Android 15: new features, compatible smartphones, release date, everything you need to know about the update

by nativetechdoctor
23 minutes read

Google’s Android mobile operating system is set to receive a major upgrade in the form of Android 15. This update will bring a host of new features, bug fixes, and other optimizations. Following the release of Android 14 (internally referred to as Upside Down Cake) in 2023, Google has been diligently working on the next version of its OS.

If you’re curious about Android 15, you might be wondering when it will be released, which devices will support it, and what new features it will bring to the table. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the latest rumors and leaks we’ve collected so far to answer these questions and more.

When will Android 15 be available?

Although Google has not yet announced the official release date for Android 15, we can speculate based on previous release cycles. Generally, Google launches the first Developer Preview of the new version of Android in either February or March, followed by several beta versions over the subsequent months. In 2024, a Google employee inadvertently revealed the deployment of the first Developer Preview version, with DP1 ultimately being released on Friday, February 16, followed by a second Developer Preview version in March.

Android 15 DP1 marks the beginning of several Developer Previews and Betas that Google will release before the final version of Android 15. Currently, the Android 15 release schedule is as follows:

  • Developer Preview 1 (February 16, 2024)
  • Developer Preview 2 (March)
  • Beta 1 (April)
  • Beta 2 (May)
  • Beta 3 (June)
  • Beta 4 (July)
  • Final version (to be determined)

The platform stability of Android 15 will be reached with Beta 3 in June 2024, which is the finalization of SDK/NDK APIs, internal APIs, and app-facing system behaviors. Once it is stable, developers can test the compatibility and functionality of their apps on Android 15 without worrying about future changes. The final stable version is then generally released between August and October, depending on development progress and user feedback.

Which smartphones are compatible with Android 15?

It is expected that Android 15 will be available for the best phones of 2023 and 2024. Android manufacturers have improved their update policies in recent years, providing longer and faster support for their devices. Some of the brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Oppo promise four years of updates for their phones. However, Samsung and Google are now the leaders in software tracking, offering updates for at least 7 years after launch, making them the top choices for users in search of long-term software support.

Google phones are usually the first to benefit from the Developer Preview and Beta versions of Android 15. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, Pixel Fold, Pixel Tablet, Pixel 7a, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Pixel 6a, and Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are expected to receive Android 15 based on Google’s update policy. However, the Pixel 5a 5G, was originally guaranteed to receive updates until August 2024, and it was then thought to receive Android 15. However, Android 14 is the Pixel 5a’s third major Android update, which is usually the maximum Google provides for pre-Pixel 6 phones, so there is still some uncertainty about whether it will receive Android 15. Also, Google has abandoned its smartphones still using Qualcomm Snapdragon chips this year.

How to install Android 15?

If you’re eagerly waiting for the next version of Android, Android 15, you might be interested in trying out the Developer Preview. However, before you make a move, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Firstly, if your smartphone is compatible with the upcoming update, you will be notified as soon as it’s ready for your device. You’ll simply have to agree to launch it, and everything will happen automatically and without any issues. To join the beta program, you’ll need to register on the Google website and select the smartphone on which you want to test the trial version.

If you’re interested in downloading Android 15 DP1, you can visit the Android Developers website and choose the system image corresponding to your device. However, it’s important to note that Developer Preview versions are primarily intended for developers and may not be suitable for general users. Hence, it’s recommended that you think twice before downloading the first Android 15 updates.

Additionally, some users have reported issues while downloading the update via OTA, which could result in bricking their smartphones. It’s not always your fault that this happens, but your device could be restored if the bootloader was unlocked. Technically, it is not even necessary to unlock the bootloader. Simply enable the OEM to unlock feature in developer options to be able to unlock the bootloader from Fastboot and restore the device if necessary. Faced with various problems, Google has also suspended downloads for this version.

Once you’ve installed the Developer Preview, you’ll receive the next Android 15 updates automatically. However, if you want to go back to the stable version of Android, you’ll have to factory reset your smartphone and reinstall it with factory settings. Alternatively, if you don’t have a compatible Pixel device, you can still test Android 15 DP1 with the Android emulator in Android Studio. Just download the Android 15 system image from the SDK Manager and create a virtual device with the Android emulator.

What’s new in Android 15?

