Android 13 is the thirteenth major release and the 20th version of Android, the mobile operating system developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google. Released to the public on August 15, 2022, it has since become a significant part of the Android ecosystem. As of August 2023, 33.05% of Android devices ran Android 13, making it the most widely-used version of Android. The first devices to ship with Android 13 were the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
Android 13, internally codenamed “Tiramisu,” was announced on February 10, 2022. The first Developer Preview was immediately released for the Google Pixel series, excluding the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. This release came approximately four months after the stable version of Android 12. Subsequent releases included Developer Preview 2 in March, Beta 1 in April, and Beta 2 in May. Two more beta versions were planned for June and July, with platform stability achieved in June with Beta 3. The final release began on August 15, 2022, when it was made available to Pixel phones and pushed to the Android Open Source Project.
Android 13 introduced several tweaks and improvements. Split Screen mode was enhanced to persist through app changes, allowing users to multitask efficiently. Animations, especially the fingerprint scanner glow on the Pixel 6 series, were refined. The app label font in the Pixel Launcher underwent changes, and subtle haptics were added throughout the user experience. Many of these changes were inherited from Android 12.1 “12L,” which focused on improvements for large format devices like foldables and tablets.
First devices to receive the update:
Android 13 brought several new features to enhance user privacy. A new media picker was introduced, allowing users to select which photos and videos apps can access. The operating system also separated Wi-Fi and GPS permissions, giving apps the ability to search for nearby devices and networks without requesting broader navigational system access. Another notable feature is the ability for users to change the language for a specific app. For instance, one could change the language in the YouTube app from American English to Spanish.
Several changes were made to improve user experience. Apps now need to request permission before sending notifications. Dialog windows, such as the Internet toggle, were refined to align better with the design language. The media player was redesigned, using the album cover as a background and offering more user controls. The multiple users feature was enhanced, allowing the primary user to select which apps a guest user can access, ensuring data privacy between users.
The Android Runtime (ART) in Android 13 was updated with a new garbage collector (GC) that utilizes the Linux userfaultfd system call. This update reduces memory pressure, compiled code size, and the risk of killing apps due to low memory during GC. Other changes were made to improve app startup and overall performance.
Android 13 includes several features aimed at enhancing user privacy. A new permission, NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES, was introduced, separating Wi-Fi and GPS permissions. This change allows apps to search for nearby devices and networks without accessing broader navigational systems. Additionally, a new runtime permission feature was added for apps sending non-exempt notifications, enabling users to focus on essential notifications.
While the reception section was not explicitly detailed in the provided content, it can be inferred that Android 13 was well-received given its adoption rate. As of August 2023, 33.05% of Android devices ran Android 13, making it the most widely-used version of Android.