VMware Workspace ONE Announcements

Android 12 and what it means for enterprise management, security and apps

It is that time of year again: Android has launched the first developer previews of Android 12, and the summer testing season is just around the corner. The Workspace ONE team is incredibly excited to see some of the new features that are included this year, both on the consumer side and for the enterprise.

Join us on the journey towards full support for Android 12, and as always share your testing feedback with us in our VMware Digital Workspace Beta Program.

Preview and Release Timing

Source: Android Developer Documentation

The first developer previews are a great chance to start reviewing all the documentation and perform initial tests to get a feel for how things are going to change in Android 12, but future developer previews will continue to bring more changes which can impact testing results.

  • The Workspace ONE team is planning to perform the bulk of our testing in the first two beta releases in May and June.
  • Behavior changes to support Android 12 will be prioritized in our June and July releases as the beta builds align more closely with what we can expect in the final release.

We encourage our customers to follow a similar timeline so that we are all prepared for a final Android 12 public release. This will likely happen sometime in August or September, depending on how the Android team feels the stability of Android 12 is shaping up throughout the summer.

What to Expect with Android 12

The Android consumer community has a lot to be excited about with what we’ve seen so far from Android 12. The Android team is delivering on their promise to protect user privacy and improve user experiences across every part of Android, but I would like to focus our attention on what Android 12 means for business.

Looking back on 2020, the release of Android 11 had a massive impact on the enterprise. The wider adoption of higher target SDK levels for applications in Google Play and the big changes that came with the Android 11 privacy enhancements to work profiles on company-owned devices were both big focuses of testing last year.

While testing of Android 12 is still early, it is already apparent that the impact of Android 12 will be much smaller than Android 11. The biggest change looks to be the removal of access to non-resettable device identifiers for personally owned devices with work profiles. While Android 12 is not as impactful, it does come with a few key quality-of-life improvements, especially regarding personally owned devices.

  • Enrollment IDs for personally owned devices will likely be the most anticipated enterprise feature of Android 12. With many EMMs moving away from basing device records on non-resettable device identifiers for privacy reasons, duplication of records for re-enrolling devices became a challenge. Enrollment IDs will allow EMMs to keep track of devices across enrollments, and re-use existing device records if they exist, eliminating duplicate records and ensuring a cleaner management environment for years to come.
  • Password complexity has always been hard to manage, but it gets easier in Android 12 with the new API to set a full-device passcode requirement for work profile devices. With much simpler high, medium and low complexity options, IT admins can be more confident in the consistency of device security without worrying about the nuances of the older password quality API.
  • Work profile passcode onboarding simplification helps users understand the security requirements of their work apps, and then guides them through choosing whether they would prefer to create a new work profile passcode or simply make their device passcode more secure instead.
  • Unmanaged devices with managed certificates will become easier to support with the new feature to grant certificate management capabilities to 3rd-party apps on unmanaged devices. Once granted, the certificate management application can use on-device key generation to manage certificates for any use-case without the device needing to be managed by an EMM, and more importantly, to avoid the need for users to manually install certificates themselves with difficult-to-explain instructions.

For more information on enterprise features in Android 12, visit the Android Developer Site.

The Workspace ONE team is incredibly excited for what else Android 12 may have in store for the Android ecosystem. We encourage everyone to subscribe to our Getting Ready for Android 12 (82775) knowledge base article for the most up-to-date information.