Android 13 is a reality and is already among us. After the news presented at Google I/O 2022, the software arrived with improvements in privacy, connectivity, and subtle updates in the visual part.
Tech Sailor has tested the new version to keep up with the evolution of the operating system. Does the new Android take the system to another level, or is it just more of the same? Check out our full Android 13 review below.
When Android 12 was announced, one of the biggest highlights was Material You, which redefined the face of the operating system. Google bets on a new visual identity and reformulated aesthetic concepts with a more friendly and comfortable design for the eyes.
The main change was the addition of dynamic colors to the themes. With the change, the system has up to 16 color options for customization, giving greater flexibility and customization without even having to change the wallpaper. However, although it was an excellent improvement, I missed more color options.
Android 13 is also the first operating system to allow third-party app-themed icons on the home screen. It is still not quite sure whether large companies will adhere to this design option, which can leave the mobile home screen quite confusing. However, the design of Google apps perfectly matches the colors you choose as your device’s theme.
I am a person who loves using my cell phone in dark mode, especially because I have photophobia. Hence, a nice new feature of the new interface is the ability to program the dark theme for nighttime. With that, I no longer suffer from the screen’s maximum brightness at dawn, waking up tired and trying to check the time — let’s face it, this causes a certain discomfort.
New media options in Quick Settings
Quick Settings got some interesting new features, like a new native media player. You can adjust the playback slider and change the audio output between the speaker and other devices. Also, listening to a song or opening a video on YouTube highlights the album art, and its advanced bar has animation as the content progresses.
Although this slider animation is a detail that, at first glance, seems irrelevant or merely visual, the change can be a hand in the wheel. That’s because it can indicate if you forgot to pause a song or podcast, especially if you’re not using your headphones or your cell phone volume is too low.
Many apps tend to be extremely invasive when it comes to sending notifications. And a nice point of the update, Android 13 tries to mitigate this: now, new apps will have to ask for permission to bombard users with notifications.
And even better, when accessing the “Notifications” tab of each app, it is possible to choose which types of notifications are displayed, in addition to only allowing them or not. That is a very interesting addition because it allows you to remove notifications considered unnecessary.
Another key addition was the option to share specific photos and videos with certain apps, eliminating access to all internal content. With this, it is possible to prevent certain apps from accessing images or files with sensitive information. The novelty comes in handy because it increases the privacy of data stored on the cell phone.
As some apps access the system clipboard and see the text copied by the user, Android will now automatically clear data copied by users.
Seeing all this, the question remains: why did Google take so long to bring these options? While these are highly powerful features regarding privacy, it feels like something that could have been done before.
Unfortunately, privacy seems like a difficult concept to guarantee on Android, as Google lives off advertising, especially the data shared by its users. However, it is notable that the company has been trying to be more transparent with each new update. And as far as possible, to make malicious access to user data difficult.
Following the iOS line, Android 13 brought a very interesting new feature: allowing each app to have a “preferred language.” This way, it is possible to use different applications in different languages.
Such is a very interesting point for those studying new languages or anyone who notice that the translation of certain platforms is not the best. Thus, users should decide which language to use in each application.
The only “but” comes precisely from the fact that few apps already support this feature. However, we expect that the novelty will reach new platforms over time.
Negative changes to screen division
One of the cool things that Android has always allowed you to do is to easily split-screen two apps. With Android 12L, Google even managed to bring interesting news to devices with larger screens, such as tablets and foldable devices. Still, in Android 13, the screen division process has become more blocked.
Before, with just one app open, it was already possible to put it on a split screen; now, you need to have at least two apps open to access the function.
Those who need to share files via Bluetooth will be in for a positive surprise. Android 13 now has Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), which offers low latency in data transmission. Bluetooth technology is great for this sort of thing, and I feel it could be used more. Who knows, with this extra option, more and more people will start to adhere to its daily use.
For those who use Chromebook, there is a novelty in terms of connectivity. To match the connectivity offered by Apple devices, Android 13 now allows you to respond to messages that arrive on the cell phone directly on the PC.
Although this is still an initial thing and only works with WhatsApp and Signal, it is possible to expect this connectivity to grow in the future.
Android 13 might not exactly be the most exciting version of Android we’ve seen released in recent times. Plus, it certainly doesn’t bring as significant changes as Android 12 did over its predecessor. Also, there aren’t many features that grab that much attention immediately, but that’s not necessarily bad.
And it’s not bad because the biggest changes have already arrived in Android 12. So Android 13 can have room to fix the biggest issues of the previous version while also improving some details. At the same time, the system can take a break from major changes to analyze what was well accepted and what was not.
The fact is that Google managed to understand even more what to do with its operating system, and all the announced features are stable and work well. With a mature environment, everything works as it should, and—the best thing—everything feels familiar and intuitive.
That gives the company a chance to focus on what matters, such as ensuring greater security, privacy, and stability. As we said in our Android 12 review, it’s good to see that Google is moving and developing all these things. For example, android 13 has better permissions options for notifications, and apps have less access to their local files.
Anyway, it is possible to note that Android has become a mature and stable operating system. Admittedly, version 13 did not bring the eye-catching updates. Still, it seems robust enough to keep the system at a high level in terms of functionality and solidity.