Android 15, the upcoming version of the popular mobile operating system, is currently in the development phase, and as with every new release, users are eagerly anticipating the new features and improvements it will bring. While there is no official word yet on all the features that will be included in Android 15, various leaks and early versions released by Google have given us some insights into what we can expect. In this regard, we have compiled a list of some of the most interesting features that Android 15 might offer. It’s worth noting that we will not delve into the minor technical changes that are primarily aimed at developers.

1. Widgets will finally make their return to the lock screen

Widgets are small application components that can display useful information or allow quick actions. In the past, Android used to offer the ability to display widgets on the lock screen, but this feature was abandoned and removed in Android 5 Lollipop. However, Android expert Mishaal Rahman recently discovered a new feature in an unfinished build of Android 14, which adds a new section to the lock screen that can be populated with certain supported widgets.

Although this new feature is still in a very early testing phase, it may be included in Android 15. However, it is not yet ready for public use, as it is hidden behind flags, has a buggy interface, and a weird installation process that will likely change in the final release. Additionally, Rahman believes that Google will limit lock screen widgets to tablets and other devices with multiple users, and there are also restrictions in the code that prevent widgets from displaying private data that other people shouldn’t see.

2. Android 15 could let you save app pairs

With the increasing popularity of larger Android phones and foldable devices, such as the Google Pixel Fold, users can now enjoy using two apps simultaneously. However, switching between apps can be a hassle, especially if you frequently use the same app pairings. Fortunately, Android 15 could be introducing a new feature that allows users to store app pairs directly on their home screen for convenient access. While some foldable device manufacturers have already implemented this feature, Google might be bringing it to Android soon. Although we have seen some signs of this feature in Android 14, it may not be available until Android 15 is released.

3. A private space for your sensitive applications

Samsung has a feature called Secure Folder that allows users to separate sensitive apps from the rest of the system and requires additional verification. It appears that Google is developing a similar feature for Android, called Private Space. This feature creates an additional profile linked to the main user of the phone, similar to the work profile. It requires additional verification and automatically shuts down apps and notifications when not in use. Google is considering allowing users to hide the Private Space, so that they can only access it by searching for “Private Space” in their launcher. This feature will be particularly useful in scenarios where you need to share your phone with someone else but don’t want that person to have access to your private data.

4. Monitoring the health of your battery

Android 14 introduced an API that allows third-party apps to access basic battery health information. This includes a cycle counter that can be found in the About Phone section, under Battery Information. However, in Android 15, more detailed battery information is expected to be displayed and made more accessible.

In the upcoming release, battery information is expected to be moved to the more appropriate Battery Settings section, specifically to a new Battery Status menu. This menu will display the number of cycles and a battery health percentage, which will indicate the level of wear and tear your battery has undergone since it was new.

5. Applications will finally occupy the entire screen of your smartphone

Google’s upcoming Android 15 version aims to improve the user experience by making apps utilize the entire screen space. In earlier versions, apps sometimes displayed a solid background behind the status and navigation bars, resulting in reduced content visibility. However, with the new version, app developers will be required to occupy the complete screen space, and the navigation and status bars will become transparent, allowing users to enjoy additional content. Non-compliance with this requirement may result in app incompatibility with Android 15.

6. A new Bluetooth pop-up dialog

If you own a Pixel phone, you might have noticed that the Bluetooth quick settings button doesn’t function in the same way as the Internet toggle. While the latter allows you to modify important settings through a small menu, the former is just a simple on/off switch unless you press and hold the button. This can be inconvenient for those who use smartwatches and fitness trackers that require Bluetooth to be enabled at all times.

However, Google appears to be working on a solution to this problem. In Android 14 QPR2, a revamped tile that functions similarly to the Internet toggle’s context menu is reportedly being developed. This feature will allow users to easily log in and out of different Bluetooth devices without having to navigate through system settings. If everything goes according to plan, this feature could be included in the OS before the Android 15 update.

7. Better accessibility for the elderly

According to reports, Google plans to release Android 15 with a new feature called the “easy pre-set” mode. The purpose of this mode is to make Android smartphones more user-friendly for those who may not be well-versed with technology or have visual impairments. The easy pre-set mode will make it easier to use the phone by enlarging icons and text, adjusting contrast, adding navigation buttons, and changing the wallpaper to a black image to minimize distractions. This new feature is expected to enhance the accessibility and usability of Android smartphones for a wider range of users.

