Readers like you help support Pocket-lint. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Quick Links

Google officially launched Android 14 as part of its Made by Google 2023 event alongside the Google Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and the Pixel Watch 2. It was technically supposed to launch a month ago, but Google delayed the release, most likely so that it would launch with the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. This is likely a signal of things to come with major OS releases launching with new devices, similarly to how Apple does it. In any case, Android 14 is out now, and it's available to the public.

This year's Android release isn't a massive departure from Android 13. Most design elements and general functionality remain the same, although you get some changes, like the Material You-themed back bubble when using the back gesture navigation. You'll see some extra tidbits here and there, including the predictable but welcome addition of AI. We'll go over all of the major points of the new release and a couple of the under-the-hood changes as well that you'll see later as apps and games implement them. Here's everything you need to know about Android 14.

What's new in Android 14?

As with almost everything else, Android 14 focuses on AI functionality. The other focus area is on large-screen devices such as tablets and foldables. Since Google recently released its Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, the focus on big-screen devices shouldn't be too surprising.

Here are some of the biggest changes that have been announced for Android 14 (but check out Google's official listing and blog post for all the new features):

Magic Compose

Magic Compose is a new feature coming to Messages by Google. It uses generative AI to suggest responses based on the context of your conversation. It can also alter your message to be written in a different style and even make it more concise and professional.

Magic Compose in Messages by Google

Google's demo at I/O showed messages being altered to sound more excited, more relaxed, and even converted into Shakespearian style. O, most wondrous spectacle. The feature is included with Android 14, although beware because it will send your 20 most recent responses to Google, even in RCS chats that are end-to-end encrypted.

New lock screen options

Android 14 will allow for much more lock screen customization than before, with many new clock styles to choose from and the ability to add custom shortcuts to the display. After years of having nearly identical lock screen looks, it's nice to see Google letting people customize them again without a third-party app.

Android 14 lock screens

There are some pretty striking styles to choose from. Of course, they're matched to your system colour palette, thanks to Material You. Speaking of which, a new monochrome theme has been added if you could do without so much colour, too.

Cinematic wallpapers

The new cinematic wallpaper feature allows you to turn any photo into a 3D image with motion effects that react to the movement of your device.

It's a bit like Facebook's 3D photos, but Google's effect promises to be all the more convincing thanks to on-device machine learning technology. Plus, it's your wallpaper this time around, so you'll get to see it all the time.

To access this feature, long press the home screen and open Wallpaper & style. Select the Change wallpaper option and select a photo. From there, hit the sparkle icon and follow the instructions from there.

Emoji wallpapers

Another new wallpaper option allows you to create a mosaic of your favourite emojis, which can then be scaled and colour matched to the rest of your theme.

Android 14 wallpapers

The result is surprisingly tasteful, and the in-depth customization means your options are almost endless. To access this, tap and hold on your home screen and select Wallpaper & Style. From there, tap Change wallpaper and finally Emoji Workshop to get started on your new wallpaper.

AI-generated wallpapers

If you can't find the right image for wallpaper, why not generate an entirely new image? Android 14 includes a new option for AI wallpaper generation, using an AI image model that works a lot like DALL-E 2 or Stable Diffusion.

Android 14 AI wallpapers

If you're struggling with ideas, Google has implemented yet another AI model for prompt suggestions, so you'll always have inspiration for your next AI creation. This feature is only available on the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro for now. To use it, long-press the home screen and select Wallpaper & style. Then, select Change wallpaper and select the Use AI function to get started.

Tablet and foldable features

Google has been putting a lot of work into trying to make the Android experience as good on larger-screen devices as on smartphones. At I/O, it announced that 50 Google apps had been updated to use large displays, and it has been working with third parties to ensure their apps are optimised too. Peloton, Calm, and Candy Crush Soda Saga were all mentioned as newly redesigned apps.

In addition, features like the new taskbar, two-panel notification shade, and a split keyboard make two-handed use easier than ever. Many of these features are already live in Android 13 but have received further refinement in Android 14. The developer notes say new window size classes, sliding pane layout, activity embedding, and box with constraints are all now available for app developers.

