Android 13: Everything you need to know about Google’s next system

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Android 13: Release date

  • Current status: Android 13 Beta 3 stage.

Android releases follow a very predictable schedule by this point, with specific phases laid out to help app developers and device manufacturers to prepare for the new release, which usually happens around the third quarter of the year.

As for July 11, 2022 the operacional system reached the Android 13 Beta 3 phase. This marks the Platform Stability milestone, which means that Android 13 has reached final internal and external APIs and final app-facing behaviors.

After some bug fixing—mostly related to stability issues for Pixel phones—Google releases the stable version, coinciding with the announcement of a new Pixel generation, which happened between August and October since Android 6 Marshmallow.

Android 13 timeline development
Android 13 timeline development / © Android Developers

Android 13: How will it be called?

Even though Google dropped using the Android codename in the official marketing campaign after Android 10, the tradition still lives among the OS developers and engineers.

For 2022’s Android, early changes (commits) sent to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository made it clear that the new version is known internally as Tiramisu.

Rename T to Tiramisu

PLATFORM_VERSION_CODENAME is being updated from T to Tiramisu.

Even so, the name is not really expected to be used in any consumer-facing materials, similar to what happened with Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake) and 12 (Snow Cone).

Android 13: How to install the Beta version on your phone

As of July 11, the Android 13 Beta version is available only for Google Pixel smartphones—from the Pixel 4 up to the Pixel 6/6 Pro—and a number of third-party devices that are taking part in the Beta Program, with each brand offering a different set of steps to enroll their devices.

To install the Android 13 Beta 3 on compatible Google Pixel phones follow these steps:

  1. Access and log in with the Google Account used in your Pixel phone.
  2. Click on View your eligible devices.
  3. The screen will scroll down to display if the account has a compatible device, sign up by clicking on Opt in.
    1. Read the instructions and confirm enrolling the phone in the Beta.
  4. On the Pixel phone, the installation process is like any version update. Open the Settings app.
  5. Select the System option.
  6. Open System update.
  7. Tap on Check for update.
  8. Tap Download and install.
Android 13 beta installation steps
After enrolling the device in the beta, the installation process is like any regular system update / © NextPit

The installation process takes some minutes, requiring a download with around 2 GB, some background preparation, and an optimization phase. We recommend keeping the phone charging during the process, which requires the device to restart.

Android 13: New features

Photo picker function

Due to a change in the API, users will have the option of not allowing apps to access the entire gallery. You will be able to select certain photos that will be visible to apps. This way, Android ensures much better privacy protection. The API change also results in new permissions being required for the most common apps to at least access the selected photos.

New permissions for app notifications and media access

To fight notification spam, users already have some control over how and when apps can send alerts on their Android phone. The next OS version is getting ready to offer a better solution, with system permission for notifications, treating the feature like the current camera and microphone access.

Android 13 new system permissions
Android 13 offers more control over permissions and file access / © Google

Similarly, media apps will be able to request access permission specifically for images/photos, video, and audio files. With this change, apps will not need to access all your files, and Android 13 will display a single permission request if the app needs access to more than one media type.

Transfer by tapping

This new feature looks promising, and it basically brings back something that was deprecated by Android 10: Android Beam. The OS new version will offer the option to initiate a file transfer between devices using NFC, just like the retired feature.

Although Nearby Share offers a similar solution to the same task, Tap-to-Transfer uses the ever more popular NFC antennas (or potentially UWB), to transfer photos, videos, and other documents between phones. 

The Android Resource Economy

Known as TARE, this new feature adds a credits system that will set limits on how apps can consume the phone’s resources—CPU, GPU, battery, etc. The system is still in early development but looks like it can help improve Android’s battery usage.

New Quick Settings and QR code reader shortcut

The Quick Settings menu in the notification shade now offers three new shortcuts: “Color correction”, “One-handed mode”, and “QR code”. This last one opens up the camera and allows to quickly scan codes even from the lock screen.

Android 13 overview quick settings
The QR Code tool can be opened from the Lock screen’s quick setting in Android 13 / © NextPit

Additionally, two shortcuts were renamed during the Developer Preview stage but reverted back with the Beta 1 release: “Do not disturb” was briefly renamed to “Priority mode”, while “Device controls” was called “Home”.

User, Settings, and Power shortcuts on the quick settings are now at the bottom

In the screenshot above (to the left), you can also notice that the shortcuts for the User account, Settings, and Power menus were moved to the bottom of the screen, instead of hanging below the last notification.

Quick tap can now turn on/off the flashlight

Popular among NextPit’s readers, the quick tap feature found in recent Pixel phones now include one extra feature on Android 13: the option to toggle the flashlight on and off by tapping on the back of the phone.

