Android 13: 21 Best New Features You Should Check Out

Google is currently rolling out the third beta build of Android 13, and you can install the Android 13 beta on your Pixel phone right now. If you don’t have a Pixel phone at hand to try out the new features and are wondering what changes Android 13 will bring, you’re at the right place. Read on to find out the best Android 13 features known so far.

21 Best Android 13 Features (Updated June 2022)

We have divided this article into two sections to highlight the features available to use in the latest build (Beta 3) and the ones that are hidden, leaked, or got an early announcement. With that out of the way, let’s get right into it.

Best Android 13 Features (Beta 1)

1. New Material You Color Styles

New Material You Styles

One of the top Android 12 features was the Material You wallpaper-based theming system. While Material You brought noticeable changes to customization on Android, it missed out on the ability to set your own colors. With that limitation, we started seeing third-party apps to use custom Material You accent colors popping up on the Play Store.

Although Google still doesn’t let you use your own accent colors, the company is introducing more flexibility with the addition of a total of 16 color options in the Settings. To recall, Android 12 has 4 wallpaper colors and 4 basic colors.

2. Edit Text from Clipboard

Ever found yourself wanting to make a quick edit to something you just copied? You can now do that effortlessly on Android 13. Building on the same experience used for screenshots, Android 13 adds a pencil icon to edit the content when you cut or copy text. Through this feature, you can easily paste the text from the clipboard and add/ remove content to it. Notably, it would even show you options to call/ message and open the link in Chrome when you copy a number or link.

3. Updated Progress Bar in Media Player

No Android release is truly complete without modifications to the media player. This time around, Google has added a squiggly line to the media player progress bar. It appears when you’re playing music and vanishes away in favor of the usual straight line when you have paused the media. It’s worth noting that you will see the new progress bar on the lock screen too. It’s a nice touch to bring a lively feel to the media player.

4. Faster Access to QR Code Scanning

Thanks to the pandemic, we have witnessed widespread adoption of QR codes. Ranging from payment terminals at local grocery shops to restaurant menus, QR codes are now almost everywhere. Considering the rejuvenated interest, Android 13 will let you access the QR code scanner from your phone’s lock screen. In addition, you will also get a Quick Settings tile to access the QR code scanner.

5. Control Smart Home Devices From Lock Screen

Users who are deeply invested in a smart home ecosystem will love this Android 13 feature. Google is now making it possible for users to control smart home devices from the lock screen without having to unlock their phones. The feature is disabled by default, and you can choose to turn it on if you want the added convenience.

6. Quick Tap to Enable Flashlight

Image: Android Police

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 on your phone, especially for those who often use their phone’s flashlight in the dark.

7. 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 a design refresh here improves consistency throughout the interface.

8. Updated Permission Requests

Starting with the first beta of Android 13, Google is introducing granular permissions for accessing images, videos, and audio files. Going forward, third-party apps will request permission for specific media file types. Instead of the usual permission READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, apps can now request access to the following permissions:

If an app requests image and video permissions at the same time, Google says it will group both permission requests into a single dialog for a better user experience.

9. Flashlight Alert on At a Glance Widget

We have all accidentally left the flashlight on, only to realize that it has drained half the phone’s remaining battery. Well, not anymore. Google has added a nifty integration to the At a Glance widget that alerts you when the flashlight is turned on. You will see this alert in both the home screen and the lock screen.

10. Panlingual App-Specific Languages

Codenamed Panlingual, Android 13 finally brings the ability to set languages on a per-app basis. Ideal for polyglots, the feature makes it convenient to use some apps in a specific language. For instance, one could 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. You can access the feature from Settings -> System -> Languages & input -> App Languages.

Android 13: Leaked/ Hidden Features

Although Google has released the first Android 13 beta, some interesting features are still disabled by default. However, we do know a few tidbits, courtesy of Mishaal Rahman’s Android 13 deep dive and reports from the folks at XDA Developers and Android Police. We have also added a few features that Google had previously announced, but have not made it to the beta builds yet.

11. 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. The feature is not live as of the first Android 13 beta.

12. Weekly View in Privacy Dashboard

Image: Mishaal Rahman / Esper

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.

13. Tap to Transfer Media Playback Between Devices

Image: Mishaal Rahman / Esper

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 their 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.

14. 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.

15. Runtime Notifications

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 about whether they’d like to receive notifications from an app. Will this solve Android’s spam notifications problem? To an extent, but not really.

Image courtesy: Android Police

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.

16. Cinematic Wallpapers and Wallpaper Dimming

Android 13 will introduce 3D wallpapers that move when your phone moves. The feature utilizes WallpaperEffects API and lets you make your photo a 3D wallpaper. However, it’s not live yet, so we will have to wait for future beta releases to see it in action. As per Esper’s Mishaal Rahman, there’s a new wallpaper dimming feature that dims your current wallpaper too. We were able to replicate the feature, and you can notice the difference in the brightness of the wallpaper in the image above.

17. 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.

18. Prompts to Add New Quick Settings Tiles

Image: Google

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.

19. Bluetooth LE Audio Support

Remember when Bluetooth SIG announced the 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 is all set to add the 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

What’s Your Favorite Android 13 Feature?

As we expected, Android 13 doesn’t completely overhaul the OS. However, it packs meaningful changes to enhance the user experience. Since we are still three beta releases away from the final version of Android 13, we could expect to see more exciting features over the coming months. We will be updating this list with more features when the new Android 13 betas arrive, so make sure you stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, if you want details on the Android 13 release date and eligible devices, head to our dedicated Android 13 article.

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