Welcome to Android 12 Developer Preview! Please give us feedback early and often, and help us make Android 12 the best release yet!

Android 12 Developer Preview

Welcome to Android 12 Developer Preview, a program that gives you everything you need to make your apps compatible and build for the next version of Android. The program is free, and you can get started right away by downloading the Developer Preview SDK and tools.

A runtime environment to test your apps on Pixel devices and the Android Emulator.

We’ll provide regular updates, so you’ll be testing against the latest platform code.

Pinpoint the behavior changes that will affect your apps, and build with the latest platform capabilities.

Your feedback is critical! Start here to report issues and let us know what you think! Connect with other developers in the Developer Community to share your experiences.

Timeline, milestones, and updates

Timeline for the Android 12 developer previews and betas

The Android 12 Developer Preview program runs from February 2021 until the final public release to AOSP and OEMs, planned for later in the year. At key development milestones, we'll deliver updates for your development and testing environments. Each includes SDK tools, system images, emulators, API reference, and API diffs. The milestones are listed below.

Timeline Build Type Developer actions
February Developer Preview 1 Early baseline build focused on developer feedback, with new features, APIs, and behavior changes. Priority window for feedback on APIs. Explore new APIs and behavior changes and report any critical issues or requests to us during this time. Begin early app compatibility testing.
March Developer Preview 2 Incremental update with additional features, APIs, and behavior changes. Priority for Feedback continues. Give us your feedback as you try the new APIs and test with behavior changes.
April Developer Preview 3 Incremental update for stability and performance. Get apps ready for consumer Beta. Continue compatibility testing, publish updates without changing targeting.
May Beta 1 Initial beta-quality release, over-the-air update to early adopters who enroll in Android Beta. Continue compatibility testing, watch for feedback from Android Beta users. Start early testing with targeting Android 12. Notify SDK and library developers of any issues.
June-July Beta 2, 3 Incremental Beta-quality release Continue compatibility testing, watch for feedback from Android Beta users. Start early testing with targeting Android 12.
August Beta 4 Platform Stability milestone. Final APIs and behaviors. Play publishing opens. Start final compatibility testing for apps, SDKs, and libraries. Release compatible versions. Continue work to target Android 12. Update SDKs and libraries and notify their developers of any issues.
When available Candidate Release candidate build. Release compatible updates for apps, SDKs, and libraries. Continue work to target Android 12. Build with new features and APIs.
Final release Android 12 release to AOSP and ecosystem. Release compatible updates for apps, SDKs, and libraries. Continue work to target Android 12. Build with new features and APIs.

Platform Stability milestone

Android 12 includes a milestone called "Platform Stability" to help you plan your final testing and releases. This milestone means that Android 12 has reached final internal and external APIs, final app-facing behaviors, and final non-SDK API lists (greylists). We expect Android 12 to reach Platform Stability at Beta 4 in August 2021. From that point, you can expect no further changes affecting your apps.

We encourage all app, game, SDK, library, and game engine developers to use the Platform Stability milestone as a target for planning final compatibility testing and public release. Using Platform Stability instead of final release gives you several additional weeks before consumers can receive the new platform on their devices.

Preview Phases

For developers, the focus during the Developer Preview is on API feedback and app compatibility. App compatibility means making sure the current version of your app looks right and runs well on the new platform.

The Developer Preview builds provide an early test and development environment you can use to try new APIs, identify compatibility issues in your app, and plan migration or feature work needed to target the new platform. It's especially important to give us your feedback during this time. You should also expect some API changes with each of these updates. Please review the migration guide for steps to make your app compatible with the new platform, and then target the new platform when you're ready.

Beta 1 gives you a more complete and stable environment for building and testing on Android 12, and it's the first build that we deliver to early adopters who are enrolled in the Android Beta program. During the Beta releases period, early adopters will be using your app on Pixel devices, so we recommend watching for feedback from those users and releasing compatible updates to address any issues, without changing the app's targeting. It's also a good time to begin preparing for changing your app's targeting later.

With Beta 2 and Beta 3 you'll get increasingly complete and stable builds for continuing your testing and development.

Starting at Beta 4, Android 12 will reach Platform Stability, meaning that system behaviors and APIs are finalized. This is the time to begin final testing and development work needed to ensure that a compatible version of your app will be ready for users at the final release to the ecosystem. Android 12 will provide a standard API level at this time.

Platform Stability is the time to shift focus to final compatibility testing and release your updated apps to users and downstream developers. You can also build with the final APIs and refine any new code that is using the new APIs or features. You can plan your work with confidence that the platform and APIs won't change.

From Platform Stability, you'll also be able to publish apps to devices running Android 12 at the official API level. After Platform Stability, We recommend publishing into the Google Play alpha and beta tracks first so that you can test your apps before distributing broadly through the store.

