With the launch of Android P, Google said the new software will restrict idling apps from accessing a device’s microphone and camera. The new feature is designed to allay fears over possible snooping from apps that may secretly be recording users in the background.
Here’s how Google describes the new privacy feature:
While your app’s UID is idle, the mic reports empty audio and sensors stop reporting events. Cameras used by your app are disconnected and will generate an error if the app tries to use them.
The latest feature builds on privacy features that were introduced with Android O, which required users to give permission to apps that asked to use a device’s mic and camera. It should further put users at ease so they no longer feel like they’re constantly being surveilled.
Google released the first developer preview of Android P on Wednesday, introducing support for notched displays, improved messaging notifications, and more. According to Google, the first preview of Android P is strictly for developers, so beware if you decide to give the software a shot.
Users with a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL can download and flash Android P right now.
Google on Wednesday released the first preview of Android P, giving developers the opportunity to see what’s new in the search giant’s next mobile update. As expected, the software introduces notch support and a number of other exciting features, such as revamped notifications, a multi-camera API, and improved power efficiency.
Google has a full list of everything that’s new in Android P right here
Many of the features listed in the preview pertain primarily to developers, like ImageDecoder for bitmaps and Neural Networks API 1.1, so don’t get too excited just yet. Even Google acknowledges the nature of this release is too technical for consumers, saying it’s meant for developers to start preparing for the software’s eventual release.
Google bills Android P as a release designed for “simplicity, speed, and many new ways to extend your apps.”
As mentioned, likely the feature that will grab most headlines is Google’s “display cutout support.”
Android P offers support for the latest edge-to-edge screens with display cutout for camera and speaker. The new DisplayCutout class lets you find out the location and shape of the non-functional areas where content shouldn’t be displayed.
Ever since the iPhone X was released we’ve seen a number of clones with a similar notched design. As the trend continues, Google wants to ensure its software allows developers to support the design choice.
Google is also tweaking how it handles notifications. Android P will now display images in messaging notifications, along with SmartReply, giving users the opportunity to reply to messages right from the notification screen, rather than jumping into an app.
It looks clean and useful alongside what appears to be a slightly tweaked quick settings menu.
Other features mentioned by Google include indoor position with Wi-Fi RTT, HEIF image compression, autofill framework, and security enhancements.
We’ll be pouring through Google’s newest software over the coming days to see what else is new. Developers with a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL can download the first Android P developer preview right now.
Similar to how Google handled Android Oreo, it’s likely we’ll learn more about the company’s next software update at I/O in May. According to Google, today’s release is “not intended for daily or consumer use,” so be careful if you do decide to take Android P for a spin.