Android 12 new privacy features will already be familiar to iPhone users (but Google may have implemented them better)

These features will be new to Android users, but familiar to people using iOS.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

It seems that Google has taken inspiration for many of its new privacy features from iOS, introducing several features to Android 12 that will be familiar to iPhone users.

Must read: Want to run Android 12 beta? Here's what you need (you don't even need an Android smartphone)

First up, we have notifications for when the camera or microphone are accessed by apps (this will be made available in the Beta 2 release). A little notification is present at the top of the screen, serving as a visual reminder to users that the camera or mic is hot.

Camera and microphone access notifications

The implementation is similar to how Apple does it but looks to be less "mystery meat." I've lost count of how many times people have asked me what the green and orange dots at the top of their iPhone mean. The feature is clear once people are made aware of it, but it's not immediately obvious.

Google has also added separate buttons to cut off mic and camera access from all apps, irrespective of permissions. This is a nice move and gives users better control over their privacy. I like this addition.

Another privacy feature that will be familiar to iPhone users is the ability to give apps access to approximate location data rather than to pinpoint locations. There are a lot of apps that simply don't need access to pinpoint location data, so this is a welcomed addition to Android 12.

Coarse location data

Another feature that is already present on iOS that will be present in Beta 2 is clipboard read notifications, which will notify users every time an app reads data from their clipboard that didn't originate from the app itself. This feature will highlight any apps that might be snooping on the user's clipboard.

But Android 12 also contains several innovative and much-needed privacy features not present in iOS.

One of these features is a locked folder in Google Photos, offering users a place to keep sensitive photos out of the camera reel, shared folders, or search results.

Android 12 also features a privacy timeline (available in Beta 2), which will offer the user an overview of the apps that have accessed location data, the microphone, and the camera during the past 24 hours. It's clear, simple to understand, and offers easy access to manage permissions.

Privacy timeline

Finally, there's app hibernation. This will look for apps that have not been used for an extended period of time. For those apps, it will revoke any permissions previously granted by the user, force-stop the app, and reclaim memory and storage, along with all other temporary resources.

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