How does Android 13 differ from Android 12? There isn't much

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 25 Jul, 2022

I finally updated my Pixel 6 Pro to Android 13 after Google released the final beta of the OS recently. I don't think it's much.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do this sooner since we were on a connectivity-challenged Alaska cruise that began on the same day that Google released the beta. There was such bad connectivity during the cruise that I wasn't even able to backup my photos or watch any online videos.

My iPhone 13 Pro has been my primary device this year for reasons outlined elsewhere. As a result, I did not feel it was worth installing the beta since I understood the meager changes in this release. However, I decided to go for it once we returned to Seattle and had more normal connectivity.

In addition, I am not sure I would have noticed a secret update if someone had done it when I wasn't looking. It's just that there's not much to report. I guess perspective plays a part in determining whether that's good or bad. I've previously written about iOS 16 and Android 13; Apple delivers a major upgrade this year, and Google doesn't.

As I've mentioned in each pre-release milestone, I knew this would be the case. A developer preview of Android 13 (DP1) was released by Google in February, followed by DP2 in March, Beta 1 in April, Beta 2 at Google I/O in May,

Beta 3 with 'platform stability' in May, numerous Beta 3 updates, and  Beta 4 in July. Moreover, you don't need to spend time combing through the new features in each release, since I've already done the work for you. The list isn't very long either.

It's kind of surprising that Google's Material You monochrome icons have been extended to third-party apps. Due to Google's apps only supporting this option with Android 12, I ended up with a weird mix of monochrome and full-color icons. In reality, this expansion means little nowadays, as there are so few third-party apps that support it.

As app makers move to support this (polarizing, though at least optional) icon style, the result could/should change over time. Given Google's AI prowess, it's unclear why Android cannot automatically auto-monochrome non-conformant app icons.

Other changes aren't as dramatic. With Android 13, you'll be able to use Bluetooth LE Audio and you'll be able to pick photos through a new photo picker, you'll be able to access files in granular ways, and app languages will be supported per app.

At I/O, Google's Trystan Upstill described a new feature in which you can control access to 'Photos and videos' and 'Music & audio,' rather than 'Files and media.' “For even more specificity, a new photo picker lets you select the exact photos or videos you want to grant access to, without needing to share your entire media library with an app.”

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