Android 13 was released on August 16, and it’s a release that’s packed with little new features, especially if you own a Google Pixel. For me, though, this version left me with mixed feelings. I no longer have the impression that this version is more than a minor update to Android 12 after using it for more than three months. Alternatively, Android 13 should have been Android 12.1 or something similar.

Android 13 mostly limited itself to following the path Google started with Android 12, making it look like the weakest and most boring of all Android updates. Android 12 was the update that completely overhauled it OS with Material You. However, this is already typical. Android has already developed to such a high level of maturity that it will become harder and harder to surprise us with new features.

Main features of Android 13

One of the most notable features of Android 13 is the customization that makes it look like it was made especially for us. This is possible thanks to the Material You technology. Which allows us to change app colors, themes and languages. Things we already saw with Android 12 now extend to third-party apps with Android 13.

Currently, third-party apps can adjust their themes to match the background color of our screens or the default color scheme we’ve chosen. But so far I haven’t come across any significant examples of third-party software taking advantage of this Android 13 innovation.

In order for apps on your home screen to display the same monochromatic style on the app icon, apps can also use themed icons. In addition to most Google apps, apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Firefox, to name a few, have added support for these themed icons. Other apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Spotify and Twitter have also done the same. Android 12, which introduced these customizable themes, was supposed to include these two novelties.

Changing the language of apps is one of Android 13’s significant new customization options. Google may have merged the app’s language settings into the system settings. Even if very few customers actually need some of their applications to be in a language other than the system.

New permit system

The new notification permission is one of the biggest innovations of Android 13. Now we have to decide whether or not to allow a new program to send us notifications when we launch it for the first time after installation. Basically, Android 13 makes it easier and faster for us to turn off notifications. Without having to wait for the first one to piss us off, which is extremely nice.

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Also, Android 13 gives us more specific media access permissions. In Android 13, there are now multiple permissions, one for photos and videos and others for audio and music. Where before one app could access all our files and multimedia information with one permission. This is a small update that now makes it possible to deny music players access to our images. But in the day-to-day user experience, it makes no real difference.

I haven’t discovered it yet, but one of Android 13’s notable innovations is its new photo and video picker. Which saves you from having to give an app access to your entire library. With this choice, you can limit the apps you share your photos and videos with. However, the developers don’t seem too happy with this innovation at the moment, as they keep asking for access to the full library. Maybe things will start to change in the future.

Android 13

Small changes here and there

I really like the addition of sticky notifications in Android 13. You can now see active background apps running and have the option to close them in a new area of ​​the quick settings bar, which wasn’t possible in earlier iterations.

Finally, one of the improvements in Android 13 that I liked the most is the new clipboard. When you copy text, a floating window will appear for a short period of time, providing a preview of the copied text. So you can be sure it is copied. As well as the ability to place it or share it with other devices. It also automatically cleans the clipboard after a short period of time to increase our privacy. Which I don’t really like, because sometimes I have to put a sentence again, and it’s already gone.

It’s just Android 12.1, not 13

Since I’ve been using it for a long time, Android 13 gave me the impression that it should have been Android 12.1 as it recently introduced Material You and its themed icons for all apps, although I’m sure not many developers take advantage of this feature.

When comparing Android 13 to earlier releases, the update is the one that gave me as a user the fewest new features, giving me the impression that I’m only about to get a mild update. Mostly because I only end up using a few of its new features. Android 12 received a modest update with Android 13, and Android 14 will undoubtedly receive similar treatment. Until the interface is updated, we will notice less and less differences between versions. Android has already reached such a high level of maturity, as already mentioned, that it will become increasingly difficult for it to provide truly new features.

Android 13 is one of the weakest updates in Android history

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