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Android 12.1 features leak: A ton of foldable improvements incoming

The future version of Android will make full use of larger, foldable screens.

Published onSeptember 28, 2021

Android 12 Easter Egg hero
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Details of a new Android 12 version update have leaked.
  • Dubbed Android 12.1, the version brings a host of changes for large screen devices like foldable phones.
  • These include improvements to UI layouts, a taskbar, and smarter dual-screen features.

Android 12‘s official stable launch could be just a few days away, but the next version tick details have already leaked. A new in-depth report from XDA-Developers looks at Android 12.1, a version believed to bridge the gap between Android 12 and Android 13. Interestingly, the build seemingly brings a host of improvements specifically for foldable phones and large displays.

Android 12.1 features for foldable phones

With the dawn of foldables, phone screens are getting bigger, and Android 12.1 will seemingly better use all this real estate. The version features a new dual pane UI layout that allows quick settings and notifications to be displayed side-by-side. Furthermore, the quick settings menu may display three columns when pixel density allows.

This roomier layout tweak extends to system menus, too. The settings page, for instance, will display top-level menus on the left and sub-menus on the right, making for a more easily navigable settings system. For foldables that don’t have a cover display, Android 12.1’s lock screen will display the time on the left and notifications on the right of larger displays. PIN keypads can also be juggled from the left to the right side of the display, too.

More reading: Android 12 beta hands-on — The most personal Android version yet

Perhaps the most noticeable change, however, is the addition of a taskbar. In a similar vein to desktop OSes like Windows 11, Android 12.1 will display a list of app icons at the bottom of a foldable’s large display. Users can tap these icons to open apps in full-screen mode, drag to the split-screen portion of their choice, or quickly switch between apps. The taskbar can also be hidden by tapping and holding if so desired.

Speaking of split screens, the UI has also seen a slight tweak. The divide between the two displays is now marked with a more prominent gray bar.

Changes for all phones

Don’t own a foldable? Don’t worry. Several universal changes are also incoming. From Android 12.1, phones beyond the Pixel series will be able to use Google’s new “monet” wallpaper color theming system.

Additionally, there are indications that Google will give users more control over power button commands with Android 12.1. A new setting to adjust the press and hold sensitivity is available, allowing users to adjust the power button hold time to activate Assistant.

When will Android 12.1 launch?

It’s unclear when Google will launch Android 12.1, and we shouldn’t really get ahead of ourselves. The version is still seemingly in development and will likely launch alongside Google’s long-rumored foldable phone. That said, it’s also unknown when this particular device will emerge.

What do you think of the changes outlined in Android 12.1? Let us know in the comments below.

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