Google’s mobile operating system Android 13 has arrived and is now available for download for Pixel smartphones like the Google Pixel 6 Pro (our review). Other manufacturers are expected to follow shortly. We present the latest features to you in detail.
Android 13 released
Not quite a year after the launch of Android 12, Google is launching the next version of its mobile operating system – and once again well before the release of the Google Pixel 7 smartphone series, which is expected to launch in October.
Current Pixel devices will receive the update to the new Android version immediately, while all other manufacturers will have to wait in line and are expected to receive the update in the coming weeks and months. In addition to the new app streaming for the PC, which we reported on back in February, Android 13 comes with many exciting new features.
Android 13 design: further development of Material You
The design of Android 13 builds on and continues the customizable Material You UI introduced with the 12th version. This now allows apps not just from Google to be customized to match your smartphone’s background and colors.
Specific languages can now be assigned to individual apps, which should be especially interesting for those who speak multiple languages – one of the most requested features according to Google.
Android 13 features an updated media player that adapts its look and feel to the music or podcast you’re listening to. For example, when listening to music, the album art will be displayed, while the play bar will be able to dance during a song. This even works for media played through Chrome.
Android 13 also lets you further customize the bedtime mode by dimming the wallpaper and choosing a dark theme. These screen options will help your eyes adjust to the darkness when you’re about to go to sleep.
More protection and security
There will now be no need to share your entire media library with apps when they need access. With Android 13, individual photos or videos can be specifically selected for other apps to access.
Unwanted access to the clipboard is also prevented. Sensitive data such as e-mail address, phone number or login data that is copied to the smartphone is automatically deleted from the clipboard by Android after a certain time.
Also, newly downloaded apps will now have to ask your explicit permission if they want to send you notifications. This no longer happens automatically and should help keep notifications under control.
- For Apple users: What to expect with iOS 16 in the fall
Audio and collaboration
Android 13 will henceforth support Spatial Audio. For supported headphones that sense head movement, Spatial Audio shifts the sound source to adapt to the rotation of the head. And that directly in the operating system, this was previously only possible via the apps and functions of corresponding audio solutions.
Those who work with a laptop can stream their messaging app from their smartphone directly to a Chromebook and send or receive messages from there. A feature that Google is now finally adapting from Apple – even if (unfortunately) currently only with Chromebooks. However, this does not only apply to Google Messages, but also to many other popular messaging apps.
Android 13 also uses the new Bluetooth Low Energy Audio standard, which offers lower latency than classic audio. With Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio, you can also enjoy better audio quality and stream to multiple devices at once.
Thanks to “Smooth handoff“, it should also soon be possible to copy content such as a URL, image, text or video from a smartphone and paste it onto a tablet. Or vice versa. At the same time, multitasking on a tablet will become even easier. With the newly updated taskbar on tablets, all apps can be displayed at a glance. This also allows all apps in the library to be dragged and dropped into split-screen mode.
Android tablets also register your palm and stylus pen as separate touches. This should ensure fewer accidental touches. Other new features include HDR video support for third-party camera apps, an updated media output menu, Braille displays for talkback, and more.
You can check out all the features again in detail on Google’s overview page. Android 13 is rolling out to Pixel devices starting today. Later this year, Android 13 will also roll out to your favorite Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia smartphones), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, Vivo, Xiaomi and more.