Google has made its first public step toward Android 13, with the release of a Developer Preview. That begins an upgrade cycle for the mobile OS that normally leads in a fall release for the next version of Android. And Android 13 is on schedule to take that trip.
Android 13’s first developer preview is currently available. That’s hardly a surprise, considering that the first Android 12 developer preview hit at this time last year.
There’s still a lack of information about Android 13’s user-facing features, even with the fresh release. The upcoming Android version does seem more iterative with features like a new QR code scanner and similar additions, but there aren’t many concrete hints yet. On the other hand, that’s what we thought about Android 12 before Google delivered the Material You bombshell.
Here’s everything we know about Android 13 thus far.
Android 13 release date conjecture
The introduction of Android 13 Developer Preview 1 gives an approximate timetable for Google’s programme of upgrades and beta releases. If you recall Android 12’s release timeline, this will seem quite similar.
Even before we saw that timeframe, we thought the final Android 13 update would arrive in the autumn, around the introduction of the Pixel 7. But Google will likely specify the rollout timetable during its biennial Google I/O conference, which should come in May.
It’s worth mentioning Google’s Android 13 roadmap looks to schedule the first beta of the OS for April. That could be a touch ahead of the typical timetable, but we’d still anticipate a large Android 13 demonstration during Google I/O.
Android 13 potential features
We don’t know too much about Android 13’s feature list just yet – only a few of enhancements contained in Android 13 Developer Preview 1. But certain speculated features from Android Police may potentially fill in the holes.
Photo Picker: Added in the first developer beta for Android 13, the new Photo Picker adapts a feature currently present in iOS 15. You’ll be able to select whether to share particular photographs with an app rather than your complete library. Apps will only be able to view the data you want to share with them, which further protects your privacy.
Nearby Wi-Fi device permission: Another inclusion in the Android 13 developer version, Nearby Device permission now includes a Wi-Fi aspect. Specifically, an NEARBY WIFI DEVICES permission enables applications to access your phone’s knowledge of Wi-Fi access points, possibly restricting what you share with other apps.
You may recall that Android 12 permitted third-party applications to use themed icons, even though the option was only available in Google’s apps. Based on the developer preview, Android 13 provides the feature to third-party applications.
New QR code scanner: Screenshots provided by Android Police reveal two new QR code scanner choices. The first is enabling you to use your phone’s scanner from the lock screen, so you can read restaurant menus without unlocking your handset. This is something I’d be happy to see.
The iPhone and HomePods aren’t the only mobile devices with media playback handoff features on the way. Tapping your iPhone on a HomePod mini is how you transfer media to the device if you haven’t before. If Android Police’s source is right, Android 13 might see “Media TTT,” or Media Tap-to-Transfer. This would enable you to stream media from your phone to a Nest speaker or similar device by a simple touch. How this might function is unknown at this moment.
Redesigned media output picker: Android Police says Google won’t stop with a picture picker, bringing adjustments to each media output picker. This is where you pick what speaker plays your media, whether it’s your phone’s loudspeakers, your Bluetooth earphones, etc. As can be seen from the images provided, the volume bar in Android 12 will include a rounded, full-size option similar to the new main volume bar.
Adjustable flashlight: A fresh report from Esper has identified instructions in the developer beta that indicate Google would allow you control the brightness of your flashlight, rather than just having it on or off. This functionality has been available on iOS and select Android brands for some time, therefore it’ll be good to have this capability built-in by default.
App archiving: This may not be Android 13-specific, but Google has officially announced a new feature that will enable applications to be preserved in a smaller, archived format on users’ phones, lowering their storage footprint until they’re required. It seems especially handy for people with low onboard storage.
This is a direct ripoff of iOS in the form of notification permissions in Android 13 Developer Preview 2. This implies that you may explicitly block applications from giving you alerts when you initially start them, as long as developers bring in the feature.
Bluetooth LE audio: Android 13 will introduce support for Bluetooth LE audio, meaning you can hear higher-quality music with reduced battery use.
Android 13 will provide support for MIDI 2.0 devices as well.
Android 13: What we hope to see
There was no seamless transition from Android 5.0 Lollipop to Material Design in Android 12, just as there wasn’t one in Android 12. No matter how many engineers and programmers Google has working on this, they are all ultimately just humans. Mistakes and blunders are going to happen.
For Android 13, I’d want to see the following features, and I’m sure I’ll think of more.
Many issues have been fixed, but it’s no secret that Android 12 has had an unsteady start due to many flaws. While I personally haven’t had too many troubles, I know that many people have had the opposite experience. When Lollipop was released in 2014, various issues arose as a result of the switch to Material You. It was inevitable that problems would arise, but I hope Android 13 will fix them.
Bring restore the Wi-Fi Quick Settings tile: Google combined the mobile data and Wi-Fi settings under the “Internet” Quick Settings for Android 12 to make it easier to use. This makes toggling Wi-Fi, or switching networks, a nuisance. I wish to see this change reverted to the way it was in Android 11.
Universal scrolling screenshots: Android 12 brought scrolling screenshots, but only for specific applications. Developers have to add a “View-based UI” feature into their programmes, the absence of which implies no scrolling screenshots. I want to see Android 13 provide scrolling screenshots for all applications and circumstances, much as we’ve seen on certain other Android phones for years.
Access to your smart home controls via the power menu is now possible with the release of Android 11. A Quick Settings tile hides them on Android 12. Just to turn off my lights, I have to go through another process. Google should put back the power menu controls, in my opinion.