With each new year we get a new version of Android, and this year it’s Android 14’s turn. So you can expect a major upgrade to your phone, with new features and potentially a new look, once Android 14 – or Android Upside Down Cake as it’s codenamed – rolls out.
We’ve probably got a while to wait until it does formally arrive, but the operating system update has already been announced, and a Developer Preview of it is now available. We’re expecting that public betas will likely launch soon too, and with them, we’ll likely learn a lot more about what’s in store.
Below, you’ll find details of when Android 14 might launch in both beta and finished forms, along with all the other information we have about Android 14 so far; both rumored and confirmed. As soon as we hear anything new we’ll also add it to this article, so check back soon for updates.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next version of Android
- When is it out? Probably August or September
- How much will it cost? It will be a free upgrade
Android 14 release date
Android 14 was announced by Google on February 8, 2023, and the first Developer Preview launched on the same day, with the second Developer Preview also now here, having landed in early March. These are early – and likely unstable – betas designed specifically for developers, but public betas are on the way too.
Google has revealed a timeline for the roll out of Android 14 versions, with the first public beta expected to land sometime in April, so that’s the earliest we’d suggest trying it out, and even then you should be prepared for bugs and unfinished features.
The final beta is planned for July, with the actual finished release not being given a month yet in the timeline, but August or September seems likely, as there’s unlikely to be a huge gap between the final beta and the finished release.
Plus, August and September have been the most common release months for new Android versions in recent years – though Android 12 didn’t launch until October of its release year.
Another important date to note is May 10, as that’s when the Google IO 2023 developer conference is scheduled to take place. We’ll likely see one of the betas roll out there, with new features possibly also set to be announced at this event.
Android 14 supported phones
If you’ve used Android for a while then you’ll know it isn’t like iOS, where every phone made in the last five years or so gets the new version on day one. With Android, support is a lot more volatile, and many phones are left waiting months to receive their tailored update.
That said, if you have a recent Google Pixel phone, then you will definitely be getting the update, and probably on day one.
The Pixel 7 series, Pixel 6 series (including Pixel 6a), Pixel 5 series, and Pixel 4a 5G all support the Android 14 developer preview, so you can pretty much count on them all getting the finished version too. Older Pixels won’t though.
Beyond that, most other phones that came out in the last year or so will get it, and many phones that are a couple of years old will too, as will some older handsets.
Many Samsung phones qualify for four years of operating system upgrades, but that policy only applies to recent handsets, which would have gotten Android 14 anyway; devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 series, the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Other recent big-name phones like the OnePlus 11, OnePlus 10 Pro, Sony Xperia 1 IV, and the Xiaomi 12 will, of course, get Android 14 too. But so will most niche smartphones, just as long as they’re recent models. Again though, many of these phones won’t get the update on day one.
Android 14 beta
There aren’t any Android 14 public betas yet, which means that unless you’re a developer you should really wait.
However, there is a Developer Preview, so if you are a developer – or are comfortable putting really early software on your phone – then you can try Android 14 out now, just as long as you have a Google Pixel phone from the Pixel 4a 5G onwards.
This isn’t just a simple download and again, we wouldn’t recommend doing it. But if you’re set on trying Android 14 now, you can head to the Android developer site (opens in new tab) to get it.
Android 14 features
We don’t know everything about Android 14 yet, as the initial Developer Preview doesn’t have every feature included, but based on that preview, along with some leaks, we are aware of some key things. You’ll find the most significant expected features below.
The iPhone 14 series sports emergency satellite communication for when there’s no cell signal, and Google is building support for this feature directly into Android 14, so soon it might be common on Android phones too.
Of course, Android phone makers will still need to choose to support this feature and equip their handsets with the necessary hardware, but native software support may make them more keen to do so.
In an effort to save people from downloading malicious apps, Android 14 will stop users from sideloading apps aimed at ancient versions of Android.
Apps on the Google Play Store already have to be aimed at fairly recent versions of Android, but currently there’s nothing to stop users from going to third-party stores or websites and getting apps built for even the very earliest Android versions.
That’s not secure, as hackers can create apps that target flaws in these earlier operating system versions, so with Android 14, wherever you get your apps from you should be a little safer from these vulnerabilities.
Proper passkey support
Android 14 seems to be bringing in full support for passkeys, which could mean the days of passwords are numbered.
Passkeys are a more secure alternative to passwords, and they work via sets of encryption keys. While passkey support already exists in Android, currently the keys have to be stored within Google’s own password manager system, whereas with Android 14, third-party password managers like Dashlane and LastPass will be able to store the keys, so you don’t have to be tied to Google’s own security.
One other feature being tested for Android 14 – as spotted by XDA Developers (opens in new tab) – is the ability to set your preferred temperature units, first day of the week, calendar type, and number system, which will then be applied across apps.
Health Connect lets you sync data between your health and fitness apps and devices, so that you can potentially see all of this data in one place. It’s not a new app, but – as spotted by XDA Developers (opens in new tab) – with Android 14 it’s seemingly being integrated into the platform, rather than being a separate app that you have to download.
One feature Google is testing for Android 14 – via XDA Developers (opens in new tab) – is known as ‘cloned apps’, and allows you to create a second instance of an app, so you can be logged in with two different accounts at the same time, for apps that don’t natively support multiple accounts.
We’ve seen this sort of feature before from some phone makers, but this is the first time it’s been a part of stock Android.
The first Developer Preview of Android 14 includes font scaling up to 200% to help low-vision users. It’s cleverly designed too, as it uses a non-linear scaling curve, which means that while the smallest elements might grow by 200%, already large text won’t increase by the same amount, so that it won’t get impractically large.
View apps installed in the background
Your phone likely won’t just include the apps you installed on it. There will also be pre-installed apps, much of which could be considered bloatware.
Worse, manufacturers and carriers will sometimes add apps to your phone at a later date, without your permission or knowledge, and of course viruses and the like could also add apps to your phone without your knowledge.
These are described as apps that were installed in the background, and with Android 14, XDA Developers has found (opens in new tab) that you’ll be able to view a list of all of these, so you can keep on top of them.
If you’re a Pixel user then it looks like Android 14 will let you create a wallpaper for your phone, using a combination of up to 14 different emojis of your choice, along with a choice of patterns and colors. You can see some examples of this from XDA Developers above.
Enhanced Live Wallpapers
Much like emoji wallpapers, there are also potential live wallpaper enhancements coming to Android 14. The sleuths at XDA Developers (opens in new tab)note that Google has planned to expand support for live wallpapers so that they would work like regular wallpapers. This means that you’d be able to set a separate live wallpaper for your homescreen and your lockscreen.
Live wallpapers are a cool feature that Android (and iPhone) users have had for years and being able to set them independently of each other would enhance personalization.
A small feature spotted like so many others by XDA Developers (opens in new tab), this time in the second Developer Preview of Android 14, is the ability to have correct PINs automatically confirmed.
What that means is that when you enter the final digit of a PIN, it would automatically accept it, rather than you having to press ‘OK’ or ‘Confirm’ or the like. This feature will only work for PINs of at least six digits.