Android 13's Final Beta Is Here, And The Full Release Is On The Horizon

The fourth and final public beta of Android 13 has started rolling out for compatible Pixel smartphones and those from other brands in the test circle. There isn't much in terms of meaningful feature upgrades, but it's a milestone in itself because the latest beta brings Android 13 closer to its final version after having reached platform stability with Beta 3. Put in simpler terms, the software will soon be stable enough to release widely for Android smartphones (via Android Developers Blog).

Google says the team behind its latest OS upgrade is "just a few weeks away from the official release of Android 13." Android 12 made its stable debut in October 2021, while Android 11 started rolling out via the stable channel in September. If that history is any indication, Android 13 will also start seeding in the fall window, coinciding with the launch of the Pixel 7 series phones.

The company hasn't highlighted any feature-centric enhancements arriving with the latest Android 13 public beta update, but it's good news for developers trying to optimize their apps for the upcoming Android iteration. Google says Beta 4 gives developers everything they need to test and tune their apps, readying them for all the marquee features like deeper theming options, per-app language optimization, and more granular privacy controls, among other things.

What to expect from Android 13

Android 13 isn't as heavy on new features as Android 12 was, but there are a few meaningful changes that users will appreciate. For example, there's a new copy-paste UI that tells users when text has been copied and shows a preview of it as well, just like the prompt they see at the bottom of the screen after capturing a screenshot. There's also a predictive back gesture that tells users, in advance, where they will land after executing it.

Themed icons are a neat aesthetic tweak that gives a monochromatic touch to the icons tinted to match the wallpaper colors. Users can also set the UI language on a per-app basis. Moreover, Android 13 also adds support for Bluetooth LE Audio, which completed its final specifications earlier this week and brings benefits such as a new LC3 codec, multi-stream audio, and wireless broadcast.

On the privacy and security side of things, there's a new photo picker experience. Instead of granting an app full access to the media library, users can give permission for only the photos and videos that an app wants to use. Android 13 will also include all of the tablet-centric goodies that arrived with Android 12L a few months ago. There's also a new design format for the media playback widget, which is now bigger and shows the album art in more vivid detail on the lock screen and the notifications shade.