The Android 12 beta is in full swing ahead of its fall release, and Beta 3 has revealed a nifty new feature that will solve one of my most annoying first world problems: auto rotate. If you're anything like me, you switch on auto rotate so that you can enjoy media in landscape as and when you need to, but then end up turning it off when it happens in apps that you want to stay in portrait mode.
It's super annoying to kick back on the couch, or scroll through your phone in bed (which you should really stop doing) and have your phone obligingly reorient the contents of your screen to landscape. I don't know how flexible it thinks I am, but I don't, in fact, have the ability to snap my neck in the middle like a twig to accommodate that. It's not a massive inconvenience but it happens often enough that I'm turning auto rotate on and off with some frequency. But Android 12 is working smarter to put an end to that, if Beta 3 is anything to go by.
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The most recent changes for this version of the OS are listed over on the Android developers blog (opens in new tab) and it includes a "better, faster auto-rotate." What does that entail? Only the answer to all of my problems. Or this one at least.
"We’ve enhanced Android’s auto-rotate feature with face detection, using the front-facing camera to more accurately recognize when to rotate the screen," reads the blog, before going on to read my mind: "This is especially helpful for people who are using their devices while lying down on a couch or in bed, for example."
It's a small change but for those of you who are in the constantly slouched club, and possibly a segment of the 'I dropped my phone on my face again' crowd, the improved feature is going to be the quality of life improvement we've been waiting for.
Auto-rotate is also going to be faster, with the blog post explaining, "to make screen rotation as speedy as possible on all devices, we’ve also optimized the animation and redrawing and added an ML-driven gesture-detection algorithm. As a result, the latency for the base auto-rotate feature has been reduced by 25%, and the benefits of the face detection enhancement build on top of those improvements."
Other features rolling out in Android 12 Beta 3 include scrolling screenshots "to make it easier to capture and share scrolling content," on-device search, as well as Game Mode APIs that can optimise battery life for lengthy commutes, or performance mode for maximum frame rates, depending on your preference.