Android 13: Everything you need to know
Android 13 is the exciting next chapter of Google's popular operating system. After last year's Android 12 version, which shook things up by introducing the bold new Material You design, we all expect Google to continue developing this new visual style and position it more prominently across the Android operating system and also urge third-party manufacturers to adopt more aspects of it.
If history has taught us anything, it's that major software updates are usually followed by quality-of-life ones that aim to iron things out and perfect the newly-introduced formula. Well, Android 12 was quite a major software update and changed lots of things, so Android 13 will most certainly be such an update.
Following Google I/O 2022, Android 13 is already out as a second public beta that anyone with an eligible device can opt in. The next version of the OS will be officially showcased on the all-virtual Google I/O 2022 dev summit on May 11, 2022. Android 13 is also expected to reach platform stability by June 2022. The official release of Android 13 for Pixel phones is most certainly in August - September 2022.
Android 13 latest beta
We got our hands on the Android 13 beta, but in its current state, it isn't anything that should stop you in your tracks: the features included in the beta are mostly minor quality-of-life and privacy enhancements that paint an evolutionary tale for the upcoming Android update.
As of July 26, four Android 13 betas have surfaced, with the latest one being Android 13.4. The majority of new features inside were nothing more than under-the-hood optimizations and bug fixes, of which there were quite a lot in the initial beta, and Google has also tweaked a couple of features.
For example, widgets can now be as small as 2 x 1 units on the home screen grid and as large as 5 x 1 units, which adds even more weight to the customization of Android 13. There's also a new battery widget available.
Android 13.3 new widget sizes
Android 13 latest news
Android 13 name
Actually, Android 13 will be the 22nd major version of Android released since its inception in late 2008. Unlike the majority of Android versions which were named after sweet desserts in an alphabetical order, recent Android versions have opted for a pure numerical naming scheme. The 'culprit' was Android 10, which was supposed to use the letter Q for a dessert name, but due to the general lack of well-known desserts starting with said letter, Google opted to drop the custom dessert name altogether.
Android fans are probably divided in half regarding this fairly recent change. On one hand, it keeps things simple, but on the other hand, it robs Android of its uniqueness and makes the different versions a lot more forgettable. Android 5.0 Lollipop and Android 8.0 Oreo have a slightly different zing to them, right?
Internally, Android 12 carried the Snow Cone name. And what could be Android 13's sweet dessert name? Internally, it's seemingly referred to as "Tiramisu", but we doubt Google will give any real named after the popular Italian dessert, but of course, this will remain unconfirmed... probably well until Android 13 goes official.
Android 13 release date
Android 13 will be released to eligible Pixel devices by August 2022.
The Public Preview has been released already, and aside from that, Google has also shared a rough timeline of how things will transpire for the next Android update. Judging from that information, we can deduce Android 13 will be officially out in August or early September of 2022. The software is expected to reach platform stability with the expected June beta update, meaning that developers will be given the green light to update their apps for the upcoming release.
What about official stable releases?
|Android release||Release date|
|Android 8 Oreo ( Read our review)||August 21, 2017|
|Android 9 Pie (Read our review)||August 6, 2018|
|Android 10 (Read our review)||September 3, 2019|
|Android 11 (Read our review)||September 8, 2020|
|Android 12 (Read our review)||October 4. 2021|
|Android 13||August - September 2022|
Which phones will get Android 13?
Android 13 will eventually be available on most current and upcoming phones. Only newer Pixel will be eligible for Android 13, with the Pixel 3 series and earlier sadly getting the short stick.
The current public beta is available for Pixel phones (Pixel 4 and newer), as well as a couple non-Google phones, like the OnePlus 10 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro, and Realme GT 2 Pro.
One thing is certain: the initial developer build will only be available on Pixel phones. After the official announcement of Android 13, we expect that Google will extend the support to other phone brands as well. However, there's no saying which manufacturers will participate: while many phone makers participated in the Android 10 beta a couple of years ago, the list has progressively grown thin with Android 11 and Android 12.
Here are some of the phones that will most certainly get Android 13 by the end of 2022:
- Google Pixel series (Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G)
- Samsung Galaxy S22 series (S22, S22 Plus, S22 Ultra)
- Samsung Galaxy S21 series (S21, S21 Plus, S21 Ultra, S21 FE)
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series (Z Fold 4, Z Fold 3)
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series (Z Flip 4, Z Flip 3)
- OnePlus 10 Pro
Android 13 new features
Now, to the most interesting part. What new features will be coming with Android 13? Despite that it's a bit too early, a healthy amount of rumors and leaks has already made its way in the ether, and here's everything we know so far.
Android 12 introduced automatic theming that extracted the dominant colors of your wallpaper and used those to paint your interface. With Android 13, Google is expanding the functionality, offering four pre-made color themes.
Building on the visual revamp that was introduced with Android 12, Android 13 adds a bunch of quality-of-life improvements to the interface. Stock Android now has Themed Icons, which grab the dominant color from your wallpaper and apply it as a tint on your icons, making for a subdued monochromatic look. The Google Search widget, normally found at the bottom of the screen, also gets themed with your colors of choice, making for an even more coherent look.
This feature only works on the homescreen (apps in your app drawer won't be themed), and it only works with the stock apps so far. This is what the homescreen looks like with Themed Icons on:
Android 13 also comes with a a redesigned wallpaper picker that now let's you preview the available backgrounds straight from the homescreen by long-pressing an empty space. While not as convenient as the regular wallpaper menu, it lets you quickly change your background.
There will also be improved media controls, which will feature the respective album art of the song you're listening to much more prominently. Here's what it will look like.
Quick Settings tile discovery
With Quick Settings tiles' discovery being not so good, Google has taken upon itself to make it easier for users to find out if an app offers such an extra functionality. Whenever you install an app that provides a custom Quick Settings tile, a notification will be waiting for you in the notification shade, informing you of the change.
Multi-lingual users will be happy to know that Android 13 now has relevant APIs that allow separate apps to have different language than the main language setting of their devices. For example, the Android device could be set at Hindi, but separate apps could be set to English. This feature will reside within the Settings > System > Languages & Input > App Languages menu, but is not live in the beta just yet.
Android 13 also introduces a new photo picker, one of the more important new features. Similar to the one found in iOS and with the goal of improving privacy, the new photo picker allows users to share certain photos with an app without giving access to their whole photo library, which is a major privacy improvement. This is in major contrast with the regular behavior of Android's photo picker, which by default ask for a permission to read your whole photo library.
Color Vector fonts
Android 13 introduces full support for the COLRv1 fonts and updates all system emoji to this new font format. What does this mean in layman's terms? Text and emoji will now appear much sharper, no matter the scale at which they're rendered.
Privacy & Security
Instead of the existing "external storage access" popups, apps targeting Android 13 will have three additional granular media permissions to request. "READ MEDIA IMAGES," "READ MEDIA AUDIO," and "READ MEDIA VIDEO" are the three new categories, and they will allow for an improved micromanagement of app permissions. There's also a new permission that targets body sensors and their data collection in the background.
By the end of the year, Android 13 will have scored a new Privacy and Security menu that will not only rate your current privacy/security status but also give you relevant recommendations on a timely basis.
There have been several enhancements to privacy and permissions. Android 13 will finally allow the system or the user to revoke permissions automatically. This would "kill" permissions previously provided to an app for whatever reason, potentially improving privacy and security by a significant margin.
Android 13 now has Bluetooth LE audio, which enables high-quality music to be delivered without significantly reducing battery life.