The day has finally arrived for Android phones to get the big annual update. The Google chest The stable Android 13 update today, and if you have a Pixel 4 or later model in your hand, the update notification will appear soon. I’ve already got it on my Pixel 6a, and installation is in progress.
Google says that phones from Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, Oppo, Realme and Xiaomi, among others, will start getting the update later this year. You can expect these brands to make an official announcement regarding their updated roadmap for their phones in the next few days.
Apart from rolling out the stable Android 13 release for Pixel phones, Google has also pushed it to release AOSP channel, which means that the code is now available for manufacturers and developers to tinker with and work on custom ROMs.
Android 13 isn’t as big an aesthetic overhaul as Android 12 was, focusing on smaller improvements that actually do make sense. To get started, you can now set the apps user interface language on a per-app basis. Bedtime mode now lets you play with wallpaper dimming and dark theme effects.
On the security side of things, the overhauled media permissions system now lets you grant access to only app-specific media files. The app can no longer get comprehensive access to your entire gallery if you don’t see it as necessary.
Additionally, if you are concerned that sensitive data copied to your clipboard is leaving you vulnerable, Android 13 performs an automatic deletion of all clipboard items at regular intervals. Moreover, apps can no longer look up location access to find nearby Wi-Fi devices.
Another modification that will make life easier for users is an improved notification system. Now, the app needs explicit permission before it can show a notification. Android 13 also adds an API that allows users to control the brightness levels of the LED flash on their phones.
For multitasking, especially on the big screen of tablets, Android 13 allows multi-window mode for all apps by default. Additionally, the app drawer has been added to the taskbar, complete with drag-and-drop support for opening an app in split-screen mode and for copying and pasting content.
On the audio side of things, Android 13 embraces the Bluetooth LE Audio standard that offers benefits like a higher quality audio experience while using less power, thanks to the new LC3 audio codec. Bluetooth LE Audio enables hearing aid support, delivers spatial audio with head tracking, and allows audio streaming to multiple devices.
Android 13 is also making some changes to the Camera2 API, which includes standardizing HDR video capture and previewing for media stabilization. Finally, there is a whole bunch of fixes for current issues and performance improvements.