With the release of Android 12 in 2021, followed by subsequent Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro releases, we’re already wondering what the next version of Android will bring.
Since its debut in 2008, Android has brought an important feature to every headline release. But with Android 13 codenamed Tiramisu, it could be a perfect time for Google to tweak what’s already in the millions of Android smartphones around the world.
We’ve scoured our Pixel, OnePlus, and other Android phones to round up five features we’d like to see in Android 13 later this year, no matter how big or small.
But first, we’ll run you through when we expect it to land and which Android phones are likely to be supported. We’ll also take a look at the features we already know as the Developer Preview is now available, complete with some Android 13 features.
Android 13 release date rumors
A new Android version usually comes out in February for developers and in fact the first developer preview of Android 13 is now available after launching on February 10th and a second preview has since followed.
These early releases give developers a glimpse of what’s coming this fall and give them an idea of what they might implement for future versions of their apps.
Google also released an Android 13 roadmap, which you can see above. From this you can see that the first proper beta could land in April, with a stable release in June, likely to coincide with the Google I/O, which we now know will launch on May 11th, then a ship date in September. Although October is also possible, that’s where Android 12 has landed.
Phones supported by Android 13
Android has a reputation for not making it easy to update your phone to the latest version. Part of this is down to the different manufacturers how they have designed Android to fit a brand like Samsung.
However, since Google releases a new Pixel phone every year, these usually come with the latest version of Android. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a Pixel 7 or a Pixel Fold with Android 13 were released again in October.
Other manufacturers usually follow after a few months of testing and put their own spin on the new Android version, but that doesn’t usually last until the first half of next year.
Android 13 features
We don’t know much about what Android 13 will offer yet, but the first developer preview revealed some features, while a second developer preview revealed more.
Keen-eyed developers have recently spotted signs that Android 13 could support the use of two numbers (and two carriers) on a single eSIM at the same time – a technology Google patented back in 2020.
Meanwhile, Google’s dynamic theme (which changes the color of the icons to match your wallpaper) now works with third-party app icons. This is just a Pixel feature for now, but with Google pushing to get other manufacturers to support dynamic themes, most phones should benefit.
This version also focuses heavily on privacy, adding a photo picker feature that lets you share media like photos with apps without giving them access to your entire media library.
Similarly, a new “Nearby Wi-Fi Devices Permission” allows apps to discover and connect to nearby devices over Wi-Fi without requiring location permissions.
Also, Android 13 users can set the default language per app. For example, you could have one app in English and another in Spanish.
The second developer preview includes a new Foreground Services Task Manager to monitor and close apps that are running in the foreground.
It also includes the ability to dim background images, redesigned media controls, and new user profile features such as B. a profile selector button in the status bar and a full screen profile switcher, probably designed for use with larger devices. When you first open an app, it must now ask your permission to send you notifications.
While not a confirmed feature, evidence of the ability to change the brightness of the flashlight has also been found in the Android 13 code, although it looks like this will be mostly limited to phones launching with Android 13 – not to those who have been updated to it.
Google has also announced that it is working on app archiving – a feature that lets you archive apps to free up around 60% of the storage space they use without completely deleting them. This would remove parts of them but keep the icon on your phone and mean they can be quickly restored the next time you use them.
The company hasn’t confirmed that app archiving will be coming to Android 13, but has said it will arrive later this year, so Android 13 is likely.
what we want to see
Android 13 is still a while away, so we’ve compiled a list of improvements we’d like to see from the next-gen software.
1. UI fixes
While Material You presents a new look for Android, it’s not without its flaws. Some buttons confuse users when a feature is enabled. For example, if you go to “Internet” in the notification center, you have to press this icon again to switch between mobile data, Wi-Fi and hotspot. It feels convoluted, and there’s no way to make those three options a separate toggle.
Also, the colors in Android 12 lack contrast – everything looks pale compared to the vibrancy displayed by iOS. But according to Android Police, it looks like Google is already aware of this, as new bright colors for Android 13 appear to have been leaked.
According to a new leak from @AndroidPolice, Google is rolling out some customization options for Android’s wallpaper-based theme system called Monet. This comes in the form of new styles called TONAL_SPOT, VIBRANT, EXPRESSIVE and SPRITZ.https://t.co/IRjuWjRaSx pic.twitter.com/3pso679kUwJanuary 13, 2022
Giving some saturated colors over the UI could improve the overall look and feel of Android. However, the Material You design we’re currently seeing is essentially version 1.0 of a new look for the operating system. iOS still sees refinements in its flat design since 2013, so we’ll see visual improvements in Android for years to come.
This feature was introduced for some apps in Android 12, where you could take a screenshot of a webpage, but Android would stitch the content into one image.
While it’s a useful feature, developers need to build a “view-based UI” into the app, otherwise scrolling screenshots isn’t an option for users.
Instead, Android 13 should make these available to all apps regardless of the current requirement. Users shouldn’t have to check whether certain features in Android are also available for certain apps, and scrolling screenshots is one of them.
3. Release the backtap gesture
This first appeared in a beta version of Android 11 in 2020, before being removed when the final version came out for the Pixel 4 series and other smartphones.
A variant is already available for Apple’s iOS 15 that allows you to customize a back-tap gesture on your iPhone, which can be used to launch the camera app or a shortcut, for example.
It’s very useful when you’re browsing another app and want to quickly switch to the camera app without going back to the home screen and finding the icon.
For Android, the backtap could be an easy win for users, especially since the software is more customizable compared to iOS. Imagine an Android 13 backtap where you can launch specific apps or media with a specific number of taps or the end result will change depending on which app you’re currently using.
4. Passing iOS
This may be coming as early as Android 13, according to Android Police, and reflects a feature that lets you cast what you’re hearing on your iPhone to a HomePod speaker, for example.
Tentatively called “TTT” or Tap to Transfer, it lets you send the media you’re watching or listening to to a device that could be at home or at work.
With a glut of Android TVs and smart speakers, this could work well for easier media broadcasting from your smartphone.
5. Please fix the “Open by default” function.
Prior to Android 12, you could open a file and a message box would appear asking if you wanted to open it just once or in an app from then on.
It was a simple message box, but it served a purpose. But with Android 12, an “open with default” appears instead, freeing you from the choice to use an app once.
This change has been frustrating for users as it requires you to go deep into the Settings app for the file type to forget to open in a specific app. Let’s restore Android 13 to its original state. That’s all we ask.