Android has always been one of the most lucid and accessible operating systems the world has ever got. What’s more to the story is the intriguing and beneficial updates Android keeps on getting. Over the past few years, Android updates have drastically transformed the domain of technology. Recently, Google announced that it will be launching the progenitor – Android 14 Beta 1. A glimpse of the interface has also been revealed. Today, Cybertech will tell you everything you need to know about it. So, stick till the end with us.
The first public beta of Android 14 is out. As with previous versions, the first beta is also the first release that anyone can install over the air, assuming they have a supported Pixel device, going back to the Pixel 4a 5G (but not the Pixel 4). There’s no official support for non-Google phones yet. As always, keep in mind that these are betas for a reason and are still mostly meant for developers who want to test their apps against this new version and early adopters who just can’t wait for the stable release. Apart from that, this beta highlights some of the new features regular users will see after earlier preview builds were meant primarily for developers. The installation process only takes a few minutes, after which you’ll have access to new privacy features, a revamped shared sheet, and an improved interface experience overall such as a smarter back arrow. At a high level, the features highlighted in the Android 14 Beta 1 blog post published today are still developer-focused. But if you look closely, you can pull out some of the user-facing features. For instance, there’s a new share sheet in Android 14 that can feature custom actions from third-party apps. There’s also a new back arrow displayed within the app that will make it easier to understand what will happen when you go back. The erratic behavior of the back button has been a long-time complaint of Android users. Hopefully, this new back button implementation will fix that.
The major highlights of Android 14 Beta 1
For the most part, there aren’t many new features in this beta version, though there are two to three user-facing UI updates worth calling out.
The first is a new back arrow, given that we’ve reached the point in mobile OS history where new back arrows are pretty much the most exciting thing. As Google notes, the gesture navigation experience includes a more prominent back arrow while interacting with an app to help improve back gesture understanding and usefulness. This arrow will match your wallpaper or device theme, thus making it even more exciting.
Developers will now also be able to add custom actions to the system share sheet, and the share sheet will now be smarter about how it ranks your sharing targets. Otherwise, there isn’t all that much new here.
Per-app language settings are here, as are Google’s previously announced new privacy settings. Android 14 enhances per-app language preferences, allowing for dynamic customization of the set of languages displayed in the Android Settings per-app language list, and giving IMEs a way to know the UI language of the current app. Starting with Android Studio Giraffe Canary 7 and AGP 8.1.0-alpha07, you can configure your app to support per-app language preferences automatically. Based on your project resources, the Android Gradle plugin generates the Local e Config file and adds a reference to it in the generated manifest file, so you no longer have to create or update the file manually when your language support changes. See Automatic per-app language support for more information and leave feedback.
A sneak-peek into Privacy
As for privacy, Android 14 makes improvements regarding which private data and which apps can access that data through accessibility features. This time, Android aims at limiting visibility to disability-focused accessibility services. Android 14 introduces the accessibility Data Sensitive attribute to allow apps to limit the visibility of specified views only to accessibility services that claim to help users with disabilities. Play Protect ensures apps downloaded from the Play Store are truthful about these claims. Talk Back and other services that claim to help users with disabilities will not be affected by this attribute. Apps can consider using accessibility Data Sensitive to protect personal details or plaintext passwords and other user data. Apart from that they can prevent critical actions such as unauthorized transactions of money, checking out in a shopping app, etc. from being executed.
Check the Device Compatibility
If you haven’t yet tested your app for compatibility with Android 14, now is the time to do it! With Android 14 now in beta, we’re opening up access to early-adopter users as well as developers. In the weeks ahead, you can expect more users to be trying your app on Android 14 and raising issues they find. To test for compatibility, install your published app on a device or emulator running Android 14 Beta and work through all of the app’s flows. Review the behavior changes to focus your testing. After you’ve resolved any issues, publish an update as soon as possible. It’s also a good time to start getting ready for your app to target Android 14, by testing with the app compatibility changes toggles in Developer Options
How to Install Android 14 Beta 1 on Your Pixel Phone?
Taking into account that your phone is compatible with this update, you can install it in the following manner:
Installing the beta is easy, but you’ll first need to enroll your device in the official Android Beta program.
To do that, feel free to visit the Android Beta program website and sign in using the same Google account you use on your Pixel phone.
After signing in, you’ll see a list of eligible devices, with an “Opt-In” button.
Follow the prompts and agree to any terms. If you were already enrolled in the Android 13 QPR beta program and your device is eligible, you’ll automatically transition over to the Android 14 Beta 1 program.
Wait a few minutes, then check for a software update on your Pixel phone by going to Settings > System > Software update. Your phone should find the Android 14 Beta 1 update.
The rest of the installation process is the same as the monthly updates Google releases for the Pixel line.
As always, it’s a good idea to have your charger nearby and a solid Wi-Fi connection to ensure your phone doesn’t run out of power and you’re not waiting a long time for the download to complete.
The previous versions of Android as well as the previously launched preview of Android 14 had bugs. To the utter shock of tech experts, Android 14 is full of them.
An issue with the Credential Manager platform APIs causes instability in apps that use them. A fix is available in the latest preview version of the Android 14 SDK, which developers can install using Android Studio. Developers who previously installed a preview version of the Android 14 SDK should completely uninstall the previous version and then reinstall the SDK to apply the fix.
After entering and exiting picture-in-picture (PiP) mode, an issue with the system UI causes the screen to flicker when any apps are launched. An issue with the system UI sometimes causes the screen to flicker when a video is playing in picture-in-picture mode. In some cases, the video continues playing in the background even after closing an app if the video was playing in picture-in-picture mode when it was closed. A video that is playing in picture-in-picture mode stops playing abruptly if the back gesture is used within the PiP settings screens.
Google’s Future Beta Releases
As per tech experts, Google’s stayed on course with its self-published release schedule. According to the schedule, there will be a total of three Beta releases over as many months, followed by two stability releases leading into the public release, likely in August. For now, if you wish to have the best development experience with Android 14, it is recommended that you use the latest preview of Android Studio Giraffe (or more recent Giraffe+ versions). Once you’re set-up, there are some things you should do. You can try the new features and APIs. Here, your feedback is critical as we finalize the APIs. Report issues in our tracker on the feedback page.
You can test your current app for compatibility. Here, you can learn whether your app is affected by default behavior changes in Android 14. Install your app onto a device or emulator running Android 14 and extensively test it. You can test your app with opt-in changes. Android 14 has opt-in behavior changes that only affect your app when it’s targeting the new platform. It’s important to understand and assess these changes early. To make it easier to test, you can toggle the changes on and off individually. We’ll update the preview and beta system images and SDK regularly throughout the Android 14 release cycle.