Android 15: Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Next Smartphone Update

The Developer Preview 1 of Android 15 was released on February 16 by Google. In this guide, we tell you what to expect from Google’s next major OS, which smartphones are compatible, and what features are currently in development.

Google has released the development schedule for the new Android, starting with the Developer Preview in February. The first Beta arrived as planned in April. The third Beta on June 18 achieved “platform stability” or release candidate status, with the final version likely in September or October, coinciding with the Pixel 9 range.

That said, many companies are still updating their smartphones to Android 14 and will probably begin working on Android 15 development programs later this year. Here’s what we’ve seen from Google in previous years:

Calendar of previous versions of Android

VersionAnnouncement / PreviewBetaVersion candidateVersion stable
Android 15 (2024)February (DP1)AprilJuin (Beta 3)August – October
Android 14 (2023)February (DP1)AprilJuin (Beta 3)October
Android 13 (2022)February (DP1)AprilJuly (Beta 4)August
Android 12 (2021)February (DP1)MaySeptember (Beta 5)October
Android 11 (2020)February (DP1)JuneAugust (Beta 3)September
Android 10 (2019)March (Beta 1)MarchAugust (Beta 6)September
Android 9 Pie (2018)Mars (DP)MayJuly (Beta 4)Augus

Android 15: Code Name

Although Google has reverted to using numbers for its system versions, the tradition of dessert nicknames continues within the development team, where it all began.

After the exotic Upside Down Cake for Android 14, Android 15 will keep it simple with a confirmed dessert name in March 2023: Vanilla Ice Cream.

However, as noted above, don’t expect Google to use the dessert code name in official marketing materials. The company will stick to its straightforward brand, “Android 15.”

Another old-school tradition expected to return in 2024 is the Android statues. Android 14 got its upside-down cake statue, as shared by Dave Burke, Google’s VP of Engineering. Vanilla Ice Cream is expected to follow suit.

Android 15: New Features

After reaching the critical “platform stability” milestone, Google signals to app developers that the tools they use to interact with the system (APIs) won’t change, except for bug fixes. For end users, this doesn’t mean that Google won’t add new features until the final release, expected in September or October.

Here are the features introduced so far during the Android 15 beta phase, with more additions expected as we approach the stable version.

Confirmed Android 15 Features from the Beta:

Faster Connection with Passkey: Passkey aims to replace passwords, and while Android 14 already supports the new authentication system, Google will simplify the process to require only one step: biometrics or screen lock combination.

New Volume Control Panel: Android’s volume control panel has seen minor tweaks recently, but Android 15 seems to take it a step further. While the current design mirrors the Sound and Vibration menu from the Settings app, the new design features a thicker bar-style popup widget.

Private Space: If you share a device with others but don’t want (or can’t) create multiple user profiles, the new Private Space feature can protect your private information on shared devices. It works similarly to several third-party tools and even some features integrated into manufacturer skins. Like Samsung’s Secure Folder on One UI, Android’s Private Space allows you to hide apps in a protected folder that can only be opened using a pattern, PIN, password, or biometric authentication. Better yet, you can assign a different Google account to the private space, keeping files away from other users.

Automatic Bluetooth Reactivation: After turning off Bluetooth for some reason, I often forget to reactivate it. Android 15 will feature an automatic reactivation function, a welcome change if you rely on wireless technology for an accessory or other devices. However, if you prefer manually controlling Bluetooth activation or deactivation, there’s a new button to disable the function in the quick settings popup, also accessible in the Bluetooth settings.

Backup for App Pairs: Google has taken its time with this feature. Rumored since at least 2021, saving app pairs allows you to create a shortcut to a specific app in split-screen mode. It may not be the most useful feature on a compact smartphone, but those with a tablet or large foldable screen can multitask from the home screen by saving their app combinations.

Cloud File Selection for Photo Picker: This feature lets apps that use the native Photo Picker to share media access images stored in the Google Photos cloud instead of relying solely on local files. Users of smartphones with large storage capacities might not notice much difference, but this new feature can help those with low storage capacity who rely on constant file transfers to the cloud. This feature can potentially be distributed via Google Play services and may not be tied to Android 15.

App Archiving Moves from Play Store to System Level: While app archiving has been an option for Android users for some time, even with an automatic archiving function for selected apps, Android 15 now promotes the option at the system level, with a dedicated button on the App Info screen (the same used to force stop and uninstall apps). This change may seem minor at first glance, but it will extend this functionality to smartphones using third-party app stores and ROMs without the Play Store app, including AOSP-based distributions.

