Android 13 was released on August 15, 2022, with a plethora of new features and improvements to make your Android devices more personal and secure.
However, many new features of Android 13 are not eye-catching and deep inside the Settings or apps.
This Android 13 guide explains the top 10 new features of Android 13 that almost everyone will benefit from, including per-app language options, clipboard access control, notifications opt-in, a QR code scanner in the Quick Settings tile, a revamped media player, a new Photo Picker, Quick Pair and Bluetooth LE Audio support, control home devices without unlocking the phone/tablet, Spatial Audio support, expanded Material You options.
We now explore these new features of Android 13 one by one.
What are the top 10 new features of Android 13?
There are many new features and underhood improvements in Android 13. For most Android phone users, the following 10 features you definitely should try and know.
- Per-app language options.
- Clipboard access control.
- Notifications opt-in.
- QR code scanner in the Quick Settings tile.
- A revamped media player.
- Anew Photo Picker.
- Bluetooth LE Audio and LC3 code support
- Spatial Audio support.
- Control home devices without unlocking the phone/tablet.
- Expanded Material You options
Per-app language options: the most practical new feature of Android 13
In Android 13, you can choose a different language for individual apps regardless of the system language. Of course, if the app developer enables the language you want.
For example, as shown in the screenshot below, all apps that support multi-languages are listed under Settings — System — Languages & input — App Languages.
You can choose your preferred language for these apps individually. Many Android 13 users marked this as one of the most practical new features of Android 13.
You can also change the language for the apps on the App info page of individual apps.
Clipboard access control
Android 13 makes it easy to copy and paste both text and images.
When you copy any text or an image to the clipboard, you will see immediate feedback (an alert box in the lower-left corner of the screen), as shown in the animation below. The content (text or image) in the clipboard will be available for 1 hour. You can turn on the clipboard manager in Gboard (or Samsung Keyboard if you are using a Samsung phone) and pin any items in the clipboard so that they will not be expired.
You can paste an item in the clipboard by tapping the item in the clipboard manager. The last item also shows on the keyboard directly, as shown in the screenshot below. So, you just need to tap it to paste without opening the clipboard manager (or if you do not want to turn on the clipboard manager).
Notifications opt-in: one of the most welcomed new features of Android 13
Notifications from some apps can be annoying. A few app developers actually abused the notifications with spam. There are many improvements in notifications in previous Android versions, e.g., snooze notifications, notification history, and notification channels.
Android 13 now requires explicit permission to send notifications rather than allowing apps to send notifications by default. In other words, “notification” itself becomes a permission that the user can grant or revoke.
If you were disturbed by some spam notifications in the past, you would surely enjoy this new feature in Android 13.
QR code scanner in the Quick Settings tile
QR code scanner is not new. It has been supported in the Camera app in Android for a long time.
Most Android vendors also offer different implementations on their devices.
Android 13 now adds a dedicated QR scanner button in the Quick Settings tile, as shown in the screenshot below.
This makes QR scanning far faster because the camera app does not need to “recognize” the QR code and then adjust camera settings. So, QR scanning is almost instant in stock Android 13.
A revamped media player
Do not confuse media player apps (which you use daily to play music and videos) with the media player in the Android OS. The latter, to be discussed here, is the backbone (framework) of playing music and video on Android devices. The media player app you use very likely use some functions of the framework.
The media player app in the stock Android is confusing and disappointing. In fact, in recent Pixel phones, there is no dedicated media player app at all. YouTube Music (and Files app) can play your offline music collections saved on the phone with limited features. So, most Android vendors have to develop and ship their own media players for their devices. Of course, there are plenty of excellent third-party media players in the Play Store (e.g., VLC media player).
Android 13 revamped the media player. First, there is a redesigned output picker which was introduced in Android 11. As shown in the screenshot below, you can quickly switch the audio output from the phone to the connected headphones (earbuds or speakers) without leaving the player widget in the notification panel (or lock screen). This is one of the most convenient new features of Android 13. Second, a dancing progress bar offers a better (and cool) way to check the progress of current music or podcast.
A new Photo Picker
When you share photos or videos through an app, previously, you have to grant the media access permission for the app. This means the app can actually access ALL photos and videos (i.e., the whole media library) once permission is granted.
The new Photo Picker in Android 13 now limits the app to access the photos and videos you selected (picked). The app is not allowed to access other photos or videos. This makes media sharing consistent with document/file sharing.
Fast Pair and Bluetooth LE Audio support
The Google Fast Pair Service (GFPS, or Fast Pair) utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to discover nearby Bluetooth devices and facilitate the pairing of Bluetooth and BLE devices, such as speakers, headphones, car kits, mice, and keyboards.
In plain words, Fast Pair detects nearby ready-to-pair Bluetooth devices and prompts a half-page notification, as shown in the screenshot below. You can connect your Android phone or tablet to the Bluetooth device with one tap without navigating through the Bluetooth settings page.
As one of the new features of Android 13, Fast Pair is officially available to all devices with Android 13. Of course, this requires a Bluetooth device that supports GFPS. In the example shown earlier, Sony WF-1000XM4 supports Fast Pair.
Android 13 added support for Bluetooth LE Audio and the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3). Paired with supported headphones or earbuds, you will expect noticeable audio quality improvements and a slight decrease in power consumption. However, this requires Bluetooth LE Audio support on Bluetooth devices. Such devices are still scarce in the market. But more and more new earbuds and headphones released in 2023 onwards will support the Bluetooth LE Audio and LC3 codec.
Spatial Audio support
There are many types of “spatial” audio formats in the market. Apple has its own spatial audio with AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2. Sony touts its 360 Reality Audio. Samsung also advertises heavily on the 360 Audio for Galaxy Buds. They are totally different: different audio source requirements and implementations in the headset.
But Samsung’s 360 Audio and Google’s Spatial Audio are similar. They are head-tracking based and do not require special audio formats.
Android 13 includes Spatial Audio support. But currently, it only works with Pixel phones with Pixel Buds Pro. Very likely, more headsets will be supported with more Android phones.
Control home devices without unlocking the phone/tablet
For security reasons, you can access very limited functions of the phone when you are on the lock screen (without unlocking the phone).
Android 13 now supports home device controls on the lock screen if the device controls app allows it. As shown in the screenshot below, you just need to toggle on the Control from locked device.
Expanded Material You options
Google doubles down on Material You. Android 13 adds more options for you to customize the look and feel of the phone.
Besides, Android 13 added Themed icons to let third-party apps icons look consistent when you change the display theme/style. Of course, the app developers need to include proper icon images in the package.
Have you tried the new features of Android 13?
Please let us know in the comment box below if you have any questions about the new features of Android 13 or need help using these new features on your phone or tablet.
The community will help you to understand and use the new features of Android 13.
You may check the Android 13 Guides page if you need some detailed how-to guides on the new features of Android 13.
If you are still on other versions of Android, you may check these guides:
- For Android 12, please check the Android 12 guides page.
- For Android 11, please check the Android 11 guides page.
- For Android 10, please check the Android 10 guides page.
- For Android Pie (Android 9), please check the Android Pie guides page.
- For Android Oreo (Android 8.0 and 8.1), please check the Android Oreo guides page.
- For Android Nougat (Android 7.0 and 7.1), please check the Android Nougat guides page.
- For Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0), please check the Android Marshmallow guide page.
- For Android Lollipop (Android 5.0 and 5.1), please check the Android Lollipop guide page.
- For other general Android questions or problems, please check the Android 101 page.
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Enjoy your Android 13!