Android 15: What’s Next for Google’s Phone System?

We are still a couple of weeks away from the first official signs of Android 15, but there are a few signs here and there from the new mobile operating system, including its dessert codename. Check below what to expect from Google’s 2024 mobile OS, which phones will be updated, and some features that are being worked on.

Most companies are still heavy at work updating their phones to Android 14, but the relentless progress for the Droid developers cannot wait. After a couple of smaller updates in Android 13 and 14, we cautiously expect Google to bring more significant changes in 2024. The pessimist side of the office bets it will only bring an avalanche of AI features…

Android 15 release date

Android releases follow a relatively consistent schedule: A development preview is launched in February, a beta comes around the Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere), Summer brings a release candidate, and the stable version launches in September or October, together with a new Pixel phone family.

As we approach the first development builds, Google will publish a more specific roadmap to Android 15. But it shouldn’t change much from previous years.

Past Android release schedules

Version Announcement / Preview Beta Release Candidate Stable release
Android 15 (2024)
Android 14 (2023) February (DP1) April June (Beta 3) October
Android 13 (2022) February (DP1) April July (Beta 4) August
Android 12 (2021) February (DP1) May September (Beta 5) October
Android 11 (2020) February (DP1) June August (Beta 3) September
Android 10 (2019) March (Beta 1) March August (Beta 6) September
Android 9 Pie (2018) March (DP) May July (Beta 4) August

Android 15: How is it to be called? Dessert?

We know Google went back to only using numbers for its system versions, but the tradition of dessert nicknames continues among the development team, where it all started, after all.

After Android 14’s exotic Upside Down Cake, Android 15 will keep things simple, with a dessert name confirmed way back in March 2023: Vanilla Ice Cream.

vanilla ice cream on a bowl
Yummy! / © Pixel-Shot/Adobe Stock

But as mentioned above, don’t expect to see Google using the dessert codename in the official marketing materials. The company is expected to stick to its simple and straightforward “Android 15” branding.

Another old-school tradition that should return in 2024 is the Android statues, Android 14 got its Upside Down Cake statue as shared by Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering. And Vanilla Ice Cream shouldn’t be different.

Android 14 Upside down cake statue
Pineapple slices on the bottom side, similar to the picture above. / © davey_burke/Twitter

Android 15: New features

Without a development release yet—traditionally starting in February—, we don’t have concrete evidence of upcoming Android 15 features. But some general updates can be noticed on both the Android open-source repositories (AOSP), and some ongoing feature tests. Some of those may be canceled, postponed to another big update in the future, or simply be integrated into the next regular update.

Cloud file selection for the Photo Picker

Revealed by Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority, this small change will allow apps that use the native Photo Picker for sharing media to have access to images stored on Google Photos’ cloud storage, instead of relying only on local files.

Screenshots showing Google Photos cloud storage access for apps.
Users will be able to grant photo cloud storage access to apps. / © Mishaal Rahman/Android Authority

Those with large storage phones may not notice much of a difference, but the new feature can help many users with low-storage models that rely on constantly offloading files to online storage. This feature potentially can be distributed through Google Play Services, and may not be tied to Android 15.

Improved Thread and NFC support

Mishaal Rahman also revealed that both Thread (used by Matter) and NFC network integrations on Android will be moved to Project Mainline. That change means in practice that future updates for both protocols on Android will be handled not only by full OS version updates (e.g. going from Android 14 to 15), but also through Google Play Services updates. The same method is used for Bluetooth, UWB, and Wi-Fi support on Android.  

That integration is still pending confirmation, but since it was spotted back in May 2023, there is a strong chance it can happen with Android 15.

Better .pkpass file handling

Another background change that should affect a few people directly is a change in how .pkpass files are identified in Android. Also spotted by Rahman, the change consists of giving them a distinct mime type. In practice, Apple Wallet-like apps on Android can better integrate with and handle pkpass files—used for tickets, passes, and other useswithout having to hard-code support like apps do today.

Private Space for hiding apps

Screenshots showing the work-in-progress Private Space feature for protecting apps.
A special selection of apps can be hidden under a password. / © Mishaal Rahman/Android Police

A feature found in many custom skins is apparently under work for Android 15, Private Space creates a list of apps that can be protected by a password or biometric feature, and is similar to Samsung’s Secure Folder. Revealed over Android Police by (guess who) Mishaal Rahman, the Space hides apps and their notifications under a password-protected profile, without having to create a whole new user on the device settings.

Android 15: Expected devices

As it usually happens with each new Android release, Google’s Pixel line will be the first to get the new version. Android’s releases are usually timed with a new Pixel generation line, so expect to see a Pixel 9 family coming out of the factory with the new Android version.

Google Pixel 8 back cover highlighted
The Google Pixel 8 should receive Android 15 on day one. / © nextpit

Following Google’s update policy, Android 15 should be available for the Pixel 5a and newer models. The update availability for other brands and models will wildly vary, so we recommend checking our guide on each manufacturer’s update policy:

The past two Android updates were pretty small after the big Android 12 Material You update. What do you think of the past system upgrades? Do you think OS updates aren’t as important as they were? Share your opinions in the comments below and follow nextpit on Facebook and Twitter to be alerted on new features, development releases, and device support!