Android 13 has arrived. Though the new version isn’t a dramatic upgrade from Android 12, it does pack a host of enhancements that should be helpful to individuals and organizations alike. To tout its new OS, Google published a blog post on Monday that also describes the latest features and updates in Android.
Where users can find Android 13
First, Android 13 has just kicked off, so it’s only reached a few devices so far. To run the new OS, you need a Pixel 4 or higher, which means any device in the Pixel 4, 5 or 6 lineup. If you qualify, simply head to the Settings screen on your phone and check the System Update setting. The new version is slated to hit other qualifying Android phones later this year, including those from Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and Vivo.
Android 13 user features
Building on the Material You design introduced last year, Android 13 lets you customize the icons for both Google apps and third-party apps to match your wallpaper theme and colors. Just long press on the home screen and select Wallpaper & style. You can then outfit your screen with different wallpaper images, themes and colors.
If you speak and work with different languages on your own or at your organization, you can better control how and where you use each language. For example, assign one language to your phone’s overall system but then apply different languages to specific apps.
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To help make sure you’re getting proper sleep, Android 13 lets you tweak the built-in Bedtime mode by adding a dark theme and a wallpaper dimmer. The goal is to help your eyes adjust to darker conditions if you need to use your phone during the night but then want to easily get back to sleep.
Copy and paste across devices
Not yet available but promised soon, another new feature in Android 13 lets you copy content from one device to another. You can copy text, an image or a hyperlink from your phone and then paste it onto your tablet, or vice versa. For this to work, the sending device must run Android 13, while the receiving device must be on Android 6 or higher.
Audio on Android 13
The improved Media Player changes its display based on your current music or podcast. Listen to a specific song or album, for example, and the player shows you the related album art complete with a playback bar that moves as the song plays. In another audio enhancement, the Spatial Audio feature changes the source of the sound based on how you move your head, providing a more immersive experience.
With Android 13 also comes support for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio, a Bluetooth standard that strives for lower latency. This means that your audio will better sync with the source without the delay that sometimes occurs with standard audio.
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Android 13 on tablets
For Android tablets on version 13, a refined taskbar allows you to see all your apps in your library so you can drag and drop any app into split-screen mode. Further, Android tablets will interpret your palm and stylus as two separate types of touches. So if you’re writing or drawing on the screen, you should experience fewer unintentional marks by just resting your hand on the screen.
Improved privacy controls
In a nod to privacy and security, you don’t have to share your entire photo library with apps that request access. Instead, you can share just specific photos and videos. When copying content to the clipboard, any sensitive data, such as your email address or account credentials, will automatically be cleared after a short period of time. And any app that wants to send you notifications must first ask your permission rather than sending them by default.