One of the first things you’ll spot launching Android 12 Beta 2 is a big notification that explains that Android’s Adaptive Notifications are being replaced. Going forward, Android has “enhanced notifications” instead. The bundled explanation is a bit impenetrable, and there aren’t any observable changes in notification behavior. Turns out that’s because it’s basically the same thing, Google’s just changing the name and moving what controls it.
We spent a bit of time trying to dig into these enhanced notification changes when we first saw the notification, but couldn’t spot any user-facing adjustments in behavior, just a change of branding in Settings for the “suggested actions, replies, and more” feature, which controls some of the app notification integrations that rolled out in 2020 (also tied to the Adaptive Notifications setting in Apps & notifications -> Special app access, which is also gone in Android 12).
Adaptive Notifications did stuff like this.
Adaptive Notifications controlled a lot of things, including automatic notification priority sorting that debuted in Android Q Beta 4 (and then disappeared and resurfaced as a developer option in later Android versions) and the notification smart actions, which allowed apps to integrate actions right into notifications, sort of like App Actions. That’s the feature that offers shortcuts to things like opening URLs you are sent or setting reminders/events based on notification content, that sort of thing.
Android 12 Beta 2’s notification regarding the change.
In short, while we knew what controlled the old feature and what it did, and we knew that things had moved around in Settings together with a name change in Android 12 Beta 2, we couldn’t actually see anything different when it came to how notifications behaved. Turns out, that’s because nothing actually has.
Google tells us that this move to “enhanced notifications” from Adaptive Notifications, apart from being a name change, only constitutes a relocation of associated functionality from the Android system itself to Device Personalization Services. There is no change in functionality or features. As of now, it’s still doing all the same stuff as before when it comes to notification behavior, integrations, and actions, all still on-device and respecting your privacy.
Device Personalization isn’t listed as a Mainline module, but it may as well be, as it’s an app that controls lots of functionality and Pixel features in Android, from Live Caption to Now Playing, to keyboard text suggestions to the Pixel’s Screen Attention and piles of other things. And now that Adaptive/enhanced notifications are part of an app and not the Android system itself, Google can update it from the Play Store.
If the slightly vague notification is still there when your phone gets the Android 12 update, now you’ll know what it is: All the same features and integrations are still there, and you can do the same powerful actions right from your notifications, just under a new name in Settings, and with functionality that can be upgraded right from the Play Store.