Google has unveiled Android 14, the latest upgrade to its mobile operating system, offering various enhancements designed to provide more customization, control, and accessibility features.
The Android 14 update is now being rolled out to supported Pixel devices and is expected to be available on a variety of other popular Android devices later this year, including those from Samsung Galaxy, iQOO, Nothing, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, and Xiaomi.
One of the standout features of Android 14 is its focus on customization. The updated customization picker makes it easier for users to switch between wallpapers and customize what they see on their device’s lock screen. Custom lock screen shortcuts, including quick access to features like the QR reader or Google Home app, have been added. Users can also select from curated lock screen templates that match their style, with AI (artificial intelligence) adjusting screen elements based on the user’s situation, such as prominently displaying the weather widget when the weather takes a turn for the worse. A monochromatic theme has been introduced for users who prefer a sleek, less colorful aesthetic.
Android 14 also introduces generative AI wallpapers, allowing users to create unique wallpapers without any art skills. The AI-generated text-to-image diffusion models offer preset suggestions to help users design one-of-a-kind wallpapers with just a few taps.
Improvements in camera quality are a part of this upgrade. Android 14 enhances the HDR support introduced in Android 13 by adding Ultra HDR support for images, resulting in photos with vibrant colors, brighter highlights, and darker shadows. This is especially effective on devices with high-quality HDR screens, preserving the image’s original quality.
Health and data control are also included in the update. Android 14 features Health Connect, a central hub for storing and controlling fitness and health data securely on your device, ensuring privacy. Users will have more transparency and control over how their data are used by apps, particularly regarding location data sharing with third parties.
Enhanced security includes encouraging users to set a six-digit PIN, making it more challenging for unauthorized access. Users can now unlock their device without pressing the “enter” key after entering the correct PIN.
Android 14 prioritizes accessibility, offering improved features for low-vision users. The magnifier has been made more intuitive, allowing pinch-to-zoom functionality and customization of magnification settings. Font size adjustments are more accessible, preventing text from becoming overly large, and maintaining readability without cutting off or wrapping text.
For hearing-impaired users, Android 14 provides a dedicated hearing-aid setup flow, better audio routing options, and quicker access to hearing-aid controls via shortcuts.
In notifications, Android 14 introduces “Flash notifications,” offering visual light flashes as an alternative to sound alerts, catering to users with hearing impairments or those in situations where audio notifications may not be suitable.
This update also includes other quality-of-life improvements, such as automatic framing in video calls, simplified access to Google Home controls, performance enhancements, and more.