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Android 13: Everything you need to know

Android 13
(Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Google is hard at work on Android 13, and we're now getting an early look at some of the new features on offer, thanks to beta releases. Google kicked off the first beta all the way back in February, but that was intended solely for devs — the public beta made its debut in April, and Google just rolled out Beta 2 on May 11. 

Android 13 Beta 2 is just the second release, and there will be two further betas before we hit a stable build sometime later in the fall. To coincide with the launch of Beta 2, Google kicked off the third-party beta program, with the best Android phones now able to take part in the Android 13 beta. 

So let's take a look at all the new features we've found so far in Android 13, when the stable build is slated to release, and what devices are eligible for the beta. 

Android 13: Release date

Android 13 timeline

(Image credit: Google)

Google will release four public beta versions of Android 13 before the stable release sometime in the fall. We didn't quite get a confirmed timeline as to when the stable build will be available, but if Android 12 and earlier versions of the OS were any indication, it should be available a few weeks before the October hardware launch window where the Pixel 7 series is slated to debut. 

Google already shared that the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will launch with Android 13 out of the box, so we should be getting the stable release sometime at the end of August. 

Android 13: Eligible devices

Android 13 Beta 2 hero

(Image credit: Google)

As always, Pixel devices are first in line to get the Android 13 beta builds, and if you're using a Pixel 4 or later, you can install Android 13 Beta 2 right now without having to erase the data on your phone. Here's the list of eligible Pixels for Android 13:

  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • Pixel 4a
  • Pixel 4a 5G
  • Pixel 5
  • Pixel 5a
  • Pixel 6
  • Pixel 6 Pro

Interested in trying out Android 13? Here's how you can install it on your Pixel right now. 

If you don't have a Pixel but are interested in trying out the beta, you can do so on the devices listed below:

There are a few caveats: Pixels are getting the Beta 2 build at the moment, but third-party devices are only eligible for the first Android 13 beta. So if you're using a Find X5 Pro, Xiaomi 12, Nokia X20, or other devices in the list, know that you don't necessarily get the latest Android 13 build.

And while Pixels will get monthly beta releases, there's no guarantee that any of these devices will pick up the same builds.

For instance, Xiaomi only rolled out one update to the Mi 11 during last year's Android 12 beta, so if you are installing the beta version on any of these devices, know that there will be plenty of bugs and little in the way of hotfixes along the way.

These builds are not designed to be stable for day-to-day use, and I wouldn't recommend doing so on your primary phone. Furthermore, you'll have to factory reset your device and start from scratch when installing these builds — there's no OTA method, unlike Pixels. 

Android 13: All the new features so far

Android 13 Beta 2 Calculator Material You

(Image credit: Google)

Even with the second beta release, we haven't seen any landmark new features just yet. With Google switching to a new Material You aesthetic and rolling out major security changes last year with Android 12, this year's release was going to be more modest anyway. 

That said, there are a few tweaks to Material You that make it just that little bit better. You now get themed icons that work with third-party apps, so if you've selected a particular palette, that look will now work across the board. Along these lines, we're also getting more color palettes, and while the Material You aesthetic hasn't made its way to other manufacturers, that may well change with Android 13. 

A big change in Android 13 is the ability to set languages on a per-app basis, so if you speak two different languages, you can now easily change languages within an app and not at the system level. 

Google is also introducing a QR code scanner that sits within the notification shade, making it instantly available from the lock screen. Other changes include a rounded media player in the notification shade, a private photo picker that lets you share photos securely, and opt-in notifications. 

We're just getting started

With two beta releases scheduled for June and July, we should see a lot more user-facing changes in Android 13 over the next two months. 

This year's Android 13 release isn't going to see as many marquee features, with Google instead focusing on privacy and security updates and making tweaks to Material You. That said, it will be very interesting to see how Android 13 evolves over the coming months, so stay tuned for more. 

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.