Lossless USB audio

A feature that hasn't been shouted about too much, but is pretty exciting, in our opinion, is support for lossless USB audio. This means that Android 14 can offer audiophile-grade experiences over USB-wired headphones.

Font accessibility

Non-linear font scaling up to 200% has been added to provide low-vision users with additional accessibility options. The system applies a non-linear scaling curve to prevent large text elements from scaling too large.

Android 14

Better accessibility for the hearing-impaired

Android 14 also includes better accessibility for folks who are hard of hearing. The new OS lets you use your camera's flash as a notification light, which can help people who are deaf. Android 14 has better hearing aid support with more customization options for which types of sounds make it through the phone and into the hearing aid.


Android 14 has expanded on the per-app language features that were introduced in Android 13 with additional capabilities. This includes the ability to set regional preferences and have them reflected within specific apps automatically.

Grammatical Inflection API

The Grammatical Inflection API allows for easier support of users who speak languages where, according to Google, grammatical gender changes the sentence based on the person being addressed. This provides a more personalized and natural-sounding user experience for those languages.

Apps installed in the background list

Android 14 introduces a new feature that lets you easily see which apps are installed in the background. This list will show all the apps that are running or running in the background, making it easier to monitor background app usage.

Default app permissions changes

The SCHEDULE_EXACT_ALARM permission is no longer being pre-granted to most newly installed apps targeting Android 13 and higher, the permission is denied by default, starting in Android 14. This feature is designed to improve app security.

Similarly, apps will only be able to kill their own background processes by default rather than being able to kill external processes. This is, again, a security enhancement feature.

Android 14 settings

More granular photo and video permission access

While we're on the topic of permissions, Android 14 includes a new permission that applies specifically to apps that may want to look at your photos and videos. Instead of giving an app full access to your camera roll, you can now give those apps permission to only specific photos or videos that you want the app to see. This is great for privacy, especially for social media apps where you may not want to share every single photo with Facebook's app.

Better explanation of data sharing and location permissions

Data Sharing Location Android 14

When an app asks for your location, there is now a notice that you can click to see exactly what the app is asking for and why it might be asking for that information. Developers have to provide Google with details about where your data is going and how it's stored to be able to use this feature, and it's a nice little bit of privacy protection.

Merge of Passwords and Autofill service

In Android 14, the Passwords and Autofill service settings are combined into a single option called Default autofill service. This makes it simpler for you to manage your autofill settings and passwords in one place.

Improved share screen

Android 14's share screen is improved from earlier versions of Android. It looks similar, but now apps can add custom actions to make sharing even easier. In addition, Android 14 removes the share screen from the OS and turns it into a Project Mainline module so that it can be tweaked and updated separately from the OS from now on.

HealthConnect in Security and Privacy

A new option called 'HealthConnect' has been added to the Security and Privacy menu. This feature will allow you to connect your health-related devices, such as blood pressure monitors and glucose meters, to your Android device and manage your health data.

Separate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi reset option

In Android 14, you can reset your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings separately. This feature can be useful when you experience issues with one of these settings and want to reset it without affecting the other.

Dual-SIM automatic data switching

Android 14's Dual-SIM feature has been enhanced to automatically switch mobile data to the best option. This means you can have better control over your mobile data usage and ensure you are always connected to the best possible network.

Cloned apps

Android 14 introduces a feature called Cloned Apps, a feature we've seen before on Samsung and other devices. This feature will allow you to easily duplicate apps, which can be useful when using two different accounts for the same app, such as WhatsApp or Facebook.

Say goodbye to old apps

Starting with Android 14, you won't be able to install apps that target Android 5.1 or older. This is a security feature as many forms of malware target much older versions of Android to circumvent modern protections. Fortunately, most apps you'd want to sideload target newer versions of Android anyway, so this shouldn't affect people's day-to-day use.