8. Support for native application archiving

In 2023, Google unveiled a new feature that allows Android users to automatically store unused apps on their devices. This app archiving feature is designed to help users who are dealing with limited storage space or who are hesitant to delete apps. Instead of taking up a significant amount of space on a device, the feature leaves a small location that is much smaller than a full app. When a user needs to restore the app, it is easy to do so.

Although the app archiving feature is not yet available, there are indications that it will be possible to freeze and restore apps directly from the apps info page in the next version of Android. This would make it easier for users, regardless of the source of the app. Additionally, users will have the ability to select which apps they would like to be included in the archives.

9. Built-in protections against phishing

The Google Play Store, along with Play Protect, is designed to keep your Android smartphone safe from malicious apps. However, despite the security measures, some apps can still slip through the cracks. To further enhance security, Google is working on strengthening phishing detection, which is expected to be included in Android 15. In a recent update, Android 14 QPR2 introduced a new Play Protect feature that monitors app activity to identify phishing or other deceptive behavior. If it detects any suspicious activity, the information is shared with Play Protect, which can then alert other Android users of potential danger. This feature is expected to be further developed and included in Android 15 to provide better protection against phishing attacks.

10. Independent updates of the NFC module

Over the years, Android has undergone significant changes in terms of its architecture and design. One such change has been the modularization of many core features, where Google has moved them into core modules. This approach enables Google to update the components without performing a full system update, which saves time and resources. Additionally, it allows users to add new features to their phones that don’t receive updates, and it also helps resolve security issues more quickly.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ultra-Wideband are some of the features that have been separated from system updates. Google will likely do the same for NFC, which may be part of Google’s “ThreadNetwork.” Thread is the networking technology that powers Google Nest products. The introduction of this feature could coincide with the launch of Google’s AirTag competitor, which they have been working on for a few years, as well as Google’s “Find My Device” network for Android users.

Furthermore, the upcoming Android 15 is expected to include a “Security State” API (android.os.SecurityStateManager). This API will provide an easy way to query the Android OS security patch level, vendor components, Linux kernel version, version of WebView, and potentially other things. This feature will further enhance the security of Android devices, allowing users to keep their devices and data safe and secure.

11. Redesigned audio sharing thanks to Bluetooth LE

It has been reported that Google is planning to launch a new feature called Auracast which will allow users to share audio with nearby devices through Bluetooth Low Energy. This feature is expected to be available in the upcoming Android 15 operating system which will include a dedicated page for audio sharing in the settings. Users will have the option to activate the feature with a switch and connect to nearby audio streams by scanning a QR code. Additionally, they will be able to select a different Bluetooth device for listening. This feature is expected to enhance the audio-sharing experience for Android users.

12. Android 15 gets a new dessert name

Google has recently decided to discontinue the use of dessert names for its Android releases for marketing purposes. However, the company still uses them internally for development purposes. According to reports, the upcoming Android 15 version will be called Vanilla Ice Cream, which follows the alphabetical order after Android 14’s Upside Down Cake. Interestingly, the name Vanilla Ice Cream has a reference to Android’s history. The original version of Android is often referred to as “vanilla Android,” which means raw Android without any modifications from the manufacturers.

13. New features for vibrations on your smartphone

I would like to bring to your notice that the latest Android 15 DP1 version has introduced a new feature that allows you to disable the haptic feedback in your keyboard app. This feature can be found under the Settings section, specifically under Sound & vibration → Vibration & haptics. Moreover, with this latest update, the quick settings slider now comes with haptic feedback as a default option when adjusting brightness.

14. Regular notifications will be less annoying

The Android 15 DP1 update comes with a new feature that allows you to set a delay for receiving notifications. This feature is designed to reduce the volume of notifications when you receive multiple notifications in quick succession from the same app. It gradually decreases the notification volume to prevent them from being too overwhelming.

