Hands-on with Android 13 Beta 2: Top New Features [Video]

Android 13 Beta 2 is now available at the back of the impressive I/O 2022 Developer Conference. Here are some of the most important new features in the second public facing beta for the next Android release.

Being the second version of Android 13 Beta, the changes here are minor as Google tweaks and tweaks the features and functionality of the Pixel’s operating system architecture. However, there are some notable changes that we think you might want to know about as we are likely to see Android 13 coming along with the exciting Pixel 7 and 7 Pro as recently as later this year.

Video – Android 13 Beta 2 hands-on: Top New Features!

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Toggle new developer options

While the Developer Options section isn’t quite user-facing, it has gained some new toggles with others removed. There are three new switches:

  • Allow Virtual Modem – This allows you to run virtual modem services for hardware testing.
  • Network download rate limit – With this toggle, you can set a limit for all connections whether it’s Wi-Fi or mobile data. You can set this from 128 kbps to 15 mbps. We can expect this to be useful for simulating certain network conditions.
  • Disable Offload Bluetooth LE Audio Devices This toggle may not be usable on your device or become inactive on your device. This option is enabled by default and should reduce delayed audio sync issues with Bluetooth devices.
  • Enable Gabledorsche – Unfortunately, the option to enable the Gabledorsche option has now been removed. This option is said to improve the stability of the Bluetooth network. It is not clear if he will return.

Vibration mode icon returns

We recently saw that the vibration bar icon disappeared in the Android 12 QPR beta path but a dedicated toggle switch was added in the recent Beta 3 release. This toggle is now joined to the “Sound and Vibration” section under Settings. Set the toggle to on, and you’ll see the little smartphone icon buzzing along with the Wi-Fi, Signal, Do Not Disturb, and Battery icons.

Pixel Launcher’s global search is back…kind of

Android 13 Beta 2 has almost restored the global device search that was originally added to the Pixel Launcher back with Android 12. It’s not fully returned because some basic functions don’t work as expected but you gain the ability to access the search from the Google search tool Persistent on your home screen.

At the moment, it only works for searching for apps with other options currently missing. Although this isn’t ideal, it’s at least a step forward on deletion with the previous beta. Entering a generic term will open the Google app and start searching the web.

Dark mode can be scheduled to be enabled at bedtime

When setting the dark mode schedules, there is a new option to automatically apply the dark theme when your phone goes into bedtime mode. However, this doesn’t seem to work every time and, of course, depends on setting the bedtime mode schedule from within the digital wellbeing suite.

It doesn’t seem to work fully as intended in our experience, but we’re sure this can be easily fixed in the next Android 13 Beta release. At this time, the wallpaper dimming feature which was spotted a few days ago is not working here. It is possible that this will be enabled in a future release.

Tweak the taskbar for larger screens

android 13 beta 2 - Tweak on taskbar

For larger screens, a number of changes have been made to enhance your everyday experience in Android 13 Beta 2. If your screen has reached the minimum DPI to get the taskbar fixed, it now sticks to the system’s dark mode and theme accordingly.

When you long-press an icon in this dock, you’ll also get a quick toggle to enter split-screen mode without having to go into the recent apps menu. This could be a huge improvement to accessibility when using larger tablets and foldable screens.

More media player mods

android 13 beta 2 - media player tweaks

It sounds like a running joke at this point, as Google can’t leave the media player alone in Android. Well, there are some additional tweaks to the layout of the notification button and media player for the lock screen.

First, the controls for fast forward and backward skipping from either side of the playback progress bar have been moved to the right side of the player. This makes it easy to find all of your controls but these icons are not fully themed – or at least at this point they seem out of place.

There is also a new popup when you long press any media player window as part of the media resume controls. The popup will confirm if the player can be hidden with the more visible M3 “Hide” and “Cancel” buttons that you can press. However, the Settings button has now been removed in favor of a small gear icon at the top right of this smaller launcher.

Adjustments and animations

A number of major animations have been updated or tuned with Android 13 Beta 2. Most notably when you unlock your device. The tap and swipe of the in-screen scanner on the Pixel 6 series pulses more prominently, and once unlocked, there’s an expansive new animation that sees home screen icons float in view.

That’s not all, as the settings menu has also gained some improvements in animations when entering submenus and sections. When you tap an option, the new header and toggle switches will slide into view instead of appearing on screen as they did in previous versions.

Battery widget changes

android 13 beta 2 - battery widget

The nifty battery level widget that you can put on your home screen to track your smartphone and accessory charge levels has been changed in Android 13 Beta 2. Now, if you lack any connected devices like Bluetooth earbuds, the widget will be filled with the current you use Pixel battery. Furthermore, when you place or search for the gadget, it now lives under the dedicated Battery section instead of the somewhat confusing Settings Services section.

Increase the minimum level of battery saver

android 13 beta 2 - battery saver

Google has raised the minimum level at which Battery Saver mode will be enabled from 5 to 10% by default. This will likely help to improve the life span more than would be possible in the minimal form. To get around this, you can always enable the lower option manually but hopefully it will come back in a future build.

Android 13 Beta 2: What’s your favorite new feature?

That’s all that’s new in Android 13 Beta 2. 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.

Undoubtedly, more small tweaks and tweaks may slip through the cracks and we’ll see hidden options pop up over the coming days and weeks. We’ll probably go deeper into everything that’s been added, including some features that require a bit of work to get fully functional in full overview, with the full stable release of Android 13.

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

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