Google boosts privacy with a new photo picker for sharing media through apps. Android 13 also makes it easier to add custom quick settings tiles.
The first Developer Preview version of Android 13 introduces a new theme system and some privacy-centric changes. In December, a leaked build of Android 13 revealed that users will be able to set the UI language per app, and this feature is officially part of the first developer release of Android 13. Google is also building on its Project Mainline initiative, making it easier to release hand-picked features to devices running older versions of Android through software updates. To ensure that developers have enough time to optimize their apps for Android 13, Google has already shared the development schedule.
Developer Preview builds of Android 13 will be released until March, while Beta versions will be seeded until July, at the latest. However, in June, Android 13 will achieve platform stability, in line with Google’s Developer Roadmap. System images have already been released for compatible phones including the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 4 There are no substantial changes, but some adjustments are significant.
Starting with theming, Material You gets a facelift and becomes more universal. All apps can now switch to a monochrome icon design with round backgrounds matching existing theme colors. Based on the system-wide dark or light theme, they can also invert the color profile for better visibility. It looks like Google took inspiration from popular third-party icon packs for their minimalist design, especially those with clean lines. Android 13 too present a new built-in system-level photo picker. It basically replaces the file manager that appears when users want to share an image.
Few significant changes for Android
It’s not just about looks here, as the new system ups the ante when it comes to privacy. Essentially, users won’t have to grant full storage permission to an app when trying to send a photo. Instead, the app will only have access to photos that users have selected for sharing. This feature will not be exclusive to Android 13, as it will also be available for devices running Android 12 and 11 via a software update. The second privacy-centric upgrade comes in the form of a new Wi-Fi permission system that separates it from location data requirements. Simply put, apps will have access to the full list of nearby Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as smart speakers, but will not be able to pull location information from those Wi-Fi hotspots.
Another cool feature that should make life easier for users is provided by a new tile placement API. This will make it easier for apps to offer an active quick settings tile that will appear in the notification shade. For users, they won’t need to fiddle with some obscure tool buried deep in the Settings section. Instead, they’ll see a dialog where they can choose to add a dedicated thumbnail with a single click. Imagine controlling a smart robot vacuum and instead of opening its companion app, just lower the notification shade and tap the dedicated tile to start or stop.
A dedicated QR code quick settings tile, which is pretty self-explanatory, was also spotted by 9to5Mac. As well as two additional, but quite neat tiles to initiate one-handed mode and perform screen color correction for users with visibility issues. As usual, the Android 13 The version that Google has now released is intended for developers and, due to expected bugs and stability issues, shouldn’t really be installed on everyday-used devices.
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