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The 15 Top New Android 15 Features

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The next version of Google's mobile operating system—Android 15—is on the horizon, with a host of new features and improvements. Google promises productivity enhancements, better privacy and security, and smoother performance. There are also upgrades for foldable and larger-screen devices. Android 15 is only available as a beta for select devices right now, with the final release a few months away. But we have been trying it out, and these are our favorite new features so far.

Google officially dropped the dessert naming back with Android 10, but it still uses codenames internally. Android 14 was Upside Down Cake, and this year's release is Vanilla Ice Cream.

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How to Download and Install Android 15

Google released the first beta of Android 15 in April, with further releases planned for May, June, and July, ahead of the final public rollout, likely in August or October. These releases enable developers to test the forthcoming version of Google's mobile operating system, learn about the new features, and prepare their apps or games to work properly. They also give early adopters the chance to get a sneak peek at Android 15.

While the beta releases are more stable than developer previews, you may still encounter some bugs, and you need to jump through a few hoops to install them, so it's not recommended for everyone. If you are keen to try it, you will need a Google Pixel phone (Pixel 6 or later) or a supported partner device (including select phones from Honor, Nothing, OnePlus, and Xiaomi). You have to sign up for the Android Beta Program. Most folks who sign up for the program will get the beta updates OTA (over-the-air) without wiping their phones, but you won't be able to quit the beta program without a factory reset. Make sure to back up your Android phone first.

Updates usually pop up automatically, but you can always check whether you have the latest version in Settings > System > System update by tapping Check for update. Want to get off the beta and go back to Android 14? Go to Google's Android Beta page, scroll down to find your device, and hit Opt out. This will wipe all locally saved data, so back up your device first. You'll get an update prompt to go back to the older version.

Folks without a Pixel or supported partner device should watch their phone manufacturer's website, forums, or social media to learn when to expect Android 15.

Top New Android 15 Features

These are our favorite features and improvements so far, but we won't know for sure what will make the final cut until Android 15 is released. You can learn more at Google's developer site. And be sure to read our story on all the new features coming to Android and the Android ecosystem—including Wear OS, Android Auto, and Android TV—in this story here.

Private Space

Courtesy of Google

Android 15 includes a new Private Space where you can keep sensitive apps separate from the rest of your phone. Whether you want to safeguard health data or your banking apps, Private Space keeps them safely behind a second layer of authentication, protected with the same password you use to unlock your device or an alternative PIN. When your Private Space is locked, apps are hidden from the recents view, notifications, settings, and other apps. You can wipe your private space completely too.

More Satellite Connectivity

Courtesy of Google

There's a significant expansion for satellite connectivity in Android 15. Some RCS and SMS apps should now be able to send text messages via satellite (it was previously limited to emergency use). Google has also standardized the pop-ups and other user interface elements to make it clearer when you are connected via satellite.

Partial Screen Recording

Instead of recording or sharing your entire screen, in Android 15, you can share an individual app without revealing the rest of your screen or incoming notifications. Logins and one-time passwords (OTPs) are automatically hidden from remote viewers. This is already available on Pixels, but now Google has baked it into Android.

Malicious App Blocking

Several updates in Android 15 make life tougher for malicious apps. They can no longer hide behind other apps by bringing them to the foreground or overlay themselves invisibly on top. There are also changes designed to prevent the exploitation of intents, which let you start an activity in another app by describing an action you'd like to perform, as they are often misused by malware. This is behind-the-scenes stuff to keep users safer.

App Archiving

If you haven't used an app or game for a while, you may be prompted to delete it, but what if you think you might use it again in the future? With app archiving in Android 15, you can offload most of the app by archiving it but keep your user settings or save data in games. The auto-archiving feature was announced last year, but Android 15 makes it a systemwide option, so folks can choose to auto-archive apps when storage is running low.

Better PDF Handling

Courtesy of Google

Trying to do anything with PDF files on your Android phone can be a pain, so the news that Google has built several PDF enhancements into Android 15 is welcome. PDFs should load more smoothly, and there is now support for password-protected files, annotations, form editing, and copy selection. Perhaps best of all, you can now search within PDF files.

Enhanced Fraud and Scam Protection

There are several updates in Android 15 aimed squarely at thwarting fraudsters and scammers. Google will employ AI through Play Protect and on devices to scan for and flag suspicious behavior. Messages containing one-time passwords (OTPs), typically used in two-factor authentication, are now hidden from the notifications system, making it harder to intercept them. Restricted settings are also being expanded for side-loaded apps—ones that aren't downloaded through the Google Play Store.

Loudness Control

It can be jarring when you switch from one app to another and the volume suddenly booms. Thankfully, Android 15 introduces support for the CTA-2075 loudness standard. That means it will compare volume between apps, take into account the characteristics of your speakers, headphones, or earbuds, and intelligently adjust the audio to ensure no sudden jumps or drops.

Better Low-Light Camera

There are a couple of significant improvements for the camera app in Android 15. Firstly, Low Light Boost makes for better previews in low-light conditions, so you can frame your nighttime shots better and scan QR codes when light is limited. There are also new camera app options to give you finer control over the flash so you can adjust the intensity for both single flashes and continuous flashlight mode.

Taskbar Options

For Android tablets and folding phones, Google has changed the way the taskbar dock works. Initially, it was permanent, then it was transient, and now you can choose. This is handy for docked tablets where you might want a taskbar to always display, but it's also nice to have the option to hide it. You can also pin your favorite split-screen app combinations. Android 15 allows apps to display edge-to-edge, so they can make more of the available screen real estate, even if there's a taskbar or system bar at the bottom.

Better Battery Life

There are always tweaks and improvements to efficiency in Android updates that should have a positive impact on battery life, but with Android 15, Google is placing more checks on foreground services and clamping down on apps that keep running in an active state. Devices with a lot of RAM should also see faster app and camera launch times with lower power draw, thanks to support for larger page sizes.

Good Vibrations

Android 15 enables you to turn keyboard vibrations on or off systemwide, instead of having to dig into the keyboard settings. There's a new toggle in Settings > Sound and vibration > Vibration and haptics, where you can also use sliders to adjust haptic intensity (this is something that's been available on select Android phones, but is now systemwide). The second beta also introduces rich vibrations, so folks can determine between different types of notifications without looking at the screen.

More Foldable Cover Screen Options

Some of the best folding phones automatically switch whatever action you're performing onto the cover screen when you fold them up, but Google is now integrating that choice into Android 15. If you prefer the cover screen to lock up when you fold, that will be an option too. There's also more support for apps displaying on smaller cover screens with the more compact flip phone category.

More Health Connect Data

Health Connect started as an app to pull together all your health and fitness data from different devices and apps. It came preinstalled with Android 14, but Android 15 is adding two new data types: skin temperature (collected by wearables like the Oura ring and the Pixel Watch 2) as well as training plans—which can include completion goals for calories burned, distance, duration, repetition, and steps, but also performance goals around as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP), cadence, heart rate, power, perceived rate of exertion, and speed.

Enhanced Theft Protection

Courtesy of Google

Many of the new Android safeguards that Google is rolling out to deter thieves—such as automatic locking when someone snatches your phone, as well as remote lock options—will be coming to devices running Android 10 and up. But the update to factory reset protection, which stops thieves who force a reset of a stolen device from setting it up again without knowing your device or Google account credentials, is only in Android 15.

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