Google has officially released Android 13, the current Android smartphone upgrade for 2022, after months of testing. As far as updates go, this isn’t one you’ll notice. I’ve been using Android 13 for about two months before its release, and it’s been a really disappointing experience.
Unlike iOS 16, which is a substantial update, Android 13 is quite little. It doesn’t stand out physically or functionally from prior Android versions. Much of what distinguishes Google from Apple on this front is that Apple incorporates all key app changes into its major iOS releases. Google releases features as soon as they are available, so many of the innovations announced with Android 13 have already arrived, such as a new Google Wallet and tablet-optimized applications. As a result, Android 13 is a drab upgrade devoid of enthusiasm.
As a result, the update lacks anything showy or extraneous. However, given how fantastic Android 12 was, the choice to concentrate on refining rather than another revolution was the correct one.
Changes that are so subtle that you could miss them
While iOS 16 makes significant changes to how your iPhone operates, Android 13 is significantly more modest. Consider Material You, which makes its debut in Android 12. That update improved the usability and customization of your Android phone. For the first time, Android felt conceived rather than constructed. You’d receive bright themes that seeped into Google’s applications and pulled from your background, adding an extra layer of customization to your phone.
Google has enhanced this in a number of major ways with Android 13. There is a considerably wider range of colour selections today, with some being richer and more vivid and others being more pastel. It diversifies the hues of Material You, albeit you’re unlikely to see it in your favourite applications. Material You also work with additional app icons when it comes to applications of choice.
Remember Google’s themed icon feature that debuted with Android 12? With just Google’s applications supporting it, it wasn’t particularly helpful, but the firm is finally removing that artificial constraint. Themed icons are becoming more common in applications. The likes of Meta’s WhatsApp, Reddit, and Pocket have all come on board. That’s encouraging. Apps like Spotify and Messenger may follow, giving Android 13 users more control over icon design.
In the notification centre, there’s also a freshly revamped music player with a splash of colour and an editable clipboard — and that’s about it in terms of basic user-facing additions. More Android 13 features are available, and they are valuable, however, they are specialised capabilities geared at a certain demographic.
The most helpful features of Android 13 are also the most constrained.
Google now supports multi-language support in applications, allowing you to separate your primary Android language from languages used by specific apps. This enables you, for example, to have your Android phone set up in French while your banking app is set up in Spanish. For another example, you may use Telegram in Russian and WhatsApp in Italian. You may rapidly realise the advantages of this if you’re multilingual or live in a multilingual nation. If you aren’t, you can probably recognise its worth, but you won’t enjoy it.
The same is true for improved Chromebook integration as well as tablet improvements. Google is improving its compatibility with Chrome OS devices with Android 13. Using an enhancement to its Phone Hub function, you’ll be able to stream chat applications to Chromebooks. This is in addition to previously supported services such as faster photo sharing, an AirDrop-like Nearby Sharing functionality, and others. If you’re one of the few individuals who own a Chromebook, this may be really helpful. If you aren’t, the same holds true.
A significant but unnoticed update
Android 13 is a solid upgrade. It goes through the system correcting things that function, tightening things that required tightening, and adding new features requested by fans, but it isn’t a revolution in how you use your phone. In fact, unlike Android 12, you’ll quickly forget you’re using a fresh operating system after you download it.
It’s up to you whether that’s good or terrible. Android has matured for the better. Android 12 takes the operating system on an exciting new path. Android 13 keeps virtually all of those decisions and focuses on improving them. Android 13 isn’t an exciting upgrade, but is it a good one? Absolutely.