Google has outlined its vision for this year’southward major Android update, which looks set to go on many of the customization and privacy initiatives that the search giant introduced with last year’s Android 12. Its customizable Textile You color schemes will now be available as preset themes and are too expanding to cover 3rd-political party apps icons and the media histrion. There are likewise new security features, including a defended Privacy and Security carte.
The direction isn’t likely to come every bit much of a surprise to anyone who’due south kept up with Android thirteen’s early on betas. But today’due south announcements, fabricated to coincide with the search giant’s almanac Google I/O developer briefing, see the company lay out its overarching vision for this year’due south major Android update. The search behemothic is releasing Android 13’south 2nd public beta today to coincide with the announcements.
Later on last year’due south Cloth You lot customizable themes feature, Android can already match its color scheme to that of your phone’southward wallpaper. This year, media controls are also receiving a similar Material You-style overhaul and will be able to extract colors from the anthology art of the music beingness played. Another new characteristic for those that don’t want or demand their phone’southward theme to exactly friction match their wallpaper is a serial of optional preset colour schemes to cull from.
Material You theming options are also coming to third-party app icons, which appeared in Android 13’s start developer preview in Feb. “This was a bit of a missing role for us in the last release,” explains Google’s vice president of product management, Sameer Samat. “Information technology felt similar everything in the system UI got that prissy Material You lot handling except the icons. For united states of america, it e’er felt like unfinished business organisation.” The new app icon-theming options will come up to Pixel devices starting time and only piece of work with supported apps.
Google Messages’ RCS support is also set to become a big improvement later this year with the beta launch of end-to-end encryption for group chats, a characteristic that is currently simply available in one-to-1 RCS chats in Google Letters. The search giant says the standard, which aims to be a successor to the now-aboriginal SMS and MMS protocols, is now available to over 500 million Google Messages users worldwide.
As we’ve seen from its betas, Android 13 is as well placing more restrictions on the personal information and telephone features apps tin can use by default. Shortly, apps volition have to ask for permission to even send notifications in the first identify, and at that place’s as well a new photo picker that lets you lot restrict the photos and videos an app can access, rather than granting permission to see your whole library. New permissions will also limit apps to accessing either “Photos & videos” or “Music & audio” files, rather than all filetypes.
A new Security and Privacy settings page is beingness added later this year to collect all of your disquisitional data privacy data in one identify. Information technology’s designed to encourage Android users to address whatsoever security issues that might crop up.
Away from Android phones themselves, Google is too emphasizing the work it’due south doing on interconnectivity with other devices. It plans to add fast-pairing back up for the incoming Matter smart home standard this fall to make it quick and easy to use an Android phone to add together supported smart dwelling house devices to your network. Support for the new ability-efficient Bluetooth LE Audio standard is also on the way in Android 13.
A final feature worth mentioning: Android 13 volition let users fix system languages on a per-app ground, a characteristic that Samat says is helpful for multilingual users who rely on different languages in different situations. “If you’re using a social media app, you might use one language. But if you’re cyberbanking, you might use another language,” he explains.
After the chaotic rollout of Android 12, it’s perhaps reassuring to see that Google’s focus this year is on refining rather than revolutionizing Android. There’south no massive alter of direction here, but a steady series of tweaks and improvements to Android’s existing initiatives.