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We’ve rounded up the buzz for the upcoming Android OS update.
Mary is an associate editor for CNET Core Tech based in Charlotte. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as an editor at The Daily Tar Heel and reported on North Carolina culture for newspapers across the state. You can usually find her decked out in UNC merch and streaming lo-fi hip-hop while she writes.
Android 13 is well on its way, with Google having released the next Android OS’ second developer preview last month. Between the official word from Google and speculation from leakers, we’re already learning a lot about how Android 13 could build on Android 12’s , user-interface enhancements and . Most recently, we’ve heard that .
If you’re curious about Android 13’s release date, or if you’re wondering what new features could hit your phone in the coming months (here are some of the best ), we recommend bookmarking this page. We’ll be periodically updating it with all the Android 13 buzz we can find.
Although Google has not publicly revealed a specific release date for Android 13, the Android Developers blog provides a rough timeline for the rollout, with a beta coming out every month through July. The beta in July is listed as the “near-final build for final testing.”
Judging from precedent, Android 13 could debut a month after that final beta. Android 12’s fifth and final beta came out in September 2021, and Google officially released the app in October. With Android 11 (2020) and Android 10 (2019), the final betas dropped in August, and the OS hit phones in September. So we can reasonably assume that Android 13 will arrive in August this year. If not, September is a safe bet.
Keep in mind that Google sends Android updates to its first (and will probably ship the with Android 13). If you have a different Android phone, like a , or , you’ll likely have to to experience Android 13.
Android 12 introduced a that allows you to prevent apps from accessing your camera and mic, and it also added the option to show apps your approximate location instead of your exact whereabouts.
It appears that Android 13 will bolster these privacy settings. According to Google’s Android Developers blog, Android 13 will include a photo picker. This means when an app wants access to your images and videos — like social media and photo editing apps often do — you can select specific media files to share instead of granting access to all of them. (Android already has a document picker that allows for the same thing.)
The second developer preview for Android 13 introduced a new feature called “notification permission,” the Android Developers blog said. In order to send you notifications, apps will need you to give them your permission — and you can say “no.” The blog post shows a dialog box that asks, “Allow [App] to send you notifications?” (You’re then prompted to select “Allow” or “Don’t allow”.) Apple already requires developers to obtain your permission for apps to send you notifications.
The was the star of the show for Android 12, featuring UI color schemes that automatically adjust based on the wallpaper you select. The Android Developers blog says Android 13 will add even more color customization to Material You.
In Android 12, only Google apps work with the adjustable color palette feature. But Android 13 will expand the feature to all apps, as long as the apps’ developers agree to design alternate icons that are monochromatic.
A rumor from AndroidPolice citing a “trusted source” says Android 13 will let you choose more options for color customization. Among these are “spritz,” a desaturated version of the color scheme, and “expressive,” which incorporates hues differing from those that come by default with your wallpaper selection.
You’d be surprised how much of your battery life a single app can gobble up — even when you’re not actively using the app. Android 13 will send you a notification when an app uses a significant portion of your battery over the course of a day, according to the Android Developers blog.
The flashlights on Apple’s iPhones have offered adjustable brightness for years, but a rumor from Android analyst Mishaal Rahman says Google will finally integrate the feature into Android 13, allowing for some customization when you’re using the phone as a light source.
But Rahman says a lot of current Androids don’t have the hardware required to use this feature. Perhaps the will. If you have a Samsung phone, though, Samsung’s software overlay One UI already lets you adjust the torch brightness.
If you own a Pixel 4 or , Android 13 might be the last supported software update your phone can receive. This prediction is based solely on precedent: Android 12 is probably the last update for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3A, and Android 11 was the last for the Pixel 2.
If your Pixel 3 or 3A ends up being incompatible with Android 13, you can still keep using it with an older OS. But this means you won’t have access to the latest security patches, and that could put your data at risk.
For now, don’t. As exciting as the previews may be, early betas can make some apps stop working on your device for good. They usually have bugs and can put a damper on your battery life. (CNET’s Jason Cipriani while testing the iOS 15 betas.) If you have a , go for it — but we strongly caution against subjecting your main phone to bugs.
If you’re really feeling risky, though, here’s how to get Android 13 in its current state. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Even as we look forward to everything Android 13 will bring, it’s worth exploring . Last year’s OS had fun , including Game Mode and . Also, be sure to check out the .
If you’re curious about the , we’ve put together a list that includes the and last year’s .
Your guide to a better future