Android 14: What to expect from the new version in 2023

Update: More WIP features
Android 14
© Framesira, Fajarpramudya /, Montage: NextPit

Android 13 is rolling out fast and now our attention is shifting to the next best thing: Android 14. Google's next operating system update is expected to launch in 2023. Keep reading to find out what changes in the new system, which dessert starting with the letter "U" was selected, and when will Android 14 be available for download.  

Some companies have already updated most of their flagship phones—unless you have a Xiaomi device—and some even started to update their entry-level devices. There are already promises of even faster updates in 2023. With that in mind, let's see what to expect from Android 14.

Android 14: When to expect the new Google OS?

Android releases follow a fairly predictable schedule by this point, with specific phases laid out to help app developers and device manufacturers to prepare for the new release, which usually happens around the third quarter of the year.

The first official announcement happens with the release of the first Developer Preview (DP), which showcases features that are still in development for the system. The next milestone typically happens during Google I/O—the company's event for developers, traditionally held in May—, when the first beta version is often announced.

Android 13 & 12 release schedule
Android has been following a similar development schedule for a few years / © Google

After around three to five Beta releases, Google declares that the version "includes a release candidate build of Android", which means the feature set is final, and at least for app developers, all the app interfaces (APIs) are ready for testing applications and games.

After some bug fixing—mostly related to stability issues for Pixel phones—Google releases the stable version, coinciding with the announcement of a new Pixel generation, which happened between August and October since Android 6 (Marshmallow, back in the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P era).

Past Android release schedules

Version Announcement / Preview Beta Release Candidate Stable release
Android 13 (2022) February (DP1) April July (Beta 4) August
Android 12 (2021) February (DP1) May September (Beta 5) October
Android 11 (2020) February (DP1) June August (Beta 3) September
Android 10 (2019) March (Beta 1) March August (Beta 6) September
Android 9 Pie (2018) March (DP) May July (Beta 4) August

Android 14: How will it be called? Dessert?

Even though Google dropped using the Android codename in the official marketing campaign after Android 10, the tradition still lives among the OS developers and engineers.

For 2023, Google's developers didn't really have many options for desserts starting with the U letter, and so, already in April 2022 the Android repository got an update hinting at Android 14's dessert codename: Upside down cake. Even so, expect to see marketing materials using only the "Android 14" branding.

Upside down cake
An upside down cake is baked with the toppings at the bottom of the pan, giving it a flat appearance / © nelea33/Shutterstock

Android 14: New features

Even though we are still a few months away from beta testing Android 14, some features are already in development. And the OS open-source development already gives some hints on what to expect on the stable release.

Satellite connections

Similar to the feature debuted on the iPhone 14 family, the satellite connectivity feature is also coming to (at least some) Android phones in 2023. The new connection option was announced by Google's SVP, Hiroshi Lockheimer, but he didn't elaborate on how it will work, only for emergency calls, only SMS, or with low-speed data connections.

RIP, Android Beam

With Nearby Share promoted to a first-class citizen in recent Android releases, its predecessor will finally be removed from the Android codebase—after being removed from most distributions in the past years. Although not many people will miss Android Beam, the feature had one advantage over Nearby Share: not relying on Google Mobile Services (GMS), which made it possible for AOSP-based distributions like EMUI/HarmonyOS, and FireOS to potentially include support for the data transfer feature.

Security certificates independent of system updates

A welcome change for owners of outdated phones was mentioned by Android Police regarding updates for security certificates. Those are digital certificates used for online connections, among other things, have expiration dates, and are refreshed with system updates. And that poses not only a security problem but also affects basic connections over HTTPS (the S stands for security, as you should have guessed already).

According to Mishaal Rahman, the certificates will be renewed in the future through standard Play Store updates. Helping owners of devices that were abandoned by their manufacturers to stay connected and use basic online services. Regardless, it will be a while until Android 14 devices will require certificate updates.

Better back gesture functionality

The scenario is not uncommon to those using gesture navigation: you swipe back and again, trying to go back to a specific app screen, and suddenly ends up on the Android home screen. According to Google, this will be a thing of the past, with the last window displaying a preview of the home screen during the back gesture.

The new functionality can be seen around the 34min mark in the video embedded above. Hopefully, that will end the days of closing an active app by mistake...

Mandatory AV1 decoding support

A welcome, but at the same time worrying, change was spotted by Esper's Mishaal Rahman, suggesting that AV1 decoding support will be mandatory in Android 14. AV1 is the next-generation royalty-free video codec backed by Google, Amazon, Netflix, Mozilla, and many others as an alternative to the fee-based MPEG LA video formats (AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265, and VVC/H.266).

As per android cdd 14, sec 2.2.2 and sec 2.6,
Handheld and Tablet device implementations must support decoding AV1

As the quote above from a September commit to the Android source code repository, the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) will force devices to support decoding the AV1 codec. It is unclear if Google will take the hard stance of not allowing devices supporting AV1 to be updated to Android 14, or if the requirement will only apply to newly released phones and tablets.

That requirement can be easily fulfilled in the flagship market, in which the newest Qualcomm, MediaTek, and even Exynos SoCs supporting AV1. But that could exclude mid-range and low-end devices, many of which launch with processors released many years ago...

Better consistency in the share (intent) menu

Android power users already noticed this, but the share menu—known as the intents menu—varies wildly between applications, something that is made worse depending on the manufacturer's skin. A change in Android 14 promises to bring a little bit of consistency, as reported by developer Mishaal Rahman.

Android 13 share menu inconsistencies
Android 13 share menu inconsistencies / © Mishaal Rahman/Esper

According to the Esper developer, Google moved the share menu code to an updatable module, freeing the menu from OTA updates, and also limiting the number of customizations applied by the different brands (looking at you One UI).

Block outdated APK installs

Another commit to the Android repository, this time uncovered by 9to5Google, indicates that Android 14 will block the installation of apps targeting outdated operating system versions. A similar control is already applied on the Play Store, where app developers must target at least Android 12.

If implemented, the change would stop users from sideloading—or installing from third-party stores—old app versions, and those who are adamant about using an old app version could resort theoretically to using the command-line. In any case, the Android repository doesn't list a minimum API target for the change, so Google may only be preparing changes further down the road.

Android 14: Expected devices

As it usually happens with each new Android release, Google's Pixel line will be the first to get the new version. Android's releases are usually timed with a new Pixel generation line, so a "Pixel 8" smartphone is expected to be the first phone to be released with the system.

The update is expected to be available on the same day for other Google smartphones, from the Pixel 5 and newer.

Google Pixel 7 Pro Buying Guide and Best Deals
As usual, Pixel phones are expected to be the first to receive Android 14 / © NextPit

The update availability for other brands and models will wildly vary, so we recommend checking our guide on each manufacturer's update policy:

This article will be constantly updated leading up to the Android 14 stable release, including all the test versions. Make sure to follow NextPit on Facebook and Twitter to be alerted on new features, development releases, and device support!

This article was updated on December 29.

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Rubens has been working with tech journalism since 2008, with works published in Brazil, Spain, and Germany.

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