Android 13 Beta Hands-on: A bit hard to get excited about 2022-04-30 07:00:51


Android settings version number 13

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Android 13 is now officially in beta, which brings it one step closer to launching later in the year. While there is still work to be done, moving to the beta version means that Google has reserved a good chunk of the features dedicated to the latest version of Android 13. So, let’s take a look at what it’s like to use the latest and greatest version of Android. Androidand whether you should dive right away.

Android 13 wallpaper color options

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

On the surface, Android 13 in beta looks almost identical to Android 12. Google’s Material You theme is still big and bold, with large areas dedicated to quick settings icons, white space in the settings menu, home screen icons, and colorful Google widgets. Setting the wallpaper color works as before, although Android 13 chooses a wider range of matching colors to customize your phone. There are now sixteen variants to choose from, out of four with Android 12. The Themed Icon option remains an experimental feature, as does Android 12. Infuriatingly, it still doesn’t apply it to every third-party app icon yet.

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So the customization options are marginally more powerful, but they don’t change the rules of the game either. Unfortunately, those who haven’t been fans of Material You yet will find no solace in Google’s continued investment in designing this very interface.

Google has made some minor cosmetic changes to the experimental user interface. The power and settings buttons have been moved from the bottom of the quick settings menu to the lower right corner. Ok, but their proximity to each other now makes it very easy to hit the power button instead of the settings icon. The time isn’t aligned perfectly to the left in the notification center either. These changes look for change rather than real improvements. There are also marginal changes to the appearance of the media player notification area, and there is an alternative lock screen clock setting to choose from as well.

Android 13 looks like 12. Most of the changes come from behind the scenes.

You’ll also discover some changes in the settings menu, provided you have the patience to go through them all. Display size and text settings, for example, are now together, complete with a new preview screen showing how changes affect the user interface in real time. Do Not Disturb has reverted to its original name, with the nickname Priority Mode dropped. While it sure is for the best, the futility of such a change suggests that there are a few thumbs up just looking for anything that can be modified in Android HQ.

But overall, it’s hard to pinpoint any meaningful changes to how the Android 13 beta works day in and day out. The new and more powerful clipboard overlay allows you to edit and share both the text and images you copy. It appears in the same lower-left shape as Google’s screenshot tool, complete with an edit button. You can see it in action in the screenshots below. There’s not much to it, but it’s a nice little quality of life feature that most people will find useful, if only once or twice.

This is the cosmetic nature of the first Android 13 beta in a nutshell. Nips and tucks to modify the existing formula, but there are no major changes to the user interface. That’s to be expected, though, since the big tweaks have already been made with Android 12 and the stuff, it’s almost certain that you’ll keep working for the next couple of years – or longer.

Focus on privacy and security

Android 13 new notification permissions

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

if you read Google Blog Post When the Android 13 beta arrives, you will undoubtedly notice that the latest version of the operating system is all about building on the “Privacy and Security Essentials”.

Android 13 is full of popups asking for permission to allow apps to display notifications for beginners. It’s good that Google takes unwanted notifications seriously, but the popup itself is a bit annoying as it appears every time you open an app and appears at random intervals to constantly ask for permission.

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Speaking of permissions, one of the new features in the latest beta is the app’s more accurate access to your media files. There is now a dedicated permission to access shared media files divided by audio, photo, and video permissions. Previously, there was only one general permission to access media files. This seems like a more natural change, and while it sounds simple, it will help keep important documents more secure.

Android’s biggest changes continue to focus on giving users better control over their data and privacy.

All this follows Google’s latest drive to give users more control over their data and privacy. Android 11 and 12 have already revamped a lot of the permission space, introducing a privacy dashboard to help users keep a close eye on permission and automatically revoke permissions from apps you haven’t used in a long time. It looks as though we’ll see the bulk of the improvements in the latest version of Android 13. While these changes might not be particularly exciting and arguably could be added as feature drops rather than waiting for the entire OS to upgrade, they are certainly welcome additions. to the tried and tested Android version.

Early hands-on verdict on Android 13: Yes…and?

New media notification in Android 13

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Some cumulative subtleties were hidden in the first Android 13 beta, including baked-in support for better QR scanning, Bluetooth LE Audio, integrated Fast Pair, and smart home adjustment controls. To complement the additions, there is a new audio routing API that will help media apps predict how their media will be routed, as well as improved error reporting for Keystore and KeyMint. But again, these are mostly behind-the-scenes changes that users won’t necessarily notice.

However, there are still many missing. I wasn’t able to activate the new private photo picker or detect the rumored changes to handling multiuser, and Pixel 6 Pro’s face unlock feature Which seems to be in the works is still not implemented. Many other Android 13 features await apps that support many new APIs as well.

Have you installed the beta version of Android 13?

16 votes

Based on my short time with the first beta of Android 13, it’s a good upgrade to the operating system but not one of the more exciting changes to the platform. Perhaps the most significant improvements will come with devices with large screens. However, it works great on the mid-range Pixel 5 I have it installed, which bodes well for the full release in the coming months.

Android 13 is on the right track, but don’t rush to install the beta yet.

With all of that in mind, I wouldn’t recommend going out to install the Android 13 beta just yet, especially if you’re happy with Android 12. There’s not much to discover and play with right now, and Google still has the rest of the work done before all the expected features are in place. But things are shaping up well.

Continue reading: 5 Android 13 Features We’re Really Excited About