The new Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro took the spotlight at Tuesday’s Pixel event, but many other Pixel phone owners can now get many of the new enhancements shown off today by updating to Android 12. Google announced that Android 12 has begun its rollout to the Pixel 3 series and up, and with it those phones will receive the brand-new Material You interface, along with a variety of new tricks.
The Android 12 software has been available in beta for the past few months, and this public version coming to the Pixel phones will eventually roll out to Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo and other phones later this year. However, it’s worth noting that Pixel owners will likely have a degree of exclusivity with the version of Android 12 coming to their phones: Google has often given Pixel phones sole access to apps like its excellent Recorder app with live transcriptions. For now, we know that Android 12’s custom color themes will, at least initially, be a Pixel exclusive.
Other new features for Android 12 include an improved privacy dashboard, changes to how notifications are displayed, a new one-handed mode, and a notification history for recovering pings you swiped away. We have a variety of Android 12 guides based on our time with the beta, including hidden features and ways that Android 12 could change how you use your phone.
The software release arrives alongside the new $599 (£599) Pixel 6 and $899 (£849) Pixel 6 Pro, which each feature a new design that highlights the phone’s camera bar, Google’s new in-house Tensor chip and enhanced photography and live translation. You can compare the new Pixel 6 against the Pixel 5 to see the phone’s differences year over year, as well as the Pixel phone’s new integration with Snapchat’s camera app.