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Second Android 14 developer preview launches: Here are the new features
Today, Google launched the second Android 14 developer preview, commonly known as DP2. This latest operating system version offers a handful of new features and performance tweaks. Most importantly, though, it brings us one step closer to the eventual stable software release.
As with the original developer preview, you can only install this on select Pixel phones (or use an Android emulator). Supported Pixel phones are:
- Google Pixel 7 Pro
- Google Pixel 7
- Google Pixel 6a
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 5a
- Google Pixel 5
- Google Pixel 4a 5G
If you already have the first DP on your Pixel, you can just wait for an OTA notification to install the new one. However, if you aren’t already on DP1 (or are just impatient), we have instructions on how to install Android 14 for you. Please understand that this is very unstable software and should not be used as a daily driver. You will face bugs, broken features, and maybe even outright crashes, so don’t dive head-first into this quite yet.
If you’re curious about what Android 14 DP2 has to offer, continue reading.
Android 14 select photo picker
This second developer preview builds on the first DP by fully integrating a permission for select photos access. What does this mean? It means that when an app wants access to photos and videos, you can choose to give access to all of them or only select ones. This is a terrific development as it ensures the photos you want to keep private stay private. Here’s what the new notification will look like:
The options are fairly obvious, but so there’s no confusion, here’s what they mean:
- Allow access to all photos: The full library of all on-device photos & videos is available
- Select photos: Only the user’s selection of photos & videos will be temporarily available
- Don’t allow: Access to all photos and videos is denied
Choosing the “Select photos” option has the added benefit of forcing that app to request permissions again if you need to upload something else. This is advantageous when, for example, you’re uploading a profile picture to an app that doesn’t further require photo access. This would likely get annoying for an app like Instagram, where you’re consistently uploading media. But for a non-media-based app, this new permission will increase the privacy and security of your phone by a huge margin.
Android 14’s Credential Manager gets some UI tweaks and some API updates based on feedback from devs for DP1. Credential Manager makes signing into apps and services easier and helps move us away from typed passwords. This relates to passkey support, aka passwordless sign-in. Google’s dream is that typing in a password will eventually be obsolete and we’ll instead use other more secure methods of logging into apps and services. Passkeys work across all operating systems, are built on rigorous industry standards, and can be used both on the web and in standalone apps.
Android 14 performance and power optimizations
Google is constantly trying to make Android smoother and less of a resource hog. This results in a faster user experience as well as better battery life.
In Android 14 DP2, Google is introducing a few optimizations in this vein. One memory management improvement is disallowing almost all activity several seconds after an app enters the background. Additionally, ongoing non-system notifications will now be dismissable by the user. In other words, a notification in your drop-down that would normally be there all the time can now be dismissed — as long as it’s not something related to the system itself or a device policy.
- Improved app store experiences: If you use a third-party app store on Android (read: anything that’s not the Google Play Store), your experience will be better with Android 14. Updates will now happen through the app store that originally installed the app, which is great news. Updates will also happen at more opportune moments, such as when the app is not in use.
- Regional preferences: If you’re a European living in the US, you might want to use Euro-style measurements, calendars, and other systems. With Android 14, that will be possible. You’ll be able to, system-wide, make temperature units Celsius and make the first day of the week Monday, for example.
- Background activity launching: Android 14 gives foreground apps more control with starting activities as compared to background apps. This results in fewer interruptions for the user.