First look at Android 13 “Tiramisu” and some of its upcoming features

silversurfer

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We bring to you an exclusive look at some of the features and changes you can see in Android 13 “Tiramisu”, the next version of Android that is likely to be unveiled after Android 12L’s stable release. [...] Now, a source with access to a very early Android 13 build has shared with us screenshots of the unreleased version, and through it, we can show off several upcoming features and changes. We have a high degree of confidence in the veracity of these screenshots. But since Android 13 is still quite some time away, features that we show here may or may not make it to the first Developer Preview of Android 13 that is expected to be publicly released in 2022.
 

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silversurfer

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Android 13 preview locks down notifications, adds more to the tablet taskbar​

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 is out, and with it come a bunch of changes for the next version of Android. Preview 2 is still a very early look at Android 13, and most of the big feature reveals for these Android previews come during Google I/O. The good news is that Google just set a date for that event: May 11–12.
 

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Android 13 will bring new restrictions on sideloaded apps. No, sideloading is not going away from Android phones. Google just wants to make it safer to sideload apps so bad actors can’t misuse them and inject malware into your devices.

According to Mishaal Rahman, Senior Technical Editor at Esper, Google won’t allow sideloaded apps to use the Accessibility API starting with Android 13.

Many Play Store and third-party apps use the Accessibility API to provide useful features. For Instance, TalkBack, the Google screenreader included on Android devices, uses the Accessibility API to read the contents on the screen on behalf of those who have vision problems.

However, the API can also be misused since it gives an app full control of your device. If you’ve ever installed an app that uses the Accessibility API, you would have noticed a prompt warning you that the app will be granted the ability to “view and control the screen” and “view and perform actions” on your behalf.

Because of the powerful nature of the Accessibility API, Google has been cracking down on its use for many years now. The most recent example is when the company changed its Play Store policies to restrict all call recording apps from accessing the API. In this case, Google said that the “Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.” Developers have till May 11 to comply with Google’s policy.
 

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Google releases Android 13 beta 2 with finer privacy controls and improved Material You​

At its Google I/O event on Wednesday, Google released the second beta of Android 13. The search giant highlighted several new aspects to Android 13 including better privacy controls that help users to limit what data apps have access to, an improved Material You theme system that works across more apps, a new Settings & Privacy page that can help you boost your security, swanky music controls that adjust their look based on the music you’re listening to, and the ability to change the language of each app – something that music be quite handy if you are bilingual and prefer certain apps in a particular language.
 

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Android 13 beta will test out-of-the-box support for most braille displays​

In the coming weeks, Google will begin beta testing a feature for Android 13 that makes it easier for users of braille displays to get up and running. Google announced in a blog post on Thursday that the next Android 13 beta will include “out-of-the-box support” for braille displays. Braille displays are used to create pin patterns to touch-read on-screen text and also type in braille. The display allows people with deafblindness to use smartphones and people who are blind to silently use mobile phones without screen readers or voice commands.

Braille display support was already available on Android with Google’s screen reader Talkback, but now you won’t have to install another app first to access the feature. Braille display users will continue to access the same functionality like navigating the screen with the display’s buttons, making a phone call, writing an email, or sending a text message.
 

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Android 13 beta reaches platform stability two months earlier than Android 12​

Google announced Android 13’s third public beta today and says that it has reached platform stability. That’s an indicator that Google has locked in major updates, and from here until the final release, it’s all about putting on the finishing touches. It’s also reaching this milestone a full two months earlier than Android 12, which was a much more ambitious update that reached Android device owners with plenty of bugs intact.

Android 13’s first developer preview arrived in February, the first public beta came in April, and the second public beta came with a big I/O announcement in May. While Android 12 centered around introducing some major new customization options in the form of Material You, Android 13 is a smaller update that takes those features a little further in the form of app icon themes and preset UI color variants.
If you want to take a look at Android 13 firsthand, you can check Google’s developer site to see if your device is eligible. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for the full public release likely coming this fall.
 

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Get fewer bugs on your Android 13 devices with Beta 3.3​

Google has already released two updates for Android 13 Beta 3 so far. It has now launched a third update, Beta 3.3, which claims to have fixed more bugs. The bugs include slow UI rendering, System UI crashes, and difficulties in connecting to Wi-Fi.

The first issue resolved in Beta 3.3 is the screen turning green temporarily when unlocking the phone with the Always On Display feature. The second is on Pixel devices that caused the Pixel launcher to crash when users swiped on the app search results page. Other fixed bugs include the system UI crashing on particular actions like gesturing to go back and bugs in the Bluetooth Manager Service. Users also reported that some devices would not respond unless rebooted if put on charge but that's now fixed. Android Beta 3.3 also fixed the slow UI rendering of apps due to the Connectivity Thermal Power Manager.
 

