Android 15: Everything Exciting About the Beta So Far

Android 15: Everything Exciting About the Beta So Far

In the past, every new version of Android felt like a special occasion for the platform’s devoted users. It meant new software features, better algorithms, improved user interfaces, and maybe even something fun, like an easter egg.

However, in the case of Android 15, which is in its first public beta, we’re still waiting for the main event. Sure, the beta offers a glimpse into what’s next, but it’s not the whole picture. Most of the tweaks are being made behind the scenes rather than in a user-facing manner. And let’s not forget the Android beta is not a final rendering of the software update. It still has a few iterations in the public beta before it’s ready for public consumption.

Android 15 won’t be here for a while. But if you’re one of those devoted fans, you can download the beta now and see what’s cooking. Do not install a beta on your device every day. But do read about what’s coming in Android 15.

New Volume panel

Screenshot: Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

It’s a minor change but a welcome one. Android 15’s new volume panel will be expandable and feature visually stunning controls rather than a boring slider panel. The snapshot above from noted leaker Mishaal Rahman shows Material stylings for the volume controls. I haven’t been able to surface this look on the Pixel 6 Pro running the Android 15 beta.

Partial screen sharing

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Partial screen sharing will keep you from sharing your secrets. The feature allows you to record only the app window rather than the entire device screen, so your notifications don’t pop in and out.

Notification cooldown

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Is someone blowing up your notifications? Maybe it’s a game you play a ton. Android 15 will help chill them out. Notification cooldown will automatically lower the volume of consecutive notifications from the same app, so you’ll not constantly get an overlay ping while trying to use your device. The current public beta may not offer access to this feature yet.

Sensitive notifications

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I still rely on the Android Messages app to use two-factor authentication and log in to specific accounts. The final version of Android 15 will hopefully include the ability to hide the 2FA requests. The ability won’t physically hide the notification from popping up with the pin code reveal, but it will lock down the message so that other apps on Android can’t read the numbers and log in as you.

Use your phone as a webcam

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Here is one Android 15 beta feature that you can try now! Connect a Pixel device to your computer via USB-C. The USB Preferences dialog will appear in the Notifications shade. Tap on it, then select the option to use your Pixel as a webcam. Launch the capture app on your computer, and you should be able to choose the device as camera hardware.

Private space

Image: Android Authority / YouTube

You’ve heard of Google Photos’ Locked folder, but how about an entire “private space” in the Android 15 Beta? This feature will allow you to hide apps on your phone so that they don’t surface unless you know how to fetch them specifically.

Yes, this will likely be used to hide messaging apps and the conversations within those apps. Unfortunately, the current Android 15 public beta doesn’t include this feature in the preview. But you can read about how it will function at Android Authority, which went hands-on with the feature when it was available in a beta release of Android 14.

Satellite connectivity, probably

A preview of what Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite would have worked like in the wild.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Satellite messaging is coming in some form or another. There have been leaks, mostly related to the Google Pixel 9 hardware, but enough that it seems the feature is coming to the entire platform. There’s nothing you can paw at yet in this current public beta.

Multi-stream audio sharing

Screenshot: 9to5Google

The frustration with public betas is that they often hide the features that surfaced during the developer preview builds. Before Android gets packaged for the faithful masses to try on their Pixel devices, there are two developer previews that precede the beta version that’s out now.

The last Android 15 developer preview showed evidence of an “audio sharing” feature buried in the Connected Devices menu. The general assumption is that this will likely be the user-facing way to broadcast your audio to nearby friends with compatible devices. This might also be how Android 15 does Auracast.

Edge-to-Edge apps

Image: Google

Edge-to-edge apps are such a big deal that there’s a whole section about them on the Android Developers Blog. On the backend, this will make it easier for developers to get their apps looking snatched, especially on large-screen devices. The trade-off is a more visually pleasing interface without the black bars for the navigation bar and notification shade.

One Health Connect to Rule Them All™️

Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I’m adding a slide for Health Connect because I intend to understand how it will be better once I update to Android 15. Right now, Health Connect is a bit of a mess. I can sync all data with Google Fit, but I’m still confused about how every other third party shares data with one another. I currently use another third-party app to sync health and wellness data everywhere. I’ve also noticed there are still limitations between third parties regarding what data can be swapped. The changes to Health Connect in Android 15 should help apps like Samsung Health and Fitbit play better with others. We shall see.