Enhanced Security and Privacy on Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks: A new Cellular field has been added to the Security and Privacy page in the Settings app. It currently offers options to require encryption when connecting to a cellular network and/or display a notification if the network has insecure settings. These options can help users avoid connecting to fake cellular towers (known as stingrays), which can steal IMSI or IMEI data from your smartphone or SIM card. On the Wi-Fi status page, Android 15 adds a new Privacy field that can force the smartphone to anonymize the MAC address and hide the device name on the current network. These options are welcome, especially for those needing to connect to open Wi-Fi networks without a password, as no law-abiding café customer needs to know who uses which smartphone…

Wallet Apps Can Be Set as Default: As more banking apps offer the possibility to function as a wallet on smartphones, Android 15 will finally offer the option to choose which app is set as default. The feature will depend on apps supporting the new field, but the change can be useful if you have more than one app that can function as an NFC payment system and use one daily.

Weather Widgets Now Pixel Weather Widgets on Pixel Phones: In a small change, the default weather widgets available on Google’s Pixel Launcher are now organized under Pixel Weather. The name change doesn’t affect the available widgets, which remain the same current options. However, there’s now a shortcut to the Weather app in the app drawer, which opens the Google Weather page.

Auracast Audio Sharing via Bluetooth: One of the most interesting new features of Bluetooth LE Audio, besides the more efficient LC3 codec, is the ability to broadcast audio from one source to multiple headphones and/or speakers. This feature, known as Auracast, is typically illustrated by a public space offering a collective audio stream in a museum or stadium but can also be used on personal devices. To facilitate Auracast use, Android 15 adds a new Audio Sharing page to the Connected Devices page in the Settings app. Enabling the option allows connecting multiple Auracast-compatible headphones, earphones, and speakers and sending audio simultaneously to each.

High-Quality USB Webcam Mode: The December Feature Drop for Android 14 added a USB webcam mode to the Pixels. While the image quality is far superior to standard laptop cameras, there’s still room for improvement. On Android 15, the feature adds a small “HD” icon to the preview screen offering the option to activate a higher quality mode. Testing the new option on a Pixel 7a showed no significant improvements. But it’s possible that using a higher-end smartphone with a high-bandwidth cable will offer different results.

Native Support for Satellite Communications: Android manufacturers have scrambled to react after Apple added satellite messaging features to the iPhone 14. Some alternative solutions are still in place, while others were abandoned before even launching. Satellite communications on Android, however, all share the same problem: Each requires its own app, making them non-interoperable. Android 15 aims to change this by adding native support for satellite connectivity. Apps will be able to check if the device is outside traditional cellular coverage but connected to a satellite. Messaging apps, including RCS, will be able to switch to NTN (non-terrestrial network, aka satellite) connections to send or receive messages.

Changes in Bluetooth Quick Settings: The Bluetooth Quick Settings button in Android 15’s DP1 now works slightly differently from previous versions. Instead of turning Bluetooth on/off or serving as a shortcut to the Bluetooth settings screen with a long press, the button now opens a small popup window with the main options, similar to how the Internet button works for Wi-Fi and mobile data.

Keyboard Vibration Toggle in Settings App: Some keyboard apps offer the option to provide haptic feedback when typing, but each keyboard presents the option differently. In Android 15, Google offers the option natively in the Settings app, by going to Sound and Vibration > Vibration and Haptics > Keyboard Vibration. The toggle requires the keyboard app to support the native option, but it’s hoped that the main apps will be updated by the time the stable version of Android 15 is released.

Notification Cooldown: Receiving many notifications in quick succession can be annoying at best, and Google is preparing a change in Android 15 to “reduce notification volume when you receive many successive notifications from the same app.” The new feature will likely be welcomed by users in many chat groups or with popular social media profiles, for example.

Camera Module Innovation: Third-Party Apps Enhancing Photo Quality

One of the notable improvements in Android 15 is transforming camera access for third-party apps. Imagine Instagram and TikTok offering the same image and video quality as your smartphone’s main camera app. This is becoming a reality.

Android 15 is expected to allow full use of the camera module hardware, offering advanced controls within the app. This means you can adjust settings like lighting and color directly in your favorite apps, enhancing your content creation game.

