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Android 12 is in for some huge design changes as part of Google’s new design language Material You, and while we like most of them, a few parts just aren’t looking too great. The new volume slider originally launched in Beta 1 was certainly included. With a finger-wide width, it looked comically huge. Thankfully, it seems Google agreed this design wasn’t meant to last, as slimmer volume controls are now included in Beta 2.
The new look was first spotted in May by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, who got his hands on a newer build than Beta 1 last month. The volume rocker is much narrower in the screencast presented by him, and it isn’t broken up in different parts. The slider, the mute/vibrate/alarm switcher, and further options all live in one single stretched out pill on the right of the screen.
The new slider also makes it easier to judge how loud your phone actually is. In contrast to Beta 1, the new slider sits on top of a thin line depicting your volume level as you reduce volume. The old version is just leaving behind an empty outline and only shrinks down to a circle at max, making it hard to judge how silent your phone is as you’re approaching the mute position.
Left: Android 12 Beta 1. Middle: New variant. Right: MIUI 12 for comparison.
The new variant is visually much cleaner and less busy, which is great — you don’t need the volume slider distracting you from the content you’re watching or listening to. Interestingly, it looks like a hybrid between Android 11’s thin line-based slider and MIUI 12, a combination that doesn’t look half-bad if you ask me.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) May 18, 2021
However, the instantly available mute toggle below the volume slider we’re used to from Android 11 is still nowhere to be seen on Android 12, and at this point, we’re skeptical if it will ever return.
Live in Beta 2
With the release of Beta 2 yesterday, we’re getting our first hands-on with the slimmed-down volume slider, and it’s pretty much what we expected. The new variant is surrounded by white space and uses Monet to pull theme colors from your background. Shortcuts for vibrate, silent, and ring mode, as well as a toggle for captions and a menu icon to bring up all of Android’s volume controls, are also here.
It hasn’t lost its MIUI inspiration, but it’s a big improvement over the fat volume slider in last month’s Beta 1. Google could always change its mind again before Android 12’s stable launch, but as it stands, it’s looking pretty good.