Google used to launch a new version of the operating system "Android" (Android) on an annual basis, and version 14 of the system is currently being developed and is supposed to be launched in May.
Although the new version has not been fully revealed, the newly released developer preview versions — which owners of Google's Pixels can install — give us a first glimpse of what to expect from this year's new update.
Here's everything you need to know about Android 14 now before its official announcement:
Large font size
The operating system has been supporting font enlargement for years, and if the current font size isn't big enough for you, one of the features of Android 14 is to provide large font sizes.
Google points out that users can now change font sizes by up to 200% in Android 14 compared to 130% in Android 13.
The company says it also uses text scaling so that large text doesn't see an increase in size, for example, you won't see an increase in the size of the title when you increase the size of the smaller text below the title.
It's easy to miss notifications, especially if your phone volume is low or set to vibrate-only mode. You can also miss notifications if you're having difficulty hearing, which is why a visual signal may be the most useful way to be able to tell if your phone is receiving notifications.
Android 14 allows the user to synchronize notifications with the flash from the camera or screen, so that you can choose to turn on the camera flash or the screen flash or both at the same time, along with the ability to choose the color of the flash for the screen.
Android is a global operating system, and as a result, it is required to provide support for various ways to display dates, times, and other regional measurements, such as Fahrenheit vs. Celsius and kilometers versus miles.
Google added - via Android 13 - language settings for each application, and it seems to expand this idea to include other use cases, as it develops a new regional preferences feature that allows users to set preferred temperature units, calendar, first day of the week and number system for each language.
Better keyboard support
Google is trying to make Android work better across devices with larger screens, allowing for things like a taskbar, more improved apps, and better split-screen support.
Android 14 now has better keyboard support, and the system also adds support for changing the behavior of modifier keys, where you can modify the behavior of the "Caps lock", "Ctrl", "Alt" and others, and this will make keyboards more useful with Android devices.
Google updated the public key mapping file in Android 14 to provide more Linux key codes in Android key codes. In addition, Android 14 displays the new Touchpad option under Settings.
You can also adjust the cursor speed, there are also touchpad gestures, and you can customize touchpad navigation gestures.
Increased energy efficiency
Android 14 brings a variety of changes to improve battery life, including tweaking parts of Android APIs (front-end services and job scheduling) with the goal of improving efficiency for tasks like background activities and downloading large files.
The company has returned the "screen time since the last full charge" feature to the battery settings menu after hiding it in Android 12 in favor of battery usage for the past 24 hours, and this option allows you to get a more accurate idea of how long your phone lasts to work.
Google says of its changes related to downloading and uploading files: Managing user-initiated downloads and uploads is made easier by the user-initiated data transfer function, especially when it requires restrictions such as downloading over a wireless network only.
Android 14 brings a variety of changes to improve battery life (Getty Images)
Memory Management System Improvements
There are improvements to the memory management system, as Android 14 forces cached apps to stop working much faster than Android 13, providing better battery life and improved resource management while running apps in the background.
The new operating system offers fewer non-refusable notifications, reducing the incidence of harassment and making those notifications ignorable, while notifications that are important to device functions, such as system and device policy notifications, remain unrejectable.
Restrict photos that apps can access
Google gives you more control over sharing photos and videos, as you can now allow apps to access some photos and videos with a new access permission.
Android 14 restricts the photos and videos that apps can access, so that they only access photos and videos you select even if they don't use the Photo Picker API.
The Photo Picker API doesn't allow apps to have full access to all photos and videos.
The app can then access only user-defined items, unless the user chooses to expand access to additional items or grant the app access to entire media sets.
These settings are similar to how iOS currently works, forcing all apps not to use Google's API without permission to request the level of media control options.
Google fights malware by making modifications to the intent system and dynamic code loading, providing in-depth defense against malware and vulnerabilities.
Google wants to disable the work of deceptive task management applications and applications that claim to speed up Android phones, as these applications are limited to ending background processes en masse, which does more harm than good, as their impact ends immediately, but causes additional pressure on the system due to the need to restart those background processes again.
Instead of allowing these apps to end background tasks for other apps, a change in the specific permission they use allows them to end only their background processes, so they won't be able to shut down other tasks.
Android 14 supports passkeys, the industry's new standard for passwordless authentication (Reuters)
Android 14 supports passkeys, the industry's new standard for passwordless authentication, and is more secure than using a username and password to log into apps.
It allows users to generate app passkeys and store them in Google Password Manager. The stored passkeys are synced across devices that are signed in to the same Google account.
Android 14 also adds Credential Manager as the platform's API, and makes logging in easier by supporting APIs for retrieving and storing user-generated data providers, such as password managers.
Privacy & Security
Android imposes restrictions on when apps start activities when the app is running in the background, as these restrictions help reduce interruptions to the user and make them more in control of what is displayed across the screen.
In order to further reduce unexpected outages, Android 14 gives running apps more control over the ability of the apps they interact with to start activities.
Improve app experiences
Android 14 introduces several new APIs that allow app stores to improve the user experience, including a method that allows downloading Android App Files (APK) to be postponed until after the installation is approved.
There's also a way to seamlessly install optional features of the app by splitting Android app files (APK) while using the app, as well as offering a way to ensure app updates are made when the app is not in use.
Android 14 is also increasing the adaptation of apps to different screen sizes, as Google has updated the quality checklist of big-screen apps, making it easier for developers to figure out how to scale apps.
Adapt applications to different screen sizes
Google continues to work on making Android able to work seamlessly across different screen sizes, as this has become important in the era of foldable devices with changing screen sizes.
Accordingly, Google has updated the quality checklist of big-screen apps, making it easier for developers to see how to scale apps, along with introducing new layouts.
Automatically confirm your PIN
Google is developing a faster PIN entry option, so that the user may no longer have to press the enter key to confirm their identity when choosing a PIN consisting of 6 or more digits, instead, the phone automatically recognizes that you typed the correct numbers and unlocks your phone after pressing the last number.
Android 14 supports satellite connectivity, so according to Hiroshi Lokheimer, Google's senior vice president of Android.
Wild to think about user experiences for phones that can connect to satellites. When we launched G1 in '08 it was a stretch to get 3G + Wifi working. Now we're designing for satellites. Cool! Excited to support our partners in enabling all of this in the next version of Android!
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 1, 2022
The company did not elaborate on specific capabilities, such as support for two-way communications and multimedia formats, but native support should make things easier for smartphone manufacturers and service providers.
Lockheimer said Google is designing the operating system to be able to take advantage of satellites, hinting that user experiences for phones capable of connecting to satellites are different from connections to fourth- and fifth-generation networks.
This comes after Apple introduced support for emergency satellite connectivity via the iPhone 14 series, allowing you to connect to satellites when you don't have a wireless network connection or data connection.
Satellite communications via telephones are supposed to be used during emergencies, as well as in places where cellular coverage is not available.
Fix predictive background gestures
Google is also working on a solution to the problem of predictive background gestures, as Android 14 now shows you a preview of where you might return after executing the return gesture.
It was unknown whether the gesture might take you to the previous screen or to the home screen, and it is difficult to know what might happen until after it is executed, because Android keeps as you move through applications a record of the destinations you pass through called the back stack to take you to the correct destination when you scroll back, and the system before the release of Android 13 had no way of knowing where the background gestures might take you.
Android 14 is also supposed to offer the background gestures feature with a preset option after it was optional in Android 13.