Cheat Sheet (2022) – New Features & Functions

    Image: prima91 / Adobe Stock

    On August 15, 2022, Google released the 13th major iteration of the Android platform. This release comes a little earlier in the year than Android 12, and serves as some serious review for the big changes that come with it.

    For those who are eager to get this latest version of the Android platform, the time has come or you may have to wait longer. Either way, once Android 13 arrives on your device, you’ll be happy for the upgrade.

    In this TechRepublic cheat sheet, we’ll cover what Android 13 is, when you should expect it, and what new features and improvements to expect. This cheat sheet will be updated as necessary and will serve as a guide for Google’s latest mobile operating system (OS).

    What is Android 13?

    Android 13 (codenamed Tiramisu) is the 2022 version of Google’s mobile operating system. This latest iteration of the platform has come after four beta cycles, and the preview release landed in February 2022.

    Android itself is the most widely used mobile operating system on the planet, with 86.2% of the global market share. That global market share has held steady in the 80s since 2014, with a ranking as low as 81.1% in 2014.

    When you break down market share by country, you’ll find Android’s power over consumers diminishes dramatically. For example, in the US, Android holds 48.5% market share, while iOS holds 51.2%. As of May 2022, Android 11 is the most widely used version of the platform, with 28.3%. Of course, that will most likely change as more handsets start receiving the 13th release and more devices move to the 12th.

    SEE: iCloud vs OneDrive: Which is Best for Mac, iPad, and iPhone Users? (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

    One of the problems Android 13 faces is that it stands in the shadow of Android 12, which has brought one of the biggest changes to the platform since its inception. Material You introduced a brand new look and feel to Android, which gave Android a much-needed refresh to match the current aesthetic.

    What does that mean for Android 13? It could mean that, at least for some users, the latest release of the operating system will be a disappointment. Of course, the devil is in the details. There are lots of new features and changes for you to enjoy.

    Android 13 release date

    Android 13 starts rolling out to Pixel devices on August 15, 2022. However, that doesn’t mean all Pixel users will receive the update on that date. Especially, it’s now three days after the announced release and my Pixel 6 Pro still hasn’t received the OTA (over-the-air) update. I can certainly sideload the installer, but I’ve learned, over the years, that it’s not always the best route to a successful upgrade.

    However, Android 13 has officially been released and will come to supported Pixel devices first. These supported Pixel phones include everything from Pixel 4 and up. So if you’re a Pixel 1, 2 or 3 owner, it’s time to upgrade if you want Android 13.

    What features come with Android 13?

    Here’s what you really want to know. And there’s a lot to see in this category – only, for the most part it can be a little more subtle than what Android fans expect. Likely so, here’s a short list of more exciting features coming with the new release.

    Three new Material You color schemes

    Developers, manufacturers and users will now have access to three new “negative” colors, namely Vibrant (additional accents), Expressive (extended wider range of colors). to the background) and Spritz (monochrome subject). This addition will be quite subtle and some users may not even notice it.

    Improved launcher search

    This addition will most likely be limited to Pixel phones only and will be a much-needed improvement over the previous search engine. With improved functionality, users will be able to make searches:

    • Actions on the device
    • Play Store Apps
    • YouTube
    • Google

    There will also be a gesture component for search, which will react differently, based on whether you swipe up from the bottom or just tap the search bar. Users can also pin search results to the Android home screen.

    Improved notifications

    Notifications are also getting more attention thanks to the new opt-in system. As of Android 13, the system will no longer allow apps to display notifications unless explicitly allowed by the user. Whenever a new application is installed, when it is opened for the first time, a permission popup will appear (Picture A), asking the user to allow or disallow notifications for that app.

    Picture A

    Opt-in notification popup for DuckDuckGo on Android 13
    Figure A: Opt-in notification popup for DuckDuckGo on Android 13.

    Faster access to QR code scanning

    In previous versions, scanning a QR code meant installing a third-party app or using the Google Assistant. Either way, it’s never the most efficient method. Users will now have access to a QR Code Quick Settings tile (Figure BUG).

    Figure BUG

    New QR code quick setting box on Android 13
    Figure B: New QR code quick settings box on Android 13.

    Tap the box and the built-in QR Code Scanner will open.

    Languages ​​per app

    With Android 13, users can now set their desired language on a per-app basis. For example, let’s say you have associates that you text regularly who live in Germany. If that’s the case, you can set the language for the Messages app to German. The only caveat to this feature is that it must be enabled in the app, so users may not see the feature right away.

