Android 12L is a new version for big screens on tablets and foldables

While Android 12 was just fully released alongside the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro, another version of the operating system has just been revealed – but not for phones. Instead, Android 12L will better harness the big screens of tablets and foldables.

Android 12L looks to be an aesthetic restructuring that rearranges the UI to better use large screens, per the Android Developer Blog post introducing the new operating system version – so don’t expect any new exclusive features, at least not yet. Android 12L is available for developers, and will come to users starting early next year with a full release in Q2 2022.

The big switch is to a two-column layout, which allows users to pull down less screen-intensive tasks like notification shades and Quick Settings down to one side, while Settings and other system apps are likewise optimized. Tired of inputting your PIN or lock pattern in the middle of the screen? Android 12L moves it to one side (which you can bring to the other by tapping the empty screen area). There are also refined animations for foldables making for smoother app transitions when shifting from outer to full-size inner displays.

Android 12L

(Image credit: Google)

Split screen has also been improved with a new taskbar to hold your most-used apps, and by default, all apps can be used in split-screen mode even if they aren’t resizable. New intuitive gestures let users drag-and-drop apps from the taskbar to either side of the screen – a motion that iPadOS users will be familiar with. And like iPadOS 15, Android 12L has manual controls in overview to start split-screen mode by tapping a button (the new ‘split’ action).