Android 13, the latest version of Google’s software for mobile phones, is now available for download starting today. The list of Pixel devices starts at Pixel 4 and above so if you still have an older Pixel 3, you will not be getting the update. The latest version of Android comes with some new features for phones and tablets, including the ability to extend app colour themes to more apps, language settings at the app level, privacy controls, and the option to copy-paste media from one device to another with just a click. Here’s a quick look.
Google’s Android 13 is ready to download on Pixel phones first. The list includes Pixel 4, 4 XL, Pixel 4a, 4a (5G), Pixel 5, 5a, Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 6a. Android 13 will also roll out to your devices from Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia phones), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, Vivo, Xiaomi and more, according to Google’s blog post.
Google has also listed some of the new features for Android 13. The home screen can be customised further with and builds on the Material You design we saw with Android 12. Google says users can now customise non-Google apps to match the phone’s wallpaper theme and colours.
Android users will now be able to assign a specific language to individual apps. This is aimed at users who are comfortable in other languages. So a user can keep the phone’s system language as one and pick a different language for any app.
There’s more privacy in Android 13 as well. Users can select only specific photos and videos with an app. They no longer have to share the entire photo library if an app asks for permission. Google is also adding more protection to clipboard data, especially if you copy sensitive data like your email address, phone number or login credentials on your device. Android will automatically clear your clipboard history after a period of time.
Android 13 is also offering more granular control over notifications and making sure you only get select alerts. The apps you download will now need your explicit permission to send notifications, adds the blog post.
Google is also bringing Spatial Audio support to Android 13. Headphones which support this particular feature will give users a more immersive listening experience on Android 13 devices.
There’s also more continuity between different devices. Users will be able to stream their messaging apps directly to your Chromebook so they can send and receive messages from the laptop itself. More importantly, users will be able to copy any piece of content from their Android phone and paste it onto their tablet. Google says it works the other way around as well.
Android 13 is also adopting Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio, a new Bluetooth audio standard that results in lower latency than classic audio.
Android 13 is also making productivity and multitasking on tablets much easier. There is an updated taskbar on tablets to let users see all of their key apps. It also supports the ability to easily drag and drop any app into split-screen mode. Further, Android tablets will register palm and stylus pens as separate touches. Google says this will ensure fewer accidental stray marks when using a tablet.