The 6 Best New Features in Android 14

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Google announced the first developer preview of Android 14 in February 2023. Since then, the OS has received several developer and beta builds focusing on bug fixes and enhancing overall stability.


Fast forward to October 2023, and Android 14 is finally ready for public release. It brings several behavioral and privacy-oriented changes to deliver a better experience. Here are the best new Android 14 features coming to your phone below.


1. Lock Screen Customization

One of the most significant user-facing changes in Android 14 is the ability to customize the lock screen. You can tweak the clock style, shortcut, font, and wallpaper to give it a new look.

So, you can use your beloved emojis as your phone’s home screen wallpaper, while the lock screen will use a different image. There are a plethora of clock styles to select from, and you can use a different color and size for the clock as well.

Android 14’s lock screen customization seems inspired by iOS 16. And while Google’s implementation is good, it is nowhere close to what Apple offers on iPhones and iPads. You still can’t place widgets on your Pixel’s lock screen, though this could change in a future Android release. Plus, Google should add a Photo Shuffle option similar to the Lock Screen in iOS.

2. Flash Notifications

A major new accessibility feature in Android 14 is support for flash notifications. If you struggle to determine when your phone is ringing, you can set up flash notifications to get a visual aid.

Dive into Settings > Accessibility > Flash notifications, and you’ll find the option to flash the camera light or screen whenever a new notification comes in or an alarm sounds.

3. Automatic PIN Confirmation

When setting up a new device running Android 14, the OS will actively encourage you to set a 6-digit PIN. This was already possible on Android 13—it’s just that the OS now pushes you to use the most secure option.

Additionally, once the correct PIN is entered, your phone will automatically unlock itself. You won’t have to press the Enter key to confirm your action. Do note that the auto-PIN confirmation is only available when using a PIN with six digits or more.

There are ways to reset your Android phone’s passcode, so go ahead and give the six-digit PIN a try without worrying about what happens if you forget it.

4. Health Connect Integration

Android 14 has built-in Health Connect support, enabling easy sharing of your fitness data across various apps. It acts as a central place for storing all your health data, including your heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, etc.

Third-party apps can request this data from Health Connect, and you can manage it all from a centralized location to ensure the data is not misused. All your collected health metrics are safely encrypted on your phone for privacy reasons.

Health Connect was already available as a standalone app on the Play Store. But with Android 14, Google is integrating it directly into the OS. You can find Health Connect under Settings > Privacy on your Pixel phone running Android 14.

5. Non-Linear Text Scaling

Another significant new accessibility feature in Android 14 is non-linear text scaling. You can now scale the font size to 200 percent, but since the scaling will happen non-linearly, it won’t cut off UI elements or look too wacky. This prominent accessibility feature should help people with vision issues.

If you already use TalkBack on your Android phone, non-linear text scaling could be a vital new accessibility feature.

6. Custom Actions in Share Sheet

With Android 14, Google is allowing third-party apps to add custom actions to the native share sheet. This will enable developers to use the native share sheet of the OS without building their own custom implementation. All dedicated app actions will appear at the top of the share sheet.

Since the share menu is a central part of Android, this change will lead to a much better user experience.

Android 14 Packs a Lot More Features

The above list only highlights the major new features in Android 14. There are several other changes, which you might not immediately notice but will help deliver a better experience. This includes native support for 10-bit Ultra HDR images while taking photos, upgraded camera extensions for in-sensor zoom and low-light modes, lossless audio playback over USB, and more.

If you use a compatible Pixel phone, you’ll get to enjoy all the new features in Android 14. But for non-Pixel devices, your manufacturer may remove some of the features as a part of its skin.

Source
Las Vegas News Magazine

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