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Android 15 Beta 2 With Private Space, Advanced Anti-Theft Protection and More Released

Android 15 Beta 2 was announced at Google I/O 2024 on Wednesday, a day after the company’s annual developer conference kicked off. The latest beta version of its next major operating system (OS) update is now available to download on Google Pixel smartphones and is coming to select smartphones over the coming weeks. This year, Google is focussing on adding new security and privacy features to Android 15, and the latest beta version contains powerful new features that are available to beta testers.

During a Google I/O developer session, the company showed off its first security and privacy-oriented feature coming to smartphones with Android 15 — Private Space. It will allow users to hide certain apps (such a banking, finance, dating, or social media apps) on their smartphone in a secure location. Apps in the Private Space can be updated via a separate Play Store app and will also have access to their own storage area not accessible to other apps on the phone.

Google says that the Private Space feature is located in the default app drawer on Android 15. Users can scroll down to the end of the list of apps to reveal the secured app. This segregated application list can optionally be protected by a separate passcode — or using a biometric lock — while allowing them to completely hide its existence. 

With Android 15, Google is also upgrading its anti-theft protections, making it more difficult for thieves to use a stolen phone that has been reset, without the previously used Google account credentials. Android 15 will also ask users for their biometrics when attempting to increase the screen timeout, accessing passkeys, or disable Find My Device.

Another powerful anti-theft feature coming to Android 15 is “Theft Detection Lock”, or the ability to lock a smartphone when an “abrupt motion that could indicate theft” has been detected. Meanwhile, “Offline Device Lock” will also automatically lock itself if a user turns off access to the internet — something a thief might do after stealing a smartphone.

Remote Lock will let users send a command using a different number (when their handset is stolen) to lock and/ or wipe their phone remotely without logging on to Find My Device. Theft Detection Lock, Remote Lock, and Offline Device Lock are aimed at disincentivising smartphone theft and will arrive later this year on handsets running on Android 10 and newer versions, according to Google. 

Other features coming to Android 15 include the ability to automatically enable Bluetooth the next day — we can assume this feature is designed to help Google ensure its Find My Device network continues operating as intended. Google has also added improvements to the widget picker on Android 15, as well as a redesigned volume control panel that offers better reachability during one-handed use.

Android 15 Beta 2 is available for download on the Pixel 8Pixel 8 ProPixel 7aPixel 7Pixel 7 ProPixel 6aPixel 6 ProPixel 6Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet. Select smartphones from a handful of manufacturers will also be eligible to install Android 15 beta versions, and you can access the complete list of compatible handsets here.


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