Screen Time in Battery usage stats

In Android 14, the Battery usage stats include a Screen Time feature that will allow you to more easily see how much time you spend on your device and which apps consume the most battery during that time. In addition, a host of background changes help optimize battery life in Android 14, so your battery should last longer as a function of just having it installed.

Taskbar app icon labels

The Taskbar in Android 14 adds text labels to app icons, making it easier to identify which app is which. This feature will allow you to quickly find and launch your needed app.

Battery saver

Android 14 offers UI tweaks to the Battery Saver feature, with the option to choose between Basic and Extreme Battery Saver. This feature will allow you to customize the Battery saver settings according to your preferences and usage patterns.

Battery usage dropdown menu

The Battery usage menu in Android 14 uses a dropdown menu to switch between Breakdown by apps and Breakdown by system.

Fast Pair in Connection preferences

Android 14 offers Fast Pair in Connection preferences. This feature will allow you to quickly pair your Bluetooth devices with your Android device without going through a complicated pairing process.

Privacy and security

Improvements in privacy and security include a new Jetpack API called Credential Manager that allows for passkeys to simplify your authentication journey while increasing security.

Android 14's Easter egg

Android Police

Android 14's Easter egg is spaced-themed this year. It's a fun little mini-game where you launch an Android-themed rocket into space. It's accessible the same way as prior versions of Android, where you go into About phone and then Android version. From there, tap the Android version entry repeatedly until the game starts.

Android 14

When will Android 14 release?

Android 14 officially launched on September 4, 2023, as part of its Made by Google event. It's compatible with the following phones:

  • Pixel 4a
  • Pixel 5 and 5a
  • Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a
  • Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel 7a
  • Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro
  • Pixel Fold
  • Pixel Tablet

Obviously, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will already have the OS installed when it ships to consumers. The other devices will receive an OTA update with the new OS.

Which phones will get Android 14?

It's compatible with the following phones:

  • Pixel 4a
  • Pixel 5 and 5a
  • Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a
  • Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel 7a
  • Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro
  • Pixel Fold
  • Pixel Tablet

Obviously, the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will already have the OS installed when it ships to consumers. The other devices will receive an OTA update with the new OS. We fully expect many modern devices from Samsung, Sony, Motorola, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and others to receive the update in the coming months.

The official full release of Android 14 will also likely arrive on yet-to-be-released flagship phones from all the major manufacturers. Curiously, the freshly announced Samsung Galaxy S23 FE doesn't come with, but we're sure it is on the docket for an upgrade. For instance, you can expect the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Flip 5, OnePlus 12, and more to be among the first to receive Android 14 when it rolls out.

Google Pixel 7 cases

How to try Android 14 on your phone right now

Since it's an official release, there's no reason to sign up for Google's beta program to get the Android 14 update right as long as you're on a supported Pixel. The update should come all on its own, so check for updates in the Settings menu until it comes through.

Android Flash Tool

However, if you want it right now, you can install Android 14 on your Pixel phone using the Android Flash Tool. First, ensure you have a Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, or Linux computer with access to the internet, the latest Chrome browser, and a USB cable for connecting your phone to the computer. Once you do, follow these steps:

  1. Before doing anything else, ensure your files, photos, game saves, and other important data are backed up because this will erase your device like a factory reset.
  2. Download and install the drivers for your phone from Google’s Pixel drivers page.
  3. Connect your phone to your computer using the USB cable.
  4. In your phone’s Settings, go to System > Developer options.
    • If you don’t see Developer options, go to Settings > About phone.
    • Tap on the Build number seven times until your phone says you are a developer.
    • Developer options should be available now.
  5. In Developer options, enable OEM unlocking and USB debugging.
  6. Visit the Android Flash Tool website for installing Android 14.
  7. Select the version of Android 14 you’d like to install.
  8. Follow the instructions provided by the flashing tool to complete the installation.
  9. Wait for the process to finish, and then you'll have Android 14 installed on your Pixel.

Want to know more?

If you'd like to learn more about how Android works, see: Android for beginners: Tips and tricks for your new smartphone.