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Better battery life, less app bloat, and more
Android 14 is the hottest new software update heading to your smartphone. Whether you’re a diehard Android fan, or a curious Apple user popping over to check out the other side of the fence, there are plenty of new additions for 2023 – and this guide runs through all of the best, most exciting ones.
We’ve also covered all the major phone brands, circling dates in the diary for when you can expect an over-the-air update to bring Google’s next-gen version of Android to your handset.
Before we dive into the tasty new Android 14 features, we might as well address the tasty giant treat in the room — namely, Upside Down Cake.
Veteran Android enthusiasts will recall Google’s fondness for dessert-related OS names, ranging from Android 2.3 Gingerbread, to Android 9 Pie. While Google has since dropped its sweet tooth regarding official OS names, its engineers still pay homage to sugary goodness with internal OS codenames.
In the case of Android 14, it’s Upside Down Cake. We’ve never personally tried the real deal (at least, this author hasn’t), but here’s a recipe if you’re interested.
Android 14 was officially released on 4 October 2023. For obvious reasons, it landed on Google’s own range of Pixel phones first, though select handsets from several major manufacturers were there early doors with beta versions. The world of Android upgrades is an incredibly convoluted one, but we’ve done our best to cover the major makes and models below.
It doesn’t have a bulging line-up of devices to test, but Asus isn’t exactly storming ahead on the Android update front. There’s no official beta program, and no word on when its models will get an official update, beyond the firm’s “multiple Android generations” commitment made at launch. We’re betting early 2024 at the earliest for the following models.
Asus Zenfone 10
Asus ROG Phone 7, 7 Ultimate
Asus Zenfone 9
Asus ROG Phone 6, 6 Pro, 6D, 6D Ultimate
Unless you’ve been holding out for the best part of five years, there’s a good change you’ll get Android 14 if there’s a Google Pixel device in your pocket. The following models can all update to Android 14, with an over-the-air update being readily available.
Pixel 4a (5G)
Pixel 5 and 5a
Pixel 6 and 6 Pro
Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
Pixel 8 and 8 Pro
It’s also worth noting that Google announced its commitment to a whopping seven years of software updates for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, which is very welcome new for Android fans critical of the previously much shorter update periods.
While it hasn’t rolled out a beta program, Honor is hard at work behind closed doors on an Android 14 update for its model line-up. With no official list of handsets set to get it, we’re again going by the firm’s commitment to “multiple Android generations” when it launched the following models:
Honor Magic V2
Honor Magic 5, 5 Pro, 5 Ultimate
Honor Magic 4, 4 Pro, 4 Ultimate
Honor Magic Vs
Honor Magic 3, 3 Pro, 3 Ultimate
Honor Magic V
Honor 90, 90 Pro
Honor 80, 80 Pro, 80 GT, 80 SE
Honor 70, 70 Pro, 70 Pro+
Honor 60, 60 Pro, 60 SE
Honor 50, 50 Pro, 50E
Unfortunately for Motorola owners, the firm’s Android 14 plans are a bit of an unknown. There’s no official list of which devices will get it, or any sort of beta program, so we’re relying on Motorola’s previous commitments to Android generations. That should mean the following handsets will get an update at some point – though likely not until 2024.
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, Razr 40
Motorola Razr (2022)
Motorola Edge 40, Edge 40 Pro
Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, Edge 30 Fusion, Edge 30 Neo, Edge 30 Pro, Edge 30
Motorola Moto G73, G53, G33, G23, G13
Motorola Moto G82, G72, G62, G52, G42, G32
Nokia is staying tight-lipped over which of its devices are officially in line for Android 14. We do know the Nokia G42 5G has been spotted on benchmark websites running a test version of the OS, but otherwise we’re in the dark for now. The following models should get an update, based on Nokia’s policy of “multiple generations” of Android updates.
Nokia G11 Plus
Another Android 14 beta early adopter, Nothing used the update to introduce its Nothing OS 2.5 skin to Nothing Phone 2 owners. If that’s you, get started with Android 14 on your Nothing Phone 2 here. Phone 1 owners can also get beta access via the Nothing website. We’re hoping for an official release by the end of the year.
OnePlus was quick to roll out a public beta for Android 14, so anyone desperate to run it has likely already had a taste. For everyone else, these are the most popular devices in line to get the official version. At the time of writing, we’re still waiting for OnePlus to start the rollout.
OnePlus 11, 11R
OnePlus 10T, 10R, 10 Pro
OnePlus 9, 9R, 9 Pro, 9RT
OnePlus Nord 2T
OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite
Oppo has an Android 14 open beta program for the Find N2 Flip, as well as several other high profile models, and will be bringing the update to its more recent Find X flagship phones. Plenty of mid-range Reno models and even some affordable options are set to get an update eventually too, although it’s expected to creep into 2024 for the oldest models.
Oppo Find X5, X5 Pro
Oppo Reno 10, 10 Pro, 10 Pro Plus,
Oppo Reno 9, 9 Pro Plus,
Oppo Reno 8, 8 Pro, 8 Pro Plus,
Oppo Ace 2 Pro, Ace 2V,
Oppo Find N
Oppo Find X3, Find X3 Pro
Oppo Find N2 Flip
Oppo Find N3 Flip
Oppo A57, A97
Oppo K11, K11x
Oppo K10, K10x, K10 Pro
Oppo A1, A1 Pro
Samsung will be bringing its own spin on Android 14, known as OneUI 6.0, to an extensive list of handsets. The firm has even committed to specific dates, which we’ve listed below.
Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, S23 Ultra – update out now
Galaxy Z Flip 5, Z Fold 5 – update out now
A34 5G, A54 5G – update out now
Galaxy S23, S22 Plus, S22 Ultra – update out now
Galaxy S23 FE – 20th November
Galaxy A13, A33, A53 – 20th November
Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, S21 Ultra – 20th November
Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4 – 20th November
Galaxy S21 FE – 24th November
Galaxy Z Flip 3, Z Fold 3 – 27th November
Sony doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Android updates, meaning only the newest few generations are in line for Android 14 right now. It has started rolling out officially to certain handsets, though, so hopefully there won’t be long for everyone else to wait.
Sony Xperia 1 V – update out now
Sony Xperia 5 V – awaiting update
Sony Xperia 10 V – update out now
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Sony Xperia 5 IV
Sony Xperia 10 IV
One of the quickest companies outside of Google to get a full version of Android 14 out to customers, Xiaomi is ahead of the pack. Its Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro current-gen handsets have been updated, as has the Xiaomi 12T from the previous-gen too. The following list includes other models expected to get an update in the near future.
Xiaomi 13 Ultra, 13 Lite
Xiaomi 12T Pro
Xiaomi 12S, 12S Pro, 12S Ultra
Xiaomi 12, 12 Pro, 12 Ultra, 12 Lite
Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold 2
If your handset didn’t get mentioned above, don’t panic – there’s a chance your manufacturer has announced its update plans, so be sure to check in with them before looking up trade-in values.
Google’s engineers have been tinkering away to try and get even more out of your handset’s battery life, without sapping performance or relying on a super-dim display.
Behind-the-scenes improvements in efficiency for background tasks and large file downloads have been the real focus, so we’re talking minor gains – but any extra time away from the mains sounds good to us.
Android has always been more customisable than iOS, and the large gap is set to become even wider, thanks to a range of swanky new customisation features. These include a new emoji wallpaper feature, which lets you pick a roster of your favourite emojis, choose a colour palette, tweak the pattern, and set the result as your own bespoke wallpaper.
There’s also a new AI wallpaper feature which lets you type prompts such as subjects and styles, before generating completely unique creations – but it’s exclusive to the Pixel 8 series for now. Lastly, a cinematic wallpaper feature also uses AI-powered tricks to grace your favourite photos with 3D motion effects, which include eye-catching parallax motion wizardry that reacts as you tilt your phone.
There are several camera improvements in Android 14. One of the standout ones is the support for high-quality Ultra HDR images, along with better low-light photography performance on compatible phones. In-sensor zooming is also on the cards for supported devices, which allows users to zoom in closer to subjects without the typical grainy mess that results with digital-only zoom. There’s also a new document scanner feature which will come in handy for digitizing documents like expense receipts.
Using the back button in Android always feels like a roll of the dice. Will it take you back to the previous menu? The main screen of an app? Or even the actual home screen, making you start from scratch?
Goole somewhat remedied this with its predictive back gesture feature, but at the time of writing, it remains a developer option in Android 14. Hopefully it’ll get switched on in a future mid-life update, making for a smoother user experience.
Health Connect is a handy app that brings together stats from a plethora of popular health apps including Fitbit, Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, Peloton and more, serving them up in one handy place.
Despite its useful functionality, it’s flown under the radar somewhat. The feature is now baked into Android 14 as standard, which makes plenty of sense.
Regional preferences lets you set your preferred units for things like temperature and the first day of the week, and applies your preferences automatically to installed apps. There’s a change Google will add more flags, as seen in developer previews, but right now that’s your lot on the official Android 14 branch.
Still, if you’re forever having to tweak preferences in various different apps when you first install them, this will be a welcome update to save you precious seconds.
Android 14 now, for better or for worse, prevents older apps from being installed. On the one hand, this makes sense, at least from a privacy and security standpoint. In essence, any apps built for Android 5.1 Lollipop or older will no longer be able to be installed. With malware often rearing its pesky head in older apps, this change makes a lot of sense.
Of course, for those using niche-but-legitimate older apps, this will be a bit of a blow. For the majority of Android users though, this is just an extra level of security that shouldn’t impact regular use. You can also rest assured that there are numerous other backend tweaks to help improve malware vulnerabilities.
Users who regularly enlarge their fonts for an easier visual experience will be glad to hear that Android 14 supports font sizes up to a generous 200% (versus the previous 130%. It’s clever enough to be non-linear too, which means that text that is already large won’t be blown up to comically large proportions.
Other accessibility features include camera flash notifications which use your camera’s LED flash to draw attention to any incoming notifications — a handy feature for the hard of hearing or those who simply want to make sure they don’t miss anything.
Even the most loyal Android fan will openly admit that Apple’s larger-screen tablet experience is more consistent and fluid than anything Google has dished out so far. Android 14 improves things on that font with developer-focused tools to help make apps feel more fluid.
These include window size classes and sliding pane layouts, so that apps can better fit different-sized screens. Google is also offering developers more tools so that they can more easily create apps to run seamlessly across different devices and form factors. Now it’s on them to support foldables, tablets and the like with their app updates.
Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.
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