Android 13 – Everything You Need To Know

Android 13, 2nd Developer Preview is now live. Let brave android fans get an early look at what's coming in the next version of the os ahead of its launch in the late summer.

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Do you know how google used to name all their updates after desserts? Android 13 would have been also called tiramisu. Of course, Google doesn’t want the public to know about this. It’s just a code name used by google developers internally. Tiramisu or Android 13 has only been around for two months and is going to get updated until July. Android 13! I just barely got android 11. Well yeah, I mean I didn’t think it was going to arrive this fast either. Yet here we are.

It’s presently in developer preview 2, in the very early stages of development. So it’s got plenty of bugs and things that need to get fixed. With any early updates, features will get added, removed or replaced. So if you’re intending on updating now just be mindful that it won’t be an entirely smooth experience. Also, you’re going to need a pixel and you’ll need to use the android flash tool to get the update. You can’t just get an OTA. Android 13 is completely in its developer preview stage but there are already many new features packed within it. I’ll go over every new feature and any possible upcoming changes for android 13.

Let’s get started with all the massive changes that Android 13 has introduced so far.

Android 13 – Notifications And Alerts

First up and probably the biggest deal is the new notification permission. With every new Android update, notifications are one of the things that often get modified. Android 12 or lower any app you installed could just start sending you notifications right out the gate and then you would need to manually turn them off within the notification panel. Pretty annoying since you’d get a bunch of unexpected useless alerts.

(Image Credit: Mishaal Rahman)

But that’s about to change in android 13. We’re seeing it for the first time here in developer preview 2. Existing apps will activate this prompt to ask you if you want to receive notifications and new apps will do the same when you install them. It’s a great way to avoid increasingly noisy apps delivering notification lags for non-essential things. Now notifications need your permission.

It’s beautiful and it helps to lower unwanted alerts much more quickly. Unfortunately, we possibly won’t see many apps using this feature for a few years, however. That’s because Google isn’t making this feature compulsory yet. The only app that will need to request notification permissions is the ones that are targeting the android 13 API.

Notifications also have another trick up their sleeve. whenever you long-press any notification and drag it. It’ll quickly open up into a split-screen with whatever app you’re currently using. It makes bringing up conversations much more quickly instead of needing to leave the app you’re currently on. While on the issue of notifications, whenever a third-party app is soaking your battery excessively, you’ll get a notification. Letting you know about it. That way you can force stop it.

Android 13 – Media Player Improvement

There is a multitude of smaller design changes in this build that we’ll get to later but the biggest that we’re seeing is this new media card design.

The media player has been completely redesigned once again. It’s a bit bigger than before. When it’s minimized, the output picker has bigger sliders. Which is larger and uses the album art or YouTube thumbnail as a backdrop and the colours match the album art. I like it but I also didn’t mind the previous version.

(Image Credit: Mishaal Rahman)

Google has messed with the way this particular slice of UI works quite a lot over the past few Android versions. But in Android 13, I think they’ve touched down on something that looks pretty good. Integrating the material U aesthetic with a decent level of functionality. There are a ton of other little UI changes that have been dug up by Mishaal Rahman over at Esper. Far too many to get into in this article.

Android 13 – Text Rendering

There’s also improved text rendering for many languages using character sets besides the Latin alphabet. In Japanese for example, sentences will wrap between lines more naturally instead of just character by character. In other languages such as Tamil and Burmese where line-height issues sometimes affect parts of characters to be chopped off.

Android 13 introduces enhanced line spacing in languages like Japanese and Chinese where you type phonetically as opposed to inputting characters directly. Android 13 improves auto completion when searching so you don’t have to wait to commit characters. This new API doesn’t appear to be used anywhere in any of the pre-loaded apps in this build. However, it should be a big time saver once it’s rolled out.

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Android 13 – Lockscreen

Within the lock screen whenever the media player is being used or you have large numbers of notifications, the rest of the notifications get dropped into a pill. It looks very clean and the size of the bar adapts to the number of notifications you receive. So the more alerts you have the bigger the bar gets.

