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Here's what's new in Android 14

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After a year of waiting, the latest version of Android is finally out. Android 14 U is available to download for the general public, and people are digging into this software. So, what’s new with Android 14? Here’s a rundown of the new features and functions that Google added this year.

Before we hop into the new stuff, we’ll go through some of the things you need to know before trying to install the software. Those who aren’t quite the most tech-savvy might benefit from this information. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Who can install Android 14?

Before we start, let’s go through the devices that can actually install Android 14. Since it just landed, Android 14 can only be installed on Google Pixel devices. Other companies are testing the new software on their phones like Samsung and OnePlus. However, Google gets first dibs on the Android upgrades.

As for which Pixel that can get Android 14, you can get the download if you’re using a phone no older than the Pixel 4a 5G. This is something that will confuse some folks, as the Pixel 4a can not get the update; only the Pixel 4a 5G can. Also, if you’re using the Pixel 4a 5G, this is the last Android upgrade that you can get.

So, if you’re using any devices released since then, including the Pixel Fold and the Pixel Tablet, you can get the Android 14 update. The Pixel 8 devices will come with the software pre-installed.

How to install the update

You’re most likely going to get the notification when your phone gets the update. However, there’s always that chance that you missed the notification or that you just don’t get it. If that happens, don’t worry, you can manually hunt down the update.

Go to your phone’s settings (swipe down on the home screen and tap on the gear icon in the notification shade) and scroll down to the System button. On that page, tap on the Update button. This will open up a page that will either say that there’s an update available or that your software is up to date.

If the page says the latter, then tap on the Search for update button on the bottom right of the screen. Your phone will then do a search for the update. After the search, you should see that there’s an update waiting for you. Tap on the Install button.

Make sure that your phone is charged above 30% and that you keep your phone on during the installation process. Google is going to download and install the update in the background while you use your phone. If your phone slows down or gets a bit warm, that’s natural. Just be sure to check back every now and then to keep an eye on the status.

What’s new with Android 14?

So, here’s a rundown of the new features that are coming with Android 14. Some features are more significant while others are minor updates. Either way, you should enjoy what Google has coming to you.

Ultra HDR

Nowadays, most flagship phones are coming out with HDR displays. While that’s the case, most of the photos that we see are displayed in SDR (standard dynamic range). Ultra HDR is a format supported on Android 14 that will preserve the HDR format no matter what device you’re viewing it on.

If you take a photo in HDR, Google will preserve the HDR data even after you edit the image. If you view that photo on an SDR screen, it will be displayed in SDR. However, if you view that same image on an HDR screen, it will then snap to HDR.

Monochromatic themes

Each year since Android 12, Google has brought new ways for you to customize your device’s theme. Material You lets you apply different color schemes to your device. As you know, you can use the colors present in your wallpaper and apply it to your theme.

However, what if you don’t want any color? Well, with Android 14, you now have monochromatic themes. These will give your phone a black-and-white look. As you can guess, the theme will be mostly white when your phone is on light theme and mostly black when on the dark theme.

Lock screen customizations

One thing about stock Android is the lack of customization options when it comes to the lock screen. However, Android 14 brings a robust suite of lock screen customizations. Google brought several tools you can use to personalize the experience.

You can choose between different clock styles with completely different fonts and sizes. Some clocks are thicker and more in your face while others are more out of the way. Also, you can choose between different lock screen shortcuts. These will launch different functions or apps right from the lock screen.

Generative AI wallpapers

Generative AI is here to stay, and Google has implemented the technology into your phones. With the AI wallpapers, you’ll be able to simply type in the type of wallpaper that you want, and the phone will use AI to generate it for you.

You will be able to choose from different styles that you want to be applied to the image. Also, when you generate a wallpaper, you’ll have different versions to choose from. Just scroll through the results to find your favorite version and apply it to your interface.

Phone as a webcam

You can use your Android phone as a webcam by downloading third-party software. However, Android 14 gives you the ability to use your phone as a webcam natively. You’ll just need to plug your phone into your computer to use the feature.

More data-sharing transparency

You want to know how your data is being used after you give an app permission to use it. Once you give it up to an app, it’s pretty much out of your hands. However, in Android 14, you’ll actually be notified if your data is shared with any third-party companies. This will help you make more informed decisions about what apps you’re giving your data to.

Longer PIN

This is one of those minor changes. In Android 14, you’ll be required to use a 6-digit PIN when unlocking your phone. Also, your phone will unlock the moment that you put in the code. You won’t need to press the Unlock button.

Health Connect

If you’re into health and fitness, then you’re most likely using different apps to track your health. Well, Health Connect is a central hub for you to access and manage your health data from different apps on your phone. You’re able to keep track of your stats all in one place, and you’re able to manage the permissions that you’re giving those apps.

The app lets you see your recent activity across the apps as well. It’s a great tool to use if you want all of your health data in one place.

Updates to Google Home

Why go to the Google Home app if you’re looking to quickly manage your settings? On the lock screen, you’ll have one-tap access to your devices. You’ll also be able to see your camera feeds on the lock screen. You’ll be able to manage your devices without needing to unlock your phone.

On the lock screen, you’ll be able to activate and deactivate different devices and even adjust the brightness of your lights. This is perfect for people who are constantly controlling their smart home devices.

Magnification tool

There are times when you’re trying to read tiny items on your screen. It can be frustrating, so Android 14 has a magnification tool that will zoom in on a certain part of your screen. However, this tool goes further than that.

When you summon the tool, you’ll see a rectangle pop up on the screen that will magnify what’s under it. You can resize that rectangle to cover a larger or smaller area.

The tool goes further than that. There are some preset magnifier sizes that you can choose from. Also, you can adjust the magnification of the area so you can get closer if you need to.

Non-linear font scaling

You’ve been able to adjust the size of the text’s font for years. However, the issue is that larger text and small text would scale up and down at the same rate. So, if you increased the size to the max so that smaller text would be clearer, the text that was already large would grow too large.

Android 14 will bring non-linear font scaling. This means that larger text won’t grow as fast as smaller text. So, the smaller text would be more legible, and the larger text wouldn’t be cut off. It will make the interface look nicer.

Font size Quick Setting

If you need to change the size of your text, you have to go to your settings and find your display settings. That can be tedious if you’re in a situation where you need to quickly change the size.

In Android 14, you’ll see a font size button in the Quick Settings. All you have to do is swipe down to access your Quick Settings, and it will be there.

Hear Aids improvements

This is a helpful accessibility tool for you guys who need a hearing device. There’s a hub in the accessibility section that will let you add new devices and adjust settings for them. It’s a one-stop shop to manage your hearing device.

Flash notifications

We all miss the notification LEDs. Well, with flash notifications, your flash LED will flash when there’s a notification that needs your attention. You’ll be able to choose which types of notifications you want to flash. This will give you an idea of what the notification is before having to pick up your phone.

And with that, you know what’s new with Android 14. Now go out there and enjoy your Android U experience!

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