Microsoft Surface Duo, upgrading to Android 12L
By Mike Irving - Published: 14/11/2022

I recently upgraded my Microsoft Surface Duo to Android 12L, and you should too.

It's not that long ago that Android had a big problem with system updates, with many devices not receiving updates, ever!

Android 12L packs a lot of new features, improves the UI, and has a lot of Tablet specific improvements that complement the Duo.


Get Started - Update

To begin, open the Settings App.

From the About section, you can find out what the currently installed Android version is.

In this case, Android 11 is installed.

Microsoft Surface Duo - check Android version

Switch from the About section to the System section.

At the bottom, the System Update sub-section will inform you if there is an update available.

Microsoft Surface Duo - system update available

If none is listed, click into the section, and you will be able to force a check.

If an update is available, the size of the update is shown. You have the option to schedule the update installation, or to proceed immediately.

If your tablet is low on battery, plug it in, and then tap Restart now.

Microsoft Surface Duo - system-update-information

The update will take several minutes, after which the device will reboot and you should hopefully see the new Android 12 UI!

Microsoft Surface Duo - Android 12L


Verifying the update

Open up the Settings App again, and you'll immediately spot differences with the lovely new coloured iconography.

Go to the About section again to confirm you are running Android 12.

Microsoft Surface Duo - running Android 12

You can confirm there are no further pending updates by navigating back to the System section, and tapping into System Update screen.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Your system is up to date


New Themes, New UI

The update is customised for the Surface Duo, and includes Windows inspired colour schemes and backgrounds.

Microsoft Surface Duo - background picker

Maybe configure your device to match your Windows PC setup.

Microsoft Surface Duo - apply background

The new Wallpapers are great. Minimal.

Microsoft Surface Duo - minimal background

Swipe down from the top to reveal the changed Quick Settings section, and you should immediately notice the new 'Fluent UI' User Interface and Design improvements in Android 12, including rounded panels, new font, and fresh colours.

The interface should also feel smoother and more responsive.

The system build number is also shown here. In this case 2022.815.152.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Quick Settings

Dig deeper to change any settings, such as your Mobile Data or Wi-Fi Connection.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Internet Settings



Many changes and improvements have been made in this release in relation to Accessibility.

Take a look through the Accessibility section in the Settings App.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Accessibility

In Text and Display, customise your device to suit your reading needs.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Text and display

The new Extra dim settings are designed to make the screen easier on the eye at night, or when the screen is just too bright.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Extra dim

The new Area Magnification allows you to zoom a proportion of the screen, without losing overall app positioning and focus.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Magnification

For ease of use, you can turn on the Accessibility Menu shortcut.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Accessibility Menu



There is also new transparency, and settings, with regard to your privacy.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Privacy

I like the Dashboards, showing recent usage or features such as Location and Camera, by app.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Privacy dashboard


Developer options

There are also lots of new features for developers in Developer Options.

Including the ability to easily turn the developer options off again, once enabled.

To enable, or re-enable, Developer Options, please refer to my previous blog post.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Allow development settings

One feature I really like is Wireless debugging, and it is easy to use within the new interface.

To begin, turn the feature on.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Wireless debugging

Then choose how you'd like to pair (QR code or Six Digit Code).

You can also see any previously paired devices here.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Wireless debugging options

If pairing via code, keep the Code, IP Address and Port visible on your device screen.

Then from your PC, connect using 'adb connect ip:port' e.g.

adb connect

Microsoft Surface Duo - Pair with device

You should now be able to launch your app to debug on the device wirelessly, via Visual Studio or any other development environment.


Discover what's New.

Play around to see what else is now, or looks different.

Start to use your device, and you'll soon be at ease with the UI changes.

Here: At a glance, Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft Surface Duo - At a glance, Microsoft Edge

Notifications -> Opening a Message.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Notifications, Opening a Message

There is also an inbuilt Tips app, teaching you how to do great things with your device.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Tips app



The Google Play Store is easy to navigate and use in Android 12.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Google Play Store

It includes the ability to set permissions for an app you have installed.

Microsoft Surface Duo - Google Play Store permissions

Permissions can also be viewed and tweaked from the Settings app at any point.

Microsoft Surface Duo - app permissions


3 Button Navigation

For certain apps, I have missed having the traditional Android "3 Button Bar" at the bottom of the screen.

Gesture commands are supported without it, but you may feel more at ease having a traditional Back Button and Apps List button on screen.

To turn this on, go to Settings -> Surface Duo features -> System Navigation and select "3-button navigation".

Microsoft Surface Duo - System navigation


I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog / guide.

Go play, go create!

View Blog Entries...
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11