Google has released a second developer preview for Android 14, bringing in several core features to help users better control their data, securely sign in to apps, and boost overall device health.
While aimed at developers creating apps for the next generation of Android, which will likely roll out fully in the fall, the developer preview gives us a good look at some of the new features and focus for Android 14.
Privacy and security
The update that caught our eye is the previously rumored focus on passkeys replacing passwords for signing into third-party apps. Android 14 will better facilitate this by offering an API developers can use to put an emphasis on using encrypted passkeys rather than passwords.
This should mean users can sign in more easily to apps with things like biometric security, as well as make for a more secure experience as passkeys aren't susceptible to phishing attacks and scams like passwords are. As such, Android 14 could be the first nail in the coffin of traditional passwords, on some of the best Android phones at least.
The next main point is a focus on privacy and security, with new options to control how third-party apps access private information. Google noted that there are now three options when letting an app have access to your photos: “Allow access to all photos” does what it says, “Select photos" lets you choose what can be accessed, and “Don’t allow” simply prevents an app from accessing any of your photos or videos.
Continued background streamlining
And the final significant change comes in the form of a suite of tweaks to better improve the performance and health of an Android phone at the system level. That means there are now background optimizations to curtail unwanted work outside of an app’s conventional services. This should deliver better memory management and give the system more resources to use.
There will also be fewer non-dismissible notifications, which should be great for people who hate not being able to swipe away stubborn app or system alerts when an Android device is locked. App compatibility has also been worked on in order to allow for faster updates — more of a feature for developers, but it should hopefully deliver apps that are more stable and run smoother.
A few more tweaks also come with this version of Android 14, including better control over regional preferences, say setting the start of the week as Monday in Europe rather than Sunday, as is common in the U.S.
Android 14 Developer Preview 2 outlook
Overall, Android 14 looks set to bring in more customization and better control over privacy and security, as well as better compatibility across different device form factors, notably some of the best foldable phones.
Android 14 is likely to debut with the rumored Google Pixel 8 along with other supported Pixels. But you can expect it to roll out to other recent Android phones come the fall and into early 2024.
If you're keen to try out the developer preview then check out the Android 14 developer site. Just be aware that we’d not recommend installing a preview version of Android (this isn't even a beta yet) on your main phone as bugs and issues with stability could still need some ironing out.