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Second Beta Of Android 15 Announced With More Security, Privacy, and Premium Device Experience

Google has announced the second beta of Android 15 that minimizes the battery impact, maximizes the smooth app performance, gives a premium device experience, and protects privacy and security. The Android 15 beta 1 availability has been announced on handsets, tablets, and foldable from Honor, iQOO, Lenovo, Nothing, OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, vivo, and Xiaomi, so that developers can test their apps and users can use their apps smoothly on Android 15 beta.

Let’s get to know about it in detail.

Foreground services changes

Earlier apps could start foreground services in the background without having a visible overlay when they rely on the on the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW permission exemption to start foreground services in the background but now these apps require to have a visible overlay when targeting Android 15. Foreground services could earlier work actively in a user-visible state its critical task thus consuming battery life. Now Android 15 beta 2 sets a limit on these tasks up to six hours after which Android 15 calls Service.onTimeout(int, int) method to stop its functioning.

Required support for 16-page sizes

In order to have improved performance for memory-intensive workloads, Android 15 adds support for devices that use larger page sizes, with support for 16 KB pages in addition to the standard 4 KB pages. This will also help in lowering the app launch times, reducing power draw, faster the camera launch, and improving system boot time.

Modernizing Android’s GPU Access

Android’s hardware and software have undergone a lot of changes from single-CPU systems with fixed-function pipeline-based graphics APIs to modern, multi-core architectures with advanced graphics capabilities. Since Android 7.0 Vulkan graphics API has been available in the NDK that is a preferred interface to the GPU. Android 15 has added an additional layer ANGLE for running OpenGL ES on top of Vulkan.

Modern Graphics

The newly added functionality Matrix 4×4 is designed for for transforming coordinates on the Canvas, specifically designed for manipulating the Canvas in 3D space. The clipShader and clipOutShader intersect the current clip with the specified shader and sets the clip to the difference between the current clip and the shader.

Efficient AV1 software decoding

dav1d developed VideoLAN a popular AV1 software decoder will now be available for those Android devices that do not support AV1 decode in hardware. Developers will be required to opt-in to using dav1d by invoking it by the name “c2.android.av1-dav1d.decoder”. In subsequent updates, dav1d will become the default AV1 software decoder which means apps will automatically use dav1d for AV1 decoding without requiring explicit opt-in from developers.

Private Space

Android 15 beta brings users private space for their devices so that they can keep sensitive apps away from prying eyes, under an additional layer of authentication. It uses a separate profile of the user that remains paused when the space is locked. It remains hidden from the recent view, notifications, settings, and from other apps when private space is locked.

Selected Photo Access Permission

Android 15 beta wants to ensure enhanced security and privacy and for that, it brings partial access that highlights only the most recently selected photos and videos. This can be achieved by enabling the QUERY_ARG_LATEST_SELECTION_ONLY argument when querying MediaStore through ContentResolver.

New APIs For Permission Check

Android 15 brings with itself new APIs for performing permission checks on content URIs. Context.checkContentUriPermissionFull:  This API is going to be used to perform a comprehensive permission check on content URIs. Content URIs are used to identify data items in a content provider, such as files, images, or database records. Other APIs that it comes with are requireContentUriPermissionFromCaller: and ComponentCaller class for Activity callers.

Prevents from “task hijacking”

There are some malicious apps that can begin another app activity in the background within the same task and can create an illusion of being that app. This prevents background launch restriction as it appears to be part of the same visible task. Android 15 has added a flag that blocks apps that don’t match the top UID on the stack from launching activities.  To opt in for all of the developer’s app’s activities they can update the allowCrossUidActivitySwitchFromBelow attribute in their app’s AndroidManifest.xml file:

Safer and specific intents

Android 15 ensures that Intents must now precisely match the declared intent-filter specifications of the target component they aim to launch. This means now the target component’s intent-filter specifications must align accurately with the intent’s requirements. Intents are also now required to have a defined action and intents without an action will no longer match any intent filters.

Android 15 increased the minimum target SDK version

In order to ensure better security and privacy Android 15 has increased the minimum targetSdkVersion required to install apps from 23 to 24. The apps particularly those targeting lower API levels, may lack the latest security protections and best practices. And Android does want to make sure that apps target modern API levels.

Multitasking gets improved

Android 15 beta 2 gives you the freedom to pin the split screen app combination on the screen so that next time you don’t have to open it one by one but both open once for quick access.

Picture In Picture

In order to improve the PiP mode experience by providing a smoother transition and better support for apps with overlaid UI elements Android 15 introduces new changes in PiP. With Android 15 comes a new state in the PictureInPictureUiState class. Google says in its announcement “The onPictureInPictureUiStateChanged callback will be invoked with isTransitioningToPip() as soon as the PiP enter animation starts and the app can hide the overlaid UI elements”.

The update also brings with it a smoother and more intuitive navigation experience while using gesture navigation, a vibration effect for notification channels. There have been some additions in the Health Connect with skin temperature and training plans. Users get the freedom to choose how they are addressed by their device. Android 15 leverages the creativity of the CJK language speakers and writers with variable fonts for creative typography. There are some other font-related additions also that users will get to see.

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