Another thing about the lock screen is that some smart home controls will now allow you to access them without needing to type in your password. It won’t work with every app and as of right now google home doesn’t support it. I’m crossing my fingers that it will give us the option to work in the future. It’ll save us a few extra seconds.

Android 13 – Quick Settings

The quick settings panel also received a few minor changes. The power settings and VPN buttons got dropped to the bottom and whenever apps are running in the foreground you can stop them from within that same screen. There are also some new tiles within the quick settings. One is called security and privacy which moves the camera microphone and location into one spot. Cleans up the quick settings a bit and makes those three options a lot easier to find. There’s also a new QR code tile to let you pull up the camera and scan the QR code much more quickly.

(Image Credit: Mishaal Rahman)

Since we’re on the topic of tiles, developers in the future may be able to advertise their tiles as a pop-up alert within their app it’s going to bring the quick settings a bit more life.

Android 13 – Per-App Language

For all the bilingual readers out there, particularly Android 13 has just made our lives 10 times easier by allowing us to change the language on a per-app basis. Means, if I want Netflix to be in Korean but leave every other app in English. I can do that. I just need to jump into the settings, system languages and input. And within the app languages section, I can change the language for each app separately.

With apps letting you choose either one of your system languages or any from a very long list of supported languages. Not every app supports this feature but a surprising number of popular apps will let you apply a particular language in this latest Android 13 previews.

Android 13 – Colour Profiles

I love the material U design language found within Android 12 but if I had to complain about one thing it would be that the colours aren’t that diverse. For example, if you have a wallpaper with three dominant colours, the UI’s theme will most likely only use one or two. I think google developers noticed this. Because android 13 is planning to make the colours a lot more diverse. They may be introducing five new colour modes.

The current colour mode we’re using in android 12 is called Tonal Spot. The other five are called Vibrant Expressive, Spritz, Rainbow and Fruit Salad. Vibrant is identical to what we have now with slightly darker colours expressed. It brings out brighter tones and even uses colours that may not even be found within the wallpaper. But still, fit in well with the overall theme. Spritz cranks down the saturation and makes the colours look almost Grayish.

Rainbow is also very similar to what we have now but just has slightly brighter colours and Fruit Salad is my personal favourite. It spreads the colours out evenly and it doesn’t get too extreme with different colour variations. You can even try out these themes but as of now, they are locked behind an ADB shell command.

Android 13 is also adding support for the colour v1. The standard for colour vector fonts. What that means is things like emoji should scale up to larger sizes much more clearly without the blurring that you get from just taking a raster image and upsizing it. Means better looking big emoji in android 13 and that’s something we can all get behind.

Android 13 – User Profiles

The profiles feature on android has also received a ton of changes. When setting up new profiles on your phone let multiple people use your device. You can now have colourful icons for the profile helps differentiate each profile better. Rather than just using an image there’s also going to be a full-screen profile switcher page.

If you have a big screen device like a tablet. in the status bar, you’ll get a bubble that displays the current user profile. That way it’ll always be clear as to what profile is being used. Lastly, when creating a guest user in android 13, the owner can choose which app should be installed on the guest profile.

Android 13 – Bluetooth LE Audio

Bluetooth LE audio is also new in developer preview 2. This is the latest wireless audio standard that combined with the right headphones can save power when you’re listening to music, podcasts or whatever else. Plus it comes with a few extra bonuses like location-based audio Bluetooth. I’m not sure how that’s gonna work.

Multi-device audio broadcasting and hearing aid support are all great things. As of now, we’ll have to wait for new phones, headphones, speakers etc. To support this new Bluetooth standard. The option to customize the font and display size has been placed in the same menu. Which honestly makes a lot more sense. Lastly, do not disturb mode got renamed to priority mode because that surely won’t confuse anyone.

Android 13 – Other Improvements

Those are all the important new details found within android 13 so far but there are also a ton of smaller changes that I wanted to go over. The first is the Quick Tap feature on pixels which allows you to double-tap the back of the phone to do a specific action. Now it has an extra useful option. It can let you toggle the flashlight when double-tapping the back.