Android 13 overview quick tap flashlight
Quickly activate the flashlight by tapping the Pixel’s back / © NextPit

More options for tuning vibrations & haptics

Android 13 added two new options for setting how and when the phone vibrates. The settings can be found in the Vibration & haptics menu, which now displays options for Alarm vibration and Media vibration.

Android 13 overview vibration haptics
On the Pixel 6, all vibration options can be fine-tuned, instead of offering a simple on/off toggle / © NextPit

Phone user’s avatar personalization

For the few people that rely on the multiple users feature on Android—which unfortunately is disabled by many brands—, Android 13 adds an option to change the profile picture. That way, each user can have their own image, not having to use the generic silhouette differentiated only by color.

Android 13 overview profile picture
Say goodbye to the current bland profile pictures / © NextPit

Display size and font size now use a single menu

Previously, if you wanted to change the display size and text size, you would need to navigate and change settings in two different menus. With Android 13 both options now occupy the same menu under the Display options in the Settings app: Display size and text.

Android 13 overview display size and text
Make Android as yours (or as disproportionate) as you want / © NextPit

Clipboard notifications on the bottom of the screen

With Android 13, when you copy a text or image to the clipboard, the system will display a snippet in the bottom part of the screen. The feature works just like the screenshot confirmation on Android 12, offering to quickly edit the copied object.

Android 13 overview clipboard snipper
Android 13 overview clipboard snippet / © NextPit

Other features coming with Android 13

Besides those, leaked Android 13 builds hint about a few other smaller changes:

  • Improved UWB support, with more features available for device makers.
  • Support for Bluetooth LE Audio, and the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3).
  • Audio output selector for Material You, offering the option to choose between speakers, phones, and setting the volume.

Android 13: Visual changes

Screen saver changes

The screensavers have hardly changed since Android 4.1. Only the name changed from “Daydream” to “Dream” in the code components. But now exactly this name has appeared and shows that the developers inside intend to change the native screensavers. For example, a well-known function from Wear OS is implemented – the so-called Complications API. This is used to display functions or apps on the lock screen, such as the battery or time display.

More colors for Material You

After the attention drawn to Material You, Android 12 new design language, Google is ready to the visual concept even further with Android 13. The new system will offer even more customization options, with a wider selection of colors. 

Change lock screen clock layouts

If you saw enough Pixel 6 pictures with the lock screen, you may have noticed that basically all of them had the same plain layout, with the time centered on the screen with a 2×2 layout (hours on top, minutes below). Android 13 changes that with a new Double-line clock option in the Lock screen menu, which places the clock in the top left corner of the (lock) screen.

Android 13 single-line clock lock screen
A small change, but customization options are always welcome / © NextPit

Dark and light app icons

The update brings another visual change. Google revealed that developers will be able to adapt the app icons to the phone’s theme. This will result in dark and light app icons. If adopted, the change will bring a much more unified look to the phone.

Android 13 app icons
App icons can now be displayed in a uniform color! / © NextPit

Google Calendar now displays the day in the app icon

In the screenshot above you can see another change in Android 13, the Google Calendar app now dynamically displays the current day, instead of simply showing “31”. The update mirrors the same dynamic icon already used by the Clock app.

More color combinations for themes

Improving on the original Material You palette, Android 13 brings a wider variety of theme colors, with 16 options based on the wallpaper in use, and 16 basic colors. That expands the 4 options usually presented on Android 12.

Android 13 overview theme colors
Android 13 expands the color options for themes from 4 to 16 / © NextPit

Now playing notification gets a redesign and squiggle progress bar

A small but charming change in Android 13 arrived in the now playing notification displayed in the notification shade and lock screen. More than highlighting the media’s artwork, the progress bar now squiggles to display what has already been played.

Android 13 overview media notification
Compatible media apps now display a little animation on the notification’s progress bar / © NextPit

Android 13: Expected devices to get the update

As it usually happens with each new Android release, Google’s Pixel line will be the first to get the new version. Android’s releases are usually timed with a new Pixel generation line, so a Google Pixel 7 smartphone will be the first phone to be released with the system.

The update is expected to be available on the same day for other Google smartphones, from the Pixel 4 and newer.

Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5
As usual, Pixel phones are expected to be the first to receive Android 13 / © NextPit

The update availability for other brands and models will wildly vary, so we recommend checking our guide on each manufacturer’s update policy:

This article will be constantly updated leading up to the Android 13 stable release. Make sure to follow NextPit on Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram to be alerted on new features, development releases, and device support!

This article was last updated on July 2022.

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