Before the first Android 12 developer preview landed last week, a leak suggested that the upcoming release could sport a significant redesign with colors based on the active wallpaper. And while the initial Android 12 release doesn’t look too different from its predecessor, there are quite some changes hidden beneath the surface, like a redesigned lockscreen and notification shade as well as UI elements dunked into baby blue — initial evidence of advanced theming options. Thanks to some digging by ROM developer @kdrag0n on Twitter, it looks like the leak is correct.
kdrag0n managed to activate and reverse-engineer some hidden system properties to turn on the wallpaper-based theming, dubbed “Monet” (presumably honoring the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet). The developer shared a few variations that pull different colors from wallpapers, showing off that both the notifications, the shade background, and the quick settings tiles respond dynamically to wallpapers (compare the QS tiles in the screenshots above and below). The wallpaper color is also reflected in the system settings, where a lighter shade of the color makes up the background.
The theming is much more subtle on the lockscreen, as notification backgrounds being dunked into a light wallpaper-based color are the the only telltale sign. But when you pull down the notification shade, you’ll instantly notice the wallpaper-based opaque background.
Above: Hidden theme enabled on lockscreen. Below: Current standard Android 12 experience.
The developer talked to XDA and explained how they managed to activate the unfinished wallpaper theming behavior: “I enabled the feature after setting a system property. However, it had no effect because DP1 does not contain any system color palettes. It works by applying RRO overlays dynamically based on color similarity, so I reverse-engineered SystemUI to find out how the overlays are supposed to be created. After that, I wrote a script to generate overlays based on Google’s official Material Design color palettes. Monet started working as soon as the color palettes were installed.” kdrag0n also added on Twitter that they’re confident Google is working on bringing more rounded corners to notifications as seen in the leaked mockups below.
The Android 12 design mockup that leaked ahead of the first developer preview.
While Google hasn’t implemented working color palettes yet, this is as close it gets to the pre-Android 12 mockups. With these theming options already in place, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a brand-new look as soon as the beta rolls out later this year.
For more about the Android 12 launch, check out our announcement post detailing what’s new here. If you want to install the developer preview on your own device, find out how in our Android 12 download guide.