Here's what's new with the Android 15 beta

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After waiting and waiting, Google has finally released the beta version of Android 15 to the masses. Until now, our only view of Android 15 was through the several developer previews that launched over the past couple of weeks. Now, people on eligible devices can download the Android 15 beta. Here’s everything that comes with this new beta.

Before we get started

If you’re excited about trying out the beta, there are a few things you’ll need to know (if you’re experienced with using Android betas, you can jump right to what’s new). Firstly, the beta is only available for the 10 eligible Pixel products that are still supported. This includes the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, Pixel 8, and Pixel 8 Pro.

If you own one of those devices, then go to the Android beta page. Make sure that you’re logged in to your Google account using your current browser. On this page, it will show you which eligible devices you have that can receive the beta. On the page, select the device that you want to update to the beta, and choose the software you want to be installed.

Be careful

Before you sign up for the beta Google will give you a warning. Basically, when you download the beta, you are agreeing to be signed up for the beta program. As such, you will receive the latest updates with new and experimental features. What you need to know is that the features and the software as a whole could be very unstable.

It’s still beta software, so the company is still working on it. So, you should expect instability like apps crashing, janky animations, and functions not performing properly. It’s recommended that you don’t use beta software on your main or work device. It may not be as reliable.

Also, when you are a part of the beta program, the only way you can leave it is if you reinstall the stable software from scratch. However, this will wipe all of the data from your phone. There are distinct windows of time when you can leave the beta program without losing your data. However, these are limited windows, so if you need to uninstall the software in a hurry, you’ll be out of luck when not within a window. Without further ado let’s get into what’s new.

What’s new with the Android 15 beta?

Since this is the first beta, you shouldn’t really expect a ton of new changes. However, there’s a nice handful of new stuff to help get things started off.

Cellular network security page

On this page, you’ll see two toggles. The first toggle will send you a notification if the cellular network is insecure due to a lack of encryption. Also, if your cellular network records your unique device or SIM identifiers, you will receive a notification. This is something to help you stay up to date with any sort of security vulnerabilities.

The second toggle will require your cellular provider to use encryption if you want to use the service. If you turn this one on, there may be some services that you won’t have access to.

Edge-to-edge apps

Android 15 will make the top bar and bottom bar transparent so that the app you’re using will stretch throughout the entire display. It’s important to know that this is only for apps targeted at Android 15. This feature will be turned on by default. We will have to see if that positively affects the experience.

Better app archiving

This is a feature we’ve known about for a while. While Android did have an app archiving system through the Google Play Store, this new iteration will be on the OS level. This means that you will be able to archive apps regardless of what app store you downloaded them from.

Archiving an app is when the software uploads an app’s data to the cloud. Then that data is deleted from your device. You are then left with a very stripped-down version of the app which includes the app icon. When you restore an app, you will download the app data and pick up where you left off.

Picking the default wallet app

With Android 15, you have the ability to choose which wallet app you can use by default. Intrinsically, Android devices have Google Wallet as the default wallet app. However, there are several third-party wallet apps that people may be using. So, you will be able to choose which wallet app is activated by default when you tap to pay.

Better webcam quality

You are able to use your Android phone as a webcam. However, people doing so have been frustrated with the poor quality. This is ironic because your phone’s camera is more than likely much better than a webcam. So, having poor camera quality compared to a webcam is a bit counterintuitive. With Android 15, you will have a new HD mode when using your phone as a webcam.

Encrypted contact information

If you have several contacts on your phone, and you fear their information being stolen, then this will be the feature for you. Android 15 will put your contacts behind a wall of encryption. This OS-level feature will keep your contact information much safer.

Apps registering fingerprints

According to Google, “apps can now register a fingerprint on supported devices so they can be notified of polling loop activity, which allows for smooth operation with multiple NFC-aware applications.”

Additional protection against malicious apps

Android 15 is now much better at blocking malicious apps from bringing other apps to the foreground, abusing user interactions, or elevating their privileges. These are the sorts of things that malicious apps do to gain access to sensitive data on your phone. So, Android 15 will put a stopper in their endeavors.

Lock screen widgets for tablets

One thing that people have been pining for was the return of lock screen widgets to Android. Well, an Android 15, if you have a tablet, you will be able to add widgets to your lock screen. This is only available for tablets at the moment. However, we expected to make it to phones.

This is just a snapshot of the new features coming to Android 15. As subsequent beta versions come out, we will see new features, so stay tuned.