At Google’s I/O developer conference, the company announced that it’s releasing the second public beta of Android 13 today. The beta comes with a number of new features and user controls, along with updates to privacy and security.
With Android 13, Google says it’s giving users more control over what personal information they share and more detailed control over what files apps can access. Instead of permitting access to “Files and media,” there are two new categories you can control access to: Photos & videos and Music & audio. The company is also rolling out a new option that lets you select the exact photos or videos you want to grant an app access to, as opposed to having to share your entire media library with an app.
Google is also looking to give users more control over how they engage with apps and notifications, as apps must get your permission before sending you notifications in Android 13. The company is also reducing the number of apps that require your location. For instance, users will no longer have to grant location to apps to enable Wi-Fi scanning.
Although users already receive an alert when an app accesses their clipboard, Android 13 will go beyond this and automatically delete your clipboard history after a short period of time to prevent apps from seeing old copied information. Google also plans to introduce a new unified Security & Privacy settings page in Android 13 that provides a clear indicator of your safety status while also offering suggestions that will enhance your security.
Last year, Google introduced the Material You experience, where when you change your wallpaper, the entire Android 12 experience changes to match its colors. With Android 13, Google plans to roll out pre-made color variants that will apply a color scheme across the entire OS. The company is also extending the color-theming of app icons beyond Google apps. Starting with Pixel devices, users will be able to toggle on the “Themed apps” setting to have all supported apps match their phone’s colors. In addition, Google is introducing a new media control that tailors its look based on the music that you’re listening to.
Google notes that personalized within Android 13 goes beyond aesthetics and also focuses on other areas, such as language preferences. Users will be able select different languages for each app. The new feature will be useful for people who are multilingual and use different languages depending on specific situations.
“For example, you might enjoy social media in one language, but bank in another,” Google said in a blog post. “Android 13 helps you use language as fluidly as you do in real life, so you can select a different language preference for each of your apps in Settings.”
As for tablets, Google is building on Android 12L’s update that optimized the layout for bigger screen devices. With Android 13, Google is going to introduce better multitasking capabilities for tablets through an updated taskbar that can be used to easily switch your single tablet view to a split-screen. Google is also adding palm detection, which will prevent triggering unintended actions when your hand is resting on the screen. The new feature will be useful for people who use their tablets to write or draw using a stylus pen.
Lastly, Google plans to update more than 20 of its apps to be a better fit for larger screens. Many third-party apps, such as TikTok, Facebook and Zoom, will be revamped for larger screens.
The company says users can find many of these new features today in the second beta of Android 13. Google also teased that there’s more in store for Android 13, such as features that “shape modern standards for audio and video like HDR video, Spatial Audio and Bluetooth Low Energy Audio.”