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Android 13 Beta 2 arrives with a new photo picker, better theming, and more

Android 13 Beta 2 hero
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • At Google I/O 2022, Android 13 Beta 2 was introduced offering more features. 
  • These features include more widespread use of Material You theming options. 
  • Google is also integrating new improvements for tablets and large-screened devices.

Google had plenty to share during its I/O 2022 Keynote, and that of course includes the world of Android. Unlike last year's Android 12 announcement, there aren't nearly as many drastic additions coming to Android 13. However, there are quite a few impressive changes that aim to improve your experience across the best Android phones and tablets.

As we expected, Google took some time to focus on security and privacy settings. With Android 13 Beta 2, we're getting an all-new photo picker, providing more controls over the files that can be accessed by different apps. There are also new categories for "Files and media," "Photos & videos," and "Music & audio." This photo picker allows you to select specific files to share with different apps, as opposed to an "all-or-nothing" approach.

(Image credit: Google)

With the current version of Android 13, Google noted how you will need to regularly provide notification access to different apps. This is being expanded in Beta 2, with location permission requirements being reduced for various apps. Keeping with the security trend, your phone will automatically clear the clipboard history after a "short period," preventing other apps from seeing information that it doesn't need.

Android 13 Beta 2 also provides a slightly-tweaked interface for the Security & privacy section on your Android phone. The goal of this is to provide better color-coding for areas that need some attention, along with providing steps to keep your phone and information more secure.

(Image credit: Google)

When the first Android 13 beta was released, we noticed that changes to the Material You color palette had been updated with more options. As it turns out, this is getting expanded even further, as those various color accents will appear in more Google apps. 

This is getting turned up a notch, as the "Themed icons" option will now apply to any third-party apps that support the Material You theming engine. The end goal is to provide an even more cohesive and unique-to-you look and feel across your entire device. Google has also confirmed the changes coming to media controls, as it will also apply the Material You theme to go along with the awesome squiggly playback line.

Last, but certainly not least, Google is combining the tablet-focused features of Android 12L and expanding on them with Android 13. There's an all-new multitasking interface coming to compatible tablets, made possible by Google's new taskbar. Once available, you'll be able to drag and drop apps from the App Library onto your screen with ease. 

Android 13 is also bringing improved palm rejection when using tablets with a stylus. This is something that we've seen Samsung and Lenovo attempt to implement, but it's a welcome addition coming to Google's version of the OS. 

Android 13 Beta 2 Tablet Multitasking

(Image credit: Google)

In a rather surprising announcement, "more than 20 Google apps" are being updated. These apps will be able to take better advantage of the screen real estate made available. Google also confirmed it is working with other companies, such as Zoom, Facebook, and TikTok, to provide "revamped" interfaces for tablets.

While that may seem like a lot of changes, there are even more to come as Google confirmed support for Spatial Audio and other features. We'll be diving into Android 13 Beta 2 in the coming days to find all of the changes that should make their way to the best Android phones later this year.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.