Android 12 Snow Cone: release date and new in the Google operating system

On May 18, 2021, Google pre­sent­ed the next update of the oper­at­ing sys­tem for mobile devices. We talk about the new Android 12 Snow Cone OS in 2021, its fea­tures, and why you should upgrade
Android 12 Snow Cone: release date and new in the Google operating system
Pho­to: Shut­ter­stock

Despite all the efforts of Apple with its iOS, Android is still the most pop­u­lar mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem. Accord­ing to ana­lysts from Coun­ter­pointone, Android was installed on approx­i­mate­ly 80% of smart­phones shipped to stores in 2020. We show how the Android 12 Snow Cone OS, released in 2021, is dif­fer­ent.

Due to the avail­abil­i­ty and pop­u­lar­i­ty of the OS, Google con­stant­ly mon­i­tors its updates. As is the case with iOS, devel­op­ers gen­er­al­ly do not rebuild the sys­tem, but only add crit­i­cal updates.

By tra­di­tion, the new ver­sion of the oper­at­ing sys­tem received a name asso­ci­at­ed with anoth­er sweet­ness. This time Google chose snow horse — crushed sweet ice.



Android 12 release date

Before releas­ing an oper­at­ing sys­tem, devel­op­ers care­ful­ly check it in sev­er­al stages. Android 12 is no excep­tion. For the first time, the OS was shown to the pub­lic in Feb­ru­ary 2021. Then the devel­op­er ver­sion was made pub­lic, and the offi­cial release of Android 12 took place dur­ing the Google I / O 2021 con­fer­ence on May 18, 2021. After that, anoth­er test­ing began — already open2. So far, only Google Pix­el smart­phones are par­tic­i­pat­ing in it.

How­ev­er, the fact of the offi­cial release of Android 12 does not mean that the update will imme­di­ate­ly begin to come to users “over the air”. As in the case of test­ing, first received the own­ers of Google Pix­el smart­phones. Offi­cial OS updates for oth­er phones to Android 12 start­ed ship­ping a lit­tle lat­er than expect­ed, in ear­ly Octo­ber 2021. Android 12 was also installed out of the box on smart­phones released at the end of 2021 and lat­er.

What Devices Does Android 12 Run On?

As a rule, smart­phones released no lat­er than two years before the release of a new ver­sion of Android receive sup­port for a new ver­sion of Android. Android 12 works with most 2021 and new­er devices, most 2020 mod­els, and some 2019 devices.

Here is a list of man­u­fac­tur­ers and smart­phones that sup­port Android 12. It may expand over time.

  • Google Pix­el 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
  • Sam­sung Galaxy S22, Galaxy S21, S20, Note20, Galaxy XCov­er, Z Flip , F22, F12, M12, M21, M30, M51, M62
  • Xiao­mi Mi 12, Mi 11, Mi 10, Mi 9, POCO F2, POCO F3, POCO M3, POCO X2, Red­mi Note 9, Mi Note 10 Pro, K30, K40, Black­shark 3, Black­shark 2
  • Huawei P40 Lite, P Smart S, Nova 7i
  • One Plus 9, 8, 7, Nord CE, Nord, Nord 2
  • Realme 9, 8, 7, 6, C3, GT Nar­zo 20, Nar­zo 10, X50, X7, X3

How­ev­er, enthu­si­asts are work­ing on an unof­fi­cial port of Android 12 to old­er devices from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers. That’s just the sta­bil­i­ty of the device after that no one will guar­an­tee.

How to update to Android 12

As a rule, the shell of the oper­at­ing sys­tem of a smart­phone or tablet itself offers to install all the lat­est updates. This sys­tem is called “updat­ing over the air” or on the air. If, when con­nect­ed to Wi-Fi, the device does not start the pro­ce­dure for pre-down­load­ing a new ver­sion of the OS, then your device prob­a­bly sim­ply does not sup­port it.

How­ev­er, some­times the auto­mat­ic update process may be dis­abled or may not work as expect­ed. In this case, it can be start­ed man­u­al­ly. In some ver­sions of the Android shell, menu items may be named dif­fer­ent­ly, but the algo­rithm remains the same for every­one. We will tell you how to upgrade to Android 12 using the exam­ple of a Red­mi smart­phone with MIUI firmware.