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Android 13 gets final Beta update ahead of general release​

Google typically tests upcoming major versions of Android with developers and public volunteers for a few months before it rolls out the update to its mobile OS generally. In the previous month, we received two updates for Android 13 Beta 3, and now, it's time for Beta 4. Android 13 Beta 4 is the final update in this channel ahead of the public release of the OS.

Android 13 already hit Platform Stability with Beta 3, and seeing that we are so close to general release, it's obvious that Google won't be introducing a bunch of new features in Beta 4. As such, this update only contains bug fixes and optimizations. App-facing system behaviors and APIs have already been finalized.

The focus for developers should now be to do some final testing to prepare for public availability of Android 13.
 

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Surprise! Android 13 is Here
Google released the final version of Android 13 about a month earlier than expected, and it’s available today on supported Pixels.

“Today we’re pushing the Android 13 source to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and officially releasing the newest version of Android,” Google vice president Seang Chau announced. “Android 13 is rolling out to Pixel devices starting today. Later this year, Android 13 will also roll out to more of your favorite devices from Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, Xiaomi, and more.”

Top features in Android 13 include Material You design improvements, app-specific language configuration, an updated media player, clipboard privacy protections, notifications improvements, spatial audio support, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio support, and new multitasking features for tablets and other big-screen devices.

And soon, Android 13 users will be able to stream messaging apps directly to Chromebooks and URLs, pictures, text, and video on an Android phone and paste it into an Android tablet (or vice versa). You can find a longer list of Android 13 features in this Google blog post.

Users who applied for the Android 13 Beta on supported Pixels can get Android 13 right now: just check for updates. (You should also opt out of future Beta releases on the Android Beta site unless you wish to test future updates.) Google doesn’t address third-party devices on the Beta, but they will presumably be getting it soon as well.
 

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You can’t revert from Android 13 to Android 12 on Pixel 6 devices​

Android 13 is now rolling out to Google’s Pixel phones, but if you want to flash the update onto your Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, or Pixel 6A, with the company’s custom Tensor chip, you won’t be able to flash back to Android 12 because of a bootloader update, according to a notice on Google’s developer website.

“Warning: The Android 13 update for Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and the Pixel 6a contains a bootloader update that increments the anti-roll back version,” the notice reads. “After flashing an Android 13 build on these devices you will not be able to flash older Android 12 builds.”
 

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10 Hidden Android 13 Features You Might Have Missed
Icons That Match Your Wallpaper
Assign Specific Languages to Apps
Quick Tap to Turn on the Flashlight
More Bedtime Mode Features
Safer Media Permissions
Automatic Clipboard Clearing
Notifications are Now Opt-In
Control the Vibration Strength
Seven-Day Privacy Dashboard View
See Which Apps Are Active
Android 13 has a lot to offer—just not on the surface. Updates that revolve around privacy and smaller “Quality of Life” improvements aren’t flashy, but they’re arguably even more important. Enjoy Android 13 when your device gets it!
 

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Android 13 review: Plans for the future, but not much to offer today​

The Android update treadmill continues with the release of Android 13. It's one of the smallest Android releases in recent memory, with barely any user-facing features to point to. Keep in mind, though, that this update follows the monster Android 12 release from last year. This is also the second Android OS release this year, the previous one being the tablet-focused Android 12L update that was rushed out the door in March.
 

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Android 13 raises minimum system requirement to 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage​

Android 13 has recently hit the streets, and with it, Google is raising the minimum requirements for Android phones. Google's latest blog post announced that the minimum amount of RAM for Android Go, the low-end version of Android, is now 2GB for Android 13, whereas previously, it was 1GB. Esper's Mishaal Rahman and Google Product Expert Jason Bayton also claim the minimum storage requirements have been bumped up to 16GB, though Google doesn't seem to have publicly documented this anywhere.

The increase in system requirements means any phone that doesn't meet the minimum specs won't be able to update to Android 13. New phones launching with Android 13 will need to meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for Play Store licensing, though launching with an older version of Android (with lower requirements) will still be an option for a while. Technically, anyone can grab the Android source code and build anything with it, but if you want to license the Google apps and have access to the Google-trademarked brand "Android," you'll need to comply with Google's rules.
 
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Google announced today that they will begin rolling out the Privacy Sandbox system on a limited number of Android 13 devices starting in early 2023.

The Privacy Sandbox for Android is a set of technologies Google introduced in February this year, aiming to limit the tracking of users while still providing advertisers with viable performance-measurement options.
 

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