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April 19, 2023

Android 14 Beta 1 is available for Pixel devices with these new features

by John_A

A few days ago, Google released the open beta version of Android 14, marking it as the first opportunity for general users to try out the new OS. Previously, developers had the chance to check out Google’s latest OS and test their apps during the developer previews, but now it’s your chance to jump in and see what the next version of Android is all about.To get started, you’ll have to check if you have any devices eligible for the update. If you own a recent Pixel device from the Pixel 4a onwards, then you should be ready to go. Next, you’ll need to enroll in the preview program and then the automatic over-the-air update should begin. It’s as simple as that.However, it is important to remember that this is a beta, and as such, there will be bugs and some of your apps may not function properly. It is not recommended to opt-in to the Android 14 Beta on your primary device, because while you can opt-out at any time, it will also wipe your device in the process.Keep in mind, this is the first beta and bugs are a certainty at this point. According to Google’s release schedule, the second beta won’t be released until sometime in May, and the platform stability tests won’t come until June and July. By that time many of the initial bugs will have been ironed out, and it might be a better idea to wait till then before using Android 14 on your daily driver.For those of you ready to throw caution to the wind, here are some of the new features Google has packed into the first beta of Android 14. Anyone who has found the gesture system a little lackluster and misses the good ole days of the back button can rejoice. There is now a persistent back arrow that compliments your wallpaper using Android theming.Google has also refined the sharesheet further with customizable actions and has supposedly improved the recommended contacts. Maybe that means I’ll stop getting recommendations for random people I haven’t spoken to for years, but I’m not holding my breath.There are also more enhancements made to the per-app language feature that was introduced into Android 13, and last but not least, accessibility services have received an important privacy update to reduce the visibility of personal information for users with disabilities. For example, the new protections will protect user data like passwords from being visible, and prevent accidental actions such as transferring money or checking out in a shopping app.

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