Android 15 is here – although only in a very early form for developers to test, for now. Google has made downloads available for recent Pixel devices, including the Pixel 6, the Pixel 7, and the Pixel 8.

In a blog post by Google’s Dave Burke, we get mentions of productivity boosts, “superior media experiences”, battery life improvements, upgrades to app performance, and protections for user privacy and security.

A lot of the early features are under-the-hood tweaks, as you would expect from a developer preview. For example, app makers get more control over how low light photos are processed by the camera, and how bright the camera flash gets. Also new is the ability to capture just part of the screen in screen recordings.

Developers will also be able to access more efficient power modes (to ease the strain on the battery), and extra file integrity protections that can check if files have been tampered with before they’re accessed by an app.

Public betas

Google Pixel 8 review back angled

The Pixel 8 is one phone that can run the Android 15 preview (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

We don’t have any major new features to report just yet, but little tweaks are already being noticed – such as more flexibility for controlling keyboard vibration strength, and a ‘cooldown’ feature for notifications from busy group chats.

Code spotted in Android 14 betas also gives some clues about what’s coming our way with Android 15: a proper battery health percentage indicator, the return of lock screen widgets, and support for the enhanced Bluetooth Auracast standard.

None of those features are visible yet, and over the next few months you can expect functionality to come and go as Google tweaks the code heading to Android phones and tablets. As with previous previews and betas, the idea is to test the software – and at this stage it’s not something you should think about installing yourself.

The codename for this version is reportedly Vanilla Ice Cream, and the logo badge matches the same space theme that we saw with Android 14. The timeline published by Google suggests public betas will be available in April, with a full launch later this year.

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