Google’s Android 12 may be rolling out to smartphones and tablets, but the company is already working on Android 13 (and mid-cycle Android 12L). The upcoming features have been spotted by sleuths from XDA Developers and others, citing sources with access to internal access builds. XDA has been pretty good with the Android preview leaks, so they’re pretty reliable, with a few caveats that we’ll detail below.
What’s coming in Android 13?
To put it simply, we can’t say for sure. While a few features have leaked here and there, Google generally keeps its consumer-focused cards close to its vest ahead of the big I/O event in May. There are hints of what might be in the code, but anything not announced might just not reach consumers due to technical, policy, or even legal issues, so consider that more of a rough indicator of what might happen rather than what is definitely to come.
Android 13 release date
If the patterns hold, the first Android 13 developer previews should arrive in February or March. Google is not going to tell us then what is Android 13 really by the way, especially with an Android 12L version still around the corner. We expect this reveal to happen at or around Google I/O in May, with a release in the cards anytime between August and September 2022.
Even more material than you
You debuted Android 12 as Google’s enhanced personalization feature for Android that pulls colors from your wallpaper to them them your apps and phone interface. It’s available now on Google Pixels and some other Android 12 phones, while Google is working to make it widely available on all devices running Android 12L and later. With Android 13, sources speaking to android font shared that Google plans to allow users to change how these colors are displayed. At the moment, Material You is very pastel. Although it is to some people’s taste, not everyone agrees with this look. It also gets a bit boring, especially when Android 11 unexpectedly had a much larger and immediately available color choice.
With Android 13, Google plans to improve color tints with four new options. Material You’ll still choose the colors for your wallpaper, but how it displays them will be a bit up to you. The current options are “Tonal Spot”, “Vibrant”, “Expressive” and “Spiritz”. Like Ars-Technica Point out, Google’s Pixel 6 promotional images show more vibrant colors than you can get on Android 12, so this could be a way for Google to fix this while putting more power in the hands of the user.
If Google does not manipulate notifications in Android, can we really talk about a major update? Android 13 settings spotted showing support for notification permissions. This means that Google won’t let any Android app send you notifications right off the bat. Just like you’ll see in Chrome or other modern browsers, they’ll need to explicitly request and be granted access to send you notifications. For apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, most users would without hesitation, but gaming and shopping apps may find it a little harder to get away with the notification spam they’ve been inflicting for years.
Tap to transfer
Between its iPhones and HomePods, Apple offers a feature known as Tap to Transfer. When you’re listening to a song on your iPhone with Apple Music, you can easily tap the Homepod to transfer the playback to the speaker for richer sound without fiddling with the onscreen controls. Google is reportedly working on this for Android 13 according to a mockup shared by android font. There’s nothing well known about it other than it currently exists, so it’s more of a possibility than a certainty. Still, with Google selling Nest Audios and Nest Minis – as well as the wider ecosystem of Cast-enabled smart speakers out there – it would be a pretty nice feature to have.
Easier to access QR code scanner
QR codes have become much more important in the age of COVID-19, and Google may be working on a way to make them easier to use in the future. It’s worth noting that you can already scan QR codes via Google Camera or an equivalent third-party Android phone app. With Android 13, Google is would have worked on a built-in QR code scanner that will be able to work directly on the lock screen and be accessible through the quick settings app. It will be more convenient than the camera, although it hardly changes much. Google’s QR code scanner has recently come under fire for security flaws, so hopefully the company fixes the issues before release.
Google adds native support for per-app language settings to Android. Currently, users can set a default system language used by all apps on their phone, but Google is working on a new setting that will let you choose which apps use which language. Your WhatsApp can be in English, your Telegram in Russian, your WeChat in Chinese, etc. It’s a nice little tool for people who speak multiple languages and communicate with others around the world. Android Police reports that Google is working towards a deadline for Android 13, so we could see this as a flagship Google I/O feature in May.
At this early stage, there’s nothing really huge about Android 13. Google is working on a QR code scanner to integrate with Android, but you can do that now with the built-in camera apps on most best Android phones, or simply download and use Google Lens. There are signs of an iOS-like Music Transfer feature, letting you transfer music to speakers just by tapping on it, and the OS could improve support for multilingual users with language options per application.