After month of anticipation, Google has officially announced the release of Android 13.
Although the Google Pixel 6 and some earlier Pixel models will be first to get the upgrade, we believe manufacturers are hard at work to ship Android 13 to their phones in the coming months.
While the changes introduced by Android 13 aren't as dramatic as the shift in design introduced by Android 12, it nevertheless offers a wealth of useful features and updates for your phone. Some of these are small changes that many won't notice, but others can substantially change how you use your Android.
After tinkering around in Android 13 for months, we've found the eight features we can't live without From long-awaited changes to some underrated Android gems, these are the features that we think are the standout champions of Android 13.
Nobody likes unnecessary notifications, so Android 13 now forces an opt-in approach for app notifications. Previously, this was an opt-out system, where you would have to manually dig through your notification settings to disable an app's notifications. Now, when you start an app for the first time, a pop-up window appears asking you if you want to allow or deny notifications.
Unfortunately, this doesn't let you enable or disable individual notification channels. But it's still a significant improvement over the previous opt-out method.
Per-app language settings
While this feature only affects part of the Android user base, it's a godsend for those who do. Bilingual users can now change their preferred language for individual apps. Some apps developed in a non-English language have poor English translations, so users proficient in those languages will be able to view them in the native language while the rest of their phone stays in English.
To change an app's language, head to the App Info page of an app and tap the Language button. Only apps for which developers have provided language files will show this option, so don't be surprised if your favorite app doesn't yet show the option.
Third-party Material You icons
While Material You offers a beautiful way to unify your apps under one color palette, app icon theming has been limited to Google's apps. Android 13 expands dynamic icon themes to every app, so your homescreen won't be a jarring mess of themes. However, enabling dynamic app theming is the responsibility of the developer, so don't expect an immediate change.
Left: Third-party icons without Material You theming. Right: Third-party icons with Material You theming.
Expansion of Material You palettes
Alongside the expansion of themed icons comes more Material You color schemes. There's a lot going on behind the scenes here, but it takes the form of an expanded range of 16 options in your wallpaper color picker. Simply head to the Wallpaper & Style menu to browse all the new colors.
Left: Color picker in Android 12. Right: Color picker in Android 13.
Android 13 brings significant improvement to copying text and images. When you copy text or an image in Android 13, a small pop-up window appears in the lower-left corner of your screen. This allows you to make edits to the text or image before sharing them. It also automatically clears after 60 minutes.
As you can see above, you can crop, doodle on, and annotate images before sharing them.
Android 13 is bringing a range of features to help manage multiple users on Android devices. There isn't one big change here, but each one adds up to make a greatly improved experience for people who share devices.
Left: New profile switcher screen. Middle: New profile picture picker. Right: Preinstalled app options.
Here are some of the improvements coming to Android 13:
7-day privacy dashboard
Android 12 introduced a privacy dashboard, which lets you see what your apps have been accessing over a 24-hour period. Android 13 has improved this feature by expanding the privacy dashboard to show the past seven days, along with more information about how your personal information has been used. It's not the most exciting feature, but it's a big step toward improving privacy.
Revamped media player
Continuing the theme of revamping features rather than introducing new ones, Android 13's media player has received some fantastic updates. It's completely redesigned the output picker introduced by Android 10. There's a great new look and additional features. Buttons for shuffle and repeat have been added, along with a squiggly playback bar. It also pulls its colors from the album's artwork.
Try out Android 13's best features and take a peek in the Settings too
From substantial visual changes like expanded Material You themes to subtler privacy improvements, Android 13 has brought plenty of upgrades to the OS. Many of these big changes are easy to spot once you've updated your phone, but there are few extrememly important changes in the Settings menu that you'll need to make
If you've had the same phone for the past several years, you can easily check to see if your phone will get the Android 13 update. If an update is not in the cards, all our favorite phones will get Android 13.
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