The top 8 Android 13 features you’ll want to try today
Android 13 is rolling out to devices and bringing expanded Material You support, notification permissions, a fantastic photo picker, and more to Android users. Although Pixel phones were the first to get the upgrade, manufacturers of the best Android phones are working hard at shipping Android 13 to their phones. Those eagerly anticipating the brand new Pixel 7 will see the phone launch with Android 13. If your phone doesn’t yet support Android 13, you should be able to install a beta build.
AP’s staff has been testing Android 13 since the first Developer Build was released. Since the final release, we’ve spent even more time testing and reviewing Android 13. We found some very helpful features over the past several months, but here are the eight best features that everyone with Android 13 should try.
Android 13 is still rolling out to users. If you own a Pixel, you should have the update. Our guide shows you how to update your Pixel if you’re struggling to update from Android 12. If your phone is from Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, or another manufacturer that sells products in the U.S., check out our Android 13 update guide. It’s updated as we learn new information and gives you an idea of if and when your phone will get an update.
Managing notifications on Android can take a lot of work, but with Android 13, Google added an opt-in method for many permissions, including notifications. Upon starting an app, you may be prompted by a pop-up asking if you want to allow or deny specific permissions. This is a great way to avoid receiving notifications from apps you rarely use and to manage which devices have access to your data.
The new permissions include:
- Notifications (except you can’t enable or disable individual notification channels)
- Image files
- Video files
- Audio files
Android 13 also brings a new permission that allows apps to search for nearby Wi-Fi devices. This means an app no longer needs to access your location to find nearby devices.
2. Language settings are per app in Android 13
Possibly the best feature in Android 13, multilingual Android users can now have a different language for each app. The feature is new in Android 13 and comes two years after Apple announced per-app language settings in iOS.
To change an app’s language, head to the App Info page and tap the Language button. Developers must provide language files to enable this option, so don’t be surprised if your favorite app doesn’t yet show the option.
3. Third-party Material You icons get full support in Android 13
With Android 13, third-party apps now have access to the full suite of Material You tools. These apps now use dynamic app icon theming, so your homescreen will no longer be a jarring mess of themes. However, dynamic app theming is the responsibility of the developer, and adoption has been slow. While popular apps like Whatsapp and Spotify now include Material You support, it’s likely most of your apps do not yet support this feature.
Left: Third-party icons without Material You theming. Right: Third-party icons with Material You theming.
4. Android 13 introduces even more Material You palettes
Alongside the expansion of themed icons comes an expanded range of 16 Material You options in the wallpaper color picker. These themes slot in nicely with the existing range, so you have a few more tasteful options to choose from. For a thorough breakdown of how these styles came to be, check out our exclusive coverage. Long press on your homescreen and tap Wallpaper & Style to browse the new colors.
Left: Color picker in Android 12. Right: Color picker in Android 13.
5. Copying text and images is much easier in Android 13
Android 13 streamlines copying text and images. When you copy text or an image in Android 13, a small pop-up window appears in the lower-left corner of your screen. Tapping this will let you edit the text or image, and when you’re done you can share directly from the tool. It automatically clears after 60 minutes, so don’t worry about copied content staying around forever.
As you can see above, you can crop, doodle on, and annotate images before sharing them.
6. Android 13’s Photo Picker lets you set image sharing options per app.
Photo Picker is another feature that first appeared on iOS. It allows Android 13 users to control how their data is shared with third-party apps. When you share images with an app, the app can only access the photos you choose. You won’t need to do anything different. However, developers need to update their apps to enable this feature. So like multilingual support or themed icons, you may need to wait some time to see this feature in action.
7. Android 13 adds a seven-day privacy dashboard to the mix
Android 12 introduced a privacy dashboard, which shows you what your apps have accessed over the last 24 hours. Android 13 has improved this feature by expanding the privacy dashboard to show the past seven days and more information about how apps use your personal information. It’s not the most exciting feature, but it’s a big step toward improving privacy.
Continuing the theme of revamping features rather than introducing new ones, Android 13’s media player has completely redesigned the output picker introduced by Android 10. Buttons for shuffle and repeat have been added, along with a squiggly playback bar. It also pulls its colors from the album’s artwork. It’s a great new look that probably caught your eye!
Try out Android 13’s best features and take a peek in the Settings
From substantial visual changes like expanded Material You themes to subtler privacy improvements, Android 13 has brought plenty of upgrades to the OS. The big changes are easy to spot once you’ve updated your phone, but there are a few significant changes in the Settings menu that we recommend looking at.