How to upgrade to Android 12. KP screenshot
How to upgrade to Android 12. KP screen­shot

You need to go to the smart­phone set­tings, select the “About phone” item, and then click on the but­ton with the name of the firmware ver­sion — you will enter the OS update menu. At the same time, the smart­phone will start a forced search for avail­able updates and offer to install them. Also in this menu, you can down­load the cur­rent firmware ver­sion and the “Set­tings” item and enable auto­mat­ic sys­tem updates.

How to install Android 12

Some users find that their devices will work bet­ter on an inap­pro­pri­ate default ver­sion of Android. For them, we will out­line how to install Android 12 in gen­er­al terms.



Android 12 is rec­om­mend­ed to be installed on rel­a­tive­ly “fresh” smart­phones after 2020 release. When using new­er mod­els, the risks of unsta­ble sys­tem oper­a­tion are reduced. It should also be under­stood that when installing an unof­fi­cial ver­sion of Android, the fac­to­ry war­ran­ty is lost, and in the process, the smart­phone may fail.

In gen­er­al, the process of installing Android 12 (as well as any ver­sion of the OS) can be divid­ed into sev­er­al parts. Each indi­vid­ual brand of smart­phone may have its own char­ac­ter­is­tics, but the con­cep­tu­al process is the same.

  1. First of all, you need to unlock the boot­loader of your smart­phone. Man­u­fac­tur­ers delib­er­ate­ly restrict access to this part of the firmware as a pro­tec­tion against an inex­pe­ri­enced user. Before unlock­ing, the device must be switched to Fast­boot mode;
  2. Then a non-orig­i­nal, but com­pat­i­ble Recov­ery is installed on the phone via a PC. It allows you to ful­ly inter­act with the sys­tem and install oth­er ver­sions of Android;
  3. Through a non-orig­i­nal Recov­ery, all data is delet­ed from the smartphone’s mem­o­ry, and then Android 12 is installed from the down­loaded image and Google ser­vices (if need­ed).

This algo­rithm is suit­able for all smart­phones on OS from Google. We delib­er­ate­ly do not give com­plete infor­ma­tion on how to install Android 12 in order to pro­tect our read­ers from the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a device break­ing dur­ing firmware. If you still decide to change the OS of your device to Android your­self, be sure to study the instruc­tions. Infor­ma­tion on almost every pop­u­lar device can be found in Russ­ian.

Known Issues and Solutions

When installing or updat­ing Android 12, com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent prob­lems can arise. Before you start installing a new OS on your device, be sure to review a few instruc­tions on spe­cial­ized sites. We will cov­er only the most com­mon issues relat­ed to chang­ing Android.

The smartphone does not enter or exit Fastboot mode

There are two options for switch­ing to Fast­boot mode from the Android device itself. In the first, you need to hold the “Vol­ume Down” and “Pow­er” but­tons, and in the sec­ond — “Vol­ume Up” and “Pow­er On”. All man­u­fac­tur­ers use only these two com­bi­na­tions.

The smartphone does not go into Fastboot mode.  Screenshot of KP
The smart­phone does not go into Fast­boot mode. Screen­shot of KP

Usu­al­ly, after unlock­ing the boot­loader, the smart­phone exits Fast­boot mode on its own. To force reboot your device from Fast­boot to nor­mal, hold down the pow­er but­ton until it vibrates (usu­al­ly 20 to 30 sec­onds).

The smartphone does not connect to the computer in Fastboot mode

Always use the orig­i­nal cable to con­nect your device to your com­put­er. “Left” wires may not work when flash­ing a new ver­sion of Android. If you do not have the orig­i­nal cable on hand, then buy a qual­i­ty replace­ment. On a good wire, only one con­nec­tor is sol­dered for con­nect­ing to the phone, and it costs at least 200–300 rubles.

Also, be sure to install spe­cial dri­vers for a PC with an Android device in Fast­boot mode. Links to them are usu­al­ly giv­en in the com­plete instruc­tions for installing a new ver­sion of Android.

Android OTA updates not coming to smartphone

Prob­a­bly, the phone has an unlocked boot­loader, root­ed, sys­tem files have been changed, or a non-orig­i­nal ver­sion of Android is installed. As in the case of a war­ran­ty, after man­u­al­ly chang­ing the oper­at­ing sys­tem of the device, you lose updates and sup­port from the man­u­fac­tur­er. This is not done out of harm — devel­op­ers sim­ply can­not pre­pare updates for each ver­sion of Android.



What’s new in Android 12


The appear­ance of the oper­at­ing sys­tem can be improved indef­i­nite­ly. In Android 12, they decid­ed to make it even more “weight­less”. To do this, for exam­ple, they got rid of the full-sized rec­tan­gu­lar search wid­get on the main screen — now it is replaced by a small ana­logue that expands when clicked.

