New in Android 13’s March 2023 Feature Drop, now in beta

Google just released the first Android 13 Drop feature, but the company is already working hard to prepare the next update, which should be released in March 2023. Just like that, the first beta for the second quarterly platform release (QPR) is now out. While Google hasn’t spilled too many beans on what will be new, enthusiastic experts have taken a look at what’s going on behind the scenes and what new features will be released as part of it.


Interface changes

The visual changes are always the most noticeable, and there are a few tweaks available in QPR2 Beta 1. The quick settings tiles in the notification shade have been moved very slightly and sit near the clock and date now. When you expand it by scrolling down, you will also notice that the clock increases in size as you swipe, while the date is moved below the clock. Your mobile carrier is also displayed above the status icons on the right side rather than next to them.

First image: Animation of the new media player. Second: a large clock in the notification center.

Google never seems to stop tweaking the media player in the Notification Center, and Android 13 QPR2 is no different. The new version of Android adds a blurry overlay to the album art used as the background of the media player that moves when the player is first viewed. The animation disappears after you look at it for a while, and it does not respond to the current playback at all, which makes us think that it is still under development and not finished yet.

Another notable change (or bug) is also coming in the Notification Center. When you swipe down on the lock screen without unlocking first, a black background will appear (even in light mode) and it will completely hide silent notifications. In previous versions of Android, silent notifications would not appear on the lock screen, but they would appear again once you swipe down.

The first pair of pictures: Notifications on the lock screen. Second pair: notifications on the home screen.

As spotted by 9to5Google, QPR2’s Pixel Launcher has made tweaks to icon density and padding. In folders, app icons are now farther apart, making it difficult to hit the wrong icon by accident. App icons on the home screen itself have also gone up slightly compared to previous Android 13 versions, with more padding on the left and right. This is also the case for the app launcher which you can access by swiping up anywhere on your home screen.

Desktop mode and partial screen sharing

Android expert Mishaal Al-Rahman Reveal more changes under the hood. As he mentioned in his roundup of the Drop Feature in Android 13 back in December, the work continues in the currently hidden desktop mode that was originally intended for developers testing in multi-screen environments. When using desktop mode in this version of Android, there is a floating bar superimposed on top of floating or free-form windows, which provides options to minimize and maximize, enter split-screen mode, and more. This shows that the company is trying to prepare the situation for consumers.

Google is also continuing to work on partial screen recordings, which Rahman first revealed in this December’s Feature Drop. The option will allow you to choose a single window to record or send, similar to how you can choose individual tabs or windows to participate in group video calls. On Android, you’ll be able to choose between individual apps and full screen sharing.

New article you topic

Another piece of information that Rahman spotted is a new “You Matter” topic called “Monochrome.” It is not available for use at this time, but it is already visible in the code. Judging by its name, it is probably one of the most silent options you can choose. It’s likely similar to the “SPRITZ” option that was introduced with the first version of Android 13, a desaturated option that already feels monochromatic.


A big update like this also fixes small issues. Some people reported that scrolling issues on the Pixel 7 Pro were resolved, which was inconsistent for them. Then there are people who have lost access to the new unified Security & Privacy settings pane, which seems to be related to the way Google rolls out this option (using Google Play Services instead of system updates). There are more bits and pieces found by Mishaal Rahman, which are collected below for your convenience.

  • The Google Pixel 6 Pro received a 1080p display option with this update, similar to what the Pixel 7 Pro already offers.
  • Spatial Audio has been re-enabled for all supported Pixels (Pixel 6 series through Pixel 7 series). You may be able to notice the difference when listening to spatial audio sample videos on YouTube with spatial audio enabled.
  • A new adaptive alert vibration option can reduce the strength of notification vibrations when your phone is lying flat on a surface with the screen elevated, though this feature isn’t straightforward or accessible yet.
  • There’s further evidence that Google is developing software for the rumored foldable Google Pixel Fold: a new setup will be available for devices with side-mounted fingerprint sensors (which the Fold is rumored to feature), allowing you to unlock just your phone. when the screen is turned on.
  • Google is considering separating ringer sound and notification volume. On older Android versions, this was always the case, but Google combined these two options on its Pixel phones a long time ago.

Join the Android 13 QPR1 beta program

If you have a Pixel phone, you can join the Android 13 QPR2 beta program on the Android website. Here, you will have to select the ‘View your eligible devices’ option to choose the phone you wish to enroll in the beta. As always, be aware that there may be bugs that completely break the way you use your phone, so proceed with caution and only if you can do without your Pixel phone in an emergency. If you prefer sideloading the beta, make sure you know how to install the Android 13 beta.

#Android #13s #March #Feature #Drop #beta

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