    Better battery information

    Android 12 has done an amazing job in improving the battery life of Android devices. In this case, the infamous Pixel 4 devices suffered greatly from a poor battery. With Android 11, the Pixel 4 was lucky to make it through a quarter to a half day. After upgrading to Android 12, battery life is significantly improved.

    With Android 13, a very important addition was made. When an app is causing excessive battery drain which I have encountered several times, the system will alert you with a silent notification. After being alerted to the situation, you can force close the app or restart your device to resolve the issue.

    Support UWB

    Ultra-Wideband (UWB) is a new technology that enables mobile devices to act as car keys and locate lost devices, while improving both NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

    A previous issue with UWB support was that the device had to have a built-in UWB antenna, like the Pixel 6 Pro. With the release of Android 13, there is a new layer of hardware abstraction that adds this functionality, so all Android devices can implement UWB.

    Bluetooth Low Energy Audio

    Standard Bluetooth audio streams are always problematic, especially when it comes to multi-threading support and power consumption. With Android 13, Bluetooth Audio Energy Saving is now fully implemented.

    With this, users will experience lower power usage while enjoying the same sound quality, simultaneous streaming to multiple headphones and speakers, and full hearing aid protocol support. Google’s new Bluetooth. This means that hearing aids will have a more reliable connection to Android than previous versions.

    More customizable lock screen

    When Material You hit the device, some users complained that the lock screen clock was a bit “redundant”. It’s huge, especially when there’s no notification to show. Android 13 gives users a toggle to turn off that big clock. In Settings > Display > Lock screen you will find an ON/OFF button for the two-bar clock (SIZE).


    One toggle button for Dual Bar Clock in Android 13
    Figure C: The ability to minimize the lock screen clock has arrived.

    Switch the double-bar clock to Off and say goodbye to the big lock screen clock.

    Improved photo picker

    The new release adds a special photo picker to include images in messages. Instead of an open app for a full-blown photo picker, a more streamlined version will appear that protects your privacy and just ensures that the app only has access to the photos you choose. This new feature is not yet available to every service, as developers have to integrate it for it to appear.

    Android 13 privacy and security

    Besides opt-ins, Google has gone to great lengths to make privacy and security a no-brainer. The new operating system will place more restrictions on applications and provide more control to users over what permissions are granted and what data can be accessed. Along those same lines, Android 13 requires apps to request access to different types of files, such as audio, images, and video.

    SEE: Mobile device privacy policy (TechRepublic Premium)

    Another security feature found in Android 13 is that the system will automatically clear the clipboard contents after a certain period of time. This way apps won’t have access to older items in the clipboard, which has caused security issues in the past. This also means that users are less likely to accidentally share a copied piece of text with the wrong person.

    Along with opt-in app permissions, Android 13 automatically revokes permissions from apps that haven’t been used for a long time.

    Google has completely reworked the way it handles security updates. With Google’s new System Update framework, the operating system is broken down into components, so updates can be delivered to devices for specific “modules” instead of having to be updated. entire operating system. This means faster deployment of updates and faster patches.

    Finally, Google has committed to rewriting some of the codebases for critical components in more secure languages ​​like Rust, and has developed the Google Play SDK Index to provide more transparency to toolkits. software development (SDK) is the most used.

    Which phones can get Android 13?

    As usual, the new release will first be available for Pixel devices. Release for Pixel 4, 5, and 6 devices is expected to end in Q3 2022, and wider release for Samsung, OnePlus, and other manufacturers is expected to begin in March. Q4 2022 and trickle in Q1 2023.

    The Pixel 7 will be the first device to be released with Android 13, which should be available soon in October. Google has never been precise about its Android release date. Even knowing that, I still expect all Pixel devices to get Android 13 by the end of August and all others by early 2023.

    How to download Android 13

    Your best bet is to update Android with the OTA option. This is the safest and easiest upgrade method. To check for your phone update, go to Settings > System > System Update and tap Check for Updates (Visualization).


    System update menu on Android devices.
    Figure D: Checking for updates on a Pixel 6 Pro running Android 12.

    If you don’t want to wait, you can always download Android 13 with the help of Android SDK and adb and fastboot commands. You will need to download the appropriate image for your device and then gain access to recovery mode on your device.

    While it may seem tempting to get Android 13, I don’t recommend doing so. I’ve had a few cases where this method failed and I was broken with a bricked device. Ergo, your best bet is to wait for the OTA upgrade. Believe me when I say it’s worth the wait.

    And even if you forget to constantly check for available updates, the Android system will eventually notify you that an update has been downloaded in the background, so all you have to do is boot. your device to apply it.

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