For the uni­ty of the con­cept of appear­ance, the design of appli­ca­tion load­ing win­dows is gen­er­at­ed by the oper­at­ing sys­tem itself, based on the col­or scheme of the pro­gram. By the way, the shades of the entire sys­tem depend on the col­or of the wall­pa­per — some­thing sim­i­lar has already been seen in non-stan­dard launch­ers for Android.

The items in the quick set­tings menu when swip­ing down the screen in Android 12 have been made larg­er, now there are only six of them on one screen. They are hard to miss, so now the smart­phone on Android 12 is eas­i­er to con­trol with one hand.

material surfaces.  Photo: android.com
mate­r­i­al sur­faces. Pho­to: android.com

By the way, in the noti­fi­ca­tion cur­tain itself and in the phone set­tings, the avatar of the phone user from his Google account now flaunts. The noti­fi­ca­tion drop­down menu in Android 12 has been made opaque.

In gen­er­al, insid­er fore­casts3 about design in Android 12 came true, but in a much broad­er sense. Scat­tered assump­tions about the “weight­less” appear­ance of the new OS were embod­ied in a whole con­cept called “Mate­r­i­al You”, which replaced the pre­vi­ous “Mate­r­i­al Design”. The devel­op­ers them­selves call the design update per­haps the largest in the his­to­ry of their OS.

The essence of “Mate­r­i­al You” is that the sys­tem itself adjusts to the image on the desk­top, and selects the desired shades for the entire col­or scheme. This Android 12 ele­ment is called Dynam­ic Col­ors. When you set the wall­pa­per, it will ana­lyze the image and offer you to choose from four col­or schemes. For exam­ple, for wall­pa­per with a soft pink col­or, the algo­rithm selects themes and design of pro­grams in pas­tel col­ors.

With this extra­or­di­nary method, Google devel­op­ers want to uni­fy the sys­tem out­ward­ly so that it looks ele­gant on all devices with the new OS. Of course, “Mate­r­i­al You” will work most ade­quate­ly with “brand­ed” devices and pro­grams from Google.

To cre­ate a uni­fied style, Android 12 removed the abil­i­ty to cus­tomize fonts from the sys­tem. Now only one will be installed by default — the orig­i­nal Google Sans. Along with this, the sys­tem lost the abil­i­ty to change the style of noti­fi­ca­tion and appli­ca­tion icons. In this regard, the uni­fied design of Android 12 is very dif­fer­ent from pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the OS, where it was pos­si­ble to com­plete­ly change the appear­ance of the sys­tem out of the box.

material you.  Photo: youtube.com/AndroidCentral
mate­r­i­al you. Pho­to: youtube.com/AndroidCentral

Now “clean” Android 12 has become more like iOS closed from changes. How­ev­er, users were left with the option to install alter­na­tive launch­ers from the Google Play store. They can still change the design of Android beyond recog­ni­tion. Anoth­er thing is that most users will be sat­is­fied with the stan­dard look of Android 12 with a pre-select­ed col­or scheme.

By the way, the appear­ance of appli­ca­tion icons is also “picked up” from the Mate­r­i­al You col­or scheme. But this will not always hap­pen — not all devel­op­ers will want their appli­ca­tion launch but­tons to change.



It is note­wor­thy that the visu­al con­cept is uni­ver­sal for all devices on one Google account. The col­ors you are used to will be found in a smart­phone, tablet, smart watch and even Android-Auto.

Technical changes

The tech­ni­cal part of Android 12 smart­phones has also received updates. Per­haps the most inter­est­ing are the new soft­ware inter­faces for work­ing with con­tent.

For exam­ple, now you can insert images into the mes­sen­ger with­out sav­ing them on the device. We saw a pic­ture on the Inter­net, clicked “Copy”, and then past­ed it direct­ly into the mes­sen­ger.

Also, the new ver­sion of the OS adds sup­port for the .AVIF (image) and .HEVC (video) for­mats. At the same size as .JPG and .AVI, they have the best qual­i­ty.

LaMDA AI Interface

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, devel­op­ers from Google Android 12 drew atten­tion to the arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence engine under the unusu­al name LaM­DA. It was cre­at­ed for “live” com­mu­ni­ca­tion with devices on var­i­ous top­ics. A self-learn­ing sys­tem takes data from the Inter­net and its data­base, and then gives the user quite mean­ing­ful answers.

