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

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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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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.