Samsung has already made strides in this area with its Galaxy S24 range. They introduced Ultra HDR photos, which

take the quality of third-party app camera functionality to new heights. This is in line with Google’s ongoing efforts to improve camera hardware access, making it a significant feature in Android 15.

Enhanced Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Innovations

Android 15 is not just about visual or functional changes; it’s also about improving connectivity. One of the most exciting developments is the improvement in how your phone connects to other devices.

Android 15 aims to streamline and enhance Bluetooth and Wi-Fi experiences. For instance, it simplifies pairing Bluetooth devices, reducing the steps needed. This makes it quicker and more efficient, ensuring you’re connected when you need to be.

Additionally, Wi-Fi connections are set to be more robust and secure, reducing the frequency of dropped connections and enhancing overall network stability. This is crucial for users who rely heavily on their smartphones for both work and leisure activities.

Increased Privacy and Security Measures

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, Android 15 is taking significant steps to ensure your data is more secure than ever. One of the key features is enhanced privacy settings.

Android 15 introduces advanced privacy controls, allowing you to manage permissions more effectively. This includes more granular controls over what apps can access, ensuring that your personal information is only shared with apps you trust.

Moreover, Android 15 incorporates improved encryption standards for data storage and transfer. This ensures that your sensitive data is better protected against unauthorized access.

Performance Boosts: Faster and Smoother User Experience

Performance improvements are always a highlight of new Android versions, and Android 15 is no exception. Users can expect faster and smoother performance across the board.

One of the ways this is achieved is through better resource management. Android 15 optimizes how your phone uses its resources, ensuring that background processes don’t slow down your device. This means you can run multiple apps simultaneously without experiencing lag.

Furthermore, Android 15 includes updates to the ART runtime, which improves app loading times and overall system responsiveness. This ensures a seamless and enjoyable user experience.

Personalized User Interface: Making Your Phone Truly Yours

Android 15 brings more personalization options to make your phone truly yours. This includes new themes, icons, and widgets that you can customize to suit your style.

Additionally, Android 15 enhances the Material You design, allowing for more dynamic color schemes that adapt to your wallpaper and preferences. This ensures a cohesive and visually appealing interface.

One of the standout features is the improved home screen customization. You can now resize widgets more freely, allowing for a more tailored and functional home screen layout.

Android 15 features that are still rumored:

Cloud file selection for photo picker

Revealed by Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority, this small change will allow apps that use the native photo picker to share media to have access to images stored on Google Photos’ cloud storage, instead of relying solely on local files.

Google Photos cloud
Users will be able to grant apps access to cloud photo storage. / © Mishaal Rahman/Android Authority

Users of smartphones with large storage capacity may not notice a big difference, but this new feature can help many users of models with low storage capacity who depend on a constant transfer of files to online storage. This feature can potentially be distributed by Google Play services, and may not be related to Android 15.

Improved support for Thread and NFC

Mishaal Rahman also revealed that the integrations of Thread (used by Matter) and the NFC network on Android will be moved to the Mainline project. In practice, this change means that future updates to these two protocols on Android will be handled not only by full OS updates (for example, moving from Android 14 to 15), but also by Google Play Services updates.

The same method is used for Bluetooth, UWB, and Wi-Fi protocol support on Android. This integration has yet to be confirmed, but since it was spotted in May 2023, there’s a good chance it will happen with Android 15.

Better handling of .pkpass files

Another background change that should affect a few people directly is a change in the way .pkpass files are identified in Android. Also spotted by Rahman, the change is to give them a distinct type of mime.

In practice, Android apps like Apple Wallet can better integrate and manage pkpass files – used for tickets, passes, and other uses without having to hardcode support like apps do today.

A private space to hide apps

Private Space
A special selection of apps can be hidden with a password. / © Mishaal Rahman/Android Police

A feature found in many custom versions is apparently in development for Android 15. Private Space creates a list of apps that can be protected by a password or biometric feature, and is similar to Samsung’s Secure Folder.

Revealed on Android Police by (guess who) Mishaal Rahman, Space hides apps and their notifications under a password-protected profile, without having to create a new user in the device’s settings.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Android 15 is shaping up to be a significant update with many exciting features. From improved camera access for third-party apps to enhanced connectivity, privacy measures, and performance boosts, Android 15 aims to provide a superior user experience. Whether you’re a casual user or a tech enthusiast, there’s something in Android 15 for everyone to look forward to.

"Because of the Google update, I, like many other blogs, lost a lot of traffic."

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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