Users of Pixel phones can now download Google Android 13 after several months of beta testing. The operating system is an iterative version that builds on the groundwork established with Android 12 and debuts earlier in 2022 than the traditional Android autumn release. It also offers easy multitasking options, cross-compatibility with Chromebooks and Google tablets, per-app language customizing, photo-picking enhancements, and expanded privacy and security features. The Material You is also significantly more complex and customizable. Android 13 isn’t as revolutionary as Android 12 was, but it’s still a good thing to bring additional polish to the OS’s strong feature set.

GETTING ANDROID 13 As of this writing, Android 13 is only compatible with a select few phones, namely the Pixel series from Google. According to A Google blog post (Opens in a new window) , the update will eventually be released for other Android smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy, Asus, Nokia phones, iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Realme, Sharp, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi, and more. If you have a Pixel phone, go to Settings andgt; System andgt; System Update to determine if it qualifies for the Android 13 update. You are ready to download and install the OS if you consider Android 13 to be a new version.

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If your phone has the most recent software, the process goes quite quickly and painlessly. On a test Pixel 4XL, downloading and installing Android 13 took between five and ten minutes. After a brief restart, the phone was ready for usage.

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Android users who speak many languages can select their preferred language for certain apps. This had a lot of potential in the testing, but it falls a little short in the Android 13 official version. This customization option is only available for apps that offer language selection, and based on our testing, it is fairly limited. Of course, this capability is used by Google’s own apps, including Calendar, Maps, and News, so even with its limited use, it has some value. For instance, my father needs Spanish driving directions even though he uses English for most phone functions. Spanish support for Google’s top-notch Maps app is a game-changer for him.

It’s a great touch that Android 13 comes with support for braille displays by default. People with visual impairments who are unable to use or interpret a touch screen are intended users of this function. To make the most of their phones in the past, visually impaired people had to download and utilize the BrailleBack app. This works with Android 13 right away after the update is installed.

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3 (Credit: PCMag) SECURITY, PRIVACY, AND PERMISSIONS Additionally, this version includes a number of new permission and privacy enhancements that significantly reduce OS intrusiveness and increase user comfort. Apps on Android 13 now request your permission before sending you notifications. You can turn off these notifications as soon as you install the app, so you won’t have to worry about receiving a barrage of notifications every time you open your iPhone (or later in the Privacy menu in Settings).

The photo selector is yet another significant improvement to privacy. In a move similar to iOS’ feature, you can now choose which specific photographs an app can access when you share something, as opposed to granting it access to your whole collection.

One security-related point stands out: After updating to Android 13, the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a cannot be downgraded to the earlier version of Android 12. The cause of this anti-rollback is Google explains that bootloader vulnerability (Opens in a new window) . It’s a one-way street in any case, so only download and install Android 13 if you’re positive you want it.

BONANZA FOR MULTITASKING As numerous smart devices utilize the Android architecture, Google increases device capability and interoperability with each new OS release. You may easily use your Android phone as the control panel for your smart devices. Google has improved multitasking functionality in Android 13; this is especially helpful now that so many of us are going back to work or working from home. You can instantly stream texts from your phone onto your Chromebook if you own one. As long as these gadgets are Bluetooth-connected, you can send and receive messages without picking up your phone.

The ability to copy and paste between devices is another helpful feature. Everyone has experienced the need to swiftly transfer content between devices, whether it be text, screenshots, images, or URLs, without having to switch between several programs to save and distribute it. With Android 13, you can just press and hold the content you want to share, look for Android devices in the area, and then copy it to another device.

Owners of tablets gain from increased productivity thanks to the option to launch a second app from the taskbar and take advantage of a split-screen view, which greatly simplifies multitasking. This functionality might not be quite as functional as the amazing Stage Manager in iPadOS 16, which lets you switch between four apps at once. We’ve gone a long way from tablets with just one app taking up the entire screen.

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4 (Credit: PCMag) A FEW NICE FEATURES IN NO SPECIFIC ORDER Android 13 finally supports exFAT files (Opens in a new window) enables Pixel smartphones to manage files bigger than 4GB in size (a former storage limitation due to the use of the dated FAT32 format in earlier devices). This is a significant advancement considering how prevalent 4K video and HD photos are today.

The QR code scanner now has a quick setting for you. It may be reached by using the notification shade (you pull it down from the top of the screen). It is more practical than using Google Lens if a new Scan QR code option is added to the notification shade.

Swiping up from the bottom corners of your screen will bring up the Assistant.

PROFESSIONALLY POLISHED It’s not particularly surprising that Google is increasing Android’s features rather than aiming for another massive revamp in 2022 since Android 12 was a significant update for smartphones when it launched last year. Although Android 13 feels like a series of improvements, the OS is not hurt by this. The brand-new customisation features are fascinating. The updated security and privacy policies are a much-needed development. The multitasking enhancements are a huge productivity boost, and we hope to see more of them in the future. The only thing that Android 13 really needed to be was a clean OS package that improves your Pixel device without overpowering you with extra features and capabilities.

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