Google unveils 10 significant enhancements for your Android device

The Main Display on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Google I/O, the yearly celebration of all things Google software, has commenced. As expected, Android takes the spotlight. From improved privacy and enhancements to Google Wallet, to theft detection and app security evaluations, there is much to anticipate here.

From Android 15 features to more general Android updates, let’s delve into all the significant Android revelations from I/O 2024.

Simplifying Life with Google Wallet

Including ticket in Google Wallet.

Do you possess a text-heavy pass, a library card, an insurance slip, or a gym membership card? If you reside in the U.S., merely scan it within the Google Wallet app, and it will generate a digital version for convenient future access while securing it behind a passcode or biometric firewall. Impressive! This feature is not specifically linked to Android 15, so there is no need to wait for that major update to utilize this one.

Verifying Permissions

Android 13 updated permission system.

Untrustworthy apps have been misusing their on-device permissions and privileges for years to cause various issues. To tackle this problem, the Restricted Settings system will now prompt users for an additional layer of consent before granting permissions to apps downloaded from the internet or any other source besides the Google Play Store.

Security Measures Against Theft

Device remote lock in Android.

As the name suggests, this feature utilizes AI to detect sudden movements, such as someone snatching your phone and running away or speeding ahead on a bike. In such instances, the phone will automatically lock to prevent unauthorized access to your personal information by thieves or other malicious parties.

In the case of a stolen device where the thief resets the phone, it will be impossible to set it up without the original owner’s Google account credentials, rendering it useless. And to ensure that crucial safety functions like Find My Phone are only disabled by the legitimate owner, Android will require a password lock for these controls.

Android's theft protection system.

For stolen devices with theft protection activated, Google will restrict sensitive operations such as changing PINs, account credentials, and accessing Passkeys from a different location. These safeguarding measures will be included in the public release of Android 15 later this year.

If your phone is stolen and you cannot remember your Google account details to perform a remote lock or complete factory reset, a new alternative using the phone number and security question will be available this year for devices running Android 10 or a newer version.

Preventing Fraud

App safety check in Android.

Once again, Google will rely on AI to detect apps that may be involved in suspicious activities like fraud or phishing, by monitoring their behavior and device permissions in real time. If an app is identified as fraudulent after an automated check and human review, users will receive a warning, while no data will be deleted.

In addition to Google Pixel phones, devices from OnePlus, Nothing, Oppo, Lenovo, and Honor, among others, will enable real-time threat detection later this year.

Secure Private Area

Private Space in Android.

Consider this as an unseen vault for apps that you prefer not to display in the app library or drawer for security reasons. Protected by a password or biometric authentication, Private Space appears as a distinct folder at the bottom of the App Library. Only after authentication will you have access to sensitive apps, such as those used for financial transactions and secure communication, among others. Unlike some features mentioned, you will need to await an Android 15 update to utilize Private Space on your device.

Ensuring Security of One-Time Passwords

Android fraud protection tools.

Interceptions are a prevalent method of stealing crucial one-time passwords (OTPs), but there are other ways bad actors can intercept them. Google is addressing at least one of those ways. Android will no longer display OTPs in notification banners to prevent unauthorized access to them.

Similarly, notifications containing OTPs or from private apps will be concealed when screen sharing. This is akin to the secure screen-sharing mechanism in Android 15. If you share your device’s screen and need to input login details or sensitive information like banking details, the screen will be hidden during that period.

Call and Network Protection

The Google Pixel 8a on a table.

As mentioned earlier, network interception poses a genuine threat. To address this concern, Google is introducing a new system called Cellular Cypher Transparency to verify a network’s encryption status. If the network is unencrypted, potentially exposing call and messaging channels, Google will alert users in advance.

For individuals at risk, like activists and journalists, Google will notify them if a surveillance tool or spyware is monitoring their location using the unique hardware identification number.

What’s New in Android 15?

The Android 15 logo on a smartphone.

In Android news, Google has released the second beta update of Android 15 for compatible Pixel smartphones. Notably, the company is extending Android 15 beta testing to a wide array of smartphones from various brands including OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi, Honor, and Nothing.

For larger devices, Android 15 introduces native support for pinning the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Users can now save app pairs for quick access in split-screen view, a convenient feature.

Pane-style app scaling in Android.

For foldable devices and tablets, Google is enhancing dynamic panes to resize app interfaces to display more or less information accordingly. In Android 15, when an app like Google Calendar opens in a pane view, users can adjust its size, similar to resizing multiple windows on a desktop screen.

Health Connect, serving as a centralized dashboard for health and fitness data, is expanding to support new data types including training plans and skin temperature. Digital Trends is present at Google I/O 2024 to cover all major announcements from the event, so stay tuned.

Bella Anderson

Bella is a tech enthusiast turned journalist, passionate about decoding complex innovations into understandable insights.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button