Android 13 is just around the corner with the public-facing beta set to arrive in the coming weeks. We’ve already had the opportunity to test drive the Developer Preview, but that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming up an Android 13 wish list of things we’d love to see later this year.
Just looking at the weight of the Android 12 release, it’s going to be tough for Google to follow up such a massive mobile OS overhaul. A major point of contention has been the overall Android 12 update stability and speed. So while that specific point hasn’t made our shortlist, we do hope that Google can fix the OTA rollout timelines and ensure that bugs are minimal this year.
Table of contents
- Video – Android 13 wish list: Features and functions we’d really love to see
- Restoration of Pixel Launcher customization
- Software-based Face Unlock
- Fully customizable Quick Tap gestures
- Deeper automation controls
- Widget stacks
- Custom notification shade layout
- Multi-tasking revamp
- Improved lock screen
- Features we’re still waiting on
- What features would you like to see in Android 13?
Video – Android 13 wish list: Features and functions we’d really love to see
Restoration of Pixel Launcher customization
Material You has been a fairly divisive change that is the very backbone of Android 12 on Pixel phones. It removes certain customization elements that had become staples of AOSP builds in favor of more system-driven tuning all based upon your system wallpaper choice. Sure, third-party launchers can provide the added customization options that have been dumped in Android 12 and 12L. However, there are areas that still remain off-limits unless you choose to root your Pixel device.
Google should restore the ability to change icon shape, font, and even status bar icon style in Android 13. That’s just the tip of an iceberg as we’re sure more options would be appreciated if the Wallpaper & style section just restored some popular features or allowed Material You to be disabled if you so wish.
Software-based Face Unlock
It’s very debatable if the move from a capacitive fingerprint scanner to an in-display optical scanner has really been a wise design choice on the Pixel 6 series. Troubles aside, early hints ahead of the Pixel 6 series launch had us hoping for some form of software-based Face Unlock. All evidence of this has been scrubbed from the public-facing promotional materials but we’d really like Google to add the option in Android 13.
As it stands, only the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are able to access hands-free secure unlocking. Sure, software-based Face Unlock isn’t quite as secure as a hardware-based scanner. However, it would be great to at least have the option in Android 13.
Fully customizable Quick Tap gestures
Quick Tap has been a great new addition to Android 12, but while it offers you the ability to quickly open or launch some of your favorite apps and services, it could be seen as a little lacking in overall utility to some. In Android 13, we’d love to see greater options to customize and control our Android devices with the back tap gesture.
Developer Preview 1 lets you turn on the flashlight or torch using Quick Tap but it would be great to fully customize the gesture. We’re thinking of things like being able to directly open the new QR code scanner or being able to disable Wi-Fi or mobile data just by tapping.
Not only that, it would be great to be able to set gestures based on how many times you have tapped the back of your phone. For example, a double-tap enables the flashlight, but a triple-tap activates Do Not Disturb mode. The possibilities could be endless and it would be great to see just a few further controls.
Deeper automation controls
The “Rules” feature acts very much as a basic automation feature and it’s often overlooked or lesser-known to most people. Using simple IFTT (if this then that) commands you can activate Do Not Disturb, set your phone to silent, set your phone to vibrate, or set your phone to ring. That’s about the limits of what you can do with Rules in Android 12.
To do anything extra, you’ll need to use a third-party service like Tasker or MacroDroid. While they are great in their own right it would be nice to just get a few more options, like maybe activating Assistant Driving mode when connecting to a certain Bluetooth device or even disabling certain features at a time or place. We’re certainly not asking for in-depth controls, just a few more options.
The At a Glance widget feels like it’s taking over within the Pixel Launcher but it would be nice if Google just copied iOS and even One UI in Android 13 by offering the ability to just stack widgets atop one another. There’s no real utility benefit here but it just makes organizing your home screen so much easier. Having one widget to rule them all is just a nice option to have if you like a simple setup. There’s the added bonus of better functions than the fairly basic At a Glance widget too.
Custom notification shade layout
Android 12 added some annoyances to the notification shade. In terms of utility, things have taken a backward step. It would be great to be able to adjust or at least alter the layout and size of Quick Settings toggles much like you can adjust the rows and columns of your homescreen.
Android multi-tasking feels very different from device to device. If you try ColorOS, OxygenOS, One UI, or MIUI there is floating window support. This technically means that with the split-screen mode enabled you can run three apps concurrently on one screen. For some reason, AOSP builds of Android lack this feature, and with screens getting larger each and every year, it would be a nice extra feature for people wanting to get more done.
Android 12L was supposed to tackle larger form factors such as tablets and foldables but Google hasn’t really done much to improve the multi-tasking experience beyond improving the positioning of some UI elements. At least give us the option on Pixel phones rather than simply omit it as other OEMs clearly think the feature is popular, as it’s been around for some time now.
Improved lock screen
It appears that in Android 12 grand plans were hatched for the lock screen but, sadly, they were shelved or axed in favor of what are pretty basic aesthetic changes. The screenshots of what could have been show an appearance that takes the Pixel Stand’s new UI and add even more controls and contextual information.
Suggestion chips provide smart context-based options like media suggestions when connected to headphones, directions when at a specific transit location or venue, or even loyalty cards when in a store. Even though this was leaked, it would be awesome to see Google develop the lock screen beyond the home controls and Google Pay shortcuts in this way.
Features we’re still waiting on
In our original Android 12 wish list we actually saw Google add a number of our requests, but not everything was implemented. We’re still holding out hope that Android 13 might add some of those previous wish list requests:
- Ability to export Live Captions
- Live Captions are cool but they haven’t changed all too drastically since Android 10. After the past couple of years of exponential Zoom, Meet, and Duo video conference call usage, it would be neat to be able to export out Live Captions to a Google Doc or text file for usage later on.
- Widgets in Discover Feed
- Imagine a hybrid of the OnePlus Shelf, iOS widget drawer, and the news-centric Google Discover feed. That is what we envisage could be done if you could place widgets in the left-most home screen pane on eligible devices. Even just as an optional extra, it would at least break up the pure news feed element and maybe make sense to people for whom homescreen widgets can clutter a minimal setup.
- Removal of PIN confirmation
- Why slow down the unlocking process by requiring an extra button press? It’s about time Google removed the silly requirement of pressing the “enter” key once you have correctly tapped out your PIN code.
What features would you like to see in Android 13?
Of course, some third-party skins already have a ton of these features baked in already. That said, what is at the top of your Android 13 wish list? With any luck, you’ll be running the upcoming Android 13 Beta next month based on Google’s current timeline. Let us know your own wish list down in the comments section below.
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