Google rolls out second Android 14 developer preview

Google has released the second developer preview of Android 14, enhancing privacy, security, performance, developer productivity and user customisation.

This further enhances the experience of large screen devices on tablets, foldables etc. Last month, the first developer preview of Android 14 was released, bringing downloads for Pixel and a timeline for its release.

Supports tablet and foldable form factors

Android 14 brings a new level of convenience with support for tablets and the foldable form factor. Google has gotten started with building large screens and foldables to help developers jumpstart their apps.

In addition, the App Quality Guidance for Large Screens includes detailed checklists for reviewing your apps. Additionally, libraries supporting the low latency stylus and motion prediction have been released.

Better Privacy and Security

Android 14 is committed to providing users with the highest quality platform for everyone, ensuring privacy and security are always important. With app sandboxing, open source code, and open app development, users have more control over the security of their information.

Using selected photo with photo picker

Google recommends that Android 4.4 and up use the Photo Picker for unpermissioned access to media. For apps that use visual media permissions (SDK 33+), Android 14 users can choose which photos and videos to grant access to. Permission options are:

  • Allow access to all photos: The entire library of all on-device photos and videos is available
  • Select photos: Only photos and videos selected by the user will be temporarily available through the MediaStore
  • Do not allow: Access to all photos and videos is denied
credential Manager

Android 14 introduces Credential Manager, a platform API supported by Google for Android 4.4 (API level 19) devices. The API makes sign-in simpler and more secure, with the ability to retrieve and store credentials with user-configured credential providers.

It even supports the industry standard for passwordless sign-in: PassKey, which works across a variety of operating systems and browsers.

secure implicit intent

Android 14 apps need to be extra careful when creating pending intents with implicit intents. To prevent unintended code paths, intentions must be made immutable or explicit; Otherwise, an exception will be thrown.

launch background activity

Android 10 and higher have restrictions in place to reduce background activity launching. With Android 14, foreground apps have more control over what activities other apps can initiate. To ensure an interruption-free experience, apps targeting Android 14 need to be granted privileges when sending pending intents or forcing a service.

streamlining background work

Android 14 brings many improvements to make your experience smoother than ever. Streamlined background tasks boost system health, battery life, and user experience.

background customization

Developer Preview 2 improved Android’s memory management system for better utilization of resources. Background work is now stopped much faster than in Android 13, a few seconds after an app goes into a cached state, outside of traditional Android app lifecycle APIs such as foreground services, JobScheduler, and WorkManager.

fewer non-dismissable notifications

Android 14 offers more control over notifications. With FLAG_ONGOING_EVENT, users can dismiss notifications on unlocked devices. However, when the device is locked, these notifications cannot be dismissed. Important information like system and device policy cannot be completely discarded.

Better App Store Experience

Android 14 introduces several new PackageInstaller APIs that allow App Stores to enhance their user experience:

  • requestUserPreapproval() Enables deferred download of APK until after installation approval.
  • setRequestUpdateOwnership() allows the installer to indicate responsibility for app updates.
  • setDontKillApp() facilitates seamless installation of optional features using split APKs.
  • The InstallConstraints API provides a way for installers to ensure that app updates occur at an appropriate time.
Personalization – Regional Preferences

Personalization allows users to tailor their experience to their regional preferences. With Android, users can adjust the temperature units, first day of the week, and numbering system to suit their needs.

It provides a searchable and centralized location to change app preferences, and allows them to be backed up and restored. APIs, intents, and broadcast receivers for ACTION_LOCALE_CHANGED allow developers to build apps that adjust to user preferences.

app compatibility

Google is working hard to ensure app compatibility in Android 14. For developers, now is the time to test new features and provide feedback. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to do compatibility testing and identify any needed app changes.

You can do this without changing the targetSdkVersion by using the Change behavior toggle in Developer Options. Platform stability will be reached in June 2023, giving you several weeks to do your final testing before the official release.

Get started with Android 14 – Developer Preview 2

Pixel devices including Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, and Pixel 4a (5G) can install Android 14 Developer Preview by flashing the system image – from here. If you don’t have a Pixel device, you can use a 64-bit system image with the Android emulator in Android Studio.

Android 14 Beta Program

Google has announced that it will open enrollment for the Android 14 beta program once it reaches the beta release. For now, the Android Beta Program is not available for Android 14.

Speaking on the announcement, Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, said,

Today, we’re releasing the second developer preview of Android 14, which builds on the work of the first developer preview of Android 14 from last month, with additional enhancements to privacy, security, performance, developer productivity, and user customization, as well as improvements continues to do. Big screen device experience on tablets, foldables and more.

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