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This article was published on February 9, 2021


Leaked Android 12 screenshots show a kill switch for all sensors

Leaked Android 12 screenshots show a kill switch for all sensors


Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Google released the first developer preview of Android 11 in February 2020. So, we might not be far off from seeing the first glimpse of Android 12.

While there’s no official announcement from the company, folks from XDA Developers have published a bunch of screenshots that suggest upcoming changes to Google’s new Android version.

There are a lot of new things to notice such as redesigned widgets, but Android 12’s possible privacy settings caught my eye. The Privacy section might allow you to disable the camera and microphone through a toggle.

Credit: XDA Developers
Android 12’s possible Privacy menu

XDA also noted that if you enable developer settings, you will be able to disable all sensors of the phone. While it might seem like hyperbole at first, the “sensors off” setting could be great for folks working in an information sensitive environment. If you’re going to a critical meeting where you are discussing important and delicate details, you’d want to switch off your camera and mic to reduce the risk of snooping.

Plus, if your company issues you the device, the admin could turn off these sensors while you’re in the office premises to diminish the fear of data leaks. 

Android 12 might also introduce iOS 14 style indicators to display what app is using your camera and mic.

Credit: XDA Developers
Android 12 notification indicating apps that are using/used your camera and mic

Android 12 is not officially out, and we might see some changes to these toggles when Google will release the final version. But I’m hoping that the company won’t boot them out.

Apple has raved about its privacy efforts continuously. If this feature makes it the final version of Android 12, it’ll help Google earn some points in the security department.

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