Hands-on on Android 13 Beta 1: Top New Features [Video]

After a series of early previews faced by developers, the public-facing Android 13 Beta 1 update is now available to a small group of eligible Google Pixel phones.

There have been a slew of changes in the developer previews above, which we highly recommend to go and check before diving right into Beta 1. Several changes provide quality of life additions to the Android 12 overhaul in the past years. If you are expecting big changes, you may be a little disappointed.

However, we are sure that we did not expect Google to tweak the collection after many substantial tweaks and UI fixes with the previous stable Android release.

Video – Android 13 Beta 1 Hands-On: Top New Features!

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It’s as if Google is struggling not to set their notification shade media player, and the Android beta wouldn’t be without some tweaks. Media notification now has a unique playback progress bar. Instead of showing a baseline of audio playback progress, you’ll see wobble as the playhead continues along a flat line.

This change was hinted at back in the first Material You reveal, but it took until Android 13 Beta 1 to wobble into the mobile operating system in any UI format. It definitely makes it easy to see how much of a track, podcast, or other audio on the device you’ve actually listened to.

Screenshot like clipboard notifications

The clipboard in Android 13 Beta 1 is upgraded with a new screenshot-like user interface that will appear in the lower left part of the screen when you copy text on the screen. That is not all, when you click on the edit icon, a brand new UI will appear that will show you the application or UI section from which the text was copied. From here you can also adjust and adjust the copied text as you see fit.

Control smart home devices while your phone is locked.

The first beta of Android 13 includes a nifty toggle within the Display section of the Settings app that eliminates the need to unlock your phone to control any of your smart home devices. This includes doing things like adjusting the brightness of the connected Google Home lamp or adjusting the thermostat. It should help reduce one’s inconvenience when using the main control panel.

In Android 13 Beta 1, this Pixel Launcher search bar reverted to the previous version as it was just a Google widget, complete with Google Lens, a Google app shortcut, and a voice search button. This is the same search bar that you’ll often find at the bottom of the Pixel home. When you open the app drawer, the Google search bar will allow you to search for apps in the same way, but it will prioritize internet searches first rather than the apps and settings on your device.

We are sure that this is a bug and that the search bar on the device is supposed to be in its place. If this is a bug, it is also something that can be easily fixed in a future update. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason why this change was made on purpose since the on-device search bar works fine in Android 12 and in Android 13 Developer Previews.

Increase material for you color options

The bulky stuff you fix relies heavily on the wallpaper on the device to personalize a large part of your Google Pixel. Within the Background & Style settings for the Pixel series, you can also choose not to use your wallpaper colors and base your phone on a set of pre-set themes. In Android 13 Beta 1, Google has expanded the four options available. You can now choose from 16 options within the two sections. All new additions are also multi-coloured, combining a bold color with a complementary, more relaxed tone.

Joining the original options of blue, green, purple, and brown, Pixel owners in beta can now choose two-tone shades of rose, brown, yellow-green, blue, purple, and magenta, along with five combinations that combine colors and tones and don’t necessarily fall within a single color boundary.

If you prefer to use the default Material You color schemes, there are more options on offer. You will still be presented with 16 options but the hue differences are much greater than choosing the base color more precisely. This expands on the basic four-color palette selections found in Android 12.

Minor UI tweaks and tuning

Android 13 Beta 1 also includes a number of smaller user interface tweaks that have likely been added to improve the everyday user experience. Not all of them are major, and some are undoing previous additions and changes added in the developer preview phase:

Google Calendar now displays the correct date.

The Google Calendar app will no longer show the year “31st” date on the Pixel Launcher home screen. Instead, it will display the correct “live” date based on your device’s system calendar.

Face unlock signs

Face Unlock is not available in Android 13 Beta 1, but there is evidence that it may arrive in the future. Although it’s also present in Android 13 DP2, if you search for “Face Unlock” in the Settings app, you’ll discover two options under the “Security” banner. It will show “Face Unlock” and “Face & Fingerprint Unlock” but, unfortunately, clicking will simply take you to the advanced settings section. There are no other options for registering your face profile except for those on Pixel 4 and 4 XL devices.

Priority has been reset to “Do Not Disturb”

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 changed the recognizable Do Not Disturb mode to Priority Mode. Although not user-facing, this definitely added a layer of confusion to a situation that hasn’t changed drastically since its introduction. Google has rolled back this change in Beta 1 and is back in Do Not Disturb mode with a more reasonable name.

Although we still haven’t got the official Android 13 system logo, when you connect your Pixel to a PC or laptop, you’ll now see an updated system notification logo. The new icon is shaped like a gear with the famous Bugdroid above the letter “T.” squat;

Quick tiles for security and privacy are disabled

Just a hub for the camera, microphone, and location privacy tiles, it delivered all three in one place. Instead of removing it, it is disabled and may disappear from your device after you try to activate. This is similar to the quick setup panel for the QR code that was added in early developer previews and enabled at a later time. We could see it re-enabled in a future beta.

Haptic feedback returns in silent mode.

Somewhat fortunately, the new Android 13 Beta 1 update has completely brought back the vibrations/touches when interacting with the Pixel. However, you won’t feel the vibrations when scrolling through the Recents menu. In all other areas, like typing or tapping, you’ll get vibration-based feedback. You can also access the Sound and Vibration menu to adjust the strength of touch and vibrations for alerts, haptic feedback, and media vibration. This is available for the first time when silent mode is active.

Android 13 Beta 1: What’s your favorite new feature?

That’s all new in Android 13 Beta 1. When combined with developer previews, there’s a lot more to unpack. However, this short list includes all the user-facing features that we’ve found so far. Naturally, we expect to see more little things that may have slipped through the loopholes over the coming days and weeks. We’ll likely go deeper into everything that’s been added, including some features that require a bit of work to get fully operational in a full overview, very soon.

What is your favorite new feature or features? Tell us in the comments section below!

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