After releasing the tablet-focused Android 12L update, Google has shifted its focus to its next major Android release, Android 13. After two developer previews, the company has now released the first beta of Android 13. The latest build gives us a glimpse at the features that could make their way to the stable release later this year. So in this article, we have rounded up everything we know about Android 13 right now, including the release date, beta rollout timeline, known and leaked features, and more.
Android 13: Everything We Know so Far (April 2022)
Android 13 Release Date
With the first developer preview of Android 13, Google has shared the update timeline of Android 13. While we don’t know the exact launch date of Android 13, Google’s update timeline gives us a rough idea of when to expect the next major Android release. According to the timeline, Google will release three more beta builds ahead of the stable release.
Google has released a total of two developer previews and the first beta build of Android 13 so far. The first Android 13 beta arrived in the last week of April 2022, one month ahead of the usual May release that coincides with the Google I/O event. You could expect the second Android 13 beta on May 11, possibly soon after Google I/O 2022 keynotes.
Google aims to reach the platform stability milestone with the third Android 13 beta build, which is set for a June release. To recall, Android 12 reached platform stability in August 2021, and the stable build was launched in October 2021. Going by the Android 13 release timeline and assuming there are no major hurdles in the update schedule, we could expect Google to release the stable version of Android 13 sometime in August or September this year.
Android 13 Eligible Devices
Now, many of you may be wondering – Will my phone get the Android 13 update? The answer to that question varies based on your current device. As always, Pixel phones will receive priority treatment when it comes to software updates. Moreover, we will be sharing a complete list of Android 13 compatible devices when OEMs share more information in the coming months, so stay tuned for that. For now, here are the Pixel phones that will get Android 13 update:
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- Google Pixel 4a
- Google Pixel 4a (5G)
- Google Pixel 5
- Google Pixel 5a (5G)
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
If you recall, Pixel 2 series reached end-of-life before the Android 12 release and wasn’t included in the list of Android 12 devices. Similarly, Google dropped support for Pixel 3 and 3 XL before the Android 12L update. This time around, Google has dropped support for Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
Android 13 Dessert Name
Google has a tradition of using dessert names for Android. Although Google stopped marketing the dessert name after Android 9 Pie back in 2018, it still uses dessert names internally as codenames for Android releases. For instance, Quince Tart is the codename for Android 10, Red Velvet Cake is Android 11’s codename, and Android 12 was internally known as Snow Cone.
Coming to Android 13, we already know that the internal codename of Android 13 is Tiramisu. Google didn’t shy away from using Android 13’s codename in the first developer preview. Although newer builds use the version number “13”, Google had mentioned “Tiramisu” on the “About Phone” page in the first developer preview build. For those wondering, Tiramisu is a coffee-flavored Italian dessert. According to Wikipedia, Tiramisu is usually made of savoiardi, egg yolks, mascarpone, cocoa, and coffee. Meanwhile, it’s in the air that Android 14’s dessert name is Upside Down Cake.
Android 13: Top New Features (Public Beta 1)
Themed Icons for Third-party Apps
Starting with Android 12, Google introduced support for themed icons on Android 12. However, it was limited just to Google apps at the moment. With Android 13, Google is making dynamic color themed icons available for all app icons. App developers will be required to use a monochromatic app icon and update the adaptive icon XML to incorporate themed app icons support to their apps. Google says themed third-party icons will first arrive on Pixel phones, and it is working with device OEMs to bring this feature to their custom skins.
Quick Tap to Enable Flashlight
Double tap gestures were one of the best Android 12 features. In Android 12, you can use the double-tap gesture to open Assistant, take screenshots, control media playback, open the recent apps switcher, and check notifications. This time around, Google has made a useful addition to the feature with the option to toggle the flashlight. Going forward, you can double-tap the back of your phone to enable or disable the flashlight. This is undoubtedly a convenient feature to have, especially for those who often use their phone’s flashlight in the dark.
