It’s official: Android 13 is almost here. Google has announced it’s putting the finishing touches on the next version of the mobile operating system and that a fourth beta is ready for download. You’ll get the update over the air as soon as it rolls out to your device.
Android 13 Beta 4 has nothing particularly new to show off that we haven’t already detailed. Google urges developers to finalize compatibility testing and push out any necessary updates before the OS release. The Beta 4 update also includes a release candidate build of Android 13 for Pixel devices and the emulator in Android Studio. A release candidate usually means a “sneak preview” of what’s to come. You can still sign up for the beta if you want to hop on and try it out for yourself.
Software updates are certainly exciting when they bring new features. The next version of Android 13 may not make as much of a splash as Android 12, which launched a new design paradigm called Material You. But it should feel more refined across the board. Google’s perked up more visual elements across the interface, like the media playback controls in the Quick Settings, new Material You color options, and matching app icons. It’s even bundled with a neat screensaver that you can take advantage of if you use charging devices like the Pixel Stand 2.
Android 13 is also a little more privacy-minded. For instance, the new photo picker API in Android 13, initially introduced in the first developer preview, works just like on the iPhone. You’ll have to grant access to a photo album before an app can browse everything that’s in there, or you can choose to select only the files of interest.
If you’re bothered by persistent pings from apps you don’t care to hear from often, Android 13 offers the ability to shut off notifications before they even start. Any time you install a new app, you’ll get a pop-up window asking if you to allow the newly installed app to notify you.
Android tablet users will also benefit from this next full release. Google built Android 13 with all of Android 12L’s large-screen enhancements. It includes interface elements like a taskbar for tablet-sized screens and the ability to ignore fixed orientation so apps can scale regardless of screen size. There’s also a multi-window mode coming to help you switch between tasks.
According to Google’s Platform Stability tracker, this is the penultimate release until the final source code goes live. The next version of Android is just around the corner.