Android 13 is The next version of Google’s mobile operating system (internally codenamed Tiramisu for all dessert lovers), and as usual, it brings a slew of new features and upgrades to Android phones and tablets. We’ve been playing with it for a few weeks now, and it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary than Android 12. Don’t expect any breaking changes.
It’s currently in beta, but Google may launch the official version in late August or September. We’ve rounded up many of the most important new features here, and we’ll continue to update this story over the next few months as new perks arrive. If you can’t wait to try it out for yourself, we’ve included instructions on how to download it, too.
How to download Android 13
You need a Google Pixel phone (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4A and later) or another eligible Android phone. Google has a list of manufacturers with devices capable of running the beta here. If your device is supported, you can sign up for the beta program at this link.
Once registered, you can download and install the latest beta version as an over-the-air (OTA) update, but be aware that beta versions may be unstable and buggy. Before registering, we strongly recommend that you back up your Android phone, otherwise there is a real risk of losing valuable data.
New updates should pop up automatically as the beta goes on, but you can always check that you have the latest version by going to set up > system > system update and click Check for updates. Want to get out of beta and go back to Android 12?Go to Google’s Android Beta page, scroll down to find your device, and click opt out. This will require erasing all locally saved data, so make sure to backup your device. You will be prompted to update so you can go back to the old version.
Top New Features in Android 13
We’ve noticed 13 of our favorite features and improvements in the latest version, but there are many more small upgrades. You can dig deeper on Google’s developer site. Since Android 13 is not yet finalized, some of these features may change before launch.
Android 13 builds further on Google’s Material You concept for deeper personalization, with support for more colors in theme options. Currently you can choose from four wallpaper colors and four base colors, but in Android 13 there are 16 of each.Just tap and hold on an empty part of the home screen or go to set up and select wallpapers and styles Find the new color theme option.if you open Theme icon, you should see more now. (Google is encouraging more developers to create them, so it’s not just Google and system app icons.)
Several improvements in Android 13 limit what your app can access. First, when an application requests permission to access media files, those files are classified as image, video, or audio files. With the new photo picker, you don’t have to grant access to all your photos. You can specify which photos and videos an app can access, rather than allowing it to dive into your entire photo library (a feature that’s been available on iPhone since iOS 14).
Until now, enabling an app to scan for nearby Wi-Fi devices meant granting it location-tracking permission. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, as there is now a separate permission option for nearby Wi-Fi devices.Privacy Dashboard (by visiting set up > privacy > Privacy Dashboard), shows all apps that have accessed the camera, microphone, location, and other permissions in the past 24 hours, and can now show history for the past 7 days.
Improved copy and paste
When you copy content in Android 13, a small floating panel pops up at the bottom of the screen that you can tap to edit the content. You will sometimes see related options. For example, if you copy a URL, you can choose to open it in your browser. You can also copy on one Android device and choose to paste on another nearby device, so you don’t have to send emails from your phone to your tablet anymore. Google can also set the clipboard to automatically delete after a certain period of time (perhaps an hour) to protect your privacy.
When you install an app with Android, by default it has the right to send you notifications. Android 13 turns that upside down. From now on, apps must request permission before they can start sending you notifications.
Better tablet support
With Google finally getting serious about tablets, there are some changes in Android 13 designed to make life a little easier on the big screen. On an Android tablet, you can expect a taskbar at the bottom with frequently used apps (which you can hide), a two-column arrangement for quick settings and notifications, and easier drag-and-drop with pinning options Multitasking pairs of apps in the Recent Apps menu. We’re also expecting Wear OS smartwatches to support auto-unlocking the tablet and support audio switching, which means your wireless earbuds will switch from phone to tablet when you start playing a movie on your tablet.
Google says it’s also rolling out updates to more than 20 Google apps this summer with a redesigned interface to work with larger screen sizes, including YouTube Music and Google Maps (which doesn’t require Android 13).
Fast QR Code Scanner
The pandemic has made scanning QR codes an everyday occurrence for many of us, so quicker access to a QR code scanner is handy. In Android 13 pull down the notification shade and tap edit (pencil icon) to adjust your quick settings tile, then you can drag the QR code scanner onto your panel.
Improved media player
The revamped media player that appears when you pull down the notification shade and lock screen looks much better. There’s now a wavy line showing the progress of the track or podcast being played, and the entire background pulls the album art when available. The audio output selector has also been redesigned to allow you to easily switch to connected speakers or headphones.
Smart home controls on the lock screen
You no longer need to unlock your phone to access smart home controls from the lock screen.just go to set up > exhibit > lock screen > Control from a locked deviceand you can access your smart lights, cameras, and other smart home gadgets faster and easier with the home icon at the bottom left of the lock screen.
Quick Tap on Pixel phones lets you double-tap the back of the phone to take a screenshot or view notifications. In Android 13, Google added support for torches.go system > gesture > quick click > Toggle flashlight Give it a try.
Bluetooth LE audio support
Android 13 will support Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) audio and the Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3). In a nutshell, this means that wireless headphones, earbuds, and other devices that support it can reduce power consumption and improve audio quality.
Encrypted group chat
The arrival of Rich Communication Services (RCS) in the Google Messages app provides better support for texting and sharing images over Wi-Fi, and includes extra features like typing indicators so you know when someone replies. Android 13 goes a step further, adding end-to-end encryption to group chats (it already supports one-on-one chats).
Different languages of the application
For multilingual people, you’ll be happy to see that you can now choose a different default language for each application.immersion set up > system > language and input and click application language Set the language for a specific app.
new google wallet
To be your digital wallet for everything from payment and loyalty cards to hotel keys, vaccine cards, transit passes, and even IDs like your driver’s license, Google Wallet is returning to Android 13. It should be a secure alternative to a physical card that allows you to quickly share information, allowing you to leave your physical wallet at home. Google Wallet will be integrated into Google’s other applications and will work with Google Pay.
Special Offer for Gear Readers: Get 1 year subscription wired $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access wired.com and our print magazine (if you wish). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.