Android 14 is here
It’s fair to say that Android is now a mature operating system. Google is seemingly done with tinkering with how the operating system looks and is instead focusing on how it feels. That grows more apparent with Android 14. The update, as expected, doesn’t bring about groundbreaking features or visual changes (except for the snazzy lock screen customisation). Rather, it prioritises improving existing functions and oiling up stuff under the hood so that everything runs smoother than before. Let’s take a look.
Android 14 top features
Lock screen customisation
Android users have long appreciated the ability to personalise their home screens, but with Android 14, the customisation game has reached a new level. The update introduces a lock screen picker, lock screen templates, a monochromatic theme, and support for Ultra HDR images. But it doesn’t stop there – Android 14 also lets users create parallax effect wallpapers from their own photos, craft cartoon-style wallpapers with their favourite emojis, and even generate AI-powered wallpapers based on text prompts.
Notification flashes have been available on some Android smartphones and iPhones, but with Android 14 it now becomes a part of the operating system. The feature lets you use your camera’s flash as a notification light and should come in handy for hearing-impaired users.
Better battery life
Changes in how the OS handles background tasks, downloads, and uploads, alongside other tweaks, promise a little extra juice for your smartphone. Plus, the return of the “screen time since last full charge” feature in the battery settings menu, missing since Android 12, is a welcome addition for those who closely monitor their device’s battery usage.
Improved support for larger screens
Android 14 promises apps that adapt gracefully to various screen sizes, including smartphones, folding phones, and tablets.
Photo and video access control
Concerned about apps having unrestricted access to your photos and videos? Android 14 introduces a solution by allowing users to select specific media that each app can access.
Larger fonts with smarter scaling
While Android 13 allowed font scaling up to 130 percent, Android 14 takes it a step further by allowing fonts to be scaled up to a whopping 200 percent. To ensure a coherent layout, the system employs nonlinear scaling, ensuring that already scaled elements like headings don’t get wonky.
Better hearing aid support
Android 14 no longer combines hearing aids with other Bluetooth devices, instead offering them a dedicated page. Users can now finely tune which sounds go to their hearing aids and which come through the device’s speakers. Additionally, Android 14 also care more about hearing protection, issuing pop-up notifications when it detects prolonged exposure to loud music.
To hinder malware targeting older Android versions, the OS blocks the installation of apps designed for Android 5.1 and earlier. Android 14 also streamlines authentication with passkeys, enabling biometric login for more apps, reducing the reliance on passwords, and boosting overall security.
More private PIN unlock
Users can now disable animations when entering their PIN, making it harder for prying eyes to discern the digits. For PINs of six characters or more, the option to eliminate the “OK” button at the end simplifies the unlocking process.
Keeping tabs on app data access can be challenging. Android 14 tackles this issue head-on by sending users monthly warnings when apps modify their data-sharing policy. This ensures users stay informed about any changes in how their data is used.
Improved share menu
Last but not least, Android 14 aims to streamline the sharing experience. The revamped share menu, which has long been inconsistent across Android devices and apps, now allows apps to add custom actions to system share sheets. Moreover, more app data is leveraged to determine the ranking of potential share targets, promising a more consistent and personalised sharing menu.
Android 14 eligible devices
If you have one of these phones, you can enjoy Android 14 right away:
Pixel 5 and 5a
Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a
Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel 7a
Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro
Of course, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will come with Android 14 pre-installed. But if your device is not a Pixel and was launched anytime after 2021, there’s a good chance it’s eligible for the Android 14 update – especially considering the fact that OEMs are extending software support with each iteration.
Android 14: How to install
Depending on the brand of your smartphone, the steps for updating your software may be different. But they can still be summed up as follows:
- Open the Settings app on your eligible device.
- Scroll down and tap System.
- Tap System update.
- If you see the Android 14 update waiting for you, tap Download and install. If not, tap Check for updates and wait for it to appear. Alternatively, check for any beta programs from the same page.
- Once the download is complete, your device may restart during the installation process.