Lockscreen And Magnifier

If you’re not a fan of the giant clock on the lock screen you can choose to disable it within the lock screen settings. You just need to toggle off the double line clock option. The magnifier feature found within the accessibility settings now follows the text you type within a text field.

Silent Mode

When you enable silent mode all vibrations get disabled as they should. For those who use the three-button navigation, you can disable the Home button’s long-press action which brings up google assistant. Not sure why you would want to do that but it’s there.

Kids Mode

There’s also going to be a new kids mode that updates in that bar with bubbly icons for just the back and home button. There’s no recent key but that’s probably because they want the kids to focus on the app at hand.

Heptics

A few more quickfire pixel feature improvements. There’s now a haptic strength slider for alarm and media vibrations. Just like we had for calls and notifications in android 12. Dark mode can now be set to automatically come on at your preset bedtime. If you have one set.

App Drawer

Interestingly android 13 on big screens has grown an app drawer button, which kind of resurrects a bit of android iconography that we haven’t seen for quite some time. while also making for a welcome addition to the new tablet UI from android 12L.

This should be the final android 13 developer preview. The next build in April should kick off the android 13 beta program.

Android 13 – Exciting Possible Changes

Finally, I wanted to go over all the exciting possible changes that could appear in android 13 in a future release. I wanted to make it clear though that these aren’t a guarantee. And of course, Google could just end up not including these in future updates.

Wallpaper Mode

The first is that there could be a new wallpaper mode called 3d cinematic. Which makes any 2d picture look like it’s popping out at you in 3d. It even fills in background details that weren’t there. Thanks to AI Plus, moving the phone around the wallpaper is supposed to move with your hand. I can’t wait to try it out.

Themed Icons

The additional feature can’t wait for is themed icons for more apps. If you can remember last year android 12 introduced themed icons that match the colour of your wallpaper.

Some people hate it, others like it. I love it. But the only problem is that it only works for a few google apps and nothing else. With Android 13 google may finally allow app developers to support the same theming for their icons. It’s just a matter of which app developers will choose to support it.

LED Flash Brightness

iOS or One UI feature that, I’ve always been jealous of is that you can count I’m the brightness of the LED flash. As most of you already know some androids like the pixels still only let you toggle a flash on or off and nothing else.

Well, android 13 may finally support it natively. And I’m super stoked. The only string attached is that some phones won’t be able to take advantage of it right away due to restrictions imposed by their phone’s camera OEMs. Themselves will need to execute these new camera haul versions to be able to control the flashlight brightness on your phone’s OEM, it could be a while till you see this feature working.

Search Bar Reposition

There are also some leaks going around. The search bar within the app drawer is brought to the bottom. I welcome this since it’ll make searching for apps much easier when using the phone with one hand. On top of that, the search suggestions within the app drawer will get a lot better. It’ll soon show results from matching widgets, save screenshots and the google search recommendations.

(Image Credit: Mishaal Rahman)

CPU Boost For Gaming

For all the gamers out there, there appears to be a new API within android 13’s code that will allow games to boost the CPU when needing to load it. It’ll make the load up the process a lot quicker.

Clipboard

The clipboard may also receive some changes and improvements. Such as supporting auto clearing so anything you copy a text, a link, image etc. will be automatically cleared from your clipboard after 60 minutes. That way the apps you installed can’t read your clipboard.

On top of that, when you do copy an image or text, an overlay may appear just like a screenshot to let you edit the copied text or open the appropriate app. If you copied an address, weblink etc. Honestly, though I could see this feature as being more annoying than useful. Who wants a pop-up they copy text.

Background Restrictions Improvements

If you can also remember, last year android 12 came with brutal background restrictions for apps. Even though it does keep sketchy apps in check, it can also be a bad thing for apps that need to run heavy background processes apps like a terminal emulator. Well, android 13 might end up introducing a toggle within the developer options that allows you to disable those harsher background restrictions.

Conclusion

Anyways that’s every notable feature found within android 13 so far. Again just to clarify all these features can be removed, changed or replaced. Nothing is 100% sure here. But it does look like a huge update so far.

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