Faster Access to QR Code Scanning
Thanks to the pandemic, we have witnessed widespread adoption of QR codes. Ranging from payment terminals to restaurant menus, QR codes are now almost everywhere. Considering the rejuvenated interest, Android 13 will let you access the QR code scanner right from your phone’s lock screen. In addition, you will also get a Quick Settings tile to access the QR code scanner.
Redesigned Audio Output Picker
In a noticeable visual change, Google is redesigning the media output picker in Android 13. The output picker, not to be confused with the expanded volume bar, lets you switch between available output devices such as Bluetooth headphones or phone speakers. It looks similar to Android 12’s Quick Settings tiles (read: they are thick) and accommodates the device name in the volume slider. It’s functionally the same as Android 12, but it will come in a design refresh to improve consistency throughout the interface.
New Photo Picker
In an attempt to unify the file picker experience and protect the privacy of its users, Google is adding a new system photo picker with Android 13. Building on Android’s document picker that shares specific documents with the app without giving the app access to all media files on the device, the new photo picker API makes it easier for apps to efficiently access shared images and videos. Furthermore, Google plans to bring the new photo picker to Android 11 and higher through Google Play system updates.
Prompts to Add New Quick Settings Tiles
Google is making it easier for app developers to promote their custom Quick Settings tiles with Android 13. Developers can soon choose to utilize the new tile placement API to prompt the user to add the app’s tile as an active Quick Settings option. So far, the users have had to manually pull the custom tile from the inactive tiles region to the active one to see it in the QS panel.
New Material You Color Styles
While Material You revamped customization features on Android 12, one criticism of the feature was the inability to set your own colors. That gave birth to third-party apps to use custom Material You accent colors. Listening to feedback, Google is now offering a total of 16 color options in the Settings, as opposed to the 4 found in Android 12. While this is a step in the right direction, it’s still disappointing to see the lack of a color palette or the option to enter a HEX code for setting the accent color in Android 13.
Edit Text from Clipboard
Google is making it easier for Android users to edit copied text. Much like how screenshots work now, Android 13 introduces a pencil icon to edit the content when you cut or copy text. With this feature, you can paste the text from the clipboard and add/remove content to it. Furthermore, if you copy a number or link, you are given additional options to call/message and open the link in Chrome.
Updated Progress Bar in Media Player
Google has added a squiggly line to the media player progress bar in Android 13. The squiggly line appears only when you’re playing music and goes back to the usual straight line when you have paused the media. It’s not limited to the notifications shade though, you get the same wavy progress bar in the lock screen too. While this doesn’t change the functionality, it looks like a nice visual upgrade.
Android 13: Leaked/ Hidden Features
Although Google has released the first developer preview of Android 13, some interesting features are disabled by default. However, we do know a few tidbits, courtesy of Mishaal Rahman’s Android 13 deep dive and previous Android 13 reports from the folks at XDA Developers and Android Police. As always, we have added consumer-centric features first, followed by developer-focused features towards the end.
Weekly View in Privacy Dashboard
Privacy Dashboard is getting a much-needed improvement in Android 13. Moving forward, you will have the option to view the permission log for the past seven days. For the uninitiated, Android 12 currently preserves the permission log for the camera, microphone, and location access for the past 24 hours.
Tap to Transfer Media Playback Between Devices
According to a recent Android Police report, Android 13 may offer a media tap to transfer feature. It could potentially let users switch media between your phone and other devices, presumably smart speakers. From what it looks like, the feature could be akin to how you can seamlessly transfer media playback from an iPhone to HomePod. The report speculates that it could rely on NFC or UWB to transfer media playback. Esper’s Mishaal Rahman has managed to enable the feature’s prototype, and you can check it out in action above.
Panlingual App-Specific Languages
Codenamed Panlingual, Android 13 may finally bring the ability to set languages on a per-app basis. Ideal for polyglots, the feature will make it convenient to use some apps in a specific language. For instance, one could potentially use Google Chrome in Hindi while interacting with the rest of the phone in English.