15. Applications will adapt to your use on the Pixel Fold

Android 15 DP1 has reintroduced a convenient feature for Pixel Fold users – the “continue using apps when the device is folded” setting. With this feature, you can choose when to switch apps from the internal screen to the cover screen after folding your phone. There are three options available: Always (the front screen turns on when you fold your device), Only games, videos, and others (the front screen turns on for applications that prevent your screen from remaining idle), and Never (the front screen freezes when you fold your device).

Additionally, Google is currently working on another option called “swipe up to continue”. This feature will allow you to continue using apps on the cover screen by simply swiping up on the lock screen after folding your device.

16. Partial screen sharing

The latest version of Android, Android 15 DP1, comes with a new feature called “partial screen sharing”. This feature allows users to share or record just a specific app window instead of the entire device screen. This handy feature is especially useful when you don’t want to reveal certain information or notifications to the recipient. With partial screen sharing, you can be more selective with what you share and ensure that your privacy is maintained.

17. Improved protection for your secret codes

Google’s latest version of the Android operating system, Android 15, includes enhanced security measures for the protection of one-time passwords, or OTPs. These passwords are vulnerable to interception by malicious actors, but Android 15 comes with a new feature that prevents untrustworthy apps from accessing your messages, thus ensuring the security of your OTPs.

18. More options when connecting a physical keyboard

If you find typing long texts on your smartphone to be a tedious task, you can now connect a physical keyboard to it. With the upcoming Android 15 update, you can take advantage of features that are borrowed directly from Windows. Currently, there are three such features: Sticky Keys, Ignore Unintentional Keystrokes (Bounce Keys), and Ignore Rapid Keystrokes (Slow Keys). These features allow you to have more keys at your fingertips and make typing smoother and more efficient.

19. You will be able to locate your smartphone even if it is turned off

In 2023, Google announced the launch of the Find My Device network for Android 15. With this new feature, your smartphone will be able to send and receive Bluetooth signals even if it is turned off. This will make it discoverable on the Google location platform, allowing you to easily track your device. This move will bring Android OS up to speed with iOS in terms of device tracking capabilities.

20. Reinforced security for applications downloaded outside the Play Store

It is possible to install apps fetched from sources other than Google’s official store on an Android device. However, this may expose the device to greater security risks since these apps can be more easily modified by malicious parties. To mitigate this risk, Android 15 will introduce a new security feature that will prevent the installation of such apps unless they are designed for Android 7.0 Nougat or higher. This means that these apps will already have to meet certain security requirements, thereby reducing the risk of malware or other security threats.

21. Better control over who has access to your location

Did you know that you can control whether or not an application can access your location on your mobile device? You can even choose when it can access your location – either all the time or only when you use the app. However, it is important to note that your telephone operator can always access your location. The good news is that Android 15 is set to introduce a new permission that will give you even more control over whether or not your location is shared, except in certain special situations.

22. Increased readability in applications

Android 15 is introducing a new feature called Color Contrast that aims to address the issue of poorly readable applications. This feature will allow users to activate different modes to enhance the visibility of text and interaction buttons in supported apps. With Color Contrast, users can avoid the frustration and inconvenience of trying to read text that doesn’t stand out enough from the background or searching for buried interaction buttons.

23. Satellite messages

It has been suggested that Android 15 should enable compatible smartphones to send messages via satellite. While it was initially thought that this feature should be limited to emergency services, it is now being proposed that it should be available to everyone, allowing individuals to stay connected with their loved ones even when they are in remote or hard-to-reach areas.

24. A status bar with new icons

It has been reported that the upcoming Android 15 update will bring in new icons for the taskbar. This is a much-awaited change as the current icons have remained unchanged for quite some time now. This update is expected to offer a fresh and modern look to the taskbar, making it more visually appealing and user-friendly.

25. Smart sleep and screen lock

Currently, Android users have the option to set a specific time for their smartphone screen to turn off after a period of inactivity and another time to lock the screen. However, with the upcoming release of Android 15, users will be able to benefit from an adaptive screen timeout feature. This feature will automatically turn off the smartphone screen and lock it at the appropriate time, without waiting for the programmed countdown to end. By implementing this feature, users will be able to enhance the security of their devices and increase their autonomy.

In conclusion, Android 15 promises to bring about exciting new features and improvements that will enhance the user experience on compatible smartphones. With the release date yet to be announced, Android enthusiasts can only wait with bated breath for the update to roll out.

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