Android 14 logo.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

The Android operating system, which powers devices like the Galaxy S23, is updated on a yearly basis. The first general beta release for this year’s update, Android 14, is now available.

Google already released a few Developer Preview builds of Android 14 earlier this year, intended for app and game developers to test with their software. This is the first beta build aimed at both regular smartphone owners and app developers, with some of the rough edges smoothed out from previous releases. It’s still beta-quality software, though, so you probably shouldn’t try it on a phone you rely on every day.

Android 14 Beta 1 updates the system share menu, which is the popup that appears after tapping the share button with a list of installed apps and related actions. If you have an Android phone or tablet, you might have noticed that some apps use Android’s built-in share menu, while other apps (like the Chrome browser) create their own. The mix of custom share sheets can get confusing, especially when some of them have a vertical list of apps, while others prefer an iPhone-style horizontal list.

Share menu in Android 14 Beta 1
The new share sheet Google

Android 14 allows apps to add a row of custom actions to Android’s built-in share menu. For example, Chrome can add buttons to send a page to your other devices, and below that can be the usual list of contacts and Android apps. Adding custom actions is usually why some apps on Android create their own (worse) share menus in the first place, so with this change, we should see more apps switch to Android’s default menu.

The update also updates the back gesture on Android devices to show a back arrow as you move your finger across the side, so it’s clearer what will happen when you let go of the screen. The back arrow also matches the wallpaper or device theme with Material You, though some device manufacturers might change its appearance for their own devices. If you prefer the classic three-button navigation on your device, that change won’t affect you.

You can try out Android 14 Developer Preview 2 now on a Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, or Pixel 4a (5G), by enrolling in the beta program. Keep in mind, this is still experimental software, so you should probably just keep your Pixel on Android 13 unless you have a good reason. There will also be system images available in the Android Studio Emulator.

Source: Google

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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