3 Android 12 features you can bring to any phone today

Google’s Android 12 software is nowhere near ready for prime time, but Goog almighty: We’ve sure seen plenty of hints about some of the tantalizing touches it could include. And if you’re anything like me, that makes it tough not to feel at least a teensy bit hungry for a taste.

The current Android 12 developer preview, unfortunately, won’t do much to satisfy that craving. It’s basically just a barebones framework of the software, made mostly for developers, and most of the mouthwatering morsels are carefully tucked away, disabled, and not yet visible or available for regular-mammal phone-owner use.

But wait! Before you go off sulking and seeking out a consolation snack, take heed: A few of the treats that seem to be under development for Android 12 can actually be brought into any Android device, with any Android version — and with very little effort — right now. All you need is the right third-party app to emulate the same basic concept, and you can enjoy at least a small sampling of some of the flavors Android 12 might soon include.

So grab the nearest bib, get some grape soda standing by and ready to wash all this virtual deliciousness down, and let’s dig in.

Android 12 feature No. 1: Enhanced privacy indicators

The easiest Android 12 element to give yourself — and arguably one of the more consequential additions likely on its way to the software — is the Apple-inspired system of visible indicators that pop up anytime an app is accessing your device’s microphone or camera. It’s hopefully something you’ll never need or be especially surprised to see, but it’s a smart bit of added privacy protection and certainly something that can’t hurt to have in place.

The official feature is currently in an “experimental phase,” according to the code-studying sleuths over at XDA Developers, who first reported on its presence as part of an Android 12 leak last month and went on to find it out of sight and disabled in the first developer preview — but with about 60 seconds of setup, you can give yourself something almost identical without delay.

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