After presenting a first preview of Android 13, quite scarce in terms of new features, reserved for developers last February, after releasing the first public beta of the next version of its mobile operating system at the end of April Google follows its release schedule and took advantage of Google I/O, its annual developer conference, to present the second beta version of Android 13.
This second beta, which includes new features inspired by iOS and iPadOS, is it more promising than the previous one? We installed it on a Pixel smartphone and were able to play around with the new stuff a bit. This is what we take.
More control over data privacy
In recent years, Google has made many efforts to improve the protection of users’ personal data, in particular by establishing a system to grant access to data stored on smartphones for installed applications.
With this second beta of Android 13, the Mountain View company wants to go a little further. From now on, the operating system will no longer ask for access to Files and media, but will instead mark the difference between Photos and videos, and Music and audio.
For each app that requires access to your photos and videos, it will even be possible to manually select the photos and videos you authorize access to, without having to authorize full access to your photo library, like what exists in iOS.
Among the other innovations in terms of security, we highlight that all applications now require your authorization before sending you notifications.
Also, the contents you copy to the Android 13 clipboard are automatically deleted after a few minutes, to prevent apps from accessing old copied items.
Google has also announced the arrival later this year of a settings page dedicated to unified security and privacy. All the settings you have chosen will be registered there, with color indicators that will let you know if certain settings may represent a risk to your security.
Graphic and functional novelties
Last year, with Android 12, Google launched Material You. These new graphic codes, designed so that your phone adapts its colors to your use, will evolve under Android 13, in particular thanks to the introduction of new color variants. Thus, when you choose a color range, various color variants will be applied to all elements of the OS interface.
Android 13 will also take icon color theming a step further. On Pixel smartphones in particular, it will be possible to activate themed icons in the settings so that the icons of the applications installed on your device adopt the main color theme that you have chosen. Be careful though, if this color theme is applied beyond Google apps, developers will need to support this feature during their development.
A new media widget
On the media side, the thumbnail player widget found on the lock screen or notification center is also changing. Its interface will automatically adapt to the colors of the media being played, showing, for example, the cover of the album being listened to.
Android 13 goes polyglot
In addition to the new graphical interface, Android 13 will also change certain functional aspects. So, if you are lucky enough to be a polyglot, Android 13 will allow you to set the language of your apps individually from each other and from the language applied in the OS.
Perfect if you use a specific and more or less exotic application to chat with friends in a language other than French.
A universal search engine in Pixels
Pixel smartphone owners will be able to search for everything from one place. In Android 13, the Pixel Launcher search bar can query to find items locally on the device, but also to search online on Google.
Shades of gray before bed
Android 13 Beta 2 also introduces a new feature within the Digital Wellbeing settings. If you’re used to setting bedtime mode, you can now enable a “grayscale” mode that will turn on automatically when bedtime mode is activated.
The Android 13 interface will then abandon all the bright colors for a black and white interface (or rather in shades of gray), enough to encourage you to put your smartphone on your nightstand to fall into the arms of Morpheus .
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