Android 14's First Beta Has Arrived: Here's What It Includes

The first beta version of Android 14 is available today. The release, which Google says builds on the platform's core themes of "privacy, security, performance, developer productivity, and user customization," is available to a wider range of developers and early adopters. 

The update itself is not going to be pushed directly to Android devices for a while, but the beta can be accessed through the platform's developer site for Pixel owners interested in trying it. The beta release should work "across form factors," so conventional phones, foldables, and tablets should all run it perfectly well.

This is the first beta release planned, with other updates scheduled between now and July. Following a series of "stability" updates, the full version of Android 14 is expected to start rolling out sometime after the July beta version is released. Prior to today's release, the preview version of Android 14 had only been available to a select number of the platform's developers.

As with previous Android builds, there are a host of new features on offer. Some are purely there to make things easier for developers — regular users will probably never encounter them and are unlikely to be too enthused by said features even if they do. Beyond that, there are parts of the update that will please several users, including a wider range of security options and a credential manager. The latter of which is a feature iOS users have had for a while, so it will undoubtedly be welcome among Android's userbase.

Here are the major new features you can expect from Android 14

As mentioned, a lot of the key updates in the initial beta release are developer-specific. The System Sharesheet and UI have received tweaks that should make them more user friendly. Graphics and customization options have also had a boost, so it's possible to make apps even more unique with the latest version of Android. Paths are now queryable and interpolatable, which assists with morphing and creating vector graphics. Per-app language preferences have been enhanced, too.

A major part of beta testing focuses on app compatibility, and this is something both developers and regular users should be aware of. With each new version of Android, there's the potential for minor and major issues to crop up in existing apps. Developers are encouraged to try their own apps out, and general users are asked to report any bugs they spot in the apps they regularly use.

In terms of general features, the back arrow has received a revamp. It has been made a bit more prominent, and should now match the device's overall theme a little better. Security is boosted, so user data should be better shielded, and "critical actions" should not be able to occur unexpectedly. These actions include money transfers and purchasing things on a shopping app. 

More features are expected to crop up, and more devices should be able to try the OS out, as subsequent beta versions are made available in the coming months.