps. You can see just how minor the change is below:
Another minor tweak — as seen above — is to the Cards & Passes icon. The icon is now more reminiscent of a credit card with a magnetic strip rather than a wallet filled to the brim with credit cards. As a result, it’s flatter and easier to decipher when viewing quickly. Again, we can foresee this being an important change for people who might not necessarily be proficient in Android and face a new lock screen icon to contend with.
Joining the new Google Sans Text on Now Playing and this updated Cards & Passes icon is a slight location change for the device lock indicator — or padlock. The lock icon has been moved up into a more central position from the lower position it has lived for quite a while now.
None of the changes, be that the Google Sans Text for Now Playing or the adjusted icons and positioning, will drastically alter your daily experience with Android 12 Beta 4 — which isn’t without issues.
The Bottom Line
Android 12 Beta 4 has reached Platform Stability, a milestone that means all app-facing surfaces and behaviors are now final in Android 12. This includes the official SDK and NDK APIs and final app-facing system behaviors and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces that may affect apps. So from Beta 4, you can confidently release your compatibility updates knowing that the platform won’t change.
We’re asking all app and game developers to start your final compatibility testing now and prepare to publish your compatibility updates as soon as possible ahead of the final release.
However, add in the sheer volume of other tiny tweaks, and the result is a very different UI experience than with Android 11 and earlier.
Let us know what you think of the changes down in the comments section below.