Google might not have confirmed it yet, but the company is probably hard at work on the next iteration of Android behind closed doors.
So, what should you expect in terms of features and compatibility with existing phones? And when will the new software arrive on your device? Here’s everything you need to know about Android 15 at this stage.
When will Android 15 be released?
There hasn’t been anything official from Google regarding Android 15 yet, but the company tends to launch the new versions of Android in the second half of each calendar. Here’s when the last few generations made their debuts:
Android 14 – October 2023
Android 13 – August 2022
Android 12 – October 2021
Android 11 – September 2020
Android 10 – September 2019
Going by this pattern, we’d expect the full release version of Android 15 to arrive around September or October 2024. Before then, Google usually launches the developer versions of the software, which will probably appear in the first quarter of 2024. This is beta software though, so we wouldn’t recommend trying to use it on your main smartphone.
Our first in-depth look at Android 15 is likely to be at Google’s I/O developer conference, which usually takes place in May.
Of course, even when Android 15 officially launches, it’ll take a while before it arrives on all compatible phones. The latest Pixel devices will be first in line, but a full rollout will likely take several months.
Which devices will get Android 15?
If you’re reading this section, you’re probably wondering whether your current Android smartphone will get Android 15.
That depends when your phone was released, but also how long the company has said it will deliver OS (operating system) updates for. Many Samsung and OnePlus phones get at least four new versions, while Google offers three or more and Asus only two.
To make things simple, we have a dedicated article on which phones will get Android 15. There’s also the useful Android 15 Update Tracker that monitors an even wider array of Android phones.
But not all models are included, so it’s worth reading the full Tech Advisor review of your phone to see how long it’ll be supported for.
What new features will we see in Android 15?
It’s a little early yet to know what Google will introduce when Android 15 rolls out, but there have already been some rumours as to what might be in store.
A new name
Google doesn’t actually use the dessert names it used to publicly give Android, but that doesn’t mean it’s stopped using them internally. With that in mind, we now know that Android 15 will go by the nickname Vanilla Ice Cream (as the releases have reached the letter V in the alphabet). This won’t affect performance or any other metric, but we thought you might like to know.
Lock screen widgets have been missing from Android since 2015, when they were removed with the introduction of Lollipop (version 5). But according to Android expert Mishaal Rahman, they could be about to make a return.
In an article for Android Authority, Rahman says he was able to activate a new ‘communal’ space in a beta of Android 14, but the feature never made it into the final version. Just like the current home screen, it would allow you to pin various widgets to the screen to see as soon as you wake the device.
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority
As you can see above, the feature appears best suited to Android tablets. In fact, Rahman believes it may be limited to devices with larger screens, as opposed to smartphones.
Many Android phone makers let you save pairs of apps that automatically launch in split-screen mode, but it’s not yet built into the core software on Pixel phones.
Given it’s already been available in an Android 14 beta, this seems very likely for Android 15.
Android Police recently reported that it had found a work-in-progress feature in the Android 14 beta which is likely to be finished in time for Android 15. This is Private Space, which seems very similar to Samsung’s Secure Folder feature that has been around for several years.
With Private Space you can create a profile on your Android phone that separates data from the normal operating space. In essence, it’s a secure profile where you can protect information and apps from being accessible or even visible by anyone using your phone.
Private Space seems to offer the ability to use entirely different security log-in details to your phone, meaning you should be able to hand your device to your child or friend without them then being able to open up any apps or files that have private or sensitive information.
Easier NFC updates
Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Mishaal Rahman states that Google is preparing to make NFC updates separate from full Android system updates:
Essentially, this means that NFC updates would be handled via the Google Play Store once Android 15 launches. This could allow it to be used with accessories such as NFC trackers more easily, with the ability to quickly release NFC updates without a full system update.
If it arrives in Android 15, this could suggest that Google is working on a tracker to rival the Apple AirTag and Samsung SmartTag.
New voice activations for third-party apps
Google might be adding support for third-party apps to take advantage of voice activation. At the moment, you can only activate your Android phone via the Google Assistant and the ‘Ok Google’ command.
But, according to a report by Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority, Google could make this a permission available to all third-party apps. It looks like Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT and Bing Chat, could partially or fully replace the Google Assistant soon, so this move would make sense.
Elsewhere, Rahman (via Android Authority) believes a new iPhone-like battery health settings page will be introduced. He also unearthed (via Android Police) a new pop-up Bluetooth dialog within the Quick Settings menu in a recent beta.
That’s all we’ve found so far, but as more details come to light we’ll be updating this article. In the meantime, if you think your phone won’t make the cut for Android 15 or just fancy a new handset to accompany the updated software, check out our guide to the best Android phones.