The first Android 14 developer preview

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Google has officially released the first developer preview of Android 14, which is now available for download on the Google Pixel 7 Pro and other Pixel phones that support it. It provides a preview of what to expect from the Upcoming Android release, but as the name says, it is mostly aimed at developers. That means it almost probably lacks any forthcoming consumer-facing features and maybe even less reliable than a beta version, which is set to debut in April. With that in mind, here’s what Google revealed about Android 14 Developer Preview 1 and what else we may expect.

Google’s developer preview is mostly focused on app upgrades and how they behave. Google, like most recent Android versions, prioritizes compatibility, which means that most app-facing modifications are opt-in. This reduces the likelihood of older apps breaking on Android 14. Developers can force-enable or disable the new functionality in the Android developer options to test the opt-in modifications.

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After the beta publishes, there may be further interesting upgrades with a new system or Pixel-exclusive features.

Google is planning big-screen optimization and battery improvements for Android 14

Android 14 is expected to pick up where Android 13 and 12L left off. The new operating system will receive additional APIs and documentation to make it easier for developers to create layouts for all Android form factors, including smartphones, foldable, tablets, and Chromebooks. Google has updated its large-screen app quality checklists, which allow developers to easily assess how well their applications will operate across various platforms. There are also new example layouts for various types of apps, which are intended to inspire developers to create similarly flexible layouts and apps that maximize available screen real estate.

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With Android 14, Google intends to increase standby battery life. That’s because of modifications to Android’s internal broadcasting mechanism, which conveys state changes like the current battery level or app connectivity. Developers are also highly urged not to utilize exact alarms in their apps unless they are a calendar or alarm clock, as this kind of task scheduling is extremely draining on the battery. Newly installed apps targeting Android 13 or higher that want to use precise timers will need to request permission from users.

In terms of accessibility, Android 14 allows you to increase the text zoom level to 200%, rather than the previous restriction of 130%. A new linear font scale is applied automatically to ensure that already-large text does not become even larger, which should help with any layout concerns. Additionally, developers will have more control over which per-app language options to display in which countries and a new Grammatical Inflection API will make it easier to address customers in languages with various grammatical genders.

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The most significant change to Android 14’s security architecture is undoubtedly Google’s prohibition of apps targeting older Android versions. Apps targeting SDK version 22 or lower will no longer be able to be installed or sideloaded on Android 14. Google cites malware as a factor, claiming that it enjoys evading security upgrades implemented to SDK version 23, which was deployed with Android 6 in 2015. Practically, this shouldn’t affect anyone today, and if you absolutely require access to an outdated program, a new ADB command allows you to circumvent the prohibition.

What else can we expect from Android 14?

Aside from the officially stated improvements included in the developer preview, Google previously released a few other additions. For one thing, gesture navigation is getting an overhaul, with predictive back navigation allowing you to see what comes next as you navigate back, similar to how it works on iOS. Developers can create unique animations for this or utilize Google’s presets. For instance, Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer announced last year that Android 14 will include native support for satellite connectivity.

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There have also been a few leaks and speculations indicating that more new features are on the way. Some devices with specified processors may only be 64-bit when Android 14 is released. The sharing menu may receive a Mainline update that will detach it from system changes. Android 14 may also enable the use of Bluetooth for distance measurement, assisting in the recovery of misplaced devices or trackers.

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Android 14, like any other version of Google’s mobile operating system, has an internal code name, and it’s a little less clever than you might imagine. Following Google’s typical alphabetical arrangement, it is known as Android 14 Upside Down Cake. There was, for example, Android 13 Tiramisu and Android 12 Snow Cone before it.

The Android 14 Developer Preview schedule

Google, as usual, has also issued a schedule outlining its plans ahead of the final release. As shown in the graph below, we’re in for two developer previews, the first of which will be released today and the second in March. Google will then transition to the beta program in April, which will be more accessible to everyone. We anticipate that the corporation will reveal a plethora of previously held-back features in the May beta release, which will most likely coincide with its developer conference, Google I/O 2023.

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Beta 3 and 4 will then reach platform stability in June and July, allowing developers to begin developing apps for Android 14 with the confidence that no more changes to the new APIs will be made. Google continues to leave the month of the final release open, as it has in the past, but if history is any guide, we will see it around August or September, well ahead of the Google Pixel 8 release.

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How to Install Android 14 Developer Preview 1

Download the suitable factory image from Android Developers and install it on your Pixel phone to get started with the Android 14 Developer Preview. Google Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, and Pixel 4a (5G) are all compatible, according to Google. In an emulator, you can also utilize a generic 64-bit image.

However, once you’ve installed the developer preview, you’ll be able to receive over-the-air updates. If you’re not sure how it all works, see our guide to installing the Android 14 Developer Preview.

You’ll have to wait until April 2023 for a more pleasant over-the-air upgrade that doesn’t necessitate losing all of your info. If you’re not a developer, you should probably do this anyway — or at the very least, don’t install the developer preview unless you have a spare phone. Google warns that the “first preview release is for developers only and is not intended for daily or consumer usage, hence it is only available through manual download.”

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