As an exam­ple, dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Google CEO Sun­dar Pichai talked to the plan­et Plu­to on the top­ic of cold and grav­i­ty. The inter­face is planned to be used in the voice assis­tant and Google search engine, as well as in the Google Work­place work­space.

But in the final ver­sion of Android 12, the new arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence algo­rithm did not appear. At least not offi­cial­ly announced. Inter­est­ing fact — Google devel­op­er Blake Lemoyne lost his job in the sum­mer of 2022 due to the fact that he announced that LaM­DA has con­scious­nessfour. The pro­gram­mer talked to arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and LaM­DA answered quite dif­fi­cult ques­tions for him.

LaMDA.  Photo: youtube.com/AndroidCentral
LaM­DA. Pho­to: youtube.com/AndroidCentral

Google maps update

The Amer­i­can com­pa­ny did not rein­vent the wheel, and in Android 12 they sim­ply made the “native” nav­i­ga­tion appli­ca­tion more con­ve­nient and intu­itive. For exam­ple, now the algo­rithms indi­cate to pedes­tri­ans exact­ly where the road cross­ing is locat­ed on the street, and motorists are “guid­ed” through the least loaded dri­ve­ways. Also, the devel­op­ers have sim­pli­fied the nav­i­ga­tion of pedes­tri­ans in places where it is most dif­fi­cult to do so. Just turn on the app and the cam­era will show you which of the aisles of the air­port or shop­ping cen­ter you need to enter.

GOOGLE MAPS.  Photo: youtube.com/AndroidCentral
GOOGLE MAPS. Pho­to: youtube.com/AndroidCentral

Project Starline

The most “space” and ambi­tious project from Google is Project Star­line. This is a spe­cial algo­rithm for pro­cess­ing video images in real time, which, accord­ing to the devel­op­ers, looks like a “mag­ic mir­ror”.

Nat­u­ral­ly, there are no mir­a­cles inside, but there are meth­ods for work­ing with cam­eras and device sen­sors. The sys­tem cre­ates a 3D image of the inter­locu­tor, process­es the image and dis­plays it on a spe­cial light field dis­play in the form of a holo­gram.



Of course, you won’t be able to see such beau­ty on the screen of a smart­phone, but, appar­ent­ly, it is pos­si­ble to adapt a smart­phone as a cam­era for cre­at­ing holo­grams.

This tech­nol­o­gy has also not appeared in Android 12 yet. How­ev­er, Google is active­ly work­ing on Project Star­line and is even look­ing for devel­op­ers to work on this project.5. There is no addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about the video pro­cess­ing algo­rithm yet.

Project Starline.  Photo: youtube.com/AndroidCentral
Project Star­line. Pho­to: youtube.com/AndroidCentral

One hand operation

Due to the large size of smart­phones, it becomes incon­ve­nient to oper­ate them with one hand. Some firmwares add a spe­cial func­tion that nar­rows the effec­tive part of the screen to a diag­o­nal of ~ 5 inch­es, but there was no con­ve­nient ana­logue in the offi­cial ver­sions. In ver­sion 12, this over­sight was decid­ed to be cor­rect­ed. Now even a “shov­el” can be con­trolled by a per­son with a small palm.

It is note­wor­thy that the unused part of the screen is sim­ply blurred with a neu­tral col­or — it looks much more aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ing than the black bars in sim­i­lar solu­tions from oth­er devel­op­ers.

After test­ing, the one-hand­ed con­trol mode appeared in Android 12. It works the same as dur­ing the first pre­sen­ta­tion — the active part of the screen shrinks and slides down. You can reach any part of it with your thumb.

Working with screenshots

Such updates can hard­ly be called crit­i­cal, but they great­ly sim­pli­fy the user’s life. A small image edi­tor is now built into the screen­shot pro­gram. You can add text, emo­ji, or “blur” part of the screen­shot to the screen­shot. You can also draw on the screen­shot by hand.

Privacy & Security

Google decid­ed to lis­ten to users who are wor­ried about their per­son­al data. In Android 12, smart­phone micro­phones and cam­eras are turned off at the sys­tem lev­el. In a clean ver­sion of Android 12 for devices from Google (Pix­el series), you can enable con­fi­den­tial mode direct­ly from the noti­fi­ca­tion shade. In oth­er shells, this fea­ture can be found in the pri­va­cy set­tings of the smart­phone.

