Jack Wallen checks out Android 13’s second beta to see what’s what.
The second beta of Android 13 is out and ready for testing. This new release was announced at Google I/O, where the new features and improvements were also introduced. Android 13 seems to be more of an improvement on Android 12 so far than a major release. That’s great, because Android 12 has proven to be one of the best iterations (if not the best) of the platform to date.
By Android 13 beta 1I found animations smoother, Material Je more refined, QR codes easier to scan, notifications better managed, suggested apps feature back and display/text size can be configured in the same location.
But what about beta 2? What new features and improvements have come along for the ride? Let’s find out.
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Pixel Launcher global search
If you’re a Pixel phone user, you’ll be happy to hear that the general search option has returned somewhat. This feature, which allows you to search your device from the permanent Google search bar on the home screen, was originally added to the launcher in Pixel 12, but removed from the first beta of Android 13.
As of Beta 2, the general search function has been added again to the ability to search for installed apps on your device, but nothing more. Hopefully, in the coming months, we’ll see this complete feature added again – with perhaps even more features.
For example, on my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 12, if I tap the permanent Google search bar and type Slack, I see both search results and the Slack launcher (Image A†
If I had any other Slack-related files on my phone, they could show up in the results.
However, on Android 13 Beta 2, we see the same results as Android 12, minus any related content.
Scheduled Dark Mode
This feature is sure to please those who wake up in the middle of the night to use their phone, only to have to stare at the blinding light. With Android 13 Beta 2, you can schedule a pseudo-dark to turn on automatically at bedtime. To do this, open the Digital Wellbeing app and then tap on Bedtime Mode (Figure B†
In the resulting screen (Figure C), make sure Grayscale is enabled and tap Next.
In the next window (Figure D), configure the time for bedtime mode to start and end and click Done.
Once complete, the grayscale mode will turn on and off at your desired times.
Various changes and improvements
There are a few more changes and improvements to be found, but none of them contain much of a “wow” factor. That shortlist looks something like this:
- The minimum Battery Saver has been increased from 5% to 10%.
- The battery level widget has been improved and now only shows your Pixel battery level – if you have no Bluetooth devices connected.
- Animations have been further refined and include a new pulsating in-display fingerprint scanner icon.
- The media player has been modified with some controllers (such as fast forward and backward) moved to the right side of the player and the ability to more easily hide the media player.
- It is now easier to access split screen mode from applications in the dock. Long press one and you should see a split screen icon in the popup menu. Note: Although I upgraded my Pixel 5 to Beta 2, this feature has yet to appear.
- A new photo picker adds even more control over files accessible by different apps and even now you can select specific file types to share with specific apps.
- Clipboard history is now automatically cleared after a “short period”.
- Settings categories no longer “pop” in when tapped, but have a subtle slide animation.
More to come
Keep in mind that this is only the second beta of Android 13, so more tweaks, features and optimizations will follow. If you’re interested in testing the Android 13 beta (I don’t recommend doing this on your daily driver), head over to the Android beta program and register one of your devices.