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Android 12 is looking quite different from its predecessors, but the OS also has a few new tricks under the hood — particularly in the privacy department. The new Android version gives you clear indicators when an app is using your camera or your microphone in the top right corner of your display, so you’re never caught off guard (many other manufacturers already include this in their custom Android software). But what if you want to be extra sure that no app can see or hear you? Google added two dedicated toggles for that, and they will go live on Android 12 Beta 2.
As Google announced at I/O on stage, there are two new additions to the quick settings tiles: quick toggles for camera and mic access. If you really want to make sure that no one can hear or see you, even apps that you previously granted the permission, you can just toggle mic and camera access off and enjoy some peace of mind. Of course, this still isn’t as good as having physical kill switches like the ones on Nest devices, but let’s be reasonable here.
Google says the toggles will also show you which app are currently using your camera or mic in real-time. If you’d like to revoke access for that application specifically, the toggles will also offer a shortcut to get to the respective permission management quickly.
Google explains that if an app attempts to access your mic or your camera when you’ve turned them off via the quick toggles, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to turn them back on to use the app’s feature in question. Applications currently following Google’s best practices around microphone and camera access don’t even have to be updated to take full advantage of the new behavior.
As mentioned, Google has added a few other privacy measures, too. There’s the new Privacy Dashboard along with the approximate location permissions for apps that don’t need to know where exactly you are right now — great for weather apps and the likes.
On the brand new Android 12 Beta 1, the toggles are nowhere to be seen just yet, but that’s also the case for the privacy dashboard. Google revealed that these features will only be available in Beta 2, so we’re left with some unanswered questions — for example, we don’t know if it will be possible to draw a distinction between the front and the back camera when you toggle off camera access.