Android 13 is the next version of Google’s mobile operating system (internally codenamed Tiramisu for all you dessert fans), and as usual it brings a range of new features and upgrades to Android phones and tablets. We’ve been playing with it for a few weeks, and it’s more evolution than revolution over Android 12† Don’t expect groundbreaking changes.
It’s currently in beta, but Google will likely roll out the official version in late August or September. We’ve rounded up many of the key new features here, and we’ll keep updating this story over the coming months as new benefits come along. If you can’t wait to try it for yourself, we also have instructions for downloading it.
download android 13
you need one Google Pixel phone (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4A and newer) or other eligible android phone† Google has a list of manufacturers here who have a device that can run the beta. If your device is supported, you can: sign up for the beta program via this link†
After you sign up, you can download the latest beta version and install it as an over-the-air (OTA) update, but beware: beta versions can be unstable and glitchy. Before registering, we strongly recommend you backup your android phoneor there is a real risk of losing precious data.
New updates should appear automatically as the beta progresses, but you can always check if you have the latest version by going to Settings † System † System update and tap Check for updates† Want to leave the beta and go back to Android 12? Go to Google’s Android Beta Pagescroll down to find your device and press Sign out† This will erase all locally stored data, so make sure to back up your device. You will get an update prompt so you can go back to the older version.
Top New Android 13 Features
We’ve listed our 13 favorite features and improvements in the latest version, but there are many more minor upgrades. You can dig deeper in Google’s developer site† Since Android 13 is not finalized yet, there is a chance that some of these features will change before release.
Even more customization
Build on Google’s material you concept to allow for deeper personalization, Android 13 supports more colors in the theme options. Currently you can choose from four background colors and four base colors, but in Android 13 there are 16 of each. Tap and hold on an empty piece of home screen or go to Settings and choose Wallpaper & Style to find the new color theme options. If you turn on Themed icons, you should be seeing more of it now too. (Google is encouraging more developers to create them, so it’s not just Google icons and system apps.)
There are several improvements in Android 13 that restrict what your apps can access. First, when an app asks for permission to access media files, they are categorized into images, video, or audio files. With the new photo picker, you don’t have to grant access to all your photos. You can specify which photos and videos an app can access instead of having them dive into your entire photo library (a feature available on iPhones since iOS 14†
Until now, enabling an app to scan for nearby Wi-Fi devices meant permission for location tracking. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, as there’s now a separate permission option for nearby Wi-Fi devices. The privacy dashboard (accessible via Settings † Privacy † Privacy dashboard), which lists all apps that have accessed the camera, microphone, location, and other permissions in the last 24 hours, can now display the history for the past seven days.
Improved copy and paste
When you copy something in Android 13, a small floating panel will appear at the bottom of the screen and you can tap to edit the content. Sometimes you see relevant options. For example, if you copy a URL, you will be given an option to open it in your browser. You can also copy on one Android device and choose to paste it on another nearby device so you don’t have to email yourself from phone to tablet. Google can also set the clipboard to automatically delete it after a while (possibly an hour) to preserve your privacy.
By default, when you install an app with Android, it has permission to send you notifications. Android 13 turns that on its head. From now on, apps must ask for permission before they can send you notifications.
Better tablet support
As Google is finally getting serious about tablets, there are several changes in Android 13 designed to make life with larger screens a little easier. On an Android tablet, you can expect a taskbar at the bottom with frequently used apps (you can hide these), a two-column layout for quick settings and notifications, and easier drag-and-drop multitasking with the option to pin app pairs in the Recent apps menu. We’re also expecting support for Wear OS smartwatches to automatically unlock tablets, and support for audio switching, meaning your wireless earbuds switch from phone to tablet when you start playing a movie on your slate.
Google says it will also roll out updates this summer for more than 20 Google apps with redesigned interfaces that take advantage of larger screen sizes, including YouTube Music and Google Maps (Android 13 not required).
Quick QR Code Scanner
Due to the pandemic, scanning QR codes is a daily activity for many of us, so faster access to a QR code scanner is useful. Pull down the notification shade in Android 13 and tap edit (the pencil icon) to customize your Quick Settings tiles, and you can drag the QR code scanner onto your panel.
Improved media player
The revamped media player that appears when you pull down the notification shade and on your lockscreen looks much nicer. There’s now a squiggly line showing progress through the song or podcast being played, and the whole background pulls out album art when available. The audio output selector has also been redesigned so you can easily switch to paired speakers or headphones.
Smart Home Controls on the Lock Screen
You no longer need to unlock your phone to access smarthome controls from the lock screen. Just go to Settings † Display † lock screen † Control from locked deviceand you can access your smart bulbs, cameras, and other smart-home gadgets a little faster and easier via the Home icon at the bottom left of the lock screen.
Double tap for flashlight
The Quick Tap feature on Pixel phones lets you double tap the back of your phone to take a screenshot or view your notifications. With Android 13, Google has added support for the flashlight. Go to System † gestures † Quick tap † Change flashlight try it.
Bluetooth LE audio support
Android 13 has support for Bluetooth LE (low energy) Audio and Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3). In a nutshell, that means lower power consumption and better sound quality for wireless headphonesearbuds and other devices that support it.
Encrypted group chats
The arrival of Rich Communication Services (RCS) in Google’s Messages app has brought better support for texting and image sharing over Wi-Fi, and includes benefits such as type markings so you know when someone is replying. Android 13 takes it one step further and adds end-to-end encryption for group chats (it’s already supported for one-to-one chats).
Different languages for apps
For multilingual people, you’ll be happy to see that you can now choose different default languages for each app. Dip into Settings † System † Languages and input and tap App languages to set languages for specific apps.
The new Google Wallet
Aiming to be your digital wallet for everything from payment and loyalty cards to hotel keys, vaccine cards, transportation passes, and even IDs like your driver’s license, Google Wallet is making a comeback with Android 13. It should be a secure alternative to physical cards that allow you to quickly share information and leave your physical wallet at home. Google Wallet integrates with Google’s other apps and works with Google Pay.
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