❤ Android 14 DP2 on Pixel Phone
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Flash notifications on Pixel will let you emulate a notification LED
Android 14 Developer Preview 2 includes a “Flash notifications” function that will let Pixel owners emulate the long-lost notification LED in the upcoming build.
One of the most notable features that has been missing from many top-tier smartphones in recent years is the notification LED. Many OEMs have offered workarounds that utilize the camera LED flash to let you know when you have an unread or urgent notification waiting to be accessed.
One notable absentee has been the Pixel lineup, but this could change soon as Google has added the “Flash notifications” option within the Accessibility panel in Android 14 Developer Preview 2. This section could be useful for those with hearing impairments, as it’s an extra visual clue that you have a call, SMS, or general app notification incoming.
You can enable “Camera flash notifications” or “Screen flash notifications” independently or simultaneously by heading to Settings > Accessibility > Flash notifications. From this new menu, you can tweak and toggle the options and even get a preview of the options in action.
If you enable “Camera flash notifications” in Android 14 Developer Preview 2, when a notification is received, the LED flash on your Pixel camera system will turn on and off briefly. Google has gone a step further here too. The flashlight/torch toggle in Quick Settings will be highlighted to indicate something has been received and that you have camera flash notifications enabled.
This is similar to what is already available on iOS and some other Android devices. Sadly, Android 14 Developer Preview 2 offers no ability to tune or tweak this setting, at least at this stage. However, if you enable the “Screen flash notifications” option, you can choose a color in which your screen will flash from one of 12 options, all of which are bright neon-style hues for visibility.
These changes might not fully replace a true RGB-capable notification LED on your Pixel, but at least you’ll be able to get an extra visual representation of regular on-device notifications when Android 14 does eventually launch.
Android 14 DP2: Pixel phones gain monochrome theme, prep for custom clocks
As part of the second preview of Android 14, Pixel phones have gained a new monochrome Material You theme and are preparing to add custom lock screen clocks.
Since the launch of Material You with Android 12, Google has been steadily building upon that colorful foundation, adding things like color variations that use your wallpaper palette in new ways and preset themes that aren’t based on your wallpaper.
In the latter category, Android 14 DP2 introduces a new monochrome theme, marked by a black-and-white circle in the theme selector. As you’d expect, the theme saps all color out of Android’s menus and any Material You-compatible apps.
Besides looking kinda cool, the new monochrome Material You theme is actually added as an accessibility feature. I previously spoke with a person living with cataplexy; they noted that the colors of Google’s Material You themes would occasionally trigger seizures. For someone like that, a monochrome theme would likely go a long way toward making a Pixel phone more usable without disabling colors altogether.
Meanwhile, adding custom clocks to Pixel phones has long been a goal for Google, with work on it dating back to at least 2019. As seen in the screenshots above, it looks like the company is making another attempt at it with Android 14, as the Wallpaper & style applet includes a prominently placed option labeled “Clock Settings.”
The subheading reveals that this should allow you to “Pick a custom clock.” For now, however, this option does nothing, presumably because there aren’t any custom clocks installed from which to choose. As the custom clock option appears without needing to be forcibly enabled by our team, it’s quite possible that Google intends for the feature to launch as part of Android 14’s final release.
Another tidbit in Wallpaper & style that’s worth mentioning is a new bug related to Material You-themed icons. If you do a fresh install of Android 14 DP2 onto a device, rather than simply updating an already set up phone, the “Themed icons” toggle is not available. We’re not sure what the solution to this issue will be, though it will likely be fixed with a future DP2.1 update.
Android 14 DP2: Media player gains new animations and UI enhancements
Android 14 Developer Preview 2 is now available, and it wouldn’t be an early access build without Google making Media player tweaks.
The latest developer-focused build is the second such version of Android 14 that you can — and probably shouldn’t — flash on your eligible Google Pixel. Android 14 Developer Preview 1 didn’t tweak or tune the Media player which is used across the Quick Settings panel and lockscreen. This time, though, Google has made a number of small tweaks that will be noticeable right away.
A very minor animation tweak is visible when viewing the lockscreen media player. In Android 13, the player will slide up and expand into view into the Always-on display. Here in Android 14 Developer Preview 2, the Media player will slide down into view. It’s another minor change, but one that you’ll spot and wonder just what feels different.
That’s not all, as when interacting with the player controls you’ll see a wave glow animation effect to indicate that something has been accessed or activated. Google has also restored the glowing animation effect when audio is playing that was originally added in Android 13 QPR2 Beta 1. Both glow effects will use a complimentary color to the album art of the media being played, and this appears to work with most apps compatible with the Media player in Android 14 Developer Preview 2.
The changes continue with the media output switcher. This area will now show any nearby or available speakers and Cast-enabled devices; what’s more, the volume control slider now has a new icon to indicate that audio is muted on your device.