For all SDK, library, tools, and game engine developers, it’s very important to start testing at Platform Stability and release your compatible updates as soon as possible. Your downstream app and game developers may be blocked until they receive your updates. When you’ve released a compatible update, be vocal and let your developers know!

What's included in the Developer Preview?

The Android 12 Developer Preview program includes everything you need to test your existing apps on a variety of screen sizes, network technologies, CPU/GPU chipsets, and hardware architectures.

SDK & NDK tools

Using Android Studio, you can download the following components through the SDK Manager:

  • Android 12 SDK, NDK, and tools
  • Android 12 emulator system images for mobile devices (64-bit only, see release notes)

We'll provide updates to these development tools at each milestone as needed.

See Get Android 12 to get started. See the migration guide for information on how to plan testing and development to align with the Android 12 release cycle, as well as the release notes for known issues.

System images

The Developer Preview includes system images for a variety of Pixel devices that you can use for developing and testing. Visit the Downloads page to get a system image for development and testing.

If you don't have a Pixel device, you can develop and test using an Android Emulator system image. Using Android Studio, download this component through the SDK Manager:

  • Android 12 emulator system images for mobile devices (64-bit only, see release notes)

See Get Android 12 for details.

Flash-to-OTA Updates for Pixel

The Developer Preview releases are early baseline builds for developers only. They are not suitable for daily use by early adopters or consumers, so we're making them available by manual download and flash only. For details, see Get Android 12.

Once you've flashed a Developer Preview build to a supported Pixel device, you'll automatically be enrolled in over-the-air updates of later Developer Preview and Beta builds through the final release.

Please note that the Android Beta OTA program is not supported for Developer Preview builds.

Preview APIs and publishing

Android 12 Developer Preview initially provides a development-only system and Android library that does not have a standard API level. If you want to target the new platform and build with the new Android 12 APIs during this time, you must target the Developer Preview version of Android 12 by setting your app's targetSdkVersion and minSdkVersion to "S" and its Gradle compileSdkVersion to "android-S". For more information, see Update your build configuration for Android 12.

Android 12 Developer Preview delivers preview APIs—the APIs will not be official until the final SDK is released at Platform Stability. This means that you can expect API changes over time, especially during the initial weeks of the program. We'll provide a summary of changes with each update of Android 12 Developer Preview.

Later in the Developer Preview, developer APIs will be finalized and you'll be able to download the official Android 12 SDK into Android Studio, target the official API level, and compile against the official APIs.

During Developer Preview, Google Play prevents publishing of apps that target 'S' or the Android 12 official API level. When the final SDK is available, you can then target the official Android 12 API level and publish your app to Google Play via the alpha, beta, and production release channels. Meanwhile, if you want to distribute an app to testers that targets Android 12, you can do so via email or by direct download from your site at any time.

Keeping up-to-date

Throughout the preview, as you test on Developer Preview and Beta releases, we strongly recommend keeping your development environment up-to-date. We'll notify you when new updates are available via the following channels:

More information

To learn more about Android 12 Developer Preview, see the following documentation resources:

  • The migration guide outlines the process for making your apps compatible with Android 12, then targeting the new platform and building with new APIs.
  • The Behavior changes page describes the updates in Android 12 that may affect your apps and the areas where you should test.
  • The new features page contains an overview of new features, capabilities, and APIs, with developer guides on key new features.
  • The release notes page lists and describes known issues and transitive changes that are specific to each preview or beta release.

API Reference and diff report

The full Developer Preview API reference is available online. When the new APIs are under development, they'll be watermarked for visibility and show "S" as the API level. Note that you can only use these APIs if you are building with the Android 12 Developer Preview SDK.

When Android 12 reaches Platform Stability and the final SDK is available, the API reference will show that the new APIs were added in the official API level.

For a detailed view of new, modified, deprecated, and removed APIs in each release, we recommend starting with the diff reports:

Changes in the diff reports contain links to related API reference documentation.

Support resources

As you test and develop with Android 12 Developer Preview, please use these channels to report issues and give feedback:

  • Visit the Feedback and issues page for complete information on how to report issues and let us know what you think. From the page, you can go to the issue tracker to file bugs or feature requests, and you can take quick surveys on some of the new features and changes.
  • Android Developer Preview issue tracker is our primary issue tracker. You can report bugs, performance issues, and general feedback through the issue tracker. You can also check for known issues and find workaround steps. We'll keep you updated on your issue as it's triaged and sent to the Android engineering team for review. For details on how to report various kinds of issues, see the Where to report issues section.
  • The Developer Preview Community is a community where you can connect with other users and developers who are working with Android 12 Developer Preview. You can share observations and ideas and find answers to questions there.

Get started!

To get started, install Android 12 on your hardware device, or set up an emulator for compatibility testing. See Get Android 12 for details. Thank you for participating in the Android 12 Developer Preview program!