Android 15: All the new features in Google’s next operating system

Annual updates to Android and iOS are always worth looking out for, and on the heels of Google I/O 2024, we now have the second Android 15 beta, so it’s a good opportunity to round up everything coming to the OS this year.

If you would like to participate in beta testing – keeping in mind that these beta versions will contain bugs and issues – Head here To see if your device is eligible. Google Pixel owners can sign up, and a select number of phones from third-party manufacturers are included in the program as well, including phones from OnePlus and Nothing (although no Samsung yet).

Keep in mind that features will be added (and possibly removed) in the coming months as we head toward the full launch of Android 15, which will be around October if Google follows the Android 14 schedule. But for now, here are the new and improved features in Android 15 so far .

Multitasking is better

Android 15 will improve the multitasking experience on tablets and large displays by enabling you to permanently pin the taskbar to the screen for a desktop-like experience. What’s more, split-screen app groups — like Gmail and YouTube — can be saved to bring back later. These app pairs can be pinned to the taskbar as well.

Private space

Your private space can use the same lock as your phone.
Screenshot: Google

You can use a different Google Account with your Space.
Screenshot: Google

Android 15 adds a new secure location on your phone — a private space — so you can lock down your most sensitive apps and the data inside them. If you’re using a Samsung phone, there’s already something similar called Secure Folder, but now it will be integrated into Android for all users.

It works by creating a new section in the app drawer that will need additional verification (such as a passcode or fingerprint) to access. You can install any apps you want here, including separate instances of Camera, Google Photos, and Google Chrome for photos, videos, and web browsing that you don’t really want anyone else to see.

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Predictive return

This oddly named feature means you see a quick preview of what you’ll be back to when you use the global back gesture (swiping from the side of the screen). So, for example, you might see a website you’ve just left or the home screen – the idea is for users to know what they’ll return to before completing the gesture.

Partial screen recording

What’s new in Android 15 is the ability to record only part of the screen instead of all of it; This is useful if you are compiling a tutorial, troubleshooting a problem, or recording your screen for any other reason. It’s available in Android’s screen recording tool, and developers can add it to their own apps as well.

Redesigned volume sliders

Screen recordings can now only capture one app.
Screenshot: Google

The audio pass panel has been redesigned.
Screenshot: Google

Maybe not the most important change but it’s the one you’ll see most often: The panel that appears when you tap the three dots below the volume slider now takes up more space on the screen, making it easier to adjust the volume for media, alarms, and calls. You can also access connected Bluetooth devices from the same screen.

Satellite messages

It looks like Android phones may finally be getting satellite messaging, just like the iPhone. We say “maybe” because while Android 15 is running I will officially “Expanding platform support for satellite connectivity” In terms of software features, this connectivity should also be integrated into the hardware and is supposed to include a satellite network partner.

Widget previews

Richer previews of UI elements are on the way.
Screenshot: Google

Widgets are nothing new in Android, of course, but usually when you add new widgets to the home screen, you only see general examples of what the widgets look like. In Android 15, developers can add rich previews to widgets — so, for example, when you add a contact widget, you’ll be able to preview what it looks like using one of your actual contacts.

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Set custom vibrations

Something for those of you who have always muted your phones: Android apps were previously able to set their own custom vibrations, but in Android 15, you’ll be able to set them yourself for specific notification channels. So, you can have one pulse for an email and two pulses for a text message, for example.

One-time password protection

You may have accounts that you log into and are sent one-time passwords (OTPs) to prove who you say you are. In Android 15, notifications containing one-time passwords (OTP) will no longer appear on the screen, reducing the risk of someone stealing your passwords by looking over your shoulder or recording your screen in some way.

Protection against theft

New security features hide one-time passwords and deter thieves.
Screenshots: Google

Google is adding a bunch of features to Android to deter thieves. For example, a theft detection lock will use AI to quickly detect if your phone has been hijacked and then automatically trigger the lock screen. This automatic lock will also be activated if your phone is out of the network for an extended period of time or if many failed authentication attempts are made.

You’ll also be able to lock your device remotely more easily. All of these features are headed to devices running Android 10 or later sometime this year, but one of them is exclusive to Android 15: Your device can’t be reset (a common tactic used by thieves) without access to your Google account credentials. Which means only you will be able to do this.

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More convenient passkeys

Android 15 also brings with it some useful tweaks to support passkey on your phone — where you use the phone’s unlock method (such as a fingerprint scan) instead of a password to access your Google account. In the new operating system, the account selection screen and confirmation screen are combined into one screen, so there is one less screen. Google is also adding a new restore feature to make it easier to transfer your credentials to a new phone.

And more…

Android updates always include a bunch of minor tweaks and improvements that don’t necessarily attract a lot of attention but are still welcome nonetheless. With Android 15, they include more efficient video processing, better handling of apps running in the foreground (increased battery life), security safeguards to prevent malicious apps from hijacking tasks run by trustworthy apps, and the ability for Health Connect to pull more data from more apps. Over a longer period of time.

And even more…

Then there are the features that were not announced but were found by diligent code miners. Since these updates are broken and hidden and Google hasn’t mentioned them yet, we can’t promise that they’ll release the final version of Android 15. But if you’re interested, they include a Samsung DeX-like desktop mode, status page for Health of your phone storageAnd Very dim mode This makes it easier to read the phone’s screen in very dark environments.

It’s possible that Google will decide not to include some of these features in the full release of Android 15, but we’ll likely get some additional updates and announcements before then — we’re by no means at the final version of the software yet.

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