A little over a week ago I installed beta 4 of Android 12 on my Google Pixel 4a. I have not experienced any significant issues with running this version of Android, even though it is still a true beta and not a release candidate.

Like most men, I imagine, I carry my phone in my front pants pocket. In the past I occasionally discovered that the flashlight feature of the phone turned on while the phone is in my pocket, causing an odd, if not humorous, appearance. After installing Android 12 I found this occurring much too frequently.

Two lock screen settings appear to be the culprits: Tap to check phone and lift to check phone. Movement while walking is being interpreted by Android as either a tap or a lift, so I have disabled both features. I notice that Android seems to be smart enough to know the phone is in my pocket because it turns off the ambient display, so it should also disable the tap and lift to check functions, and I have provided feedback on this to Google.

App suggestions, which many people do not like and probably disable, are not working. Google added this feature in Android 11 that changes which app icons appear in the dock at the bottom of the home screen and at the top of the app drawer with the ones most commonly used at a particular time of day. Right now the icons displaying are the ones that were present in the dock at the time I installed the upgrade and have never been changed by Android. I might be the only person who likes this feature enough to report it not working.

I like the changes to the UI that Google has made, particularly increasing the font size in settings. The changes to the notifications are nice, although I am not sure whether I am a fan of the increased size of the Quick Settings icons, I think I wish they were the same as in Android 11.

Of course, the big change in Android 12 is the new design language called Material You with includes automatically changing the overall color appearance to the wallpaper on the phone. I have the Landscapes wallpaper changing daily to see changes with the appearance of the phone, and I am pretty pleased with what I am seeing.

I have not noticed any significant difference with over all performance or battery life, which is good. Ideally we would get better battery life in each release, but at the least we don’t want to lose battery life. Beta 4 marks Android 12 reaching the platform stability phase, which marks it as feature and API complete so that developers can test against a reliable version. One more release, release candidate one, will be made available before the final release of Android 12.

Android 11 was released on September 8, 2020, if Google is to meet that same early September release date we should see the release candidate late next week, which might coincide with the launch of the Pixel 5a.