Android 13 has been in development for the past year as the next major update for the best Android phones. Now, the update is finally starting to roll out to select phones.
What’s new in Android 13?
Android 13 is not another design overhaul, like Android 12 was; instead, Google focused on smaller usability improvements and security updates. There are some design changes, like an updated media player in the quick settings panel and support for themed icons that match the color of the wallpaper. However, device manufacturers may change the appearance of each feature for their phones. The large-screen taskbar introduced in Android 12L has also been improved, with a built-in app launcher and other features.
Android 13 has a lot of small changes throughout the operating system, which all add up to a better experience. You can now set different languages for individual apps, use Spatial Audio on compatible devices and headsets, use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio, record HDR video on third-party camera apps, and more. Bluetooth LE Audio support is especially important for future wireless headphones and earphones, as it can reduce battery drain and Bluetooth audio latency on compatible devices.
Google has also updated Android permissions again. Apps must now explicitly ask to send you notifications, just like on the iPhone and iPad. You could already block notifications from apps on Android, but apps can no longer send them by default. Google is also introducing a new photo picker intended to replace the less secure READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission.
Google said in its announcement: “Android 13 helps ensure that your devices feel unique to you, on your terms. It comes packed with new capabilities for your phone and tablet, like extending the app color theme to even more apps, language settings that can be configured at an app level, enhanced privacy controls, and even the ability to copy text and media from an Android. device and paste it to another with just one click.
Although Android 13 has many changes, some of them (especially the design updates) will not be present on all devices. Google allows device manufacturers to customize Android, so using a Google Pixel and using a Samsung Galaxy phone can be very different experiences. Samsung’s version of Android 13 (One UI 5.0) will include stackable widgets, new sound options, more accessibility settings, and other tweaks in addition to Google’s changes.
When will I get Android 13?
As usual, Google Pixel phones are the first to receive Android 13. Android 13 is coming to the Pixel 4 and later, including budget series 4a and later. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL were officially left behind, having received a final update earlier this year, with support for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL ending in February.
Google said in its announcement, “Later this year, Android 13 will also roll out to your favorite devices from Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia phones), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, Vivo, Xiaomi and more”.
Samsung typically takes a few months to complete its major Android updates after Google releases them. There was a three month gap between the release of Android 12 and the global release of One UI 4.0 (Samsung’s version of Android 12). However, this year’s release could be quicker if no last-minute bugs are discovered: Last year’s One UI 4 beta didn’t launch until September, but the One UI 5 beta for Android 12 did arrive in September. early this month.
Aside from Google’s own Pixel phones, we don’t know precisely which phones and tablets will receive Android 13 and which will be left behind. Samsung’s flagship and mid-range phones and tablets now get at least three years of major Android updates, starting at device launch, with newer models getting four years of updates.