Google's new developer preview of Android 14 focuses on privacy and security

Google's Android release cadence for Android has become a familiar annual ritual. A month ago, the company launched the first developer preview of Android 14 and now, a month later, here is the second developer preview. Like with the first release, this is very much a version that's still meant for developers, with the more public -- and easier to install -- betas scheduled to arrive in April. So far, most of the features Google has talked about have also been developer-centric, with only a few user-facing features exposed to far. That also holds true for this second preview, which mostly focuses on added new security and privacy features.

Image Credits: Google

Maybe the most important new privacy feature worth calling out here -- and one that will be user-facing -- is that the new Android photo picker will now ask users if they only want to give an app access to select photos instead of always having to allow access to every photo and video on a given device. Google is asking developers to test this new behavior with their apps to ensure that they can handle this new permission and selection flow.

Android 14 will also feature a new screenshot detection API "to prevent unnecessary access to a user’s data."

Android 14 is also adding a credential manager as a platform API -- and through a Jetpack Library with a Google Play Services implementation, it will support this back to Android 4.4 (that was the KitKat release from 2013). It'll support passwords and passkeys. And while this was already available in the first preview, Google notes that it has now improved the user interface and made some API changes, too.

With this release, Google is also introducing new optimizations to Android's memory management system, which will now more quickly disallow background processes from apps that have gone into a cached state.

On the user-facing side, Google will now make it easier for users to more granularly personalize some of Android settings like temperature units, first day of the week and numbering systems. " A European living in the United States might prefer temperature units to be in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit and for apps to treat Monday as the beginning of the week instead of the US default of Sunday," Google explains, perfectly describing my own personal preferences as a European living in the United States.

As Google notes, now is the time for developers to start their compatibility testing to get ready for the Android 14 release later this year. System images are available for the Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G), as well, of course, images for the Android Emulator.

With Google I/O now happening on May 10, chances are we will hear quite a bit more about Android 14's consumer-facing features then.

Image Credits: Google