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(Pocket-lint) - The first Android 12 developer preview is expected to go live next month. Despite the codebase not yet being public, clues as to what Google’s next major mobile operating system update will feature are starting to emerge.

XDA Developer's Mishaal Rahman dug into Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Gerrit entries and spotted mentions of a new Restricted Networking mode. Specifically, once enabled, the feature would allow apps with a "connectivity use restricted networks" permission to access the network. Other apps on your phone without that permission wouldn't be able to send or receive data.

Mishaal indicates this permission can only be granted to privileged system apps signed by the OEM. This, therefore, doesn't appear to be a system-level configurable firewall, but it still has interesting use-case potential. Imagine if Google offers a user-facing settings option to restrict internet access on a per-app basis. However, it's not clear yet how Google might implement its Restricted Networking mode into Android 12.

Considering the Android 12 developer preview is due to land in a matter of weeks, we may learn more about the Restricted Networking mode shortly. Just keep in mind Google could always decide at the last minute to drop this feature from Android 12. We'll keep you posted.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 21 January 2021.