It seems that Android 12L is set to roll out in the shadow of Android 13, as Developer Preview 1 is already here with a brand new set of features to explore.
Anyone expecting a huge overhaul need not apply. For starters, as is customary, the first few preview builds are aimed exclusively at developers. That means most of the major changes are found under the hood. Plus, the Android 12 and Material You overhaul provided such a massive change that we’re expecting Android 13 to simply renovate rather than reinvent this year. This also means that Android 13 at this early stage includes a number of things we’ve already seen in 12L.
- Video — Android 13 Developer Preview 1 hands-on: Top new features!
- Android 12L features
- Guest profiles can get installed app access.
- Redesigned media output picker UI plus Now Playing notification upgrades
- Added Quick Settings tiles
- Silent mode blocks haptic feedback.
- New system-wide photo picker
- Android 13 is officially displayed as “Tiramisu.”
- Quick tap gains new option.
- Increased themed icon support
- Android 13 Developer Preview 1: What is your favorite new feature?
Video — Android 13 Developer Preview 1 hands-on: Top new features!
Android 12L features
Because Android 12L is still in beta — and not officially available in stable form — it means that many features from the upcoming build are still technically new in Android 13, too. A few have jumped over, including some that have been disabled in the most recent beta 3 build:
- Pixel Launcher wallpaper quick switcher
- If you long-press on a blank space on your home screen while using the Pixel Launcher, you’ll be able to quickly switch among your five most recent wallpapers.
- Updated and improved animations
- A whole host of the animation improvements from Android 12L are here with better notification shade expansion and much more.
- Quick split-screen launch when using picture-in-picture player
- Although removed in beta 3, the option to quickly jump into split-screen via a dedicated picture-in-picture mode toggle is back. It’s convenient and we hope it stays.
Guest profiles can get installed app access.
If you use the Guest profile feature on your device, you’re now able to gift access to any installed apps on your “main” on-device device profile. Obviously, for privacy and security reasons each app is not logged in, nor does it include any personal information. It does make sense for this feature to exist to allow quick access to common applications while also ensuring that guests use their own credentials.
Redesigned media output picker UI plus Now Playing notification upgrades
It wouldn’t be an Android Developer Preview phase without the notification shade media player getting some attention. This time the media player has brand new pause, play, and skip icons. These icons are thicker but appear slightly low resolution, hinting that we could see some refinements here again very soon.
When playing YouTube Music, the thumbs up/down indicators have been replaced by repeat and shuffle buttons. This looks like it’s service reliant as the option isn’t visible on apps like Tidal or various podcast players. With podcast apps such as Pocketcasts, you’ll get a playback speed toggle and mark complete option.
That’s not all as the media playback output picker is brand new. Tap the device output icon and there is a new floating panel with all recently or currently connected audio output devices centrally placed for access. This undocked section has rounded volume sliders that you can drag and adjust as you see fit. This might not be ideal for access on larger displays. However, it fits with the wider Material You theme a little more readily.
Added Quick Settings tiles
The Quick Settings or notification shade toggles section has gained a few extra toggles for use within Android 13 Developer Preview 1. There is now a quick toggle for enabling or disabling the One-handed mode, display color correction plus a QR code reader. Unfortunately, the QR code reader is not yet operational, but the toggle is likely to be enabled in a future update.
Silent mode blocks haptic feedback.
Silent literally means silent in Android 13 Developer Preview 1 as unlike in previous builds. If you prefer to set your phone to this quiet setting, it will also disable haptic feedback for all screen taps and touches. Swiping up into the Recents app menu, using Quick Settings toggles, scrolling through the app drawer, and any number of areas are now devoid of the soft vibration of the haptic motor.
The only places where haptics are retained in Silent mode are when placing your device onto a charger or when unlocking using the Pixel Imprint or in-display fingerprint scanner. We can only assume that these are seen as ways to ensure certain external hardware is working or successful.
New system-wide photo picker
Although not yet used by any app, there is set to be a new photo picker in Android 13 that will integrate both local and cloud-stored photos without apps needing additional permissions for media access on your device. Google provided a sample of the feature in action which looks like it will be nice and clean.
Android 13 is officially displayed as “Tiramisu.”
We thought that internal dessert-based codenames for Android were never to be used publicly again but open up Settings > About phone > Android version and you’ll see that it’s not listed as “Android 13” or even just “13” for that matter. No, Google is referring to this build officially as “Tiramisu” which is great for dessert fans as the coffee and chocolate-flavored Italian classic is excellent.
Quick tap gains new option.
On the Pixel 5 and newer, the Quick Tap gesture has gained a dedicated “Toggle flashlight” option to help save you time and effort diving into the wider settings of this neat feature.
Increased themed icon support
Although not immediately obvious right away, Android 13 Developer Preview 1 is laying the foundations for more apps to begin supporting the built-in icon theming that was added back in Android 12. Third-party developers are now able to update their icons to support the adaptive, monochrome icons that look right at home with your Material You home screen setups.
No apps yet support the feature, but we’re expecting that to change as the previews and subsequent betas progress.
Android 13 Developer Preview 1: What is your favorite new feature?
There are more than just surface-level changes in the Android 13 Developer Preview 1, but this small selection includes the top user-facing features that we’ve found thus far. Naturally, we expect to see more little things that might have slipped through the cracks over the coming days and weeks. We likely have a deeper dive into every single thing that has been added, including some features that require a little work to get fully operational in our full overview coming very soon.
What is your favorite new feature or features? Let us know down in the comments section below!
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