Android 15: 3 game-changing features coming to your phone from Mashable

Google I/O 2024 was Android 15’s time to shine.

The latest grand software update for Android devices got plenty of time in the spotlight at Google’s annual developer showcase on Wednesday. It may not be the most sweeping Android revision of all time, but between a couple of cool privacy features and a neat addition to Google Wallet, there’s still something to anticipate with the big Android update.

Here are the 3 best Android 15 features Google announced at I/O, per Google’s blog post about it.

Theft Detection

Two of the three biggest additions to Android 15 have to do with privacy, but not necessarily in the “hackers are trying to steal your credit card information” kind of way. The new Theft Detection feature is instead meant to combat real-life brigands and ne’er-do-wells who would try to physically steal your phone from you.

Google didn’t go into detail explaining exactly how Theft Detection works, but it apparently uses AI (what doesn’t?) to determine if a “theft motion” (such as snatching a phone out of someone’s hand and running away) has occurred. At that point, the phone will be totally locked down and theoretically unusable by the thief.

Of course, whether or not this works will depend heavily on Google’s AI being able to properly detect a “theft motion” instead of locking the phone down every time the owner goes on a run.

Private space

The other new privacy addition should also help if someone other than you has access to your phone.

According to Google’s blog post, private space allows you to hide entire apps behind some kind of authentication mechanism (like a fingerprint scan) before they can be accessed. You would ideally do this with things like banking apps that could contain important personal financial information.

Personally, my banking app already scans for my fingerprint when I open it, so this feature would make me do that twice just to check my balance. But hey, more security is always a good thing, and this is optional.

Add things to Google Wallet via photos

Lastly, Google Wallet is about to get a lot more convenient.

While smartphone wallets are generally useful for things with QR codes on them, Google Wallet will now let you add text-only documents to the app by taking photos of them. Google’s examples included library cards and gym memberships as things you could potentially scan into your Google Wallet.

Android 15 is expected to start rolling out during Q3 of 2024.