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Google's Android 12 Go brings privacy and speed boosts to low-powered phones

The first Android 12 Go-powered devices will launch in 2022.
By
December 14, 2021
Android 12 Go Edition header privacy dashboard recent apps
Google
TL;DR
  • Google announced Android 12 Go, which brings speed boosts and privacy features to the low-powered OS.
  • In addition to Android 12 staples, Android 12 Go adds unique Files Go, Nearby Share improvements, and more.
  • The first devices running Android 12 Go will launch in 2022.

Google’s Android (Go edition) operating system doesn’t make the headlines like it used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not being used. The company today announced 200 million active users of Android Go, alongside an all-new version of the OS that will launch in 2022.

The main focus for Android 12 Go edition — much like Android 12 proper — are privacy, security, and speed. Android 12 Go will be able to launch apps up to 30% faster and with smoother animations than before. This will also be helped by the SplashScreenAPI that’s now available to developers for the low-powered OS.

Managing your apps and data will also get easier in Android 12 Go. The updated Files Go app will let you recover deleted files up to 30 days after their deletion. You’ll also be able to share apps directly to other smartphones offline using Nearby Share. Also, if you have a handful of apps that haven’t been used for an extended period of time, Android 12 Go will hibernate your unused apps to save battery life and other precious phone resources.

android 12 go edition Unused apps
Google

Another new feature is the ability to listen to news or translate any text on your screen simply by navigating to your phone’s overview (recent apps) menu. You’ll see two new shortcuts displayed under the app overview page: Translate and Listen, in addition to the Screenshot button. If you navigate to a Wikipedia article in Chrome, for instance, pull up the overview page, tap the Listen button, and let Android 12 Go do the work for you.

Finally, Android 12 Go will let you quickly switch to a guest profile, right from your lock screen. Once your friend or family member is done using your phone, you can reset guest mode to its original settings to start again with a clean slate.

Related: Hands-on with Privacy Dashboard, one of Android 12’s best new features

Google is also bringing over Android 12 staples to Go edition. The Privacy Dashboard app in the settings menu lets you see which apps accessed your location, microphone, and camera permissions, and when. You’ll also see new camera and microphone usage privacy indicators in your phone’s status bar, signaling you when an app is actively accessing these sensors.

And finally, Android 12 Go will let you grant approximate location permissions to apps, so you don’t need to give away your exact location.

Google says the first devices running Android 12 Go edition will be available in 2022. No other timeframe was given for its availability, but we’d imagine Android 12 Go devices will start showing up sooner rather than later.