Android keeps getting better and better with every release, so it’s with eager anticipation that we await each update.
Whether it’s a visual overhaul, a plethora of new features, or security updates behind the scenes, the next new version of Android is always a big event in the tech calendar.
Here’s all we know so far about the generation that’s due next – Android 14. Google showcased a lot of new features at its Google I/O event on 10 May, which we’ve dived into below.
When will Android 14 be released?
Although Google showed off new Android features at Google I/O, it didn’t actually say when Android 14 will be released.
Early each year, Google teases the next version on Android with what it calls developer previews. These are early builds of the upcoming Android update the company allows developers (but also anyone) to download onto compatible devices to test out the new features, which helps Google to spot bugs.
Following the latest Android Developer Preview being released for recent Pixel devices, the first public beta release of Android 14 is now available. You can enrol your compatible Pixel phone on the official beta website now.
We expect the pubic beta to go through several release updates in the coming weeks, introducing tweaks and new features that allows Google to test the stability of the platform before the full release.
Oppo and OnePlus announced on 10 May, shortly after Google I/O, that its OnePlus 11 and Oppo Find N2 Flip phones can now download the Android 14 Beta 1 update.
After all these public betas, Google sometimes rolls outs the new version of Android with the release of its new generation of Pixel phones, but sometimes it does it for existing devices beforehand.
While there’s no official release date yet for Android 14, we expect it to appear in Q3 2023 alongside the Pixel 8 series. Google has been a little erratic over the past few years with its releases, but they usually fall after the summer. Here’s when the last full versions made their debuts:
- Android 13 – August 2022
- Android 12 – October 2021
- Android 11 – September 2020
- Android 10 – September 2019
What will Android 14 be called?
Google has a rather whimsical approach when it comes to the names it gives each version of Android. These were traditionally based on deserts, but this trend stopped when Android 10 came out in September 2019 and the company went with the number instead. This hasn’t stopped the internal codenames making their way into the public though, replete with its confectionary connotations. For instance, here’s how the numbered Android versions have been affectionately called in-house at Google:
- Android 10 – Quince Tart
- Android 11 – Red Velvet Cake
- Android 12 – Snow Cone
- Android 13 – Tiramisu
As you can probably tell, each version starts with the next letter in the alphabet, meaning Android 14’s desert of choice will begin with U. While this seems a rather difficult letter to make a pudding reference, 9to5Google has reported that Google engineers have dubbed it Upside Down Cake. Bit of a stretch, which is probably why the company now sticks with version numbers instead. With Android 14, Google is over halfway through the alphabet anyway.
What new features will we see in Android 14?
Google showed off a few new features for Android at Google I/O, even though we still don’t know when Android 14 will come out. We’re assuming many of the new changes are for Android 14 but it’s worth noting it’s not clear if they will be, or will come to older versions of Android too.
Google loves AI. From its Bard chatbot helper right through to fun existing tools on Android phones like Magic Eraser in Google Photos, artificial intelligence via software is integrated heavily into the companies products. Android 14 is no different.
There’s going to be a visual update in Android 14 (for Pixel phones first), with a couple of new features coming in June. This could indicate Android 14 is launching then.
Google has taken a few notes of Apple’s iOS 16 tweaks to its lock screen wallpapers by, well, copying it. You’ll be able to change the clock style on Android’s lock screen on Pixel phones and access some widgets. There’s also a new emoji wallpaper picker that is very similar to what Apple offers.
There will also be more AI smarts in Android 14 with cinematic wallpapers where you can select a photo from your gallery and it’ll give it a 3D effect if you set it as your wallpaper. This is also dropping in June.
More impressive is new generative AI wallpapers. Again, on Pixel first, you’ll be able to type a prompt for AI to generate a unique image, for example, ‘London in a pop art style’, which will create a few images to scroll through and pick. Google is pushing the feature as a way to ensure your pghone looks totally unique.
Google says this won’t come until autumn, so it will likely be pushed as an update after Android 14 has already been pushed to some devices.
These were the only new features announced at Google I/O. The below was already known from betas and leaks.
Privacy-first screen recordings
One cool new feature for Android 14 dug up by super Android researcher Mishaal Rahman is a new screen recording option that can record just one app at a time, not your whole screen. It means the recording doesn’t include screen UI elements or notifications, only recording what you do during the recording in the app you’ve selected. Check it out in his tweet below:
New share sheet
The share sheet is the pop up that appears when you tap share within any app. We quite like how it appears on iPhones, with frequent contacts and apps listed first in a fairly uniform nature, whichever app you’re in. The Android share sheet has always been a little more chaotic, and Google is addressing this in the Android 14 beta.
The sheet will now give developers the ability to code in more personalised suggestions, such as emailing a link to a regular contact, or sending your Wordle score to that Wordle WhatsApp group you’re in. It will hopefully become better at guessing your intent.
You’ll also be able to scroll a preview of several images if you’ve selected many, to make sure you’re not sending the wrong thing to the wrong person. Google will also reportedly now be able to update the share sheet’s behaviour more frequently as the system now treats it as a standalone app. It’s a small tweak, but one you may use fairly often.
In a tweet back in September 2022, Google’s Senior Vice-President for Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, stated that his team were ‘designing for satellites’.
Presumably this means being able to make emergency calls via satellite coverage, as we’ve seen in the iPhone 14 range. Whether this will work with existing phones or only with new ones remains to be seen, although we suspect the latter.
Predictive Back Navigation
If you’ve ever been frustrated by tapping the back button or using the swipe gesture to navigate to a previous page but find you’ve quit the app instead, then Android 14 could fix this problem.
With apps all applying the back gesture differently, there’s not always a joined up behaviour that the user can trust. With the new predictive back navigation, you will now see a sneak peak of the home screen appear before you finish your command, so you’ll know whether you want to do that or not. Sounds a bit complicated, but in operation it should be simple and save you from inadvertently leaving an app. The feature was actually built for Android 13, but it seems that time ran out before that version launched, so it should now make its proper debut in Android 14.
Nearby share could be restricted to Google-licensed phones
This one won’t affect too many people, but Google has confirmed that the predecessor to Nearby Share – Android Beam – is being removed from AOSP (Android Open Source Project). This is only significant because Nearby Share relies on Google Mobile Services, which means manufacturers that are not signed up to Google’s licensing agreements (such as Huawei), may no longer be able to wirelessly share data via NFC between devices. Most people won’t experience this, but it is worth pointing out.
Will your phone get Android 14?
Most Android phones released in the last year or so should make the transition to Android 14, although how quickly this happens relies on the manufacturers as they implement the upgrades. The only way to be sure is to check on the manufacturers website to see if your handset is listed.
Should you find that’s not the case, then you can always peruse our roundups of the best budget phones, best mid-range phones and best Android smartphones to see if you fancy upgrading to one that will.