Google has been testing Android 12 in its developer preview and beta programs for months, and we’re getting close to release. How close? If a new report is to be believed, it could be as soon as Oct. 4. Of course, the official release is just the first step along the way to getting an update on existing phones. It could take much, much longer to get an update on your device, if it ever happens at all.
Google released the first preview build of Android 12 last spring. Since then, we’ve gone through a handful of previews, and now five beta versions. That brings us to the end of the timetable Google provided when it announced Android 12. However, the company has yet to provide a release date.
According to XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, the big day could be in just a few weeks. This claim stems from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) release schedule. According to the latest info, Google will be making the open source version of Android available to all on Oct. 4, and it would stand to reason that’s also when it will start coming to phones. Not very many phones, though.
Even if you can download Android 12 from AOSP, that won’t do most of us any good. It’s possible to build an installable ROM from the AOSP files, but only some phones support that without jumping through numerous hoops. The only phones that will see updates immediately following the release are Google’s Pixel phones. Pixels will also be ready to take advantage of all the new theming features of Android 12 at launch.
The Android 12 stable update may be released on October 4, as that's when Google plans to release to AOSP. This tentative release date was also mentioned by a 3PL. pic.twitter.com/PMN802gQj0
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 12, 2021
For non-Pixel phones, you’re going to be waiting at least a few months. Samsung usually updates its last-gen flagships within 2-3 months, but that’s a best-case scenario. Phones from OEMs that supported the Android 12 beta, like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Realme, should get updates around that time as well. If you have a budget phone running Android 11, you’ll be lucky to get an update by the middle of 2022. That should be right around the time the beta for Android 13 launches.
Android 12 features the most significant visual update to Android since the original Material Design launched in version 5.0 Lollipop in 2014. The new Material You theme features more customization, scrolling screenshots, one-handed mode, a ton of privacy improvements, as well as a unified look across the system UI and apps. Of course, developers will need to update their apps to take full advantage, and that’s going to take even longer than rolling the OS out to your phone.
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