Unlike apps that currently support multiple languages, Android 13 will take a unified approach, where you will be able to configure app languages for different apps under the “Languages & Input” settings. According to XDA’s report, the feature will also be baked into the “App Info” page.
Redesigned Quick Settings Media Player Controls
Another feature in the works is a redesigned media player in the Quick Settings panel. According to Rahman’s report, the media player interface before being expanded now has the media progress slider that you can use to scrub through the song. Meanwhile, the option to play or pause is present to the right of the interface. The album art is currently missing in the new implementation, but we could expect Google to add that in future builds.
Starting with Android 13, Google is expected to introduce runtime permissions for notifications. In other words, the apps will have to request permission from the user before sending notifications, much like how other permissions like location and microphone access are handled on Android today. The idea is to help users make a cautious decision whether they’d like to receive notifications from an app. Will this solve Android’s spam notifications problem? To an extent, but not really.
Although the feature would help you instantly deny notifications for a rogue app you would rather not get any notifications from, it doesn’t regulate the apps that also send you important notifications. That is exactly why Google introduced notification channels with Android 8.0 Oreo back in 2017. While most apps have started sending notifications through specific categories, some of them that don’t target Android 8.0 (API level 26) continue to use the primary notification channel for both important notifications and promotions.
If an app has properly implemented notification channels, you have the option to manually block out spam notifications today. And you can continue to receive important notifications. In a nutshell, if you are tired of that one food delivery app constantly nudging you to order good food online, go through our guide to disable spam notifications on Android to stop it for good.
Multi-User Contactless NFC Payments
A minor change in Android 13 would make it easier to use NFC payments for multiple profiles. So far, the option to make NFC payments is only available to the primary profile. However, if you are someone who shares your phone with a family member and lives in a country that has embraced NFC payments, this Android 13 feature is likely to come as good news to you.
Bluetooth LE Audio Support
Remember when Bluetooth SIG announced LC3 codec with Bluetooth LE Audio at CES 2020? It looks like Android 13 may completely embrace Bluetooth LE Audio. According to the AOSP Gerrit commit spotted by Mishaal Rahman, Google may add LC3 codec as an option in the settings. To recall, the LC3 codec offers better audio quality when compared to SBC codec, even at a 50% lower bit rate.
DNS over HTTPS Support
Google introduced DNS-over-TLS with Android 9 Pie, and the feature has been available as “Private DNS” since then. According to the commit spotted by XDA Developers, Google is planning to support DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) on Android 13. Most popular web browsers, including Google Chrome and Firefox, introduced DoH support over the past few years. It is also possible to turn on DNS-over-HTTPS on Windows 11. Until Android 13 arrives, you can check this guide on how to enable DNS-over-TLS on Android.
The Android Resource Economy (TARE)
Google is introducing a new feature dubbed TARE — The Android Resource Economy. TARE aims to help apps efficiently utilize the available battery juice in the phone.
“TARE will delegate “credits” to apps that they can then “spend” on queuing tasks. The total number of “credits” that TARE will assign (called the “balance”) depends on factors such as the current battery level of the device, whereas the number of “credits” it takes to queue a task will depend on what that task is for,” explains Esper’s Mishaal Rahman.
Moreover, TARE may limit the number of tasks an app can schedule through the JobScheduler and AlarmManager policies based on the battery level. As you might have guessed by now, this is a developer-focused feature, and we will have to wait to learn more about how the feature works behind the scenes.
Android 13 is Right Around the Corner
There you have it. That’s everything we know about Android 13 at the moment. Unlike last year, Android 13 will not bring a radical UI change to the OS. Instead, Google is focusing on refining the interface alongside incremental feature additions this time around. The first Android 13 beta build is already out and if you have a supported Pixel phone, you can install Android 13 beta right now. We will be covering Android 13 in detail when new beta builds arrive on Pixel phones, so stay tuned for more information. Until then, do share your expectations from Android 13 in the comments section below.