For con­ve­nience, all pri­va­cy set­tings were moved to a sep­a­rate item “Pri­va­cy Dash­board”. In this menu, the sys­tem clear­ly shows which appli­ca­tions have recent­ly used the smart­phone’s cam­era or micro­phone. Also, Android now indi­cates in the upper cor­ner of the screen the use of the cam­era or micro­phone by an appli­ca­tion with a small icon.

Permissions control panel.  Screenshot of KP
Per­mis­sions con­trol pan­el. Screen­shot of KP

For those who are afraid to be with­out help at the right time, we added the func­tion of call­ing emer­gency ser­vices. If the phone detects an emer­gency (for exam­ple, a sharp blow or press­ing the select­ed set of but­tons), it will start mak­ing loud sounds, and after 5 sec­onds it will dial the num­ber of the pre-spec­i­fied num­ber. For exam­ple, res­cue ser­vices or a close rel­a­tive. By default, the func­tion does not work and must be enabled in the emer­gency call menu in the set­tings.

Game Mode

The new ver­sion of Android has a “native” mode for mobile gam­ing. Like its many coun­ter­parts, it clears RAM before launch­ing games, adjusts screen bright­ness, and blocks pop-up noti­fi­ca­tions from non-gam­ing apps at the most inop­por­tune moment.



Spotlight Search

Search giant Google has final­ly added to Android 12 the abil­i­ty to search for files through­out the smart­phone. The algo­rithm process­es the search query and looks for results for it in notes, pho­tos or videos. In the same Spot­light menu, you can switch to search by query on the Inter­net. For now, this fea­ture only works in Eng­lish.

New widgets

Devel­op­ers from Google are close­ly fol­low­ing the lat­est trends in mobile oper­at­ing sys­tems. In Android 12, fol­low­ing Apple, they slight­ly changed the func­tion­al­i­ty of wid­gets. In par­tic­u­lar, the “High­lights” wid­get has been redesigned — infor­ma­tion about sports match­es and a shop­ping list have been added to it. Wid­gets for the “native” appli­ca­tions of the Amer­i­can com­pa­ny have also been updat­ed. For exam­ple, Google Keep, Google Disc and Youtube Music.

Widget Overview Raven.  Photo: android.com
Wid­get Overview Raven. Pho­to: android.com

Application hibernation

If the user does not launch the appli­ca­tion for sev­er­al months, then it will go into “sleep mode” or hiber­na­tion. The sys­tem will min­i­mize its size and pro­hib­it it from send­ing noti­fi­ca­tions. At the same time, the appli­ca­tion will phys­i­cal­ly remain in the smartphone’s mem­o­ry, and it can always be launched.

App installation indication on the home screen

A fea­ture com­plete­ly copied from iOS. Now, imme­di­ate­ly after start­ing the instal­la­tion of the pro­gram, its icon appears on the main screen. Dur­ing instal­la­tion, it changes col­or, and a bar moves around it, show­ing the sta­tus of the instal­la­tion of the appli­ca­tion.


Android 12 turned out to be an ambigu­ous oper­at­ing sys­tem. In the “clean” ver­sion of the OS, they tried to cre­ate a uni­ver­sal design that is suit­able for any user. Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Mate­r­i­al You design, the idea seemed great, but in real­i­ty, users are faced with the fact that the Dynam­ic Col­ors algo­rithm cre­ates too “calm” and pas­tel col­ors. The sys­tem brings col­ors to a “com­mon denom­i­na­tor”, frankly drown­ing out bright and “pulling out” dark pic­tures.

In tech­ni­cal terms, Google devel­op­ers also did not make any dis­cov­er­ies. Sys­tem tasks began to load the proces­sor 23% less6but at the same time, the sys­tem require­ments of the orig­i­nal Android 12 have also increased. For sta­ble oper­a­tion of the sys­tem, you need at least 6 GB of RAM and a screen with a res­o­lu­tion of at least 1080P7.

Overview of the Android 12 operating system

Google I/O 2021

  1. https://www.counterpointresearch.com/global-smartphone-share/
  2. https://www.google.com/android/beta#faq
  3. https://www.androidauthority.com/android-12-features-1195735/
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/06/11/google-ai-lamda-blake-lemoine/
  5. https://careers.google.com/jobs/results/126945998183244486/
  6. https://www.techinsider.ru/technologies/news-756573-google-vypustil-android-12-kompaniya-utverzhdaet-chto-novaya-versiya-ekonomichnee-i-bezopasnee/
  7. https://news.mydrivers.com/1/789/789024.htm?utm_source=ixbtcom